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.
This was my point exactly!
I really don't care how any person chooses to give gifts. I think going by closeness of relationship
, by how much you can afford (as this couple did) or by 'cover your plate', when done properly, are all fine.
If someone doesn't like the idea of 'cover your plate' because it requires thinking about the cost of the wedding, which they find tacky for guests to do at all, then by all means don't!
However, it was all of the attaching motives and social problems (like classism) to the idea that really bothered me because that's assuming a lot about people who think this way.
Even saying that it's a problem when the HC comes to expect it is just as true for any form of gift giving. The bride actually violated 2 in the OP, 1-cover your plate, 2-what you can afford (she assumed the guest couple could afford more). It would also be rude for a bride to be angry if her sister's gift was not as lavish as a 2nd cousin's because she expected bigger gifts from people closer to her.
That's why I'm saying, it's fine if you don't like the idea, don't want to use it to pick your gifts, and wouldn't want people giving you gifts ever thinking that way...but I don't think this way of thinking is any worse than any other form of gift giving.