The posters that come from the "cover your plate" rule keep leaving out that one little detail:
- How are we (the guests) supposed to know how much the "cover your plate" fee is exactly?
- Are we supposed to pester the bride, groom, MOB, FOB, etc., to find out the name of the venue/caterer and call them to find out the exact amount, including taxes and tips?
- If the plate amount is $XX.45, do you round the amount up or down?
- What if it's a potluck reception at a free to members church hall? In that case, would $10-$15 be the appropriate amount to cover your plasticware and napkins?
-If you can't afford to "cover your plate," are you allowed to state that in your declination?
The whole thing boggles my mind.
Honestly this has been explained plenty of times in threads before.
It just seems like some people want to just relentlessly pick apart the "cover your plate" mentality as horrible without even bothering to try to understand its a very generous and lovely thought process.
"Cover your plate" is a mentality that a giver
should have. Not the receiver. Understand that, please. It is the fundamental first and most strict rule in the whole mentality; it is the very point
of the mentality, the whole darn philosophy in fact. Anyone who laments a guest not covering their plate is a gimme pig plain and simple and that has nothing to do with "cover your plate" it has to with them personally being ungrateful greedy piggies.
The idea of "cover your plate" is that a guest would think to themselves "oh how wonderful and lovely and generous for them to host us. Oh! But they are starting out their new life, they really shouldn't have gone to such expense! Here let me give as generously as I can to try to have them come out ahead at the end of the day. I want them to truly have seed money for life, not simply to have them recoup their expenses and come out the same or poorer on the other end of this wonder party."
As for figuring out how much "per plate" costs - simply put, you guess and round up. Its not an invoice situation, its a situation of the giver wanting their hosts to come out ahead. Do guests miss the mark? Of course they do, as a regular matter of course. They might not ever know it though, since its never appropriate for the receiver to be anything except grateful for whatever they receive - even if all they get is a card wishing them well. But the point of "cover your plate" is a very gracious, loving, not always possible but when it is lovely, generous mentality. It is not the awful, devious, greed, math-heavy, investigation requiring scenario so many posters on these boards like to make it out to be.
(And for the record, I would say, having lived my whole life in a "cover your plate" culture of both family and friends, and having lived in NYC, not a cheap place by any means, that $100 from a young couple just out of college would absolutely fall well within the bounds of perfectly acceptable within a 'cover your plate' culture.)