Author Topic: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?  (Read 23214 times)

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emwithme

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One of my wedding gifts was a "Simon's Cat" calendar for this year, from a friend who isn't working because she is caring for both her elderly father and disabled (adult) daughter. 

I love this calendar, and every month DH and I stand and look at the picture, having a giggle and thanking J for making us laugh. 


Lillie82

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I agree that the Brides were incredibly rude. 

Here, in NYC, money is a standard Wedding gift because most couples seem pretty well established before the Wedding.  Still, objects are given and appreciated. 

The thing I find ghastly about this story is the escalation.  Neither side seems able to let the matter rest.  I truly believe that, if the parties were speaking face-to-face, things would never have reached the level it did.

I agree. This was actually posted to the main site, and I commented that I didn't think the givers ended up coming across so well either. Maybe they didn't sink to the level of the brides...but they didn't exactly take the highest road. And now it's become public.

Jocelyn

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RE: covering your plate
Seems to me that if the happy couple wants to ensure this will happen, they should ask guests to RSVP their dinner selection from the following:

_____A deluxe setting of shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and wines appropriate to each course, valued at $100

_____ Chicken and pasta, with one serving of wine, valued at $40

______A value meal from McDonalds, valued at $10


I mean, how are the guests supposed to know what they'll be served, so that they can buy a comparable gift, if they don't see what they're being served until they're already at the wedding?

kareng57

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Looking at that gift basket,and ignoring all the rest iof it, I think the guests were rude and tacky to give it.

"Life is delicious, enjoy..."  really?  I could see it being a housewarminig gift or a welcome to the neighborhood gift.  But, for a wedding?  Candy?  It flies in the face of the seriousness of the event.  Maybe some candy would be alright accompanied by something with a bit more gravitas.

It seems to me that the guests wanted to come off cute but ended up coming off cheap.

I disagree that the gift was rude. Perhaps it missed the mark (its not what I would have given for a wedding), but sometimes that happens when you give a gift. But I think giving a gift can only be rude in extreme circumstances (for example giving something illegal or intentionally offensive).

Besides, looking from the picture, candy was only a part of the gift. It also contained all sorts of gourmet foods. And in this case, the giver knew the recipient from the food industry, and perhaps didn't know much else about her. But even if it was just candy, it still wouldn't be rude - just perhaps not the best gift.

Its not an appropriate wedding gift.  There are a lot of events for which is would be fine but not  a wedding.

I think as a guest you do need to do some math.  Yes, you are going because you are happy for the couple and not simply to get a nice dinner.  But, you are suppose to be considering what this coupe needs for getting their lives started and a basket of edibles really doesn't fit the bill.

I know that people here can come up with a million exceptions but that is not the point.  Marriage is a relatively permanent thing, you don't celebrate it by giving people something they will consume ina few days.  You try to give them something more permanent or money to buy those things that will be more permanent.

And I think it is rude because its a rather thoughtless gift given the circumstances.  Perhaps it conveys the gift givers' philosphy of marriage which is also not appropriate, and the message.  not OK.  You say congratulations or happy for you, not To enjoy life.  That is too general and in this situation kind of condescending even.

I don't think math should enter in to selecting a wedding gift other than a review if your own budget, and there is nothing less permenant than money given then used to pay for a wedding reception. Or asking people to fund your honeymoon activities.

I seriously can't imagine being insulted by someone stating life is delicious or helping stock my pantry with gourmet items or providing me with goodies to snack on the day after the wedding.

We gave friends a nice insulated wine carry bag and 4 bottles of wine. They loved it and used the wine fir their first dinner party.


No matter what, I think that a list of gifts that could be considered permanent would be pretty limited.  Glasses can eventually break, even the most high-quality Egyptian cotton sheets will not last forever - etc.

TootsNYC

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

But the memory would last. Or so people argue when they sign up for a honeymoon registry.

And in fact, I personally think many memories are far more valuable than expensive china, etc.

As is that Simon's Cat calendar. (Actually, if you keep that calendar, you'll have a record of all the stuff you did in your first year of marriage!)

TootsNYC

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RE: covering your plate
Seems to me that if the happy couple wants to ensure this will happen, they should ask guests to RSVP their dinner selection from the following:

_____A deluxe setting of shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and wines appropriate to each course, valued at $100

_____ Chicken and pasta, with one serving of wine, valued at $40

______A value meal from McDonalds, valued at $10


I mean, how are the guests supposed to know what they'll be served, so that they can buy a comparable gift, if they don't see what they're being served until they're already at the wedding?


You are not getting it.

"Covering your plate" is never the wedding couple's business. It's not a rule for them. And it's not THEIR rule for their guests. I've known many couples who married in a "cover your plate" subculture, and not a single one of them has ever mentioned this rule.

It's the subculture's rule for wedding gift givers. I *have* heard a lot of wedding guests and gift givers mention this rule and use it when planning how much *they* will give or when giving advice to others.


As for the exact amount--they estimate.

They ask around to see if the mother of the bride has ever said anything, or if anybody else has had a similar sort of party. They suss out tentative plans for the reception (dinner dance? restaurant dinner? barbecue?) and they use the knowledge they can gain about general catering costs in the area.

If the amount they come up with is too high for their bank balance, they round down. And they feel a teeny bit guilty.


Also, I don't think they worry about flowers and dresses and makeup. When I've seen my MIL do this, she really is only worried about the party. That's the part that she doesn't want couples to lose out on because of. They're paying for her food & drink, and they *have* to invite her, so she wants to be sure they don't end up in the hole because of it.

perpetua

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RE: covering your plate
Seems to me that if the happy couple wants to ensure this will happen, they should ask guests to RSVP their dinner selection from the following:

_____A deluxe setting of shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and wines appropriate to each course, valued at $100

_____ Chicken and pasta, with one serving of wine, valued at $40

______A value meal from McDonalds, valued at $10


I mean, how are the guests supposed to know what they'll be served, so that they can buy a comparable gift, if they don't see what they're being served until they're already at the wedding?


You are not getting it.

"Covering your plate" is never the wedding couple's business. It's not a rule for them. And it's not THEIR rule for their guests. I've known many couples who married in a "cover your plate" subculture, and not a single one of them has ever mentioned this rule.

It's the subculture's rule for wedding gift givers. I *have* heard a lot of wedding guests and gift givers mention this rule and use it when planning how much *they* will give or when giving advice to others.


As for the exact amount--they estimate.

They ask around to see if the mother of the bride has ever said anything, or if anybody else has had a similar sort of party. They suss out tentative plans for the reception (dinner dance? restaurant dinner? barbecue?) and they use the knowledge they can gain about general catering costs in the area.


So as well as being expected to provide a gift of the correct monetary value, you're also expected to spend time and energy researching what that should be?

Sorry, no. I'm not going to spend my time doing detective work in order to attend your (you general) wedding without causing offence.

I don't think it's that people don't "get it", Toots. I get it. I just find it slightly... ridiculous.

Iris

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RE: covering your plate
Seems to me that if the happy couple wants to ensure this will happen, they should ask guests to RSVP their dinner selection from the following:

_____A deluxe setting of shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and wines appropriate to each course, valued at $100

_____ Chicken and pasta, with one serving of wine, valued at $40

______A value meal from McDonalds, valued at $10


I mean, how are the guests supposed to know what they'll be served, so that they can buy a comparable gift, if they don't see what they're being served until they're already at the wedding?


You are not getting it.

"Covering your plate" is never the wedding couple's business. It's not a rule for them. And it's not THEIR rule for their guests. I've known many couples who married in a "cover your plate" subculture, and not a single one of them has ever mentioned this rule.

It's the subculture's rule for wedding gift givers. I *have* heard a lot of wedding guests and gift givers mention this rule and use it when planning how much *they* will give or when giving advice to others.


As for the exact amount--they estimate.

They ask around to see if the mother of the bride has ever said anything, or if anybody else has had a similar sort of party. They suss out tentative plans for the reception (dinner dance? restaurant dinner? barbecue?) and they use the knowledge they can gain about general catering costs in the area.


So as well as being expected to provide a gift of the correct monetary value, you're also expected to spend time and energy researching what that should be?

Sorry, no. I'm not going to spend my time doing detective work in order to attend your (you general) wedding without causing offence.

I don't think it's that people don't "get it", Toots. I get it. I just find it slightly... ridiculous.

Pod. I understand it, I just don't think it's right or fair that someone who chooses to have an expensive wedding should get more of a gift from me than someone who doesn't. I find the idea that (say) my friend who had a gorgeous casual wedding in her parent's lovely yard would get a lesser present from me than my friend who had a lovely formal sit down meal at a function centre to be quite loathsome to be honest.

However I will admit that I have not yet reached the age of 'duty invites'. All family weddings occurred when I was a teenager and the younger generation haven't reached marrying age yet. Perhaps I would feel differently if I thought someone felt obligated to invite me.
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MariaE

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RE: covering your plate
Seems to me that if the happy couple wants to ensure this will happen, they should ask guests to RSVP their dinner selection from the following:

_____A deluxe setting of shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and wines appropriate to each course, valued at $100

_____ Chicken and pasta, with one serving of wine, valued at $40

______A value meal from McDonalds, valued at $10


I mean, how are the guests supposed to know what they'll be served, so that they can buy a comparable gift, if they don't see what they're being served until they're already at the wedding?


You are not getting it.

"Covering your plate" is never the wedding couple's business. It's not a rule for them. And it's not THEIR rule for their guests. I've known many couples who married in a "cover your plate" subculture, and not a single one of them has ever mentioned this rule.

It's the subculture's rule for wedding gift givers. I *have* heard a lot of wedding guests and gift givers mention this rule and use it when planning how much *they* will give or when giving advice to others.


As for the exact amount--they estimate.

They ask around to see if the mother of the bride has ever said anything, or if anybody else has had a similar sort of party. They suss out tentative plans for the reception (dinner dance? restaurant dinner? barbecue?) and they use the knowledge they can gain about general catering costs in the area.


So as well as being expected to provide a gift of the correct monetary value, you're also expected to spend time and energy researching what that should be?

Sorry, no. I'm not going to spend my time doing detective work in order to attend your (you general) wedding without causing offence.

I don't think it's that people don't "get it", Toots. I get it. I just find it slightly... ridiculous.

Pod. I understand it, I just don't think it's right or fair that someone who chooses to have an expensive wedding should get more of a gift from me than someone who doesn't. I find the idea that (say) my friend who had a gorgeous casual wedding in her parent's lovely yard would get a lesser present from me than my friend who had a lovely formal sit down meal at a function centre to be quite loathsome to be honest.

However I will admit that I have not yet reached the age of 'duty invites'. All family weddings occurred when I was a teenager and the younger generation haven't reached marrying age yet. Perhaps I would feel differently if I thought someone felt obligated to invite me.

Not to mention that it seems odd to base your gift giving on what the couple can afford rather than on what you can afford.
 
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SuperMartianRobotGirl

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It is just so contrary to the concept of "gift" that no explanation will ever make me accept it as OK. A gift is something given because you want to do something nice. It is not an exchange for a party invitation, or payment for dinner. Not even a party and dinner after a wedding.

Charliebug

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It is just so contrary to the concept of "gift" that no explanation will ever make me accept it as OK. A gift is something given because you want to do something nice. It is not an exchange for a party invitation, or payment for dinner. Not even a party and dinner after a wedding.

POD

Just Lori

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Am I the only one who would feel strange if someone felt they had to cover their plate for a party I was hosting?  I'm hosting a party, not a fund raiser.  I invited people to my wedding because I wanted them there.  We paid for the wedding ourselves in cash, and we had our honeymoon and first home funded from our own bank accounts.  We didn't expect people to feel socially obligated to help pay the bill.  For me, and only for me, it takes a host/guest relationship and turns it into a business transaction.

I respect that this mindset is part of certain cultures, but I can't get my mind around it, and I hope it doesn't become an unofficial etiquette rule.

CluelessBride

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RE: covering your plate
Seems to me that if the happy couple wants to ensure this will happen, they should ask guests to RSVP their dinner selection from the following:

_____A deluxe setting of shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and wines appropriate to each course, valued at $100

_____ Chicken and pasta, with one serving of wine, valued at $40

______A value meal from McDonalds, valued at $10


I mean, how are the guests supposed to know what they'll be served, so that they can buy a comparable gift, if they don't see what they're being served until they're already at the wedding?


You are not getting it.

"Covering your plate" is never the wedding couple's business. It's not a rule for them. And it's not THEIR rule for their guests. I've known many couples who married in a "cover your plate" subculture, and not a single one of them has ever mentioned this rule.

It's the subculture's rule for wedding gift givers. I *have* heard a lot of wedding guests and gift givers mention this rule and use it when planning how much *they* will give or when giving advice to others.


As for the exact amount--they estimate.

They ask around to see if the mother of the bride has ever said anything, or if anybody else has had a similar sort of party. They suss out tentative plans for the reception (dinner dance? restaurant dinner? barbecue?) and they use the knowledge they can gain about general catering costs in the area.

If the amount they come up with is too high for their bank balance, they round down. And they feel a teeny bit guilty.


Also, I don't think they worry about flowers and dresses and makeup. When I've seen my MIL do this, she really is only worried about the party. That's the part that she doesn't want couples to lose out on because of. They're paying for her food & drink, and they *have* to invite her, so she wants to be sure they don't end up in the hole because of it.

I think the problem I have with the cover the plate thing is the bolded. Everyone talks about it like its a culture/sub-culture.

If an individual says, "I personally like to guesstimate how much my plate will cost and give approximately that amount of cash" that's no different to me than someone who says, "I personally like to buy off the registry", or "I personally spend more on gifts for people who are closer to me", or "I like to give china", or "I like to give ______".  Basically it becomes a personal giving philosophy - and we are all entitled to have one.

But the second you (general) start talking about a culture, that implies that you expect others to be following the same set of rules. Even if you never call them out on it. Even if the couple never says they expect it.


Wordgeek

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You are not getting it.

Ahem.  From my reading of the thread, I'd say people "get" what you're saying but disagree with you.  And they're allowed to do so.  Accept that yours is a minority opinion, at least on this board, and be gracious about it.  The world is not required to conform to your particular viewpoint.

You've racked up a few warnings recently, Toots.  Think carefully about how you choose to respond, because you're within a hair of taking an enforced break from posting. 

gellchom

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I understand what Toots is saying, though.  I like CluelessBride's take on things.  But for better or worse (no pun intended), there are families and communities in which this is so ingrained that even if everyone is perfectly polite about it, it will seem strange, to themselves and to others, if guests who are able to don't give cash gifts at least as large as a reaonable estimate of the cost of their "plate."

That doesn't mean that guests have to do it or that couples can demand it.  It doesn't mean that etiquette requires it.   The closest analogy that comes to mind is how giving a "thing" gift in a community where cash is the near-universal gift isn't a violation of etiquette but nevertheless seems unusual to people.

It just means that it is unrealistic to pretend that it won't feel to the givers, recipients, or anyone else like a deviation from the norm.  Of course it would still be rude for anyone to complain or to criticize.  But you can't stop people from feeling what they feel in terms of appropriateness, cheapness, and generosity, and those feelings will be based on what they are used to doing and seeing.  And many givers want -- even though etiquette doesn't require it - to feel like they are doing what is customary, or want to give a generous gift in light of the recipients' community, even if it isn't their own.  I think that is why Toots was stressing that this plays out from the givers' end, not the recipients'.  Is that right?