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  • April 27, 2015, 04:46:10 PM

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Author Topic: Purchased gift - culturally unacceptable?  (Read 786 times)

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turtleIScream

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Purchased gift - culturally unacceptable?
« on: March 30, 2015, 08:09:00 PM »
Last spring, my cousin announced his engagement. I have met his fiancée once, and am friends with them both on Facebook, so I am aware of their tastes and interests, although we are not super close. Shortly after their announcement, I stumbled on a very very nice crystal bar set at an incredible deal and purchased it for them in anticipation of the wedding. We received the wedding invitation today, and being unfamiliar with the traditions of the church in which they are being married, I looked up information concerning dress codes, rituals, etc. My research led me to discover that in her culture, physical gifts are frowned upon and cash gifts of a certain dollar amount are expected.

I know from knowing the couple that the gift I've purchased is very much something they would like to have. I also know that we cannot easily afford the customary cash gift. Yet, it seems wrong to knowingly go counter to her cultural norms. Am I right that I need to view the already purchased gift as a sunk cost, and go with the cash?
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greencat

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Re: Purchased gift - culturally unacceptable?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2015, 08:11:12 PM »
Last spring, my cousin announced his engagement. I have met his fiancée once, and am friends with them both on Facebook, so I am aware of their tastes and interests, although we are not super close. Shortly after their announcement, I stumbled on a very very nice crystal bar set at an incredible deal and purchased it for them in anticipation of the wedding. We received the wedding invitation today, and being unfamiliar with the traditions of the church in which they are being married, I looked up information concerning dress codes, rituals, etc. My research led me to discover that in her culture, physical gifts are frowned upon and cash gifts of a certain dollar amount are expected.

I know from knowing the couple that the gift I've purchased is very much something they would like to have. I also know that we cannot easily afford the customary cash gift. Yet, it seems wrong to knowingly go counter to her cultural norms. Am I right that I need to view the already purchased gift as a sunk cost, and go with the cash?

You're part of the groom's family, and as such, you are following the cultural norms in his family.  Give them the (very nice) present you bought them already.

TootsNYC

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Re: Purchased gift - culturally unacceptable?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2015, 08:14:56 PM »
Also, don't assume that the bride fully ascribes to her culture's expectations. She's lived in this country a while, and is marrying a man whose culture doesn't have that expectation. She might be very glad to receive it.

Also, this: When people get a lot of cash gifts, and when they get a lot of pre-selected gifts from their registry, they get very few serendipitous gifts that have meaning because of who picked them out, or how lucky/skilled the gift giver was.

You're giving them an opportunity to have that experience. If your gamble pays off, it will have value beyond any cash.

Danika

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Re: Purchased gift - culturally unacceptable?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2015, 09:36:39 PM »
I agree with the PPs. They might still prefer your gift. In your situation, I would either just give them the gift you purchased (because I understand a tight budget) or I would send them a message, or at least to my cousin and tell them the situation, without divulging the details of what the gift is, and ask for their preference.

rose red

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Re: Purchased gift - culturally unacceptable?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2015, 09:44:45 PM »
You're part of the groom's family, and as such, you are following the cultural norms in his family.  Give them the (very nice) present you bought them already.

This. I notice many people are so worried about not offending other cultures that they forget they have their own culture/tradition/beliefs too.

FYI: Cash is also the norm in my culture, but I wouldn't dream of being unhappy or insulted with physical gifts. A nice gesture is a nice gesture and should be accepted gracefully. And I would not expect others to know my customs.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2015, 09:46:34 PM by rose red »

camlan

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Re: Purchased gift - culturally unacceptable?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2015, 09:45:29 PM »
As far as I know, when two people from different cultures marry, there is no rule that the wedding gifts, or any other part of the wedding ceremony and surrounding rituals, should follow the bride's culture.

I think you are fine giving them a gift instead of money. That's what your culture and the groom's culture does.

Just as the couple may choose to incorporate elements of both cultures in their wedding ceremony, so may the gift givers choose one culture or the other.

One of my sisters-in-law is from a culture where most wedding presents take the form of gold coins that are pinned onto a sash that the bride wears after the wedding ceremony. I gave them a set of crystal candlesticks instead. My SIL loves them and uses them often. Giving a gift instead of money does not seem to have affected our relationship in the slightest.
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