Author Topic: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?  (Read 24785 times)

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Raintree

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The gift is kind of tacky (from the photo is appears to be just cheap junk food). A food basket of gourmet type stuff would be much better.

But the bride's response was way over the top. It's one thing to think, privately, "I can't believe she gave me a basket of junk food as a wedding present" but the appropriate response is a polite thank you note that includes a thank you for coming and sharing the special day.

If I were the gift-giver I would never speak to this person again.

As for "paying for their future" perhaps if that was what the happy couple really wanted, they should have had a small, quiet ceremony instead of blowing 34 grand on a wedding.

ti_ax

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The gift is kind of tacky (from the photo is appears to be just cheap junk food). A food basket of gourmet type stuff would be much better.
I read that the bride removed a lot of "gourmet type stuff" before taking the photo.

SuperMartianRobotGirl

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The only gift that can be tacky is a gift that had no thought put into it, and a gift basket takes a lot to put together. Maybe their registry was full of really expensive stuff because they were afraid people wouldn't "cover their plate" otherwise, so they had to go off the registry, and they thought some fun snacks with a nice basket would be fun for evenings in front of a DVD for the newlyweds.

I hate when people judge gifts as tacky because it isn't what they would have chosen. Someone else might have had really good thoughts behind that gift and I think you should assume the best intent that you could reasonably believe to be true. Obviously there do exists gifts where you can't reasonably believe they cared, but a gift basket (and as said before, I read that the bride removed the nicer stuff before taking a photo to manipulate how people responded) isn't one of those gifts.

Raintree

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Ah, OK, I missed the part about the good stuff being removed before the photo was taken.  And by "tacky" I didn't mean to pass judgement on the gift-givers; what was shown in the photo simply isn't what I'd think of as a good wedding present. Either way, I think the bride was just horrible and the ONLY proper response to this or any gift would be "thank you."

JoieGirl7

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Just because it would be a "thing" in your circle of friends doesn't make it generally a good idea for a gift.

Obviously there is a lot of diversity of gift giving all over the planet and certain things are more acceptable in one group than another, but it is really apparent that in this particular circle it was decidedly not a "thing."

But, particularly for a formal event.  Presumably if the B&G are spending $100/plate this is not a casual BBQ in the backyard.

I still stand by it being generally tacky to give something more suited to a "welcome to the neighborhood gift" as a wedding gift.  And while it is never OK to not accept a gift graciously, it doesn't make it right.

Its interesting that in defending this basket that people think that they will use the basket forever--many of those baskets are just for looks unless you pay even more--and we could probably discuss the appropriateness of a basket for both a man and a woman as a wedding gift--that is really taste specific.

In this case, it was obviously the gift basket of edibles that was the gift--not a fine basket.

If you don't know that your gift is on target for a particular couple, you should stick with more traditional fare- something off the registry, a gift card to the place they are registered or cash.

Also, a note on "just clicking"--these baskets can be bought by "just clicking" the same as a place setting or a toaster.  It's not so much the effort and thought that is put into the gift as what it says.  This one was cutesy.

SuperMartianRobotGirl

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I don't think how much the bride and groom are spending has anything at all to do with how much you should spend on a gift. And some gift baskets are bought that way, but lots of people go to World Market or some such place and put together a gift basket.

I don't think the fact that it was largely consumables is relevant either. I think the only thing relevant is how much thought was put into it, and I think (again) we should assume good intent as much as we reasonably can. I don't think you can assume these people didn't care in the slightest. They might have put a lot of thought into it. The only people we can reasonably assume behaved poorly are the people who didn't graciously accept the gift.

GreenEyedHawk

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As I understand, the brides removed some more expensive items from the basket before photographing it, to make it look "cheaper"

Re the "cover your plate" thing.  I guess I better just straight up stop going to weddings, because I can't afford to give that much every time someone I know gets married.  I go to weddings because I want to celebrate an important life event with people I care about.  But if there's now some kind of standard as to how much should be spent on a wedding gift in order to 'cover my plate' (which I often can't afford to do) would the courteous thing to do be to decline?  What would you say?  "Sorry, I can't afford to come to your wedding?" Decline with no reason given and risk hurt feelings from the HC?  I've gone to weddings and given nothing more than a card wishing the HC well, because that was all I could afford to give.  That definitely doesn't cover a plate.  And if I'd been called out in it in public, like these gift-givers have, ("Oh em gee, GEH just got us a card.  Yeah, that's it!  Just a card!  No money in it or anything!  I know right!")  I would be so ashamed and embarrassed, I don't even have words.  As far as I know, there is NEVER a situation where it's all right to make someone feel so awful.  I can't imagine how hurt and embarrassed the givers in the OP felt. 

My personal feeling is that if someone invites you to a wedding, go, if you want to go.  Give the gift you can afford to give.  And if the recipients react like these two boorish women,  it reflects much worse on them than on you.  In areas where lavish weddings are common, well....just because something is a tradition doesn't mean it's a good idea.  If the HC throws a huge extravagant wedding that they can't afford, that's their own doing and their own problem to deal with and in no wise should guests be expected to pay for a wedding they had no say in.

"After all this time?"
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hyzenthlay

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If you don't know that your gift is on target for a particular couple, you should stick with more traditional fare- something off the registry, a gift card to the place they are registered or cash.

Then they didn't know you well enough to invite you, and you didn't know them well enough to accept.

Which frankly I think is the case in the letter as well. It sounds like a 'family' wedding and the friend was invited out of greed. And the friend shouldn't have accepted the invite, clearly she wasn't close enough the couple for an off mark gift to be forgiven.

But seriously, analyzing your weddings gifts is sad. The bride should have been enjoying the wedding, instead she's left sullen and in debt for a overpriced party.

LadyR

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The gift is kind of tacky (from the photo is appears to be just cheap junk food). A food basket of gourmet type stuff would be much better.
I read that the bride removed a lot of "gourmet type stuff" before taking the photo.

A friend of mine is in the Facebook group where this was first posted and yes, there was a lot of stuff taken out before the picture. The gifters had included a lot of PC Black Label items, which are fairly expensive. They probably spent between $50-$100 on the basket. I think it was a fun gift. One of favourite wedding gifts was a gift card to a restaurant, which we used to have a fate night. We'd have used a gift basket of food to have a stay in date-night.


Sharnita

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Money given as a wedding gift is frequently used on the honeymoon so that would be hone as quickly as the basket of food.

MommyPenguin

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You know, somebody brought up parents paying for the wedding a few posts ago.  It seems like it used to be that parents would almost always pay for the wedding, and the bride would have a wedding based on what her parents could afford.  But in the past generation or so, more and more brides, instead of marrying while still living at their parents' house, or only a few short years out of the house working in a low-paying job like secretarial work, are now marrying after living on their own or with their fiance for 10 or more years, and often making very good salaries.  This has led to a trend of the couple themselves paying for the wedding.  But I wonder if that has also fueled some of the attitude of "cover your plate," because instead of the bride's parents paying for the wedding (and then the couple receiving gifts, many of which would be household items), the bride and groom are paying for the wedding themselves, meaning that they lose money, instead of gaining a small amount of money/household items.  So maybe it's because of the fact that it's the couple themselves paying for it that makes people feel more duty-bound to try to give a gift that covers their share of the wedding/reception costs, because they hate the idea of the bride and groom using money that they might have put towards the down payment on a house on the wedding instead.  Not that it isn't the couple's choice to do that, but... weddings are expensive! 

Our wedding was catered by an acquaintance who was going to culinary school and thus charged less, the reception was held in the church reception room (which we received a discount for because of all my dad's work in the church), my wedding dress was inexpensive by general standards, etc., and yet it was still quite a few thousands of dollars.  We did receive gifts, although they were mostly of the physical kind, four crockpots, that sort of thing.  The monetary gifts we got were very generous but nowhere near paying for the wedding.  But because my parents had saved for years and very generously gave us enough to cover most of the wedding, we were able to use most of the money given us towards our new house.

Cheapie

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Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?

Touching on the question in the title of this thread, I would lean towards definitely ... if the cultural traditions are apparent to the invited guests.  If not, they need to give a gift that they can afford and that they truly think the HC can use/will enjoy.

DH and I lived in Hong Kong for three years due to a work transfer.  If he had refused to take the position, it would have sunk his career.  We were lucky enough to be invited to a traditional Chinese wedding of a colleague of his.  This man was in a 'lower' position in the company, but was considered upper-middle class in regards to Hong Kong society.  I did not know this couple at all but it was extremely important to them that my DH and I be at their reception.  The actual wedding ceremony was for family only.  Due to my DH's position in the company, we gave a red envelope of money that was more than we had given combined to all the weddings we had attended in the last 10 years!  It was hard for me as these people were not important to me like my family and friends, but I understood that it was a matter of "saving face" ... for the HC, not for my DH.  It would have been a huge insult to them in front of everyone they knew and loved if we had given a lesser gift.  They would have said nothing to us, but it would have come out eventually and it would have reflected on all of us ... but mostly on the HC.  It's just the way it is in that culture at that level of society. Oh, to make sure we didn't cause insult, my DH inquired about all this when he received he invitation.

As a side note, my being invited was a great honor.  I was the only female Westerner there.  My DH is Korean so he kind of 'blended in.  His supervisor was the only Caucasian male ... from New Zealand.  The meal had many courses that were so delicious ... until the shark fin soup was served.  I am morally against it, but did not want to insult so I ate a bite.  My DH ate the rest.  And yes, many eyes were upon me as I was also seven months pregnant and really stood out. ;D  The pregnancy gave me an out.  My DH told the FOG that my stomach was upset.  Their response was to try and insist that an ambulance come and take me to a hospital!  The hospitality at that wedding was one of the many highlights of living over there and I do not in any way regret giving such a large amount of money to people who were total strangers.  The honor of the invite more than made up for my initial misgivings about the amount.

But again, if we had given too little, I can't imagine that the HC would have reacted as the couple in the link did.


Marbles

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If you don't know that your gift is on target for a particular couple, you should stick with more traditional fare- something off the registry, a gift card to the place they are registered or cash.

Then they didn't know you well enough to invite you, and you didn't know them well enough to accept.

I disagree. I have no idea how many of my relatives decorate their homes or entertain themselves, but I would still attend their weddings and give them gifts.

hyzenthlay

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If you don't know that your gift is on target for a particular couple, you should stick with more traditional fare- something off the registry, a gift card to the place they are registered or cash.

Then they didn't know you well enough to invite you, and you didn't know them well enough to accept.

I disagree. I have no idea how many of my relatives decorate their homes or entertain themselves, but I would still attend their weddings and give them gifts.

Relatives are one thing, friends and acquaintances another. For on thing family will be properly familiar with whatever your cultural standard is. That said, if you invite extended relatives and they give you cruddy gifts it's only to be expected when you invite people you really aren't close to.

Of course I think everyone's in agreement you still don't get to chastise them  ;D

Aeris

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Just because it would be a "thing" in your circle of friends doesn't make it generally a good idea for a gift.

Obviously there is a lot of diversity of gift giving all over the planet and certain things are more acceptable in one group than another, but it is really apparent that in this particular circle it was decidedly not a "thing."

But, particularly for a formal event.  Presumably if the B&G are spending $100/plate this is not a casual BBQ in the backyard.

I still stand by it being generally tacky to give something more suited to a "welcome to the neighborhood gift" as a wedding gift.  And while it is never OK to not accept a gift graciously, it doesn't make it right.

Its interesting that in defending this basket that people think that they will use the basket forever--many of those baskets are just for looks unless you pay even more--and we could probably discuss the appropriateness of a basket for both a man and a woman as a wedding gift--that is really taste specific.

In this case, it was obviously the gift basket of edibles that was the gift--not a fine basket.

If you don't know that your gift is on target for a particular couple, you should stick with more traditional fare- something off the registry, a gift card to the place they are registered or cash.

Also, a note on "just clicking"--these baskets can be bought by "just clicking" the same as a place setting or a toaster.  It's not so much the effort and thought that is put into the gift as what it says.  This one was cutesy.

You are making an awful lot of blanket pronouncements from on high about The Way Things Are Donetm. What Queen or deity decided:

1) That wedding gifts are required to have gravitas. What's wrong with being cutesy? Is there no joy, no whimsy to be had in the world? Or perhaps you believe whimsy and joy are inappropriate for celebrating marriages - how sad. Anyway, how much gravitas does a toaster or a George Foreman grill have?

2) That giving a basket is only acceptable if it is a Fine Basket. Seriously?

3) That consumable items are inherently inappropriate. Money is essentially consumable, and we give that all the time. And dang, but this gift requires a lot more thought and effort than writing a check for the same value. And to conclude, as you implied in an earlier post, that a gift of consumables reflects the giver's philosophy on marriage - the hyperbolic judgment required for that leap is remarkable.

4) That this gift is 'more suited to a welcome to the neighborhood' or 'only appropriate for a casual backyard BBQ. I don't even know how you make this determination.

5) That it is inappropriate to wish the couple 'to enjoy life'. What a bitter and judgmental view of things, that simply telling someone 'to enjoy life' on occasion of their wedding might be met with such derision and scorn.


In short, I agree with a prior poster that this view is narrow minded. I also think the extraordinary judgment being laid down, simply because this gift does not meet your personal standards for How Wedding Gifts Are Supposed To Be is arrogant and mean-spirited.