Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Poll: Do You Think Wedding Gifts Should Be Eliminated?

Wedding giftsYou may not be aware, but there’s a new movement underway to do away with wedding gifts. As Matthew Yglesias from Slate wrote today: “Traditional wedding gifts no longer make sense in a contemporary context. Our gifting is based on the outdated (and, needless to say, sexist) assumptions of near-universal marriage, a very young age at first marriage, and extremely low expectations of male housekeeping skills.” He goes on to argue that wedding gifts are inherently unfair: “In a society where a large and growing share of the population never marries, the custom is both unfair and inefficient. Married people already live longer and earn more than single people; we don’t also need to benefit from wealth redistribution.” Finally, he says: “Leave the newlyweds to fend for themselves. Your presence at their celebration should be its own reward. Or if they don’t like you unless you come with a gift attached, they can just not invite you and turn the food and beverage savings into buying themselves a beautiful crockpot.”

As someone who appreciated the gifts she received at her wedding, I am torn on the tradition of giving wedding gifts. On one hand, they are a great way to help offset the expense of throwing a wedding (when cash gifts are given, that is) and can help a couple start married life with some nice household items they may not have purchased for themselves otherwise. But with friends and family so spread out these days and travel expenses so high to attend the out-of-town weddings of loved ones, it does sometimes feel like insult to injury to then be expected to tack on a pricey gift on top of that, especially when the couple has an established household together.

What do you think? Is it time to change the expectation of wedding gifts, if not eliminate them completely? Poll below!

[polldaddy poll=”7172086″]

287 comments… add one
  • avatar

    kerrycontrary June 12, 2013, 2:10 pm

    I get that wedding gifts don’t make as much practical sense anymore, but I agree with Wendy that it’s nice to give people stuff that they probably wouldn’t spend money on themselves (and I think those are the best sort of gifts for any occasion). So maybe people have an established household, but they they’re still using some hand me down and cheaper household items. I don’t know, this isn’t something I think about too deeply. Sometimes wedding gifts do stretch my budget, but I just know that in July I’ll have to use my “fun money” to buy Jack and Joanne a gift instead of buying myself a new pair of shoes. And I’m happy to do that for the people I care about.

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    • avatar

      mertlej June 12, 2013, 2:27 pm

      This was the case with my husband and I. We had been living together for 4+ years by the time we got married, but all of our kitchen stuff was old, mismatched, hand-me-downs that were kind of falling apart. and after hosting a wedding, we couldn’t afford to replace or upgrade any time soon. We would have NEVER expected gifts, especially from those traveling, but man they were welcome and we were grateful.

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  • Jess

    Jess June 12, 2013, 2:10 pm

    I have lots of thoughts but with my wedding only 10 days away, there’s a good chance that thinking about this kind of thing might push me into a nervous breakdown.

    *breathe*

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    • Jess

      Jess June 12, 2013, 2:35 pm

      Well I dove in anyway, didn’t I? #neverlearns

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    • MaterialsGirl

      MaterialsGirl June 12, 2013, 2:49 pm

      good luck, Jess!

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 3:10 pm

        On the wedding or joining today’s comments?

        As for the first, I am excited (and a wee bit stressed)!

        As for the second, I am already getting my hair up over reactions to my comment below so I may have to follow my original instinct and take off!

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:12 pm

    I picked “Giving a wedding gift isn’t the law. No one’s forcing you to give a $150 crockpot if you don’t want to.” because really, it’s not required. I was absolutely overwhelmed with the generosity of our guests. Baffled and surprised and humbled by it. Those who did not give a gift, I absolutely do not think less of them. (A card would have been nice though…) This writer is acting like there is an admission fee of a present when you go to a wedding of a crock pot, and that is SO NOT the case.

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    • avatar

      rachel June 12, 2013, 2:14 pm

      Yeah, I picked that option too. Also, how in the world would a crock pot ever cost $150? haha

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:16 pm

        Ours cost $140…

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:17 pm

        Oh wait that’s a toaster oven haha. Our crock pot was only $100. whew.

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      • avatar

        rachel June 12, 2013, 2:20 pm

        Is it huge? Or does it have fancy timer options or something? I’m just curious, because I think the 6 qt one I had in Colorado cost me $40-50.

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      • avatar

        rachel June 12, 2013, 2:21 pm

        Maybe it’s just a good brand and I’m a cheapo – also an option 😉

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:25 pm

        It’s a 4qt Cuisinart, so yes a high end brand

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      • avatar

        rachel June 12, 2013, 2:27 pm

        Oh, that’s nice! I like the shape of it.

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl June 12, 2013, 2:50 pm

        i signed up for a programmable one, too. THEY LOOK TITS

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 2:15 pm

      Here we go with that argument again 😉
      I feel like that are pretty damn close to required. Could you ever imagine going to a wedding and not giving a gift? Probably not…therefore, required. I definitely feel like they are admission fees.

      I wish gifts were just nice surprises, not ever with a feeling of requirement or reciprocation.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:19 pm

        There are about 20 people who came to our wedding with out gifts. So yeah, it happens. I wouldn’t do it but that’s because I LIKE giving gifts. I sometimes give gifts even when I’m not invited to the wedding (or say baby shower).

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 2:21 pm

        Wow, that’s a lot and very surprising. I bet they felt embarrassed. Do you think they did? (maybe they are using the 1 year after the wedding rule?)

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:28 pm

        I do not think they where embarrassed at all. About half of them where my husbands friends who a- probably don’t know better and b- traveled about 500 miles to attend. The other half was a mixed bag, some cousins, an uncle and his new fiancé who wouldn’t stop talking about being my aunt, parents of my BFF from first grade. It might be more than 20 know that I think about it. I doubt most of them will send gifts after (we received the bulk of our physical gifts before the wedding and mostly cash at the wedding).

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 2:20 pm

        I have gone to weddings without giving a gift and I feel guilty about it now BUT there were extenuating circumstances like traveling a great distance or being a member of the bridal party who’d already spent a ton on dress, shower, shower gift, favors, bachelorette, etc, etc, etc.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 2:22 pm

        Exactly, like even if you did not bring a gift, you would still feel guilty about it.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 2:22 pm

        And I’d hate for someone to feel guilty about not giving me a gift, or a “good enough” gift, etc.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle June 12, 2013, 2:21 pm

        It definitely happens. My boyfriend & I rushed to our friends’ wedding without a card in hand once. He was like, “ugh, I’ll give them something later.”

        “Later” turned into like, a year and a half after the wedding & the bride didn’t even know (or claimed not to know…) that we hadn’t given anything at the time.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ June 12, 2013, 4:01 pm

        I’ve stopped at Walgreen’s on the way to a wedding to buy a card. No joke. Gifts are like the LAST thing I think of.

        Also, I must be the only person on DW who has never had to drop ridiculous money on attending a wedding as a guest. The longest I’ve had to travel to a wedding was a 3.5-hour car ride from southwest Ohio to Wheeling, WV. I’ve been a bridesmaid only once and my dress cost like, maybe, $135? Shoes were a gift from the bride, and hair I think was maybe $50. (This was all the same wedding, by the way.)

        Maybe I’m blessed but every other wedding I’ve been to has been within about an hour of where I lived, and we bought our gifts last-minute for each.

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      • avatar

        WAPS June 12, 2013, 4:21 pm

        I’m seriously hoping that DW is giving me a skewed view of how people see weddings. I will write a list so that I can send thank you notes to the people who do choose to give gifts, but I wouldn’t compare that list to a list of people I invited, so I doubt I’d remember if someone didn’t give me a gift. I guess I choose to believe that the people who come are coming out of a genuine desire to party, and aren’t bitching about me behind my back. It seems like that is a vain hope though…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 4:22 pm

        Hmm, I guess that’s how people do tally gifts! Never thought of it before. They must compare their gift list to the invite list. Sheesh,.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 4:46 pm

        Interesting story relating to comparing lists. My SIL got married last May (us this May), during my bachelorette she happened to mention she thought it was a little odd the Person X didn’t give her a gift. Well they had sent me a gift, which I relayed to her, which she relayed to her mom. Then SIL and mom got all worried that they had missed writing down the gift and therefore not sent a thank you card- which is a real bitch move in our circle. So MIL awkwardly apologized to Person X for SIL not sending a thank you card (they assumed a gift was sent to SIL since we got a gift)- and to make this story short- the gift Person X had ordered was never shipped from the store, so then she felt terrible for seeming like she didn’t give a gift (while SIL was feeling terrible for not writing a thank you). So, yeah big misunderstanding.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones June 12, 2013, 9:24 pm

        My MIL notices EVERYTHING about Christmas gifts – who gave what, how much they spent, etc. And she REMEMBERS every little slight. One time my husband’s luggage got mixed up with some girl’s at the airport and some of our gifts were in that suitcase so we had nothing for our niece. We explained what happened and we were tracking down that luggage. We eventually got it straightened out (some young girl on an early AM flight took his bag that looked like hers on the shuttle- she was worse off because she had to bring my husband’s ugly man-clothes on a Mexican vacation – and imagine my husband’s surprise when he opened “his ” suitcase to find thong bikinis, halter tops and cute little skirts! ) Anyway, we sent the gift later,after we got home and got our stuff back, but somehow it never dawned on my in-laws that the musical box was from US (hello??) . Anyway, a YEAR later my MIL chastises my husband because we NEVER got our niece a gift…. Some people are real petty about that stuff…. I think people like that should get a hobby, but really that generation of women never worked outside the home so they had this intense preoccupation with things like who sent a gift to whom, etc. Now my MIL is in her 90’s and getting forgetful, so it is a different kind of problem… I only WISH my biggest worries were who neglected to gift whom….

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    • avatar

      EB June 12, 2013, 2:22 pm

      Umm but I feel like you kind of do think less of them though… wasn’t it you who was complaining a few weeks ago about receiving a bread basket for a gift and being upset about the lack of gifts or the quality of gifts you received compared to ones you had given in the past?

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:32 pm

        Yes, I did say I was confused/annoyed, but I don’t think less of them. In my defense, when I was complaining I was in uber-high stress mode a few weeks before the wedding. Now that it’s over- I don’t care who gave me what. It seemed stressful that week, but looking back it was silly pre-wedding overthinking everything.

        The only thing that frustrates me now is the people who did not even send or bring a simple card.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson June 12, 2013, 2:33 pm

        But isn’t their presence enough? I mean at a certain point it starts to sound nitpicky. They CAME to your wedding. They celebrated. You know that they’re sending you well wishes because they showed up!

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:37 pm

        I agree it’s a little nitpicky, but I’ve re-read the cards we did get a few times already so it’s a nice momento to have from each attendee. It’s not like I’m going to be pissed at my uncle for life or anything, it’s just more of a “huh, that’s kinda weird they didn’t bring a card!”

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 2:42 pm

        …and bought a new dress, and drove there/flew there, etc. Just getting to a wedding costs a lot. Plus all the pre-parties.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy June 12, 2013, 2:42 pm

        Yeah, I agree with IWanna. I had wedding guests who didn’t give a card, but I thought the fact that they took time off from work, shelled out hundreds of dollars to get on a plane, fly to NYC, and stay in a hotel for at least one night, enough show of support that I couldn’t have cared less about not getting some Hallmark expression.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:39 pm

        Also, when I was saying those comments, I was saying at the same time “this is ridiculous” and “I know this isn’t what is important”. Some times people vent about silly things that are **bothering** them but really aren’t an issue for more than 5 minutes. It was a silly vent, it wasn’t an actual issue or something that changed my opinion about a person.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 2:44 pm

        I agree, but it does disprove your statement. You did, even while acknowledging it was silly, judge people on their gifts. So it is somewhat required to give a decent gift if you don’t want to be judged. Don’t you agree a little?

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:54 pm

        No, I don’t agree. it was a momentary freak out that will forever be immortalized on DW. We all have silly freak outs. I don’t feel the same way now that I’ve taken a step back and calmed down from the pre-wedding stress. It was a vent when I was drowning in stress, not an opinion change on a person. It’s fine if you don’t see a difference, but I do.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed June 12, 2013, 2:56 pm

        But now you’ve said you’re frustrated by the fact that some people didn’t even give you guys a card, “The only thing that frustrates me now is the people who did not even send or bring a simple card.” That’s not a requirement either.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:58 pm

        I agree it’s not a requirement…but it a nice thing to do. I mean jeeze, shoot me because I’d like a card! I’m a freaking bridezilla for wanting a simple momento that costs 99 cents.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed June 12, 2013, 3:00 pm

        You’re the one saying that you shouldn’t expect anything, but here you are…expecting things.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson June 12, 2013, 3:05 pm

        I feel bad that you feel like we’re picking on you but I don’t think we’re trying too. We’re picking on the false idea that gifts are optional. Because they’re not really. Weddings have become all about getting gifts of living up to whatever expectations the latest etiquette book wants to tell you you HAVE to do or you’re a jerk. It’s almost becoming the new Valentine’s Day – a hallmark occasion, which is sad. Because it should be about celebrating love and having a blast with your family and friends on a really important day.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 3:03 pm

        I guess I was trying to say that, even if for a silly moment, you vented about someone who was giving you a gift for the wedding and because of that, I would think you would be more inclined to think that people will do that. You’re a nice person. You don’t seem bridezilla-ish or greedy or anything like that. But even you had to vent about gifts. So if even you did that, even for a second, you must be able to that it happens more often than not. That people will vent or judge or whatever people based upon their gifts. And that sucks.

        Ftr, I agree people vent about dumb shit all the time that they don’t really mean.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:05 pm

        Oh yes, SOME people judge a person based off of the gift they give. But I feel like I’m getting personally attacked here for having a one time vent (I guess technically they where two different vents), and I don’t think that is fair.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed June 12, 2013, 3:07 pm

        I’m sorry…I know I’m part of that pack, but I agree with LBH. You didn’t seem bridezilla and even you had those moments, but you keep/kept saying that you don’t expect these things, but you do. Even if you don’t want to admit it.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson June 12, 2013, 3:08 pm

        But venting is venting. You vented about a gift. Therefore at one point in time you judged someone for the gift they gave you. And that hurts my feelings. Because they might have thought they were being creative or thinking outside of the box or whatever. So you cannot say both “gifts are optional” and “I got a shitty gift” without sounding hypocritical.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle June 12, 2013, 3:09 pm

        I don’t think it’s fair either, especially because—if I recall—it was on a deleted thread.

        Also, it’s completely possible (and common, and HUMAN) to hold two opposite thoughts in your head without being a “hypocrite”.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:11 pm

        Yes, It was a deleted thread. It was in a DW “safe place” and people are being assholes about it.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 3:14 pm

        I’m really sorry you felt totally attacked. That honestly wasn’t my intention. I know how crappy it feels to feel attacked on here.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 3:26 pm

        And if it makes you feel better, everyone on today’s other letter thinks I’m a crazy gold digger. haha 🙂

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 3:26 pm

        I agree that you are being RIDICULOUSLY attacked. I don’t like it and I don’t like the way I am being responded to on my comment either. I’m 2 minutes away from taking my toys and going home. Bad DW day.

        Unfortunately, here is the deal. On the subject of weddings, people get SO emotional and frustrated that they use the opportunity to spew all their anger on anyone who they perceive to be on the other side of their point of view. By approaching it that way, they cannot see any point you are making.

        It’s nice to give a card. You feel sad if you don’t get one. That’s HUMAN. Dear lord.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:29 pm

        It is such a me v you thing, weddings that is. Infuriating. Also interesting no one seems to notice my nice comment on your post about off registry gifts of how much I love a re-gifted item. Interesting.

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 3:59 pm

        @GG Agreed.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson June 12, 2013, 3:12 pm

        Ha I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of hypocritical. Holding out some higher notion of how things should be done – but thinking they don’t apply to you – isn’t that a hypocrite?

        I wish this was more about the idea in general instead of about GG because I think it’s more about the notion at large and I really don’t want her to feel picked on, I think she’s just made herself out to be somewhat of a wedding guru so maybe everyone feels more comfortable getting into wedding debates with her? Idk.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:21 pm

        It is a notion at large, and it is a crappy one. I fully agree it’s becoming a “hallmark” holiday and materialized, etc etc.

        It’s just beyond frustrating for me, someone who tries so hard to be grateful of anything and everything given to me and is pretty aware of how fortunate I am, to be made out to be the “example” of all things wrong with weddings, because of one vent on a deleted thread. People don’t bring up other people’s deleted thread shit. So yeah, it pisses me off that my vent gets brought up because it was a momentary shallow thought I had that relates to weddings. Or what ever reason.

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      • avatar

        rachel June 12, 2013, 3:26 pm

        Aw, GG, I don’t think anyone was trying to use you as an example of all things wrong with weddings. I think, like lbh said, that we all know you as a nice person, and really concerned with making sure everyone around you is happy, so if even YOU can have occasionally selfish thoughts with regards to gift giving (that really we all have too) then clearly it’s hard to avoid offending people.

        Also, what’s said on a deleted thread stays on a deleted thread. That sucks that it was brought up here.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson June 12, 2013, 3:33 pm

        Yeah I agree GG – deleted threads should be off limits. It’s like the circle of trust.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 3:11 pm

        I really was trying to not make it seem like I was attacking you. That’s why I said “even you” “you don’t seem greedy” etc. I get it. It was a momentary vent. I’m not judging you for it. I’m just pointing out that people usually do think about the gifts they receive and usually expect a gift. Maybe they won’t come out and say you better buy me a gift, but they do expect one.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:13 pm

        I don’t think you are LBH, you’re not being rude about it.

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    • Jess

      Jess June 12, 2013, 2:24 pm

      We’ve also received some lovely but inexpensive gifts. Examples:

      -a vintage unused wedding journal from the 1950s (it was given to my aunt and she never used it so she regifted it to me and I love it!)

      -a cutting board with our wedding date engraved on it (Etsy, $30-$40)

      -a Yankee wedding candle jar

      -a first Christmas together ornament

      You really can choose non-registry items that are thoughtful and inexpensive if the registry intimidates you or if cash makes you feel inadequate.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:34 pm

        We received quite a few family heirloom items, and they mean to world to us. One of my favorites is a creamer set that my (now deceased) grandfather gifted his brother and new wife over 65 years ago for their wedding. They wrote a lovely note in the card explaining the story etc and it meant the world to me, and was free (for them)!

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      • avatar

        Cara June 12, 2013, 3:43 pm

        That’s so neat! I always love hearing the stories behind stuff like that. My mom has somehow ended up with five sets of silver and I am excited to have one of them passed on to me once I am settled in a more permanent living situation.

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    • avatar

      Jessibel5 June 12, 2013, 5:21 pm

      Well, you’re a nice person. I have known people to ABSOLUTELY gossip about their friends who didn’t give a wedding gift! I almost feel like I’m on the receiving end of emotional blackmail if I don’t give a gift!

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      • avatar

        applescruffs June 12, 2013, 5:48 pm

        I once gave a shower gift to a grad school classmate, in addition to organizing and throwing her a surprise wedding shower. That was about my financial limit for my first year of grad school, so I didn’t get her an actual wedding gift. After she returned from her honeymoon, she was handing out thank you cards to people that attended the wedding (and presumably brought gifts) and said, YOU don’t get one, Apple.

        For serious? The other gift and the throwing of the shower weren’t enough? So yes, the gossip about non-gifting happens.

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    • avatar

      6napkinburger June 12, 2013, 6:05 pm

      As someone who came late to this party, I wonder if I have a slightly more impartial view?

      There is more than one issue at work here and the venn diagram is a little messier than people are acknowledging. We have:

      (1) people who think that, in the real world, gifts are basically “required” (even though not technically)
      (2) people who think that, in the real world, gifts are not basically required;
      (3) people who think that, in an ideal world, gifts SHOULD basically be required and
      (4) people who think that, in an ideal world, gifts SHOULD NOT basically be required.

      To me, GG, it seemed like you think you are in groups (2) and (4), but based on your momentary frustrations, others thought that perhaps you were really in groups (1) and (4), with a very strong belief in (4). Which, from most of them, wasn’t a judgment about being a bridezilla or anything, but was more about the accuracy of your self-perception. (At least this is what I think LBH was saying).

      It didn’t seem like most people were trying to make you feel bad or ungrateful, but it was really just about the accuracy of our own perceptions.

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  • avatar

    rachel June 12, 2013, 2:13 pm

    I almost picked the “down with weddings” option, because the thought of having a wedding stresses me out too much, and it would just be easier if that weren’t a thing haha.

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  • avatar

    lemongrass June 12, 2013, 2:13 pm

    I may be in the minority but I love buying wedding gifts. My gifts are just that, gifts. No obligations or strings attached. If I don’t like the couple enough to want to buy them a gift then I wouldn’t go to their wedding.

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      GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:14 pm

      Yes! I love buying wedding gifts! Picking out something I love and think they will love and wrapping it nicely, selecting the perfect card, etc. I do it because I like giving gifts…not because it’s an entrance ticket.

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    • avatar

      honeybeenicki June 12, 2013, 2:19 pm

      I love buying gifts in general. But I’m really bad at surprised. I tend to out myself on them.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 2:23 pm

        Do you give them in advance of the occasion? I always do that. haha. Like if I get you a christmas gift, but I buy it on November 10, you are getting it on November 11.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass June 12, 2013, 2:33 pm

        I’m the same way. Or I’ll at least tell you what it is. I’m bad if the gift or surprise is for me. I love being surprised but hate knowing that a surprise is coming.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 2:47 pm

        Oh, if I know a surprise is coming, I am the worst too! I will either harass you until you tell me what it is, thereby obnoxiously ruining the gift, or I’ll get all worked up in my head imagining The Greatest Gift Anyone Has Ever Received, also ruining the gift since it didn’t end up being a baby giraffe.

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        honeybeenicki June 12, 2013, 4:02 pm

        Always. And if it’s like a planned outing “gift” I always blow the surprise. For my husband’s birthday 5 years ago I planned a trip to Chicago to see Blue Man Group and I was doing so well with keeping it to myself but then he started whining when I told him he couldn’t make plans with his friends on his birthday and I ended up telling him. So I blame that on him.

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    • avatar

      bethany June 12, 2013, 2:22 pm

      I’m the exact same way. If I go to your wedding, it’s because I really like you, and I want to buy you a gift!

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle June 12, 2013, 2:19 pm

    Um, no. Come on. I feel like if that article was stripped down to its barest point, all it would say is “wah, wah, wah. I hate giving wedding presents!”

    Yes, weddings are different now. People are older when they get married. Sometimes they already live together, & even have shit in their house, like, gasp, furniture & cookware. But life is also more expensive than it once was, so I think it evens out? I mean, really. This guy wants to condemn the entire practice of wedding gift-giving…for what? Why don’t we just not give birthday presents anymore, either? Or Christmas presents? Or graduation presents?

    I get that the wedding industrial complex (thanks, whoever taught me that phrase!) gets out of hand, but if everyone just calmed down, didn’t ~expect~ gifts, gave what they could afford & what was appropriate for the couple (have they been living together? Then don’t buy them utensils, just give cash or something) then there wouldn’t be this strange backlash for the tradition of celebrating with gifts. And this is coming from somebody who is self-admittedly bad at giving presents.

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    • Miel

      Miel June 12, 2013, 2:42 pm

      I was thinking the same : no birthday or Christmas presents anymore ?

      I think it’s the same logic for all presents : This couple has been together for 25 years, they have a fully-paid house, three kids in school and they are just getting married now ? Do you really need to give them a $2000 coffee machine ? No ! I’m sure they will be happy with a thoughtful, cheaper gift that fits their current needs. If it’s a young couple that hasn’t lived together yet, and come from poor families, I’m sure a blender will be a good idea.

      Same for every other holiday. It’s father’s day soon, will I buy my dad an ipad ? No, he has one already ! And he has money for those things, while I don’t. I will probably just cook him a meal and tell him I love him. And he won’t be offended, I’m sure.

      That’s the logic that should apply to all gift-giving occasions.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle June 12, 2013, 3:02 pm

        Yes, exactly!! I mean, I can see the stress (from reading this site) that gift-giving causes, but in my own life, I just give what’s appropriate (& my family/friends do the same for me).

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      Guy Friday June 12, 2013, 3:16 pm

      I knew I liked your comments here for a reason 🙂 That was my thought as well. You’re not required to give birthday presents or graduation presents or anything like that, and if a friend traveled across the country to get to your birthday party you’d be grateful they came and not expect more. But why is it when weddings are discussed it’s always such a crime to give a present, like it’s this big awful thing we have to get rid of immediately? What’s wrong with giving a present because you want to?

      Now, yes, demands of “minimum” presents are silly, but I also think general morality dictates that if you’re going to a fancy reception you go a little above and beyond a $10 iTunes gift card. But that’s not about traditions or anything; it’s about my personal belief about how one should treat others. To be fair, I also advocate that for other swanky events, so it’s not just weddings 🙂

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    lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 2:20 pm

    I picked YES! Down with weddings. Not because I don’t enjoy weddings, or gift giving, but because of what its all turned into. Most of my decision on my choice is because of things I’ve read on DW. I never once used to think about gift grabbiness until here (unless someone said it they were, blatently) and I hate it.
    I hate that people don’t appreciate what they get, I hate that people get annoyed when someone buys off-registry, I hate that they EXPECT gifts (and anyone who says otherwise is lying imo) and I hate the idea of paying for your wedding by getting other people to pay for it.
    After DW, I have 100% signed onto the ‘no presents, just presence’ if I had a wedding.

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      Cara June 12, 2013, 2:24 pm

      I am with you. And even people who insist they don’t expect presents clearly do. I don’t believe for one second that people don’t care if anyone gives them a gift or they’re happy to get anything. Nope. People have complained on here enough about getting cheap gifts, or weird gifts, or inconvenient gifts that it is clear they expect presents off their registry and that is what you’re supposed to do.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson June 12, 2013, 2:32 pm

        I almost just copy and pasted your entire comment with quotes around it and said YES afterwards. Because yes to the whole thing. They really aren’t optional, unless you want to be an asshole. They’re no longer a bonus but a way to even the playing field or something in some weird fucked up game with so many rules (that change) that even if you want to play right you’re fucked. Fuck. How many times can I say it today. FACK.

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        Cara June 12, 2013, 2:39 pm

        Totally. And people don’t seem to really like this idea because they see weddings as a chance to upgrade their pots and pans and dishes, but why is it on your wedding guests to do that? Presumably you invite them because you love them and want them to be a part of this big event in your life, not because you want high end frying pans and cooking knives, but somehow that is what it has come to mean. Just because you have crummy pots and pans doesn’t mean that other people need to buy them for you! Save your money and buy them yourself! You’re choosing to have a big wedding (or invite more people or have nicer food, etc) instead of buying yourself pots and pans, but that shouldn’t shift the responsibility/expectation onto other people.

        Hardly anyone lives at home until marriage, so the giving of household items to newly married couples is not to help them set up their own household. Times have changed but the tradition hasn’t, and it doesn’t really apply anymore.

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        Temperance June 12, 2013, 3:17 pm

        I’m just going to chime in her to point out that not all, or even most wedding guests are people that you “love” and want to be there. This is doubly true if you have family helping to pay for it.

        For instance, my grandmother insists that her relatives be included in everything. These are people that the rest of us don’t know and are barely related to – I’m talking her great-great nieces and whatnot. That’s just one person with a demand to invite 15+ people, one of whom is a sex offender. When you consider that both my grandmothers were one of 6, my grandfathers were one of 6 and 10 respectively, and that my great-grandmother raised a good chunk of her nieces and nephews, the expectation of people to be included that I barely know was astronomical. That’s not even considering my husband’s family.

        My husband and I paid for our wedding and kept it tiny, and we requested no gifts because people we truly cared about were there. If we had to include extended family, I would have been annoyed to have paid for their meals and drinks if they didn’t at least pretend to give a shit by bringing a card.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 3:29 pm

        Did people actually listen to you and not give gifts? How’d that go over? I’ve yet to get an invite like that, and if someone tells me don’t bring anything, I still do and probably would at a wedding too…maybe a broccoli casserole. Anyone? Anyone? 😉

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        Cara June 12, 2013, 3:39 pm

        I make a delicious broccoli casserole!

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay June 12, 2013, 4:05 pm

        I feel like something that might work better than just saying “no gifts” would be to make a suggestion of something in lieu of gifts. I guess the one I’ve heard of most would be a donation to a charity, but in terms of something for the couple, maybe something cute like bringing a list of marriage advice or a book (OK, maybe I’m just salivating at the idea of like 100 new books to read) or something instead. I think people feel better if they have something to bring or mail, even if it’s not a traditional gift.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 5:30 pm

        That’s a great idea! I’ll have to remember it.

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        EB June 12, 2013, 2:45 pm

        This. Nothing says I don’t expect presents like taking the time to create a registry of things that you want.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson June 12, 2013, 2:29 pm

      I’m with you. How crazy people are about wedding etiquette on DW has really put a foul taste in my mouth about the whole thing. Everyone should just save the money it costs to throw a money and buy their own crockpots. Except for the people that manage to be normal about it. Because weddings really ARE a blast. I have so much fun at weddings. The dancing the booze, everything. But there are 10,000 different ways people can and CHOOSE to get offended when weddings are involved I’m just over them. People are assholes.

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      GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:48 pm

      You know what I hate, that everyone assumes a person who has a thought about a gift given, and heaven forbid shares it on DW is automatically gift-grabbing or expecting high end, registry only items, or expecting their guests to pay for their wedding. Just because a person says one gift was a little bit of a conundrum (like I did with the duplicate crock pots I got) doesn’t mean I’m the freaking gift hog bridezilla that I get painted out to be. I was a little confused by what I thought was a strange gift (a breadbasket from an aunt and uncle) but that doesn’t mean I think less of them! I feel like having a thought about a gift is a crime in the DW universe and one must automatically LOVE every gift or they are a monster. Ugh.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed June 12, 2013, 2:50 pm

        Well when you’ve spent time insisting that you don’t expect present and will be grateful for whatever people get you…

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:56 pm

        Are you implying I am not grateful for my gifts? Because I assure you having an opinion on 3 gifts does not make me ungrateful. I’m very grateful and have been humbled my our family and friends generosity but that doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion on a gift. I can’t wonder what to do with a third crock pot or why an aunt chose to gift a particular item?

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed June 12, 2013, 2:58 pm

        I didn’t say that, but as someone who has said they aren’t expecting gifts and will appreciate anything that anyone gets you, it’s hypocritical to complain about it.

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:00 pm

        How is it complaining to wonder why a gift was chosen or what to do with a duplicate item? Enlighten me.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed June 12, 2013, 3:02 pm

        You were complaining about the presents.

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:10 pm

        It is not complaining to ask what others would do when they received duplicates of an item. I was trying to figure out what others thought might be an appropriate solution so I did not seem ungrateful by say donating it to a shelter.

        It’s not complaining when wondering why a person selected a certain gift. I wonder why my parents select a certain Christmas gift or why a person selected a certain gift to give my husband for his master’s graduation.

        None of that is complaining. Complaining would be saying “shit now I have this damn crock pot and if they would have just bought what I told them to get off of my registry I wouldn’t have so much stressssss.” or “man my aunt is cheap only giving me a damn breadbasket.” Not “hey DW world, what would you do if you got multiples of an item” and “Huh, wonder why they picked that specific item instead of say a pie pan or napkins.” Different things.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed June 12, 2013, 3:12 pm

        The breadbasket complaint made it seem like you didn’t appreciate their gift. You made it seem like it wasn’t enough of a present. Maybe your aunt thought it would be nice. Food you don’t have to think about, that you can enjoy, as things are busy.

        And you did wonder why people would go off registry because it was such a hassle for you. That’s complaining.

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:17 pm

        I said it was hard to deal with because I felt rude getting rid of a duplicate gift that was off registry, not that I was ungrateful for the gift.

        I do think it is weird to buy an item that a couple has on the registry, that is of another brand etc but that doesn’t mean I’m complaining or ungrateful…if a person listed say Bobby Flay pots and pans on their registry it is weird to go and buy Paula Dean- clearly they have picked a line and you’re buying something that will in essence be unusable for the couple. If you don’t care to buy on registry then don’t, 110% okay. But purposely buying a different line does create a little hassle, but that still doesn’t mean a person is ungrateful for the generosity.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed June 12, 2013, 3:18 pm

        Well the way you talked about it came off ungrateful and annoyed.

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:23 pm

        Well you’re coming off as high and mighty. FFS.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed June 12, 2013, 3:25 pm

        So do you when you talk about how you don’t expect gifts…then behave in the opposite manner. So matching manners!

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:32 pm

        Well two wrongs don’t make a right and I am bowing out of this conversation. I know my character and that I am a grateful person who would never attack another for a vent (especially a vent on a deleted thread). I know I am a grateful person. Best wishes.

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        Taylor June 13, 2013, 10:01 am

        Being grateful for the gesture/gift and liking the actual gift are two different things. Not caring for something or being somewhat confused by it are separate from gratitude. My mother has given be some bizarro things over the years (Beyonce perfume, lingerie for my shower that was 4 sizes too small), I love her to bits and appreciate the thoughts, but the gifts themselves are a pretty terrible match.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 3:08 pm

        I honestly was referring to a compilation of 2 years worth of DW, not you. I don’t think you are a gift hog or a bridezilla. Really.

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        EB June 12, 2013, 3:22 pm

        There is a difference between having/voicing an ungracious thought and being a terrible/ungrateful person. I and it seems others were a bit taken back by your less than gracious response to certain gifts maybe instead of going on the defensive and believing that people think you are a monster you could try to take this in as constructive feedback and attempt to see why it rubbed so many people the wrong way. Sometimes, it just comes down to acknowledging, “that just wasn’t my best moment”. No excuses. No explanations. Just own it.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 3:30 pm

        p.s. No more deleted thread mentions! It’s illegal in this neck of the woods.

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        EB June 12, 2013, 3:52 pm

        If Wendy has an issue with my comments or they violate any of her spoken/unspoken rules, she is more than welcome to delete them. I truly don’t mean to be antagonistic but find it kind of condescending to have another commenter command me to do or not do something, I would have no issue with you saying ” I don’t think you should…” but I don’t think it’s cool for anyone but Wendy to issue dictates towards other commenters. Finally, I didn’t remember where I read about the [REDACTED] incident, people share a lot of stuff and I don’t always remember where they said it.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 4:03 pm

        Yikes! Everyone knows its called a deleted thread for a reason. If people brought up what happens on there, a lot of people won’t want to comment on them. I’m pretty sure when they started, Wendy was clear that what happens on deleted threads, stays on deleted threads.

        If you are offended by me “commanding” that you not mention things on deleted threads, I don’t even know what to say. I really don’t think I’m dictating you, just sharing the rules. I’m not trying to be Wendy’s spokesperson for god sake. Way to be as dramatic as possible.

        p.s. I agree about not always remembering where it was said. I didn’t at first either.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 4:04 pm

        pps, I’m like the 5th person who said you shouldn’t talk about things said on those threads.

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        WAPS June 12, 2013, 4:29 pm

        But surely you can see how it’s hard to swallow when someone (anyone! not this particular scenario!) says one thing on a deleted thread and then continues to post holier-than-thou contradictory statements about etiquette and expectations elsewhere? And it was kind of vague to me about whether or not people could bring up deleted threads later. I thought it was more like ‘there won’t be physical evidence anymore’ (except with the NSA apparently!).

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 4:35 pm

        I don’t disagree. I just thought everyone knew you aren’t supposed to talk about stuff said on there.
        I really didn’t think my cheeky comment was commanding, condescending or anything to be offended by. Actually, eb’s comment seemed totally ridiculous to me.

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 4:40 pm

        I’m sorry, I can’t let this go. If you’re referring to my comments being “holier-than-thou” which I’m going to assume you are, you are tragically mistaken. I apologize if I come across that way, but really you are completely mistaken in your interpretation. And, I have to say, most people who seem to be “anti-etiquette” act a lot more holier-than-thou and look down their noses at those of us who do tend to follow and share the rules of etiquette.

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        EB June 12, 2013, 4:35 pm

        Nope not offended by what you said, I just didn’t care for the you said it. ” I don’t believe it’s appropriate to bring up the deleted thread”- totally cool, ” no more deleted thread mentions!!!”- sounds more like a command you give a dog. I was just being honest it felt weird to be scolded by you for bringing this up again here when tons of other people are talking about it elsewhere on the thread and I barely reference it in this comment. I wasn’t trying to be dramatic, like I said I didn’t realize where I read this and Wendy is more than welcome to delete any of my comments.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 4:39 pm

        Umm, again, like 5 other people said the exact same thing to you (“don’t bring up the deleted thread. very not cool” was one of the many). Its not cool to do. Its rude to the other commenters. I’m not playing moderator, just sharing that its not cool to do what you did. If you found my cheeky comment about it being against the law as scolding you, I don’t really know what to say to that. Fwiw, its not actually a law, in case you were taking that seriously too.

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 4:11 pm

        It’s interesting that you appear to remember half of what I said but not that it was said on a deleted thread (which btw I don’t even think it’s an unspoken rule, doesn’t it usually say something like this is getting deleted and everything discussed “goes away” forever?) or that part where I did in fact own it when I originally posted it.

        Which is the whole reason I posted it on a deleted thread because I felt like a royal f-ing bitch for feeling confused about a gift and deleted threads are supposed to be a DW safe place. But my lesson learned.

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 4:17 pm

        wedding or money as a topic = selective hearing (reading)

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 4:17 pm

        haha, no truer words ever spoken!

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:36 pm

        I did own it!! On the f-ing deleted thread. I said “I’m a terrible person but I don’t get why XYZ related to gifts”. Holy shit people really?

        I still own it, I said some weird shit about gifts when I was in freaking stress overload. I did! But it doesn’t mean I’m ungrateful, or that I was ungrateful in that moment. I said, THAT DAY, in the same comment that it was shallow of me. FFS, the DW universe is nuts today.

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 4:15 pm

        GG, do you want leave here right now and go get a drink together? We need one. Too bad you are not still in Philly and we really COULD!

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 4:18 pm

        Right?? FFS people. I would have a virtual drink with you if I didn’t have to go to job number two in an hour (which is paying off wedding costs).

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 4:24 pm

        LOL at FFS (hadn’t seen that abbreviated but love it).

        So wait, you paid for your wedding? Hmm, not very greedy bridezilla of you…. 😉

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 4:26 pm

        Yea, but do you hear her bitching about having to work to pay it off?! She’s unreal, isn’t she 😉

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 4:31 pm

        We where lucky enough to have contributions from both of our parents, but we did pay for a portion. And, gasp, we’re not taking a honeymoon! They money I’m making now is for gifts for our parents as a thank you. Surprising since I’m so selfish right? Haha.

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 4:48 pm

        It is surprising, as were some other comments on this thread about couple who make a profit on their wedding. Really? That’s beyond my comprehension.

        We are also getting some small contributions from family but will pay for the bulk of it. We will still have costs to pay off at the end but are happy to do it so that we could share the day with family. We’ve had to have hard conversations about why we didn’t invite more relatives but our money only goes so far. I really don’t see our wedding as a lavish splash of luxury we have treated ourselves with. Rather, we’ve decided to host a very large party for our families. And large parties are very expensive.

        We are taking a honeymoon because of frequent flier miles and hotel points we earned through work.

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 4:57 pm

        In the end we will probably “make” money, but we’re putting the bulk of it into an emergency fund since we saved for the wedding rather than an emergency fund. It’s not like we’re just buying shit and taking vacations with it.

        And yeah, large parties cost a fortune!! We’re going to try to take a “make a baby” trip in early January that is a substitute for a honeymoon- if we can save that much.

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        EB June 12, 2013, 4:16 pm

        I was actually trying to be constructive and put the situation in perspective( i.e. people do NOT think you are a terrible person). My intention was not to make you feel more attacked, sorry if my suggestions to resolve/ move on from the issue just prolonged it.

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 4:23 pm

        Just a hint for the future, you did not come across as constructive. At all. Your suggestions are fine, if I hadn’t already owned it and admitted multiple times that it was a shitty thought (when I initially shared it).

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        EB June 12, 2013, 4:48 pm

        Fair enough in that case I apologize for further prolonging the issue/ beating a dead horse.

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        csp June 12, 2013, 3:45 pm

        BOO! don’t bring up the deleted thread. very not cool.

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    Christy June 12, 2013, 2:22 pm

    I really liked his idea of giving gifts to people as they’re just starting out. Perhaps the first time they have their own apartment or home? I certainly could have used a registry. I love my yard-sale dishes, but it was a LOT of expenses all at once. Should I ever get married to my gf, we’ll have too much stuff at that point.

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    • Jess

      Jess June 12, 2013, 2:28 pm

      I have to agree that there absolutely is a mismatch with the timing of weddings for many people and the original intention of the gifts (to help people start their first home).

      I bought my house 6 years ago before I met my fiancee. I moved home from overseas into a 3 bedroom house and had nothing, not even a shower curtain! It was an extraordinary struggle after buying a house to finance all the things that needed to go in it! I picked furniture off the curb, garage sales, family hand-me-downs, and pinched pennies for the rest at Ikea as best I could. But the house was sparse for a long while.

      Fast-forward to my wedding this year? We have already merged TWO households and have way too much stuff. It’s ironic to me, it really is. I would rather have people give cash or nothing at all. But I quickly learned that those traditions aren’t necessarily about YOU. There was a ton of pressure to have a shower and a registry. No, we didn’t have to do it. But it seemed easier and it seemed more pleasing to our loved ones so that’s what we did.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle June 12, 2013, 2:34 pm

      My parents’ thing is to buy bedroom sets. When my brother moved out, they bought him & his girlfriend (now wife) a bedroom set, & they’re doing the same for me (whenever I’m finally out of the house…) They have also gotten me random other things here & there—like, right now I have a corner of the house that acts like my “hope chest”, haha. There’s pots & pans that my dad won from a thing at his job, a pizza stone, etc.

      And to use my brother as an example, since he just got married last year, we all got him & my SIL presents even though they’d been living together quite a while. We just got them different kinds of gifts (my boyfriend & I gave cash, I gave them a piece of art for the house, my parents gave cash & a picture frame, etc…) I see no reason to not do both (give establishing items when a couple first moves in together, then just straight-up cash whenever they get married)

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        Christy June 12, 2013, 3:27 pm

        Nice! I like all of these gifts. Can I join your family?

        Nah, my family’s been great. My grandmother gave me a single fork, knife, and two spoons, from the set she started collecting with like 1950s box-tops when she was 15. It was so I’d always have something to eat with. And my grandfather gave me his mother’s mixing bowl. Both of these are useful and sentimental. Oh! plus my grandmother bought me a bunch of stuff at BB&B, like my AWESOME cutting board.

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay June 12, 2013, 2:25 pm

    I chose the first “Down with wedding gifts!” one. I know they aren’t required, but we’ve all been conditioned to believe that you’re an asshole if you don’t give one. I guess I don’t really understand the point outside of the outdated furnishing-the-home-for-the-first-time stuff. I like to give friends gifts and celebrate weddings with them, but I don’t understand what about their personal choice to be legally married has to do with deserving people to shower them with stuff.

    (I’m not saying this toward couples who have had weddings and accepted gifts, just to society in general.)

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      lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 2:31 pm

      That’s why I like housewarmings!

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        AliceInDairyland June 12, 2013, 7:09 pm

        What is this housewarming thing you speak of? BF and I are working hard at completely ripping out and re-doing a house at the farm (without any money) and I love the idea of having an awesome party to celebrate being done with it once we are finished. Is that what a housewarming party is? We plan on having the house done well before we are planning on getting married.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 7:47 pm

        I think you should throw a housewarming party! Once its done, you want to show it off anyway, so send out invitations to friends and family for a housewarming. FWIW, I’ve always given a gift similar in price to a wedding gift when I’m invited to a housewarming. Some people only bring small things like wine, but you never know.

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        AliceInDairyland June 12, 2013, 8:54 pm

        Oooh, I don’t want to do it for the gifts obviously… I just for some reason thought maybe a party to say “Hey we fixed up this old house!” might be weird. If someone brought wine along that would make me more than over the moon.

        I recently had a birthday party out at the farm “Wine and Cheese Night with Baby Goats” and said I bought a bunch of wine and cheese, but if people wanted to bring along more that would be fantastic. People were SO awesome and we had enough wine to drink all through the night and enough cheese that everyone ate loads and loads and it was just so great. I feel like people my age (early twenties) aren’t as used to the whole “bring something along to a party” thing so I was super elated when people did.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 8:59 pm

        I really would have one if I were you. After all the work you’re doing, show it off! It’ll be a great time enjoyed in your “new” place…and maybe will let your buddies know you have a great place for fun parties!

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      Liquid Luck June 12, 2013, 2:48 pm

      “…we’ve all been conditioned to believe that you’re an asshole if you don’t give one.”

      I disagree with this statement. Sure, I know some people who are shallow enough to judge people based on what people give them, but I’m not close with them primarily because of that attitude. My close friends and family though really don’t care so much about gifts, for any occasion. There have been plenty of years where some people don’t give others birthday or Christmas gifts (when they normally would), and nobody cares about that. The important part it that they were able to be there to spend time with us. That same attitude has been present for all the weddings I’ve been to. I feel bad that some people seem to surround themselves with greedy couples who only want to cash in on their marriage for profit, but I think it’s overly cynical to believe that it’s the norm. People need to do a better job of surrounding themselves with people who care more about them then about what they have to offer others.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay June 12, 2013, 3:47 pm

        I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I don’t mean that the couple itself literally will be like “she’s an asshole” or judge you. I wasn’t calling couples greedy or suggesting that my friends are greedy.

        I just meant that most people are taught that giving a gift at a wedding is the polite thing to do. If I polled everyone in my office right now and asked whether they felt required to give a wedding gift, I suspect most would say yes. I think etiquette generally teaches us that it’s a faux pas not to give a wedding gift. That’s all I meant.

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        Liquid Luck June 13, 2013, 8:26 am

        I agree that giving a gift is a nice thing to do, but I still don’t feel that it’s required (even in a personal sense of feeling obligated, rather than an external source or pressure). As for it being a faux pas not to give a gift, again, I don’t see that as necessarily being true in my circle. Some people feel that way, but not the majority that I associate with. They give gifts based on whether or not they actually want to, which they usually do, but not always. And I’ve never heard someone say they felt bad/guilty for not giving one when they choose not to or can’t.

        So I guess I both agree and disagree with you here 🙂

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  • mylaray

    mylaray June 12, 2013, 2:25 pm

    I truly love giving wedding gifts (and other gifts) to people, but as my boyfriend and I were discussing recently for our upcoming wedding, we are torn on the idea of people giving us household gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to decorate my house with all new things, but I don’t NEED it. There’s nothing wrong with the plates and stemware I already have. While sure, I could give away what I have to make more room, it seems pointless, and I am concerned about the environmental effect of it all. In general, I simply do not need or want more STUFF. I would love to get sentimental gifts, experience gifts, and a few physical possessions are not bad, but the idea of having a house overflowing with gifts is not appealing to me when I basically have everything I need to live life everyday. Sure, I don’t have an at home ice cream maker, but I don’t really feel I need one either.

    Yet, I feel it’s almost stuck-up (I can’t think of a better word) to say you don’t want gifts, so I feel like the dilemma is never-ending.

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay June 12, 2013, 2:36 pm

      Yeah, I have some friends who were overwhelmed by all the gifts they got for their wedding. They live in a decent, but not super big apartment, so the gifts had to basically sit in this corner of their living room for a while before they could go out and purchase storage (like cabinets and stuff) to put it all. I’m sure they were grateful for the generosity, but it was just too much.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 2:51 pm

        Its shit like this that makes me nuts.
        Oh I was soooo overwhelmed. People are so generous. Its all too much! Whereever will I put it all? Put it in a donation bin FFS. You clearly don’t need it!! (sorry for yelling, Lindsay)

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:38 pm

        Wait aren’t you the person who doesn’t donate things that are gifted to you?? We talked about my crock pot dilemma and you said you would never donate a gift!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 4:07 pm

        haha, yes. But I also wouldn’t go crying about not having anywhere to put my loads and loads of gifts.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay June 12, 2013, 4:12 pm

        Haha, well, they weren’t acting like it was the end of the world. They just felt like the gift giving was a little excessive.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 4:15 pm

        I know. I take my issue with that to the extreme. When I think of it calmly, I’m sure I could imagine myself saying where will I put all this stuff, playfully. I guess in reading it, I add a tone of woe is me and all my gifts.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 4:28 pm

        LBH I am so going to remind you of this if you ever get married and wonder what to do with your gifts. (Or a duplicate!)

        (Also, I think it’s a really good point that we all need to remember that stuff in writing can be interpreted in a million ways and maybe we should start giving each other the benefit of the doubt and not assume the worst possible when reading something.)

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 4:33 pm

        Fair enough! I’m sure you can find me changing my mind or being hypocritical more than once on here.

        ps I swear to god if ever get three crock pots in the mail for my wedding, I will know you are evil.

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 5:04 pm

        I’m totally going to track down your registry and buy you 3 of something just to be a bitch. haha.

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      • avatar

        bethany June 12, 2013, 3:14 pm

        We had to keep a lot of our stuff at my MIL’s house until we bought a house a year and a half after the wedding. It was sooo nice to just box up all the old stuff, take it to Goodwill and then FINALLY be able to use everything we got from the wedding!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 3:32 pm

        Peter’s sister is in temporary housing right now (similar to your story) and when you open a closet in her place, its FILLED with Tiffany’s boxes (that’s where they registered for dishes I guess). Quite a sight to be seen. Straight out of a movie.

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    • mylaray

      mylaray June 12, 2013, 4:00 pm

      Yeah, my parents were hoarders in a huge home, and I worry about ending up that way, especially in an apartment. I’m certainly not opposed to receiving gifts, and I appreciate my friends doing that, but I feel drowned by things, and I hope more and more people do donate their old stuff rather than throwing away things.

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  • Copa

    Copa June 12, 2013, 2:31 pm

    Can I threadjack to ask a wedding gift-related question?

    S’ok, this August I’m going to an Indian wedding. I got an invite to something that is neither the reception nor the ceremony the day before the wedding. Okay, fine. The invitation says no boxed gifts. Okay, again, fine. Does this mean send a gift later? Does it mean I should give money? The only weddings I’ve been to were family ones (so my folks took care of gift-giving) or good friends (so I gave a actual gift-gifts, not cash-gifts). I feel thrown off by etiquette in part because I guess I haven’t gone to *so* many weddings, in part because this whole Indian wedding makes me feel like none of the traditional rules apply. Thoughts?

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      GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:42 pm

      It implies cash gifts. But I would double check with someone else who is attending that that’s what is expected. Do you know a sibling of the bride or maybe a wedding party member? I would double check with one of them.

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    • Jess

      Jess June 12, 2013, 2:45 pm

      Wow, I have never seen that before. Is it a destination wedding? Are the couple traveling to the location of the event?

      I’d guess it means one of two things.

      One, the couple cannot travel home with many large gifts (which means you can ship them to their home directly and just note it in a card that you give them on the day). I did once attend a baby shower for a friend that lives abroad. In that case, there was a registry but we were asked to ship the items to the house (in the UK) rather than bring them to the party in the US.

      Two, this is a not-so-subtle push for cash gifts.

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      • Copa

        Copa June 12, 2013, 3:11 pm

        It’s destination. Everyone (bride + groom, families, friends) will be traveling to it. I’m already spending so much money on travel/accomodations that I hadn’t really thought too hard about wedding gift yet, but now I’m not even sure what I am supposed to do. The bride and I go WAY back — she’s one of my oldest friends that I’m still in touch with so we’re close in that sense, but not in the day-to-day sense anymore — I wouldn’t miss it for the world and want to do things right.

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 3:15 pm

        I tend to go with my first instinct then. I think it has to do with not being able to travel back with gifts. In this case, you can send something to their house or give cash. BUT, in my own experience when I have paid a lot to travel to a wedding, I have given something very small if at all and then a card.

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    • avatar

      mertlej June 12, 2013, 2:51 pm

      We just went to a wedding (Indian, incidentally) that had the same thing written on the invite. Everyone there gave cards with cash (about $150 a couple). What exactly were you invited to if not the reception or ceremony?

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      • Copa

        Copa June 12, 2013, 3:08 pm

        Something called sangeet. It sounds like a reception, but it’s the evening before the ceremony. From what I understood talking to this friend, there were 3 events involved (sangeet, ceremony, reception) but I may be completely mistaken.

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      • avatar

        Anon June 12, 2013, 3:29 pm

        It’s basically a reception with a few traditional ceremonies as well. At the Indian wedding I attended, the women related to the groom welcomed the bride into their family by giving her gifts – some traditional, some personal. There was also a henna station for the guests and some henna thing where the groom’s palms were covered in it. Also, there was food and hours of dancing. I didn’t see anyone other than family bring gifts but if you want to give something and aren’t invited to the other events, this would probably be the time.

        Or just mail one later.

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      • Jill

        Jill June 12, 2013, 3:36 pm

        Haha, Indian weddings involve many more events than just the ceremony and the reception. My husband is Indian, and although we didn’t have an Indian wedding, we are going to his best friend’s in October. The sangeet is kind of like your family wishing you farewell. If it is for the groom, it would just be his family, and the bride is not there, and visa versa. It is usually the day prior to the wedding, but I think can be anytime prior to the ceremony, and is basically just a house party. What Anon is talking about sounds more like a mehndi, which is for all the women and there is henna done for the bride and groom (as well as guests).

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      • Jill

        Jill June 12, 2013, 3:44 pm

        Also, and I just double checked this to be sure, but a sangeet is a Sikh tradition, whereas a mehndi is Hindu. (The wedding I’m going to is a Sikh marrying a Hindu, so the traditions are a bit confusing to keep seperate!)

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      • Jill

        Jill June 12, 2013, 8:10 pm

        Ok Copa, sorry it took me awhile to figure out the correct answer, but I’m glad you asked because it definitely helps me out for the wedding I’m going to as well! If you are going to the sangeet and the reception, you only would bring a gift to one. You’d only bring a gift to the sangeet if you were not invited to the reception. (And yes, it’d be money, not actual gifts.) Hope that helps!

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    • avatar

      EB June 12, 2013, 2:59 pm

      I believe cash envelopes are typically given in lieu of physical presents at a lot of Hindu weddings…I think it’s incredibly tacky to make that dictate but I would probably just play along and go with cash, preferably in denomination that ends with “1” since that’s supposed to be lucky

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      • avatar

        WAPS June 12, 2013, 3:15 pm

        I think it’s incredibly tacky to call somebody else’s culture tacky if it doesn’t align with yours.

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      • avatar

        EB June 12, 2013, 4:00 pm

        Yikes. That was so not my point, I don’t think the cultural norm of giving money is tacky, I just think it is tacky to put ” no boxed gifts” on the wedding invite, my Indian friends have told me it’s like the equivalent of putting your registry info on the invitation.

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      • avatar

        WAPS June 12, 2013, 4:34 pm

        My apologies. It seemed like you were talking about the request for money. It’s a little dicey in the States because in India and in China, it’s just expected, and everyone knows how the wedding goes. It’s not like that here, but it appears the couple is having an Indian wedding and inviting American guests, so they are trying to gracefully let them know what how it goes. At least, that’s how I took the situation.

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  • call-me-hobo

    call-me-hobo June 12, 2013, 2:34 pm

    I don’t know. I live in the South, and it seems that people still get married pretty young here; most are marrying immediately after college/higher education and some even before. I can see where a lot of these young people might actually request gifts for the traditional sense (as in- Oh, shit, we have nothing to eat with).

    That being said, most of the young wedding registries I’ve attended have had cheaper registries. Most of the gifts have been in the $20-40 because most of their friends are broke, too. There are some big ticket items, but I think that if you don’t want to spend a ton of money- don’t! My go to wedding move is to do a hand drawn portrait of the bride and groom with their anniversary plus a small ticket item off the registry or gift card. With frame included you’re looking at 40 bucks max, and most people love that you spent the time to do something especially for them. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give a meaningful gift!

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  • Jess

    Jess June 12, 2013, 2:34 pm

    Perhaps a distinction could be made here that’s important. I tend to think the tradition of a shower and registry for household items is DEFINITELY outdated for many weddings (for any couple who already has an established household).

    As for cash that helps offset the enormous cost of a wedding? That can be debated too. As with other changing traditions, many couples pay for their own weddings nowadays (and it ain’t exactly a healthy economy). Just assembling and feeding 100 people can cost you 10k easily. If each guest gives you a $100, you’ve earned it back but most likely, you’ve incurred a few other costs beyond food and shelter for the event. I guess I do think that it’s nice for guests to help pay for the cost of the celebration honoring the couple. While they may already have an established household and benefit from a double income (as the author notes), starting a marriage in debt doesn’t seem right either.

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    • avatar

      Cara June 12, 2013, 2:41 pm

      But don’t have a wedding you can’t afford! It is super strange to me to think that people are expected to give a cash gift to cover the cost of the wedding.

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 2:54 pm

        My point was that the most basic wedding IS expensive. Affordable means small. Depending on the size of your family, it is very difficult to have ANY wedding that is small without offending people.

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 2:58 pm

        What is equally strange is that friends and family EXPECT to be at your wedding and that is what drives most people into a wedding size that is expensive. And again, I am not talking 200 of the people in your life. I am talking about parents, siblings, aunts uncles, first cousins, and best friends. Add in their spouses and you’re easily above 75.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 3:22 pm

        If people say they expect to be at your wedding, then I would say to them ‘I expect you to pay for it since we can’t afford a wedding!’ haha.

        Idk, I just don’t think a wedding should be about getting guests to cover the costs with their gifts. If that’s how its gonna be, let’s all be upfront about it and have a donation drive to fund the wedding. Or say your entrance fee is $100.

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 3:30 pm

        I’ve had nearly that conversation with my aunt about her children not being invited.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 3:33 pm

        haha, good for you!

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      • raptor

        gillociraptor June 12, 2013, 4:29 pm

        My aunt confronts me at EVERY FAMILY GATHERING since my very small (36 person) wedding to tell me how upset she is she wasn’t invited. I mean… if my husband and I had limited the guest list to siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, we would have been at 150 people with no friends.

        Her son recently got married and I wasn’t invited to the wedding, but I was invited to his fiancee’s shower. So, I hope that’s the end of it.

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      • avatar

        bethany June 12, 2013, 3:19 pm

        I’m with you, Cara. I think the idea of getting cash to offset the cost of the wedding is INSANE. Seriously insane. I can’t believe some people think that way.

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        Temperance June 12, 2013, 3:25 pm

        Eh, my family has the expectation that all relatives will be included. My grandmother argues and gets pissy if we don’t invite her relatives to shit, even though, for all intents and purposes, they are strangers to us. Her great-great niece’s baby just isn’t that important of a person to me, and neither is her sex offender grandfather.

        My husband and I ran off and got married with a few friends as witnesses, and I’m still not hearing the end of my selfishness. My father told me that I have hurt him until the day he dies by my actions. So it’s not ever about what the couples want, usually.

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 4:27 pm

        Thank you for that example of what I was trying to explain about how trying to afford to include all of your family in a wedding is usually not about greed (like buying a luxury car) but about sentiment and family obligation.

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    • avatar

      Liquid Luck June 12, 2013, 2:55 pm

      If a couple incurs debt to have a wedding, that’s on them and I don’t feel sorry for them one bit. All you need to get married is the license and an hour at city hall. Everything else is just extra. Yes, many people WANT it, but nobody “deserves” a fancy party that they can’t afford for any reason. It’s no different than somebody who makes minimum wage saying they deserve to own a fancy car and a mansion. No, you don’t, you deserve what you can afford to pay for, period.

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 3:01 pm

        I didn’t use the word “deserve” anywhere. This is getting off track entirely. I was trying to talk about the tradition behind gift-giving. The tradition of feathering the nest with household items is outdated. Also outdated is the that the bride’s parents pay for the entire wedding.

        My point here is that it makes more sense to give a couple cash which helps with their real area of need.

        Just as couples don’t deserve cash, they don’t deserve household gifts! The question I am raising has to do with relevance not entitlement.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck June 12, 2013, 3:14 pm

        So what if it makes more sense to you to give people cash? Cash is still a gift. If you don’t want household items, that’s fine, but you (general you) don’t get to dictate what people give you. If you get gifts that you don’t want or can’t use, then feel free to get rid of them (after thanking the giver, of course). Many people do still want household items, so that’s what they chose to tell people they would prefer when asked. If you don’t want them, don’t register or ask for them, and hope people just write you a check. But there are a lot of regions where people would never give cash and will always prefer to give boxed gifts. Saying that’s outdated and should be changed just because it’s not what you want for yourself or what’s common in your area is ridiculous.

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 3:18 pm

        LL, you keep reacting to ideas that I haven’t presented. I didn’t suggest anything should be dictated.

        I also qualified my statement about the tradition being outdated by saying it is outdated “for many weddings (for any couple who already has an established household). ”

        I did not say all. I did not say that this was my opinion and that everyone should follow it. I don’t get the antagonism. Maybe you have a preconceived frustration about this topic but that is not what I said.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck June 12, 2013, 4:33 pm

        My last reply was in response to this statement: “I was trying to talk about the tradition behind gift-giving. The tradition of feathering the nest with household items is outdated,” which specifically DOES argue that giving people physical gifts is outdated. The wording is quite clear.

        I’m not trying to be antagonistic, I think you’re just reading it that way because it hits home to you right now. And while I know that you didn’t use the word “deserve” in your original post, some of your statements came off to me as implying that guests should base their gift on what the couple chooses to spend (this line in particular: “I guess I do think that it’s nice for guests to help pay for the cost of the celebration honoring the couple.”) I don’t believe that gifts should have anything to do with the celebration the couple chooses to throw (or it’s cost), because guests have no say in that. If my giving someone a toaster bothers someone because they wanted cash to help them pay for my plate at their reception, then I would think that they felt entitled to choosing their own gift. Which is where the word “deserve” came into play for me. Your invitation does not entitle you (again, general you) to choose what gift I give you.

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        Cara June 12, 2013, 3:04 pm

        That’s exactly what I meant. I’m sure people would be more understanding about not being invited because the couple can’t afford a large wedding than about being expected to give at least $150 to cover the cost of their presence at the wedding. Host the kind of event you can afford! If that means a small ceremony and a cake and champagne (or cava, since it is cheaper) reception rather than a dinner reception, do it!

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 3:09 pm

        I have to say that one thing that really irks me is when people comment on things in a way that brings in their feelings from another debate. I didn’t say “deserves” or “expect” anywhere in my comment.

        I said, “I guess I do think that it’s nice for guests to help pay for the cost of the celebration honoring the couple.”

        “Nice” was the word I used.

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      • avatar

        Cara June 12, 2013, 3:34 pm

        Oh, I’m reacting more to the general idea of cash gifts to cover wedding costs, not to your specific comment! If it makes more sense to give people cash than a blender, definitely do that! I’m not disagreeing with anything you’re saying, just reacting to the idea of “covering the cost of your plate.” Sorry for the confusion!

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 4:11 pm

        I agree that no one should have to give a gift or be forced to cover their plate. It’s terrible. But yes, more the idea of IF you want to help the couple, what is the best way to do it. I know a lot of couples who received a lot of household gifts because that was tradition whereas they would have benefited more from money to help them with the cost of the wedding.

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        CaraM June 12, 2013, 4:19 pm

        I definitely agree with you on this — nobody is ever going to turn down a check!

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 3:07 pm

        Also, not fancy. You’re picturing the bride who wants ice sculpture and flying doves. I am talking about the average bride who wants to assemble the closest friends and relatives at an affordable venue (VW Hall) and feed them. No frills, no other vendors. In Philadelphia, that will run you upwards of 8k not including a dress, DJ, or photographer. I’m suggesting that 8k would require borrowing money and that the wedding gifts of cash are more useful than a household item. I don’t think that has anything to do with the person who makes minimum wage and buys a mansion and luxury car. In fact, I think that was a pretty poor analogy.

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        Liquid Luck June 12, 2013, 3:23 pm

        That’s not what I pictured at all, actually. It really doesn’t have to cost that much (and yes, I have planned a wedding in the Philadelphia area, so please don’t tell me it’s not possible to do it cheaper, because it absolutely is). The analogy was to show that if you don’t have the money lying around ($8k, as an example), then you don’t get to have a party that costs that much without going into debt. It’s the same as someone who doesn’t have the money to pay for a Lexus, but buys one anyway. Would you really feel sorry for that person for being in debt? I wouldn’t.

        Seriously, a wedding is getting married. It costs about $50 most places. Anything else (ceremony, reception, etc.) is NOT REQUIRED. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have them, but your statement that implied that people should give cash at weddings so that the couple doesn’t start out in debt is strange, because there’s no reason that getting married should cause anyone to go into debt. People having expectations that exceed their savings account does, and that’s not on the wedding guests, that’s firmly on the hosts.

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 3:56 pm

        Though I am tempted, I won’t debate wedding costs in Philadelphia with you.

        Regardless of whether a couple borrows the money or has it saved, many couples are paying for their wedding. Do you agree that the tradition of wedding gift-giving was intended to help the couple start out? If so, my point (again) is that for many modern-day couples (all disclaimers already noted), help with the cost of the wedding probably addresses a more relevant need than a household gift.

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 4:16 pm

        FWIW Jess I completely understand what you’re trying to say and agree. And having just wed in the Philly area, I think your costs are spot on, even when going “simple”. (Please, if you’ve seen pictures on my FB, do not start debating weather my wedding was simple or not because by my family standards it was and I will not engage in a debate.)

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 4:21 pm

        Thanks GG.

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        Liquid Luck June 12, 2013, 4:39 pm

        I was just saying that I’ve been to multiple weddings in the same area that have cost less than $1000 for over a hundred people. It may not be easy or the most convenient way to go about it, but I just hate when people make it seem like it’s absolutely impossible to do. It feeds the wedding industry and perpetuates the idea that all weddings have to be expensive, when they really don’t. Sure, the average cost may be that high, but that doesn’t mean it’s what you HAVE to pay.

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      • Jess

        Jess June 12, 2013, 5:02 pm

        I happen to think that you are often antagonistic. Here and in other threads where the topic was unrelated to anything that was happening in my life. The only difference that my own impending wedding makes is that I allowed myself to take the bait when I’d normally recognize that it is pointless to debate you.

        If you paid attention to what I wrote here or in multiple other threads instead of bringing your own feelings into it, you’d know that I am not a fan of big weddings, expensive weddings, or the cost of attending one. In fact, I have been very outspoken about it. The irony is that I don’t think we actually disagree about the outrageous wedding industry and related costs OR the unfair expectations associated. You keep trying to put me into a corner where I don’t belong. And that’s the part that comes off as antagonistic.

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        Liquid Luck June 13, 2013, 8:38 am

        So when you specifically say things like: “Just assembling and feeding 100 people can cost you 10k easily,” and “My point was that the most basic wedding IS expensive,” I’m not allowed to disagree with that on a fundamental level or it’s a personal attack? Because I do, wholeheartedly, disagree with both of those ideas. I’ve stated over and over (here and in other wedding-related threads) that all you (for the millionth time, the general sense of “you” and not you personally) need for a wedding is a couple, and officiant, and a license. Everything else is a choice made by the couple. I have no problem with people who want to spend money on a wedding so that they can include everyone they want, but I do take issue with adults who make this choice and then talk about it as if they were forced into doing so, which is the tone I get from those two statements.

        I disagree, and you don’t have to like it, but I didn’t decide to think this way just to annoy you or to “antagonize” you. I posted my opinion (like you did) on a relevant thread. That’s all.

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        bethany June 12, 2013, 3:20 pm

        YES!

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    TECH June 12, 2013, 2:35 pm

    I guess my problem with the wedding gift culture is that I have accomplished some great things in my life — graduating from college, buying a house, starting a new job. These are all important life events, right? And what did I get at my graduation party? My uncle gave me a check, and other people gave me small things like a “graduation book” they purchased at Hallmark. When I bought a house, someone gave me a bottle of wine at my housewarming party.

    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all those things. But the overall tone is, oh you just bought a house, that was a nice surprise to get a bottle of wine. But oh, if you get married, you get tons of gifts and money and people make a big f-ing deal about it.

    Yes, getting married is a big deal. But so are other life events. Why do we place more value on getting married than these other (in my mind) equally important things?

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle June 12, 2013, 2:40 pm

      That is interesting. I guess, not to sound like an ass, I got a lot of money for my graduation party, so I was sort of thinking about it as being along the same lines as a wedding? Like, it’s an equal milestone if you’re only taking into account volume of gifts (did this make any sense?)

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay June 12, 2013, 2:47 pm

        I guess I’m curious now about what the norm is. I think I got graduation money from like three people? My dad/stepmom, my aunt and uncle, and my other uncle. I appreciated their generosity, but it never reminded me of wedding gifts.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle June 12, 2013, 2:56 pm

        Did you have a party, though? I guess maybe it’s the same as weddings where people only think to give gifts if they’re attending a party?

        I didn’t even want one because I hated the idea of planning, but my parents wanted to throw me one (& it did wind up being super fun). A good number of my outside family came, plus my boyfriends parents, & a lot of my friends (some of whom gave money, some didn’t). I’m trying to remember exactly how much money I got, but I can’t…maybe a little bit over $2000? Some people gave large sums, & then the smaller sums added up.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay June 12, 2013, 3:33 pm

        Good point. I didn’t really have one. I hosted a lunch for my family in between ceremonies because my parents didn’t realize that people go out to lunch for graduation or that you have to make reservations. I’m kind of bitter about it because everyone else I know was having a normal lunch and I was cooking and serving everyone. So, yeah, definitely no party.

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        rachel June 12, 2013, 2:48 pm

        I don’t have a big family, and they don’t have much money, so I got a few things when I graduated college, but not much. I guess I don’t know what’s normal, but at a wedding you also end up getting gifts from all of your friends, so I have a hard time comparing them.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson June 12, 2013, 2:55 pm

        Am I the only one that was kind of confused by graduation gifts? Like when I graduated law school we just hung out at my brothers house and had many 15 people (all family) over for a bbq. Really laid back. It was just following the ceremony. I mean I didn’t send out invitations or anything it was just like, hey you all are going to be at the ceremony anyway so lets go back to my brother’s house and eat food because it’ll be lunch time. And I got gifts. None of them that large for what it’s worth, but I was so awkward about it because I literally did not expect it and wasn’t prepared to have my “Thank you so much!” face on. I think I had a confused face on. Like an asshole. But I did send out thank you’s, so hopefully that counts.

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      rachel June 12, 2013, 2:44 pm

      Good point! I got something small from my mom when I got my PhD, but that’s it. Yet if I were to get married, it’s expected that people shell out money for gifts. Funny priorities.

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        Amber June 12, 2013, 3:47 pm

        If you had a big wedding-like party for getting your PhD, you probably would have gotten gifts from guests…

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    • Jess

      Jess June 12, 2013, 2:46 pm

      I have to agree. I think the only answer has to do with outdated traditions. I really do.

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      GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 2:51 pm

      I actually received more money as gifts at my college graduation then my wedding. We haven’t bought a house yet, but I don’t expect we’ll receive any gifts.

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        TECH June 12, 2013, 2:59 pm

        I guess overall it’s just what does our society value more? People seem to make a much bigger deal out of weddings than they do graduations, buying homes, etc. Which is funny because graduating college and owning property are things that you work to achieve. While getting married is something that just happens to you.

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:03 pm

        I do agree. It’s kind of weird, but there is little any of us can do to change societies view. Babies are also a huge gift/money making occasion which is pretty crappy (considering infertility, people deciding to go child free, and adoption not being as big of a deal as a birth).

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        TECH June 12, 2013, 3:22 pm

        Right. Babies are equally sensitive. Not everyone can have children even when they really want them. Not everyone can get married for different reasons. And society places such high value on things out of our control. I think it makes it harder for everyone.

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:24 pm

        I agree. “Popular thought” is all sorts of screwed up.

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      lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 3:25 pm

      You sound like katie, lol.
      I agree. Its a real shame.

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    JudgeSheryl June 12, 2013, 2:47 pm

    so if people do still get married super young right out of high school they do still deserve gifts? then you aren’t giving gifts, you are giving charity.

    No one is forcing anyone. I had a few people who traveled to my wedding. Most of them gave a very small thoughtful gift or just a card. I don’t think less of them because they spent money to be with us that day.

    And seriously — i have been thinking about the married/ gift things. I still go ‘out’ most of the time for my single friends birthdays, but most of my coupled friends stay in and are low key with their significant other and just get a card from me. Several years of this, and the money the single friends spent at your wedding evens out… no one should be alone on their bday, so of course, this is fine with me, but you can’t argue that single people ‘always’ get screwed monetarily. (Also, i realize that some people make a big to-do about their bday no matter what– but this is the trend I’ve seen in general)

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    SLS June 12, 2013, 2:49 pm

    I must say that I have been reading DW for years, but have never gotten the courage to delve into the comments section (although I love reading them everyday during a break!). BUT… since I am now in the midst of a wedding spree this summer with my friends I figured this was a good post to have a little input. I am a constant traveler for weddings (which as a PhD turned post-doc definitely stretches the ‘ole budget at times) but I still love giving a wedding gift as well! I also don’t feel it to be an obligation – most of my friends have been thrilled to see me there and have expressed that is simply enough but I have always sent a gift as well.

    My problem isn’t with giving a gift it is with the registry. If I am spending all this $$ I prefer for my gift to have a personal touch instead of picking something off the registry and having it UPS’d directly to their home from Crate&Barrel, Macy’s, etc. I guess I feel like as a friend I hold a different connection to the couple then say a relative, family friend, or parent’s friend – whom I feel the registry may be useful (they also may have more $$ to spend on a gift). So for the time being I have stuck to personal gifts (monogrammed lucite trays) or taken something simple from the registry and added my own little touch (for instance I picked up a brownie pan but then added some “fancy” brownie mixes). So I say keep the gift giving, but don’t feel forced to buy something off the registry.

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      GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 3:26 pm

      SLS, your off registry gifts sound absolutely lovely. Very heartfelt and personal. We received a few gifts like that (cooking classes!!) and LOVED them.

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        SLS June 12, 2013, 3:35 pm

        Thanks GatorGirl! Cooking classes – that is a great idea! I will have to pocket that for the future.

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      Taylor June 12, 2013, 5:01 pm

      Love this! One of my favorite wedding gifts was a monogrammed compact for me, and business card holder for my husband. Lovely, thoughtful and personal =)
      I also got a box of swiss chocolates from a dear friend that we savored for weeks.
      For the etiquette part of things, I figure if someone is buying me dinner by hosting a reception, I’ll get them a gift. If I travel for the wedding, I spend less.

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    cdobbs June 12, 2013, 2:50 pm

    nothing about getting married makes any sense to me….the exorbitant amounts of money some people spend on what amounts to me as a party is crazy….thousands of dollars that could be used to buy a home together, a car, travel, put away for your kids….once you live together for 6 months you are considered common law anyways (at least in Canada)….i can’t even stand going to weddings as a guest, so boring….i get mad at friends who want me in the wedding party because then i think of the money I have to spend on a dress, bridal shower gifts, wedding gifts, it just gets ridiculous….its even worse if the couple already live together and own all their own stuff (china, furniture, etc)! and you are still expected to give them gifts! blech!

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  • avatar

    WAPS June 12, 2013, 2:51 pm

    DW has actually made me afraid of my own wedding. Are the people I’m inviting to my wedding REALLY resenting me that much? I don’t even have a registry, but perhaps people resent that they FEEL they have to give a gift and I didn’t provide any direction to make it easy. But if I do make a registry, then I’m gift-grabbing. If I choose a charity donation registry, then perhaps I’m asking people to support things they don’t want to support. If I ask for nothing and explicitly say that, it’s rude. If I DON’T say anything, then I expect cash, and that’s rude. Why is it so hard for people to RSVP “No, thanks” instead of resentfully buying a gift, attending a wedding (that the couple is paying for!), and bitching about it later? It’s so unreasonable. Why is it that weddings are the ONE time that otherwise reasonable people feel they can critique and complain about the way someone else is hosting?

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson June 12, 2013, 3:00 pm

      See I never agreed that it was rude to say “No gifts please” on invitations. I think that’s fine. Because the default IS that you have to give a gift, whether it’s assumed or not. I still like it worded more eloquently like, “you presence is present enough”. Now if I ever have to get remarried (I say have to because why would you ever do it willingly) I will absolutely say something about don’t fucking give me gifts because I’ve blown it. Etiquette be damned.

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        Liquid Luck June 12, 2013, 3:05 pm

        The no gifts rule is one that I don’t always agree with. I probably wouldn’t write it just because I still have a lot of old-school relatives that would side-eye it, but honestly, saying that you prefer not to get gifts doesn’t equate to expecting them in my eyes. If someone wasn’t going to get you a gift anyway, then they still won’t. If someone REALLY wants to give you something, they will anyway.

        Also, a wedding invitation is the only kind of invitation that doesn’t allow for the “No Gifts” line, which is bullshit. I really don’t believe that weddings should be held to different standards than any other hosted event.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay June 12, 2013, 3:50 pm

        Agreed. It’s like you’re not supposed to allude to the fact that most people will think they need to bring a gift even though that’s the entire reason that a couple would want to specify “no gifts.”

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        WAPS June 12, 2013, 3:11 pm

        You know, I actually wanted to word our invitations with “Your presence is present enough” but my family and my fiance’s family actually do believe that it’s rude, and explained to me that it’s because some people actually do want to give you a gift, and it IS really rude to refuse a gift. And they said that gifts are NOT required, and anybody who doesn’t want to bring one doesn’t have to, so why go out of your way to be rude to the people who express their love through gifts? (I am not saying that only people who love you bring gifts. My gift to my sister was being her MOH when I was a broke college student, and that was fine with her.) That reasoning actually makes sense to me, so we will not be saying anything. For myself, I’ve never bitched about giving a wedding gift because I only attend weddings that I want to go to, and politely decline all others. I think so many problems would be avoided if people could just say no.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson June 12, 2013, 3:15 pm

        Yeah I’ve never complained about buying a wedding gift either because I’ve only ever done it for people that I would be happy to buy a wedding gift for. Like I never had to attend any “obligatory weddings” so I’ve had no problems either turning down an invite and not sending a gift or attending and bringing a gift or if I really am unable to make it but I love the person sending something along.

        And I get the reasoning behind why it’s rude – but I guess I still just disagree.

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        GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 4:04 pm

        WAPS, I agree with everything you’ve said regarding “your presence is present enough”. That is exactly my school of thought as well.

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      Liquid Luck June 12, 2013, 3:01 pm

      “Why is it so hard for people to RSVP “No, thanks” instead of resentfully buying a gift, attending a wedding (that the couple is paying for!), and bitching about it later?”

      This I don’t understand either. When people don’t sound excited about going to a wedding, I always wonder why they said they would. Seriously, an invitation is not a summons. If you want to go, go. if you don’t, don’t go. If you don’t want to send a gift, then don’t. Anyone who gets mad about not getting a wedding gift from you is not worth having in your life. It is really not that difficult. Honestly, I have yet to hear a legitimate reason for why someone absolutely cannot miss a wedding they have no desire to attend.

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  • avatar

    artsygirl June 12, 2013, 3:02 pm

    To me a wedding gift is similar to a hostess gift. It doesn’t have to be lavish but should be thoughtful. Now, if I were an older couple with a number of marriages behind me, I am less likely to want presents (and would likely make it apparent in the invite).

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    daisy June 12, 2013, 3:27 pm

    I feel like a lot of my posts are all about Israeli and maybe that’s a little obnoxious, but you’re supposed to write about what you know, right? Anyway, just have to throw my 2 cents in on this one because standard wedding gift-giving practice in Israel is totally different here than in the US.

    At every Israeli wedding, near the entrance to the venue there is a small locked box and a stack of envelopes. The guests enter the wedding, pull out their checkbooks, put the check into an envelope and then into the box. Gift registries don’t exist (and honestly, a lot of the items on gift registries may not exist!), and it is accepted that people basically pay for their share of the wedding. In the beginning I found this very tacky, but after getting used to it I do see the practicality. Of course, cash has its own problems in that the bride and groom know exactly what you gave, and people often feel pressured to give more than they can really afford. I admit that I’ve declined wedding invitations for coworkers because I couldn’t afford the $100 check which is the basic (minimum) standard.

    Now this is a little off-topic, but what REALLY gets me going about Israeli weddings is that no one writes thank you notes!!! You stick your check in the box, and then you don’t even know if they got it until you see the money taken out of your account! And it’s not just weddings — I went to my former boss’ daughter’s Bat Mitzvah and gave her 12 year old daughter $75 that I didn’t have to give and that she certainly didn’t need, and to this day I never heard a word about it — from the daughter, from the boss, nothing. But at least you understand why brides and grooms never write thank you notes — they didn’t learn as kids!

    In short, I can say 2 things about my upcoming Israeli wedding (I’ve been engaged for a whole week now and the shock is just wearing off!):
    1. If any of my family and friends is able to come from America, I will be unbelievably grateful and honored and will make it perfectly clear that they not only shouldn’t get me a wedding gift but that they never really need to get me any gift again — flying across the freakin ocean for my wedding is amazing and is a gift that can never be repaid.
    2. I am going to shock people the Israelis with politeness by sending out prompt thank you notes — just like my mama taught me!

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    • avatar

      daisy June 12, 2013, 3:30 pm

      Wow, this post has tons of mistakes — but the thank you notes things really got me fired up and not thinking straight! 😛

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  • avatar

    Amber June 12, 2013, 3:42 pm

    No way should they be eliminated.

    I have spent tons of money on wedding gifts for others. I want my payday too! 🙂

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    A La Mode June 12, 2013, 3:49 pm

    My answer would be “None of the Above – I don’t care about “earning back” what I give other people, or about how much I can get from others for my own wedding. I just want to give gifts at major life events to celebrate such occasions!”

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    ebstarr June 12, 2013, 4:02 pm

    I think as much as it may seem unfair to us singletons who have to traipse around buying gifts for everyone without knowing if we’ll ever “get” any of it back, the concept of society being happy for a young couple who is starting a family (whether by forming their own little family of two, or joining forces to procreate, either way) and bringing gifts to their celebration IS kind of nice. It would be nicer, though, if people weren’t pressured to spend $100 or “the cost of the plate” (very tacky IMHO) or whatever other people are trying to enforce on them, and were allowed to give what they were at that time able to give, simply out of that spirit of celebration.

    That said, I chose the last option because it was funnier.

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    • HuggaWugga

      HuggaWugga June 12, 2013, 4:37 pm

      Oh, I won’t lie, I totally voted for option 2–partially for funny reasons, and partially for serious reasons. I’ve been living on a grad student/post doc salary for the past 8 years, so I haven’t had the opportunity to really have nice dishes or cookware like many of my friends who were done with school after their Master’s or Bachelor’s degrees have. It would be nice to have some slightly nicer things, but hopefully my shiny new assistant professor’s salary that starts in a few months will help with that.

      I guess I’ve had some pretty awesome friends, because they never balked that I could only afford to spend 75 dollars on a gift (I had to travel out of state, buy bridesmaid dresses, etc.). They were just happy that I came, and they probably would have been fine with things if I couldn’t have gotten them a gift right away. One of the registries for my friends included a Snuggie–you’d better believe I signed up for that one.

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        ebstarr June 12, 2013, 6:03 pm

        Yeah, I got freaked out once by a friend’s registry b/c it was entirely made up of insane things like $200 ashtrays. But then I got her a cookbook for her shower and chipped in with several friends for a $200 vase for the wedding, feeling INCREDIBLY guilty about not being able to afford more, but she was so happy and nice about it, and I was like, oh yeah! You love me and I love you, that’s what this is about! So that made me feel better. With real friends everything is OK, and with the others, who cares?

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    Grilledcheesecalliope June 12, 2013, 4:29 pm

    Cheese and rice, when did people get so f ing selfish and ridiculous. If you attend someone’s wedding you bring a gift of some kind, in line with what you can afford, just like if you attenr a dinner party you bring a host’s gift. It’s really not that hard, you are not obligated to get some expensive silver serving spoon or whatever, you are also not obligated to even go. If you can’t get a gift get a flipping card and say something nice. Is it really that difficult to just not be a dick.

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      WAPS June 12, 2013, 4:39 pm

      Hahaha, I laughed out loud at your last statement. It’s so spot on. People get so caught up in resenting getting a gift that they forget that they actually like the bride and groom!

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    Emily June 12, 2013, 4:43 pm

    YES. We recently went to a family members wedding out of town and with the $700 we EACH spent on airfare and hotel for the wedding, I was like, eh, we’re your gifts! Our presence is your present. They may have been offended but OH WELL. We were there and we felt that was more important than sending a blender.

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      GatorGirl June 12, 2013, 4:52 pm

      You going is infinitely more important than a physical gift. But I do believe it is a nice gesture to at least give a card with a short note with your congratulations etc. Doesn’t have to cost more than $1, but it is a VERY nice thing to do and I really loved going back and reading the notes since my wedding day was such a blur.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 5:31 pm

        I love having cards to read after time has passed. I save all of them, and its cool knowing I have the last birthday card my aunt got me before she passed, and things like that.
        You should bind them. Get a hole puncher and buy those ring binder things (just rings, no binder). Keeps them organized and all together.

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        rachel June 13, 2013, 12:44 am

        Dude, I save ALL the cards! I have like all of the birthday/christmas/whatever cards I’ve ever gotten, I think, and my boyfriend thinks I’m crazy.

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        lets_be_honest June 13, 2013, 8:51 am

        Same here, Rachel!

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        WAPS June 12, 2013, 8:35 pm

        It is churlish to say, “Well, you already did this, so what’s a little more?” I think that is what people are taking issue with above, not the actual card idea, but the fact that you’re basically saying, “Your presence ISN’T enough, please come with a card.” You are writing, “It is VERY nice” and acting like it’s not a requirement to bring a card, but then you are frustrated and peeved that people didn’t do it. There is no way for you to tell other people what they should have given you and not sound like a bridezilla about it.

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        lets_be_honest June 12, 2013, 8:47 pm

        Idk. Its just a very easy, simple thing to do. And possibly free. I can’t really call that bridezilla-ish. Maybe its just because I’m a card saver though that results in me loving cards.

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        WAPS June 12, 2013, 8:52 pm

        No, I totally understand that, and having thought about it now, I would do it for any weddings I attend. BUT…you cannot demand it. You cannot complain about it later. It flies directly in the face of “not expecting anything from the guests except their presence.” The fact that it is $1 or even free does not matter. It’s the complaining about what guests who came to celebrate with you didn’t do for you that’s bridezilla-ish.

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        GatorGirl June 13, 2013, 12:13 am

        Well I wasn’t demanding it. And I’m not beining “churlish” about anything. Honestly if you want to think I’m a bridezilla because I wish each guest had given me a card, go right ahead. I do suggest you brush up on what “bridezilla” means and implies, because you’re really off the mark.

        http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bridezilla

        And I will complain about what ever I want, thank you very much.

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        WAPS June 13, 2013, 1:47 pm

        Oh jeez, get a grip.

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        ele4phant June 12, 2013, 9:53 pm

        Meh, I think it is a nice thing to do, but I feel it is unfair to make it an implicit expectation. If somebody wants to give you a card you can reread and treasure later on? Wonderful. But I personally wouldn’t be put out if all someone did was take time out of their own life to travel out and support me. After all, it IS just a flimsy piece of cardboard, what it represents is their love and support, which they’ve given already just by being there.

        Besides, you’ll end up spending butt loads on a photographer, so it’s not like you can’t look over those later on and get the same warm fuzzies a card would give you.

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        SpaceySteph June 13, 2013, 10:12 am

        Actually I think cards are required. Its part of the social contract. Someone hosted you, you send them a thank you note.
        As I said above, if people used these manners in every day life more often, it wouldn’t be so weird to do it for weddings. It’s just that weddings are apparently the only place left that we still use our manners…

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        ele4phant June 13, 2013, 11:09 am

        See, I disagree that it required, or part of a social contract. I mean, this contract you speak of, I don’t remember seeing or signing one.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love them and I personally send them for everything. However I recognize what they symbolize is a sentiment. And that sentiment doesn’t *have* to be expressed with a piece of cardboard. It can be expressed in person, over the phone, or any other number of ways that don’t cost anything. It’s hallmark that has told us we have to go out and spend money for it to count.

        But again that’s just my opinion. I like cards, I like giving them and I like getting them, but so long as love ones let me know they love and support me, I don’t care whether that card comes in card form or not.

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      SpaceySteph June 12, 2013, 4:46 pm

      But seriously… did you get them a card?

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  • lynn

    Lynn June 12, 2013, 4:45 pm

    Umm… well, I give gifts because I want to. If I like the registry item… I’ll buy it for them. If don’t like the registry items then I’ll give them a cash gift. Or if they’re older (haven’t experienced that yet), I’ll give them a cash gift.

    Quite frankly, I don’t really care what the bride and groom’s “motives” are, what their thoughts about gifts are… I don’t really care if they get me a gift in the future… I’m going to give a gift because I want to celebrate their union by being there as well as giving them something to remember whether it be short-term or long-term.

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      Liquid Luck June 12, 2013, 5:01 pm

      “Quite frankly, I don’t really care what the bride and groom’s “motives” are, what their thoughts about gifts are… I don’t really care if they get me a gift in the future… I’m going to give a gift because I want to celebrate their union by being there as well as giving them something to remember whether it be short-term or long-term.”

      This. If you really can’t get into this mindset, then save yourself the resentment and don’t get a freaking gift. But if you care about someone enough to want to attend their wedding, then I really don’t understand how you can think getting them a gift is an obligation. Do people really not like giving presents solely for the sake of making someone they love happy anymore?

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        Grilledcheesecalliope June 12, 2013, 5:19 pm

        Exactly if you dislike someone so much the idea of getting them a gift (or writing a card) puts you in a resentful tizzy, why are u going to their wedding? Stay home and eat some bacon or something.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay June 12, 2013, 5:20 pm

        I do like giving gifts solely for the sake of making someone happy, which is why wedding gift giving is not very enjoyable to me. It’s also why I don’t enjoy exchanging Christmas gifts. It just feels so perfunctory, you know? Like you’re just checking something off your list of things to do. Book your flight, book your hotel, buy the gift. I much prefer birthday gifts, and even more than that, surprise gifts for no reason! I’m sure the couple appreciates the gift, but it’s probably brings a lot less happiness than if they weren’t getting dozens of things all at once.

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        Liquid Luck June 13, 2013, 8:46 am

        I know how you feel, I’m a much better surprise-gift giver than an event-gift giver. But in either scenario, I still like giving gifts more than I dislike trying to figure out what people want, so I always come out ahead in the end. If I ever get to the point where it’s all hassle and no joy, I’ll re-evaluate my methods.

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  • KKZ

    KKZ June 12, 2013, 5:00 pm

    You know I love you guys, but I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a group of people who is as neurotic about the politics of gift-giving as the DW community. Outside of this site, I’ve never discussed (let alone analyzed) the practice with anyone.

    I have to laugh at all the “expecting gifts” comments, pro and con, because gifts were pretty much the last thing on my mind when I was planning my wedding. Maybe because my wedding was only about the 2nd one I’d ever experienced in my life, so I just didn’t understand the weight of it. But, like, I created a registry not because I wanted particular things, let alone felt entitled to them, but because I assumed that’s what was expected of ME as a normal thing for a bride to do, ya know?

    So yeah, the level of analysis put into wedding gifts on this site just makes me roll my eyes a bit.

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    • lynn

      Lynn June 12, 2013, 5:02 pm

      +1,000,000

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      kerrycontrary June 12, 2013, 5:04 pm

      Thats how I feel about the original article. Like I just give gifts because that’s what you do at a wedding. Not too big of a deal.

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      rachel June 12, 2013, 5:05 pm

      Agreed!

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark June 12, 2013, 7:01 pm

      Yeah, I don’t get all the fuss. It kind of is what it is, you know…

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    Buzzelbee June 12, 2013, 5:10 pm

    And today I learned I’m a cheapskate. Hell yes I’m buying the $25 item if I bought a plane ticket and a hotel room. But I would always buy the $25 option because it’s the gesture. If I’m not paying for travel then yes, I go nicer. I once bought a friend all of the spoons on his registry. Like the serving spoons, spatchulas, mixing spoons (I like to have themes). But I also flew to Detroit, rented a car to drove up to Canada, and paid for a hotel room.

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    SpaceySteph June 12, 2013, 4:17 pm

    I think the reason that wedding gifts are held up as this odd “price of admission” thing, is that people don’t give gifts in the other usual situations anymore. Hostess gifts seem to have totally fallen out of vogue- but I would never show up at a person’s house for anything empty handed. I would usually offer to bring food or drink to the party, but if they said they had everything under control I would bring a hostess gift. Or at least write a card afterwards thanking them for inviting me and telling them what a great time I had.
    (Seriously, I have been to house parties where we played beer pong in the garage and I still either brought a gift or sent a thank you note.)
    If people did this (sent a card, brought a gift) to more things in everyday life, weddings wouldn’t look that weird. After all you are attending a hosted party (and an expensive one, usually) so the same rules apply as to every day life. And those rules are that you should do something for your host.

    I agree that people can get put off if the registry is full of expensive things, but there is no obligation to shop from the registry. Or if you do, but that crock pot is just too expensive, you can get them a gift card for what you can afford and they can combine it with others for the crock pot. No big deal… and if we change the dialogue from “look at these money grubbers” to “I want to get you a gift to thank you for being a good host” it will be no big deal.

    Finally, I hate gift shopping so I want to put out my support for life registries. Amazon is all over this with their wish list… my husband’s family has traded Amazon wish lists for Christmas for a few years now and I think that’s brilliant. Want something in June but don’t want to buy it… add it to your wish list. You can pick things out that you want all year and if anyone wants to buy you a present, you can send them the link. And if you want a giant thing they can’t afford… they make gift cards too!

    So basically, my answer is not down with wedding presents and registries but up with life presents and life registries!

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    • Jess

      Jess June 12, 2013, 4:20 pm

      Yes, my family does this too. We all have Amazon lists and we don’t give gifts exclusively from these lists but the odds are good on your birthday or Christmas that you’ll see something from there. I like it too for those times when you want to surprise someone with a little unexpected gift.

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    • avatar

      Liquid Luck June 12, 2013, 4:56 pm

      I love the view of your first paragraph. It might be why I disagree with so many people on this topic. In my family and friend circle, hostess gifts and thank you notes are still the norm. You bring what you can, whether it’s an expensive bottle of wine or something homemade that’s basically free. People don’t turn up empty handed to anything, and on the rare occasions they do they help out with serving or offer to clean or take care of dishes so that they are still contributing something to the hosts. I honestly don’t understand (because I haven’t experienced any type of greed from people expecting expensive gifts or feeling slighted when they don’t get them) why this same idea isn’t applied to weddings, that you give what you can afford because you want to do something nice for someone you care about. I have never felt pressured to give someone a gift that I didn’t want to, because I only accept invitations from people that I would want to do something nice for. It really makes me sad to think that there are people out there who wouldn’t just be happy that they even have people they love enough to want to include in such an important time in their lives.

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  • avatar

    Jessibel5 June 12, 2013, 5:18 pm

    I once got a friend a gift for her shower, and then right before the wedding goes to me “So what gift are you getting me for my wedding?” Completely turned off to giving wedding gifts after that one. 🙁 (and this is beside the point, but for what it’s worth, she didn’t get me anything for my wedding before that!)

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  • avatar

    applescruffs June 12, 2013, 5:44 pm

    I like what he says about giving the traditional wedding gifts at graduation instead. That money I got post-graduation was really helpful! So was that stand mixer – thanks, Stepmom!

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark June 12, 2013, 6:38 pm

    Right…. Now that’s I’ve spent FUCKING thousands on wedding gifts… you want them eliminated, world? Yeah right.

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  • MackenzieLee

    MackenzieLee June 12, 2013, 7:13 pm

    I’m hesitant to post this because I don’t want to start any more DW wars, but what are everyone’s thoughts on wedding gifts for second, third, fourth etc. weddings. My Aunt had a large traditional third wedding a few years back and I thought the whole thing was kind of odd. She was in her fifties, she had been married twice before that and it just seemed weird that people were giving her mixers and pots and pans for the third time around.

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    • mylaray

      mylaray June 12, 2013, 7:30 pm

      One of my coworkers has told me her family has received a lot of negative feedback for having a small destination wedding in Scotland 10 years ago and the registry gifts on top of that because it was her husband’s second marriage. It’s my coworker’s first marriage and she was in her mid 20s (he was late 30s) she had never lived with her husband before marriage, and really didn’t have much in the way of household items, especially since he lived with little in the way of kitchen items. I can totally understand a scenario like the one I mentioned where a couple really might not have basic items as a couple, despite ages or number of marriages.

      I agree it sounds weird and I think it’s harder to justify maybe, but it all depends. Multiple registries sound excessive for multiple marriages, but I wouldn’t say it’s a one size fits all approach.

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow June 12, 2013, 7:14 pm

    Well, I’m late to the party (as usual these days), but I have a couple of things to say.

    1. What happens on the deleted thread stays on the deleted thread.

    2. I absolutely, wholeheartedly AGREE with the article, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, since I went on a not-so-nice rant about it one day. (I was actually going to submit this article for Friday links, but I guess Wendy beat me to it, haha)!

    My opinion, like the writer’s, is that the idea of gifting HOUSEHOLD items to couples who are older and who already have established households is an outdated tradition that should just die.

    Giving gifts at a wedding is fine. I have no problem with the idea. It’s a milestone life event. But, like the article writer, I think that other life events should get similar treatment – like graduation or home ownership. And I really, really wish that people (society in general) would relax about what is an “acceptable” wedding gift. If you want a honeymoon fund, ask for it!That’s better than an upgrade on a crockpot any day.

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  • katie

    katie June 12, 2013, 7:54 pm

    ladies and gentlemen of the jury, in the case of the needed death of etiquette, i give you exhibit a: this entire thread.

    this is why “etiquette” or “the rules” or whatever, in general, needs to die. think about if we all just lived and let live, and didnt judge each other by some made up and mostly imaginary set of rules? things like this thread wouldnt happen.

    i rest my case.

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    • katie

      katie June 12, 2013, 7:55 pm

      also: wendy, dang! what a great day! epic! 300 comments on each post!

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    • KKZ

      kkz June 12, 2013, 9:26 pm

      Hear hear. I am so with you on the death of etiquette. it’s so freaking arbitrary and ridiculous and, frankly, classist. Because what does it do but draw the line between “civilized” and “uncouth” – and guess which class makes the rules?

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl June 13, 2013, 8:59 am

      I don’t really think this is an etiquette related subject though. Other than writing a thank you note for any gifts received, the “rules” don’t really say much about gift giving. I think this is more of a social “norm” or wedding machine issue- not a traditional etiquette issue.

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    • avatar

      Liquid Luck June 13, 2013, 9:05 am

      There are exactly two etiquette rules about gifts:
      1) They are never required
      2) If you receive a gift, you must thank the giver in a timely manner

      Clearly, they need to be eliminated.

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  • Imsostartled

    Imsostartled June 12, 2013, 8:05 pm

    This thread got a bit out of control I think. Hmm. Firstly, I think that if someone brings up something from a deleted thread you can be all “DELETED THREAD STOP” and then the person recalling something from the thread would be like “Oh shit I’m sorry, you’re right that NEVER HAPPENED”! Because come on people, who hasn’t said something off or out of character when stressed and on what’s supposed to be a safe place for those exact things. Would you out someone from DW on their fb page? I wouldn’t, and bringing something up from a deleted thread feels like that.

    Onto the presents. Growing up I always loved giving and getting presents. Now (especially around Christmas) I hate both. It’s become so crazy what people expect and with our expanding families it’s getting out of control. My husband and I are set and don’t need much in terms of presents and it’s just odd how many grown adults think they are entitled to multiple presents from two people after we’ve just spent $1200 on plane tickets. Gah, I used to love the holiday but the gift grabbing has gotten to me and the holiday fills me with dread instead of giving me warm fuzzies. We’re trying something new this year and will be trying to cut down on the number of presents we give/get using a few strategies. I wish people cared more about being with family than gifts.

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland June 12, 2013, 10:29 pm

      I want to know these strategies. I am only 23 but I am already feeling exhausted by gifts (giving and receiving). Cards, great. If you have something particular in mind, awesome. But to get gifts just to get them? Ugh. I’ve gotten to knitting gifts, but I am always way behind so I always just give people a xmas scarf in April, and a birthday hat 6 months after their birthday. 🙂

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      • avatar

        WAPS June 12, 2013, 11:03 pm

        My fiance’s family does a secret santa where everybody gives gifts to 1 person, and there is a maximum budget. It’s a very large family, and some people (like me!) are new and don’t know everyone, so everyone makes a list to make shopping easier. My family agreed a few years ago to stop doing presents except for the kids, and there’s only 1 of him! He gets a LOT of presents.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl June 13, 2013, 12:19 am

      Thank you for your first paragraph, that is exactly how I feel.

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    • avatar

      rachel June 13, 2013, 12:43 am

      Haha, I think that should be the official rule of the deleted threads. Because the deleted thread is sacred and should be honored, but it’s also true that we could easily forget who said what when. So I think your solutions works!

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones June 12, 2013, 9:12 pm

    I could have used a lot of nice new household items when I got my first apartment. There was no registry for that… I just went to a second hand store and stocked my kitchen that way with mismatched dishes, etc. How about when someone graduates from college, gets their first job and apartment they set up a registry? Just kidding, but by the time I was getting married and in my 30’s, I didn’t need a lot of “stuff”, but I sure did in my 20’s… It was nice to get a matching set of dishes, though…

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  • avatar

    Boosker June 12, 2013, 9:01 pm

    I think the emphasis should shift from extravagent wedding gifts to house warming gifts. This would be more inclusive (everyone has to live somewhere) and more practical (most people live on their own/with roommates well before marriage and could use household gifts years before they get married, if they ever do choose to get married). Although, we really did need the haul we received for our wedding. I didn’t get married until I was twenty-five, but I had lived with roommates from college until marriage and they all had a ton of houseware items so I never bought any of my own.

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  • avatar

    MsMisery June 13, 2013, 1:07 pm

    Don’t people still register for wedding gifts? So, even if what the Slate author is alleging about weddings, gifts, and the people who get married is true, shouldn’t people be registering for what they want/need and shouldn’t people be buying the stuff that is wanted/needed?? Why would you buy something like a toaster or an iron for an older couple who doesn’t need it and didn’t ask for it? And no younger couple is going to turn their nose up at cash, plz.

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