Author Topic: Your gift was only $100  (Read 20370 times)

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camlan

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #90 on: July 07, 2013, 04:19:20 PM »
As for many people saying when they host they would never ever want their guests to want to think in terms of "cover your plate" I don't believe it, it think its a semantics problem not a thought process problem. "Cover your plate" in other terms is simply known as "reciprocation" and it is the standard norm of good manners. If Couple A hosts Couple B for dinner (at home, at a restaurant, at their beach house, etc) then its pretty reasonable to expect Couple B reciprocate at some point - either by hosting a dinner themselves, or taking Couple A to an attraction or something... And I really find it hard to believe so very many posters here would be totally cool with always being the ones who hosted (dinners, drinks, parties, whatever) and never having friends reciprocate in any manner. After a few times of hosting most people feel a bit put off not being hosted/having something nice done for them in return.

Reciprocation can come in many forms: dinner for dinner, dinner for handiwork, handiwork for pet sitting, party hosting for buying a few rounds in the bar, or presents for party hosting. For a simple dinner, its easy to put off reciprocating to another time ("next time, dinner is on us!" or you give a birthday present in April, and receive one in October) but with big formal weddings, a person might feel they want to reciprocate more promptly because they have no idea when, or even if, they can ever reciprocate in kind. Hence the "cover your plate" mentality... which again is totally on the side of the guest, not the gift receiver. It goes back to that thought process of "oh wow the B&G are going to such an extent to host us, this is so lovely, oh they shouldn't have! They are young and starting off..."

I still disagree. Reciprocation is not about how much money is spent, either on entertainment or gifts. If I am invited out by someone, they take me out someplace that meets their budget, and then I should reciprocate by doing something that meets my budget. The whole problem is with the concept of reciprocation being tied into how much is spent.

This. Pretty much all the etiquette mavens agree that while reciprocating hosting is necessary, it is the thought that counts. Wealthy friends take you to a five star restaurant? You can reciprocate with tea and cookies at your house, or hot dogs at the beach, or a movie. It it the hosting/being hosted that gets reciprocated, not the amount of money spent on said hosting. Emily Post goes so far as to say that particularly good guests, who make a host's life easier by chatting with other guests and in other ways assisting the hosts, may not have to host at all--they reciprocate by being such good guests. (But she admits it is not all guests who can do this, however.)
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miranova

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #91 on: July 07, 2013, 04:22:36 PM »
I'm not sure why there is this insistence that we don't understand Willynilly's explanation.  I understand it just fine, I just don't agree with it nor like it.  We can agree to disagree, but continuing to insist that we just don't understand is both untrue and a little condescending. The only thing "cover your plate" has done long term is to push the average cost of a wedding gift MUCH higher than used to be expected.  I don't see a good reason why wedding gifts should increase in value far more than inflation, so I think it has overall contributed to the feeling that guests can no longer afford to go to weddings where they otherwise might have.  I find that sad.

 When was this magical time when the expectation was lower?

Your point could have been made without the sarcasm. 

Obviously I can only speak to my own experiences and this is something that I personally never heard until about 10 years ago, and then it was suddenly everywhere and it seemed as if everyone believed it to be a rule where it previously wasn't.

CakeEater

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #92 on: July 07, 2013, 04:35:32 PM »
If people did things only based on internal reasoning or motivation, this would never be a problem, because no one would ever know or feel pressured to do the same.  The problem is that the "cover your plate" message has been passed around AS IF it's an actual expectation and that guests would be rude not to follow it.  I am not saying that anyone posting here thinks that way or has told anyone else that they "need" to cover their plate.  However, multiple times in my life I have heard this passed along as if it is actually the way things must be done.  And that is the problem I have with it.  Whatever calculations people want to do in their own head for their own reasons I have no issue with.  I have an issue when the expression gets used so much that it is distorted into "to behave like a proper guest, you must cover your plate and then add extra".  I'm not even saying it comes from the hosts.  To me it doesn't matter where it comes from, at some point it was put out there in the culture as the new expectation and I wish it would go away.

If people did things only based on internal reasoning or motivation, this would never be a problem, because no one would ever know or feel pressured to do the same.  The problem is that the "cover your plate" message has been passed around AS IF it's an actual expectation and that guests would be rude not to follow it. 

Exactly.  I've heard that wedding sites like TheKnot.com tout this as a hard and fast "rule."  It's disturbing that so many B&G's actually believe that it *is* a rule.  It absolutely is NOT.

So it's not a problem with the system, but with the idea that it must be followed by everyone? Then that's not the fault of the system. The system works fine.

Vall

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #93 on: July 07, 2013, 04:36:39 PM »
For me, social reciprocation doesn't involve calculating possible financial expenditures of someone else.  It just doesn't.

Luckily, in my area, the general population doesn't adhere to this "rule".  It doesn't matter to me what rule people silently use to determine their gift giving but I would draw the line at any HC or guest who would try to shame me into using their personal rule.

WillyNilly

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #94 on: July 07, 2013, 07:14:32 PM »
For me, social reciprocation doesn't involve calculating possible financial expenditures of someone else.  It just doesn't.

Luckily, in my area, the general population doesn't adhere to this "rule".  It doesn't matter to me what rule people silently use to determine their gift giving but I would draw the line at any HC or guest who would try to shame me into using their personal rule.

Thank you. I don't are what rule anyone else uses to determine their git giving either. But it is mighty insulting when people insist, repeatedly, and condescendingly that the rule some people personally - and silently - use is "cover your plate", its horrible and rude, and just an all-around bad way to think. Everyone should give along the lines they feel comfortable giving. But its highly stand-offish for people to act like "cover your plate" is some terrible mindset for a gift giver to have, when truly when applied properly its a very loving and generous and thoughtful way - not the only loving, generous or thoughtful way, but validly one such - to give.

Mopsy428

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #95 on: July 07, 2013, 08:28:56 PM »
I do find it funny- not wrong, just funny that it's perfectly acceptable to change the generousity of your gift depending on "how close you are to the couple", but that if the hosts change the quality of serving for the guests according to how they feel about them, it causes outrage.

So if I don't really like Cousin Betty I can acceptably give her an inexpensive gift, but Cousin Betty can't offer only her favourite guests lobster and champagne.

I wonder why that is ... it's not because the gifting isn't "public" because it functions the same way at Showers where the gifts are often opened publicly.

Personally I match my gift to the venue for people I don't know well - I suppose it's a modified "cover your plate" and I do "above" that for people I am close to. I'd never drop below reciprocating what I felt the level of hosting was- if I really wasn't close enough to them or didn't like them enough for that I wouldn't simply send my regrets. I guess being from a town with relatively limited options for weddings it's fairly easy to guess- a wedding at the local "hall" always features x/y/z and cost around $20pp, so I'd probably gift around $75 for the two of us to go to a co-worker/random relatives wedding. A wedding at BigFancy hotel features menus that start at a minumum of $30-50pp so I'd probably be more likely to gift $100-125. It's not written in stone, but it's just how it's *done* around here. It's like, I'd probably just bring some fruit or a bag of chips if my friend invites me to a "hey I have a ton of hot dogs and some leftover salad" BBQ, but I would bring a hostess gift of some nice wine if she hosted a formal dinner party. Nothing says you have to do either, but it's kind of the unwritten rule where I am.

Regarding the bolded, are you talking about the wedding gifts? I've never been to a wedding where the bride and groom opened them in front of everyone.

Also, the two scenarios--the hosts treating one set of guests differently and the guests determining what they give to people are two totally different things. If a couple hosts a party, they should be treating everyone the same. All their guests are at the party. It's rude to treat one set of guests differently because you are essentially telling one group, "You're important to be here, but not important enough to get 'the good stuff'."

Gifts are an entirely different matter. Gifts are not required. Furthermore, they are between the hosts and the gift giver. They occur on different occasions. It's not like the other couples know what I'm getting or have given everyone else.

Shoo

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #96 on: July 07, 2013, 08:50:23 PM »
For me, social reciprocation doesn't involve calculating possible financial expenditures of someone else.  It just doesn't.

Luckily, in my area, the general population doesn't adhere to this "rule".  It doesn't matter to me what rule people silently use to determine their gift giving but I would draw the line at any HC or guest who would try to shame me into using their personal rule.

Thank you. I don't are what rule anyone else uses to determine their git giving either. But it is mighty insulting when people insist, repeatedly, and condescendingly that the rule some people personally - and silently - use is "cover your plate", its horrible and rude, and just an all-around bad way to think. Everyone should give along the lines they feel comfortable giving. But its highly stand-offish for people to act like "cover your plate" is some terrible mindset for a gift giver to have, when truly when applied properly its a very loving and generous and thoughtful way - not the only loving, generous or thoughtful way, but validly one such - to give.

I can see this -- it makes sense.  The problem is when the recipients come to expect it.  A bigger problem is when the recipients, who have come to expect it, actually make it known that it's what they expect.  That's totally crass.  Having it in your own mind that it's what you, personally, like to do is absolutely fine, and, like you said, kind of a nice way of looking at things. 

POF

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #97 on: July 07, 2013, 09:52:07 PM »
For me, social reciprocation doesn't involve calculating possible financial expenditures of someone else.  It just doesn't.

Luckily, in my area, the general population doesn't adhere to this "rule".  It doesn't matter to me what rule people silently use to determine their gift giving but I would draw the line at any HC or guest who would try to shame me into using their personal rule.

Thank you. I don't are what rule anyone else uses to determine their git giving either. But it is mighty insulting when people insist, repeatedly, and condescendingly that the rule some people personally - and silently - use is "cover your plate", its horrible and rude, and just an all-around bad way to think. Everyone should give along the lines they feel comfortable giving. But its highly stand-offish for people to act like "cover your plate" is some terrible mindset for a gift giver to have, when truly when applied properly its a very loving and generous and thoughtful way - not the only loving, generous or thoughtful way, but validly one such - to give.

I can see this -- it makes sense.  The problem is when the recipients come to expect it.  A bigger problem is when the recipients, who have come to expect it, actually make it known that it's what they expect.  That's totally crass.  Having it in your own mind that it's what you, personally, like to do is absolutely fine, and, like you said, kind of a nice way of looking at things.


Shoo, I think you summed it up very nicely, the methodology used to determine the amount to gift is the prerogative of the giver, NOT the recipient. I gift based on my budget and how close I am to the couple.  There have been times when I could not afford to give a large $$ gift to a close friend, but I went to the wedding and I gave what I could.  A friend will understand that.  Likewise - I would be horrified if a friend put themselves in a financial bind or did not attend my wedding because they could not afford a gift.




Hmmmmm

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #98 on: July 07, 2013, 10:20:33 PM »
For me, social reciprocation doesn't involve calculating possible financial expenditures of someone else.  It just doesn't.

Luckily, in my area, the general population doesn't adhere to this "rule".  It doesn't matter to me what rule people silently use to determine their gift giving but I would draw the line at any HC or guest who would try to shame me into using their personal rule.

Thank you. I don't are what rule anyone else uses to determine their git giving either. But it is mighty insulting when people insist, repeatedly, and condescendingly that the rule some people personally - and silently - use is "cover your plate", its horrible and rude, and just an all-around bad way to think. Everyone should give along the lines they feel comfortable giving. But its highly stand-offish for people to act like "cover your plate" is some terrible mindset for a gift giver to have, when truly when applied properly its a very loving and generous and thoughtful way - not the only loving, generous or thoughtful way, but validly one such - to give.

I can see this -- it makes sense.  The problem is when the recipients come to expect it.  A bigger problem is when the recipients, who have come to expect it, actually make it known that it's what they expect.  That's totally crass.  Having it in your own mind that it's what you, personally, like to do is absolutely fine, and, like you said, kind of a nice way of looking at things.

I have no issue with givers using this method for deciding what to give. But the unfortunate result is after 3 generations in a region or social group decide it is a standard, then the recipients begin to expect it as standard. We've had stories on this sight about patents wanting to beef up the kids gifts so that other family members won't gossip about the lower dollar amount. I don't see how you get away from this effect as along as the majority of a community all subscribe to this standard.


MommyPenguin

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #99 on: July 08, 2013, 10:29:23 AM »
Others use closeness to the couple as a guide, or maybe some people give every couple whose wedding they ever attend a flat rate of $100 regardless of their relationship. Which of those is more fair? Is it fair to rank your friends and relations in a list from closest to furthest and have a chart with a monetary value based on their ranking? What if you like the bride, but not the groom - does the couple as a pair slip down the rankings in that case, and attract a lesser gift? What about the second system there. Do you give $100 from now until 2050, or index with inflation?

There's some level of ridiculousness in every system for deciding how much to spend on a gift for a wedding. I'm not sure why this particular system for guests to use when deciding on a value of a gift garners quite so much bile, as compared to the others. As hosts we need to understand that everyone has very different systems and amounts they can afford, and be grateful for any gift received, which they should be doing, regardless of how their guests decide how much to give.

I don't think there's a ranking system quite in the way you're saying, where if you "like the bride but not the groom" they slip in the rankings.  It's more that you're more likely to give a larger gift to somebody you really love, and a smaller gift to somebody who is a passing acquaintance.  So it might be quite normal for the parents to give their daughter a gift of $1000, but a sister to give her brother $200, and a man to give his best friend $100, and a woman to give her coworker $20.  I mean, surely most people don't give exactly the same value of Christmas presents to all people they know, regardless of how close they are.  They usually spend more on their immediate family, a bit less on friends, and there are probably plenty of acquaintances that they don't exchange gifts with at all.  This is just how relationships work, where you often exchange within closer relationships at a higher rate.  I'd be astounded and a bit uncomfortable if, say, a coworker gave me a $500 gift.  Of course, my wedding was closer to $50 a head, I think.

Rohanna

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #100 on: July 08, 2013, 01:00:50 PM »
I would never give any couple a lower gift than I would feel comfortable giving a family member- whether I gave someone above that amount because I could afford to. I think it would be tacky to feel that "well I'll take a free meal and some entertainment off of you, but I don't really like you enough to give you a decent gift". If I don't like you enough to be generous within my budget, then I shouldn't take advantage of your hosting.

So if my personal "minimum" for a comfortable local wedding gift in this region is around $75 then everyone gets that - and of you're someone very close to me if give more than that if I could- but I would never say "eh I don't really know/like Betty from HR very much - so I'll let her host me but I'm. Only giving her a cheap gift . I'd give her the same as I give everyone- the cost for the person to host me doesn't vary with how much they like *me* so why should my gift reflect that?
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

SuperMartianRobotGirl

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #101 on: July 08, 2013, 01:18:20 PM »
I don't spend the same amount on everyone. How much I spend has nothing to do with how much they spend hosting me. If my brother gets married and has a small wedding, he will get a bigger present than someone I hardly know who has a huge wedding. Although I can't imagine why someone who hardly knows me would invite me anyway.

The present should IMO not be tied to the cost of the event at all in any way. They are two different issues and should be two different issues. It is not payment for going to the event and shouldn't be treated that way.

magicdomino

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #102 on: July 08, 2013, 01:36:48 PM »
I don't spend the same amount on everyone. How much I spend has nothing to do with how much they spend hosting me. If my brother gets married and has a small wedding, he will get a bigger present than someone I hardly know who has a huge wedding. Although I can't imagine why someone who hardly knows me would invite me anyway.

The present should IMO not be tied to the cost of the event at all in any way. They are two different issues and should be two different issues. It is not payment for going to the event and shouldn't be treated that way.

This is my position as well.  My nieces and nephews got about $100 worth of gift (assuming I knew about the wedding), anyone else gets about $50.  Quite frankly, I can't afford any more than that.  If I had to pay over $100 for all receptions, I wouldn't be going to any.

Vall

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #103 on: July 08, 2013, 01:39:39 PM »
I would never give any couple a lower gift than I would feel comfortable giving a family member- whether I gave someone above that amount because I could afford to. I think it would be tacky to feel that "well I'll take a free meal and some entertainment off of you, but I don't really like you enough to give you a decent gift". If I don't like you enough to be generous within my budget, then I shouldn't take advantage of your hosting.

So if my personal "minimum" for a comfortable local wedding gift in this region is around $75 then everyone gets that - and of you're someone very close to me if give more than that if I could- but I would never say "eh I don't really know/like Betty from HR very much - so I'll let her host me but I'm. Only giving her a cheap gift . I'd give her the same as I give everyone- the cost for the person to host me doesn't vary with how much they like *me* so why should my gift reflect that?
There have been many posters who have stated that their gift giving does not reflect the possible hosting costs but as far as I can remember, no one has stated this as their feelings on the subject.

Besides that, I think that the description of a "decent" gift would vary greatly.  I really don't see us all having the same idea of what constitutes a "decent" wedding gift for all people.

Ginger G

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Re: Your gift was only $100
« Reply #104 on: July 08, 2013, 02:20:49 PM »
Quote
I give gifts based on what I afford and how close I am to the couple.  I pay zero attention to the type of reception the couple is hosting when buying gifts  - backyard BBQ or fancy country club, open bar or dry, sit down steak dinner or home-made buffet.  Close family and very close friends will get a bigger gift than I normally give.

This is exactly my take on gift giving as well.

I had never heard of the "cover your plate" mentality until about 4 years ago and I've been to lots of weddings.  I guess it's just not a "thing" in my area (southeastern US).  My boyfriend's nephew was getting married on Long Island and he wanted me to go even though we had only been together about 6 months (but we knew we were in it for the long haul at that point!).  It cost us quite a bit in travel expenses since we wanted to spend a few days visiting his family.  I think between the two of us we were able to eek out about $150 in cash for their gift.  I was even a little shocked by that since I had never given cash before but the BF insisted. 

Well, time went by and I asked my BF if he had received a thank you note.  He told me he had not, and in fact had been admonished by his sister (groom's mother) that our gift did not come close to covering our plates at the very expensive country club wedding.  I was truly stunned by this and quite frankly, pissed off.  It took more money than we even had for travel, hotel, food and other associated costs.  I wish I hadn't even gone even though the trip had been otherwise quite enjoyable.  He then went on to tell me a story about how when he was living with his sister's family for a few months many years ago, she got mad at him because he didn't give her kids Valentine's Day gifts, so I guess that tells you something about that family's mindset about gifts...