Author Topic: Wedding Gift Spat- Should Cultural Traditions Be Considered in Gift Giving?  (Read 19630 times)

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Poppea

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What I find most interesting about the entitled brides is the idea that "covering your plate" would ever include clothing, makeup/hair, photography, etc.  If your subscribe to CYP it means just that - the cost of the meal, drinks & entertainment at the reception.  Things that the HC have done to entertain the guests.

Twik

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"Covering your plate" is, I think, a useful rule of thumb if you are new to a particular social scene, and the question is, "what is a generally acceptable wedding gift, if I don't want to stand out from the crowd? Is it $5? Is it $5,000?" The answer could veer towards either of those extremes, depending on what sort of social group you're looking at. A "standard" gift among the jet set will probably be higher than, say, a typical gift among a group of university students living off student loans and part-time jobs. The average cost of a meal served in that group would give you a ballpark figure of what the group's standards are, either frugal or extravagant.

However, I would be rather creeped out if I found my guests were doing detective work to figure out exactly how much I was spending for my wedding. And if one of the Kardashians decides to invite that nice young man who bags groceries for her to her upcoming nuptial, I don't think he should be expected to provide a gift that's exactly the same as her celebrity friends.
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Audrey Quest

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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?

Never ever from the recipients end.

It's the desire by the giver for the recipient to receive more than they are having to spend.

I went to the catered wedding of my friends' son.  Because we were family friends she invited not just my husband and I but our entire family--so, five people total.  My sons were not in a position to bring gifts, so this fell to me and my husband.  Giving them $50 or something I paid $50 for when they were likely spending over $150 just to host us left me in the position of feeling that I had just cost the couple $100 when my goal was to make sure that they got something from us.

I gave them a cash gift of twice what I thought we cost them.  Did they spend that money paying for flowers or a dress?  I don't know.  It's not really any of my business at that point.  But, from my end, when I know roughly how much a dinner buffet featuring roast beef and an open bar costs, I wanted to make sure that what I gave them was over and above what they likely paid to host us.

For me, it goes to reciprocation.  Sure, when someone hosts me for dinner at their house, I can reciprocate that.  But, I am unlikely to ever be inviting these people to a formal catered event.  If I don't cover my plate and more, I don't feel that I am living up to my social obligation of reciprocation because there just won't be an opportunity for it.

If I go out to a wedding and get a fine meal and free drinks that otherwise would have cost me x number of dollars, I don't feel comfortable about.  I feel like I am profiting at their expense, and this is the most important part--because I can afford to pay my own way.  I can afford to give over and above.

There have been times in my life when I could barely afford a gift and it didn't make me uncomfortable to attend and accept a level of hospitality that I could not reciprocate.  But, that's not the case anymore.


Hmmmmm

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snip

Never ever from the recipients end.

It's the desire by the giver for the recipient to receive more than they are having to spend.I went to the catered wedding of my friends' son.  Because we were family friends she invited not just my husband and I but our entire family--so, five people total.  My sons were not in a position to bring gifts, so this fell to me and my husband.  Giving them $50 or something I paid $50 for when they were likely spending over $150 just to host us left me in the position of feeling that I had just cost the couple $100 when my goal was to make sure that they got something from us.

I gave them a cash gift of twice what I thought we cost them.  Did they spend that money paying for flowers or a dress?  I don't know.  It's not really any of my business at that point.  But, from my end, when I know roughly how much a dinner buffet featuring roast beef and an open bar costs, I wanted to make sure that what I gave them was over and above what they likely paid to host us.

For me, it goes to reciprocation.  Sure, when someone hosts me for dinner at their house, I can reciprocate that.  But, I am unlikely to ever be inviting these people to a formal catered event.  If I don't cover my plate and more, I don't feel that I am living up to my social obligation of reciprocation because there just won't be an opportunity for it.

If I go out to a wedding and get a fine meal and free drinks that otherwise would have cost me x number of dollars, I don't feel comfortable about.  I feel like I am profiting at their expense, and this is the most important part--because I can afford to pay my own way.  I can afford to give over and above.There have been times in my life when I could barely afford a gift and it didn't make me uncomfortable to attend and accept a level of hospitality that I could not reciprocate.  But, that's not the case anymore.

I guess I can understand your position relating to the bolded points. But as a hostess, I don't want to "receive more". It feels like it's undermining my hosting of you. It's like taking your Dad out to dinner and then finding out he slipped a $100 bill into your purse to cover his cost and more.  It's my party, it's my event. I've invited you to attend my celebration. I don't want you paying for it in any way.

I think also, the expecation of reciprocation must be regionally different. In experience, reciprocation just needs to occur, it doesn't need to be equal (I take my neice out to dinner, she invites me over for burgers). And if I've been invited as primarily the guest of the bride's parents, then reciprocating by having them over to dinner would be appropriate. 

Rohanna

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Isn't that just nit-picking a normal social dance? You don't *have* to give a hostess gift either, but it's nice. You don't *have* to send a friend flowers after the have surgery, but it's sweet. You don't *have* to think about making sure you give a young couple a gift above the cost of hosting you, but if it makes you happy and you can, what's the harm?

I don't ever do handmade gifts, and most of the time I don't particularly care for them- but that doesn't mean that I'd take my personal opinion of them as some kind of moral judgement against anyone who personally does it.
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Aeris

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Isn't that just nit-picking a normal social dance? You don't *have* to give a hostess gift either, but it's nice. You don't *have* to send a friend flowers after the have surgery, but it's sweet. You don't *have* to think about making sure you give a young couple a gift above the cost of hosting you, but if it makes you happy and you can, what's the harm?

I don't ever do handmade gifts, and most of the time I don't particularly care for them- but that doesn't mean that I'd take my personal opinion of them as some kind of moral judgement against anyone who personally does it.

Well, there's no harm directly. But if it does bleed into the expectations of HC's, that's a problem. But aside from that there's something inherently strange to me about a system whereby I give a substantially larger gift to a friend who chooses to throw a more expensive wedding than a friend who chose to throw a less expensive wedding. That strangeness is exacerbated if the reason the first friend chose a more expensive wedding is because she has more disposable income (or her parents do). Because what that means, in the net effect, is that you would essentially be giving a larger gift to the friend who is more affluent *because* she is more affluent. Something's wrong with that.

But even if they had the exact same income/assets - I'm rewarding the friend who chose a more expensive wedding with a greater share of my resources. I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Rohanna

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There's nothing in cover your plate philosophy that states you can't give "more" to someone because you like them, only that the giver usually tries not to give less than what they think the average/norm/cost was. Some people do take it to extremes, but that's true of anything really. If your friend had a 10 dollar a plate backyard BBQ it's not like the CYP police are going to show up and pull cash out of your card because you really like her and want to give them $100.
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Aeris

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There's nothing in cover your plate philosophy that states you can't give "more" to someone because you like them, only that the giver usually tries not to give less than what they think the average/norm/cost was. Some people do take it to extremes, but that's true of anything really. If your friend had a 10 dollar a plate backyard BBQ it's not like the CYP police are going to show up and pull cash out of your card because you really like her and want to give them $100.

Well, that's a fair point. But if the cheaper wedding comes first, you may end up with that difference by accident rather than design by trying to follow CYP for the second, more expensive wedding.

I understand the philosophy of CYP far more when it works out to a 'this is the cost per person of a typical wedding in our culture/social group/area of the country/etc, so I'm going to give a gift worth that plus a bit'. That would *generally* meet the goal of trying to leave the HC with a little more than they spent, but if someone decided to go hog wild and fancy above and beyond what's normal I wouldn't feel financially obligated to reward that. (And it would also provide an even larger windfall for any HC that chose to go cheaper than average).