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  • June 30, 2016, 07:48:10 PM

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Author Topic: Birthday Party Invitation Says 'Best Wishes Only' But...  (Read 754 times)

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Outdoor Girl

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A good friend of mine's husband sent out an invitation by email to her 40th birthday party this morning, being held in a restaurant at dinner hour with munchies being served.  Knowing the venue, it will be heavy appetizers that will border on being enough for a meal.  Drinks are buy your own.  The invite states, 'Best Wishes Only'.

However, this afternoon, friend's sister sent out an email, saying that her sister likes to travel but doesn't get to do enough of it so she will collect donations towards a travel gift certificate and will have a card there on the night for everyone to sign.  She made a suggest of $20.  It came across a little tacky to me.   :P  $20 is probably pretty close to what this party is costing per head, knowing the venue.

I was going to get friend something and give it to her at another time.  But now I feel like I should contribute to this and told sister I would.

So my question is:  how much do I kick in?  Does it matter if I'm going to make it to the party or not?  And does it matter if I bring my (live-in) BF with me to the party, if I do make it?
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TootsNYC

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Re: Birthday Party Invitation Says 'Best Wishes Only' But...
« Reply #1 on: Yesterday at 01:26:26 PM »
This gift (esp. since it seems to be organized by someone who is not paying for the restaurant dinner) has absolutely no connection to the dinner. None. Not in amount, and not in terms of whether you want to participate in it.

A group gift like this is sometimes a nice thing because it can take inexpensive generosities and turn them into something with more impact. (It can be especially nice when the birthday person pretty much has what they need and most of what they -really- want, and gift ideas are scarce or hard to believe in, in term of the clutter factor.) So consider that this sister is offering you an opportunity to be part of that. But you're not obligated.

Give whatever amount makes you feel that you're being generous without being a chump. So whatever that is.....it'll be different for everyone.


The one thing that "cover your plate" does as a philosophy is that it gives you a starting point, and a frame of reference. You know that your friendship is worth at least $20 to these people, because that's what they're willing to pay to have you be there to celebrate with them. Some people in your position like having that as a gauge, and then they decide to send a matching message by matching the amount. It just makes the deciding easier, and they feel they don't have to worry about being seen as undervaluing their friends.

Other people feel comfortable with not placing some reciprocal dollar amount on things, and they give more or less, based on their inclination/budget/whatever. =

LazyDaisy

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Re: Birthday Party Invitation Says 'Best Wishes Only' But...
« Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 01:27:52 PM »
You already told her sister you would contribute. Go ahead and do the suggested $20. If your BF was already planning to give your friend a gift, he could also contribute or do his own thing -- but if he wouldn't normally give a gift, then this doesn't change anything IMO.

However, if you hadn't already committed to contributing, I think you should have done exactly what you planned to do all along for a separate gift at a later time. I have no idea what a "travel gift certificate" would be and wouldn't want to contribute cash to something so vague.

Attending/not attending the party doesn't alter the separate issue of a gift for a friend on their birthday as I see it.
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Birthday Party Invitation Says 'Best Wishes Only' But...
« Reply #3 on: Yesterday at 01:36:39 PM »
She named a particular travel service so it isn't vague; I just didn't think it was relevant.   :)

And the plot thickens...

Friend's husband just sent out an email that says, 'What a kind and generous thought, sister!  But we did plan the party to be best wishes only so please don't feel obligated to contribute.'  So I think friend is going to be upset with her sister...

Further complication if we don't go is getting the money to sister.  We are looking at a potential postal strike starting Saturday and Friday is a holiday.  So even if I got something in the mail tomorrow, she might not get it before the party.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
Ontario

maksi

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Re: Birthday Party Invitation Says 'Best Wishes Only' But...
« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 01:52:56 PM »
Yeah, sounds like the gift is completely separate from the hosts, so it's basically just a suggestion and has nothing to do with the cost of the party and is in no way contradictory to the original invite (unless the sister is hosting the party with the husband, in which case I'd be side-eyeing a bit).

My circle of friends does this a lot. Someone organizes it and either we agree on a sum to contribute (anything from 5 to 20 euro depending on the occasion) or everyone gives what they prefer - as I said, it's considered just a suggestion. Then we give a check or a gift certificate and often disclose in the card what we collected the money for, although it's of course up to the receiver whether they'll follow our advice or not. "For traveling" or "pampering yourself" or... No one has to participate, it's more than okay to either ignore the message or just reply that you had something else in mind. As always with gifts it's definitely not mandatory or expected in any way.

ETA: With the update it seems even more clear. The husband is underlining that it's really not expected of you. I don't think it's a reason for the friend to be upset, though. If you still want to contribute, you can ask the sister if she's okay with getting the money at the party because of the strike.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Birthday Party Invitation Says 'Best Wishes Only' But...
« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 02:08:22 PM »
With the husband's follow up email, I would not contribute to this group gift. If you're not going anyway, then I'd go with your previous plan of gifting her something at a different time.

ladyknight1

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Re: Birthday Party Invitation Says 'Best Wishes Only' But...
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 03:57:39 PM »
Well, that's awkward!
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mime

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Re: Birthday Party Invitation Says 'Best Wishes Only' But...
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 05:47:17 PM »
Well, that's awkward!

yeah, that is awkward! And now that Sis got that ball rolling, there's not really a graceful exit for anyone.

I think I'd treat the group gift as a completely separate thing from the night out. If it was a good friend, I'd probably contribute $20-ish and assume that this is a one-time thing for a milestone birthday. If BF is only a friend-by-association, I'd say he doesn't need to contribute.

TootsNYC

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Re: Birthday Party Invitation Says 'Best Wishes Only' But...
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 06:11:19 PM »

Further complication if we don't go is getting the money to sister.  We are looking at a potential postal strike starting Saturday and Friday is a holiday.  So even if I got something in the mail tomorrow, she might not get it before the party.

If I were the sister, I'd be happy to count on your promise, and a check in the mail. Especially if your contribution was about $20.

But if you've got some investment in the gift you want to give, totally give this one a pass.

Winterlight

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Re: Birthday Party Invitation Says 'Best Wishes Only' But...
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 10:26:47 PM »
With the husband's follow up email, I would not contribute to this group gift. If you're not going anyway, then I'd go with your previous plan of gifting her something at a different time.

This. Apparently word got back to the couple and they don't want the money, so giving it to them anyway seems like a bad idea.
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kudeebee

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Re: Birthday Party Invitation Says 'Best Wishes Only' But...
« Reply #10 on: Today at 03:20:37 AM »
Sounds like sister didn't talk with her bil before she decided to do the gift.  I personally think she was wrong to go against their wishes by coordinating the gift.

Given the update and the fact that you aren't going to the party, I wouldn't worry about sending the money and would go ahead with the gift that you have planned.