Author Topic: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?  (Read 5655 times)

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TurtleDove

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2014, 03:29:13 PM »
They might perceive my lack of a gift as being rude when in fact that is not the case. Personally, I think it's rude of them to expect a gift. I've never really come across this problem before so I don't know what to do. Any suggestions?

Do you value the relationship with the people getting married?  If not, do nothing. 

Well, do RSVP to tell them you won't be attending.

Ah, agreed.  I guess I meant more it is better to just say, "No, I cannot make it" than "I don't support your marriage."  Whether the OP cares about the relationship or not!

kherbert05

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2014, 03:38:42 PM »
It is an invitation not a summons or invoice. You aren't obligated to do anything but RSVP that you aren't going to attend.
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nyarlathotep

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2014, 05:30:42 PM »
RSVP no, but send a nice letter wishing them happiness (I'd vote for no on the marital advice, though).

It is never rude to refuse to attend a ceremony you do not agree with - whatever the ceremony - as long as you do so graciously. Depending on how close you are with the people involved, you may not want to disclose the reasons, though. Some people read "I do not personally believe in X" as "I judge you for doing X", even though this isn't always the case, so you'll want to tread carefully.

gellchom

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2014, 06:59:11 PM »
You don't have to buy a gift, although, as Toots points out, you need to evaluate what sort of message, if any, that will send in your family's context.

Do write a short note wishing them happiness.  It doesn't have to be on a purchased greeting card.  In fact, if they enclosed a response card with enough room for a few lines, you can write it right on that. 

Do not give them any marital advice, and don't tell them what you do and don't believe in or approve of or how you feel about weddings, marriage, or gifts.  Any of those things would be rude in this situation: no one is taking a referendum.  They are just inviting you to share a very important event in their lives (that they DO believe in) and offering you hospitality.  It would be just as inappropriate to tell them how you feel about weddings and so forth in your response as it would be to send a diatribe against religion in response to an invitation to a bar mitzvah or christening.

I, too, am taken aback at your calling them rude for expecting a gift and for that matter assuming they expect anything other than a response to the invitation.  Unless there is something you haven't told us, and you are saying that just based on your having received an invitation, this looks like projection that indicates some pretty strong negative feelings on your part about these people.

Just decline the invitation politely and with a few nice words of congratulations and good wishes. 

sammycat

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2014, 07:36:39 PM »
I, too, am taken aback at your calling them rude for expecting a gift and for that matter assuming they expect anything other than a response to the invitation.  Unless there is something you haven't told us, and you are saying that just based on your having received an invitation, this looks like projection that indicates some pretty strong negative feelings on your part about these people.

Just decline the invitation politely and with a few nice words of congratulations and good wishes.

POD. 

Unless there's a lot of background we're unaware of, I fail to see how receiving an invitation is anything other than what it appears on the surface  - ie. please come and share our happy day with us.

kareng57

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2014, 10:23:59 PM »
I agree with PPs.  Your cousin is not in the wrong for sending you an invitation to which you can politely decline.  You are the one in the wrong for assuming that it is a gift-solicitation.

Naturally this is all up to you but I think you have to think of the long term, here.  It's one thing to decline an invitation for a cousin you haven't seen in a long time.  It's another thing if it's a sibling, a good friend etc.  Your stance could lead to many hurt feelings and disappointment.

JenJay

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2014, 10:48:44 PM »
I'd like to stand up for the OP a little bit. I don't think she meant to call her cousin out as being rude, I think she's under the mistaken impression that marrying couples always expect to receive gifts from everyone they invite to their wedding and that is what she's calling rude. A lot of people have already covered the fact that OP was mistaken about having to send a gift just because she was invited so hopefully she feels better about that now. Honestly, if that was a real rule (we invited you so you have to send a gift!) I would agree that it would be rude to invite anyone you had a good idea wouldn't come. But yeah, that's not actually a thing, so...

OP, I think it's pretty common for people to invite distant relatives for a wedding because it's hard to know who will want to come. I once received an invite from relatives so distant I didn't recognize their names! I just RSVP'd no and didn't give it another thought (And no, I didn't send a card, because I actually thought they might have mailed it to me by mistake and we were strangers. I found out several months later that it was a very distant cousin in another state.). They may have been worried you'd be hurt if they didn't invite you. DH and I eloped but I had that issue with a baby shower. Invite the ones you know won't come and risk offending them because it looks like a gift grab, or don't invite them and risk offending them because they feel excluded.  :-\

How do you usually acknowledge your friends' happy life events? Even though you are against marriage can you look at this as two people doing something that makes them happy and being excited to share the good news with their friends and families? If you'd normally send a letter or card, do that. It doesn't have to be a wedding card. If you're vehemently opposed, to the point that you don't want to acknowledge their marriage at all, just decline the invite.

purple

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2014, 01:51:00 AM »
Is the only reason you're not going to the wedding because of your personal beliefs? Or are you actually unavailable or unable to go for other reasons?

If the former, then I would advise you to have a good think about whether this is a relationship that you want to rekindle or not.

If you are happy with the distance in this relationship, then just politely decline - send a gift or a card or not - it doesn't really matter.

If this is a relationship that you would like to rekindle then I think you should consider going to the wedding (and buying a gift).  Think of it (as others have said above) as being there to support this person you care about at a major life event.

I've sat through looooooooooong *religion* masses for baby baptisms and weddings for people I care about and the whole shebang is completely meaningless to me, but the people up the front are people I care about, so I put on a nice dress and a nice smile - it didn't kill me! :)

I agree with the other posters who also said that's it's probably a good time to start thinking about how you will handle such situations in the future.

peaches

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2014, 07:24:46 AM »
We've established that OP doesn't need to send a gift since she's decided not to attend the wedding.

OP does need to respond to the invitation. Otherwise the couple won't know whether to expect her or not. That could be as simple as filling out a response card included in the invitation and mailing it.

It's a nice gesture to send a card or handwritten note wishing the couple well. I would do that if you want to maintain a cordial relationship.
 




Sharnita

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2014, 08:34:53 AM »
OP, how old are you? You mention that you've never come across this before but weddings are pretty much a fundamental part of life in every culture.  If you don't believe in them and intend to decline invites this might be the first time you deal with this but it isn't going to be the last.

I think a gift was probably the last thing on their mind when they invited you. Knowing the family would be there, remembering the good times of the past - those were probably the motivating factors.

Harriet Jones

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2014, 10:21:19 AM »
From the OP, this "much younger" cousin sounds like she's in her early 20s, so the OP is (at a minimum) mid-20s,  probably older.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 10:25:33 AM by Harriet Jones »

cicero

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #26 on: March 16, 2014, 03:57:30 AM »
i agree that the "belief system" is not the issue here. I don't see why you would be expected to send a gift to someone you barely know, for a wedding you won't be attending. ASAIK - a grandparent, or aunt/uncle (older and more financially established) might do that, but I wouldn't expect a gift from a young cousin i barely know (I'm assuming you are young).

you don't have to "believe in marriage" - but you can polite and respectful. geting married is a normative thing in most cultures; it's not like they are doing something illegal or immoral or harmful. I might not believe in the "religious belief system" that most of my family members believe in - but i respect them and so i wouldn't do anything to hurt their feelings (e.g., they don't use electricity on the sabbath so if i'm at their house i won't use electricity, etc). So in your case i would think of a way to be happy for them, without going against your beliefs.like a card or letter wishing them happiness

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nyarlathotep

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2014, 04:06:00 AM »
I'd like to stand up for the OP a little bit. I don't think she meant to call her cousin out as being rude, I think she's under the mistaken impression that marrying couples always expect to receive gifts from everyone they invite to their wedding and that is what she's calling rude. A lot of people have already covered the fact that OP was mistaken about having to send a gift just because she was invited so hopefully she feels better about that now. Honestly, if that was a real rule (we invited you so you have to send a gift!) I would agree that it would be rude to invite anyone you had a good idea wouldn't come. But yeah, that's not actually a thing, so...

POD. I read it as "It's rude to expect gifts" rather than "this couple is being rude".

I'm also not sure how constructive it is to encourage someone to go against their own beliefs in this situation. Declining an invitation isn't inherently rude, so why does it suddenly become a problem if the reason is religion/politics?

jmarvellous

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2014, 10:25:56 AM »
Going back to the OP, "I don't believe in weddings" sounds different from "I don't believe in marriages." So I think the best/safest/politest route is a congratulatory note. It can be polite without mentioning the ceremony.

Just buy a blank note card and write a message about wishing them the best, now and always. And let them know that you, unfortunately, will not be able to attend their event.

If you don't even want to make the effort to buy a card, and there's an RSVP card in the invitation, just write an extra line of regrets on the card, along with checking the appropriate box.

I am really curious about believing in weddings, as they are clearly a thing that happens, so I'm not sure how you could not believe in them any more than you could not believe in graduations or pigs. But I suppose that's neither here nor there. I do think that a wedding invitation response is not the place to expound on these beliefs. So polite avoidance of the issue is best.

gramma dishes

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2014, 10:59:42 AM »
Going back to the OP, "I don't believe in weddings" sounds different from "I don't believe in marriages." So I think the best/safest/politest route is a congratulatory note. It can be polite without mentioning the ceremony.

Just buy a blank note card and write a message about wishing them the best, now and always. And let them know that you, unfortunately, will not be able to attend their event.

If you don't even want to make the effort to buy a card, and there's an RSVP card in the invitation, just write an extra line of regrets on the card, along with checking the appropriate box.

I am really curious about believing in weddings, as they are clearly a thing that happens, so I'm not sure how you could not believe in them any more than you could not believe in graduations or pigs. But I suppose that's neither here nor there. I do think that a wedding invitation response is not the place to expound on these beliefs. So polite avoidance of the issue is best.

Ditto!  All of it, but especially the bolded part.