Weddings are no longer joyous events. They should be about gathering people to help you celebrate your relationship, rather than doing everything at such a huge expense and demanding recompense in the form of gifts. A few canapés, a quick glass of fizz and a few speeches would be perfectly adequate.
Last year one of my best friends dropped the ball on my birthday and wedding anniversary – I was a bit upset but shrugged it off because she’s a great friend in every other way. She later apologised to me and told me that she’d been having a hard time that year, and it made me extremely grateful I hadn’t got in a huff about it. Even with very good friends you don’t necessarily know the whole story.
Agreeing with others. I’m the anon who talked about approaching her best friend about this exact same issue upthread (downthread? I haven’t refreshed so I’m not sure where it is), and it going very poorly, so I say don’t say anything and wait for gift-giver to approach you. But solidarity on being stressed about this – due to my terrible post office, I am stressed to this day that some people didn’t get thank-you notes for the wedding gifts they sent us!
Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her sons.
I am very happy that we had an open bar because I didn’t realize until we got our bar bill but our guests would have pay for their own soda if we didn’t.
I agree. Mulling that part of the letter over, though, I would think that idea is less coming from a IF I DON’T GET A GIFT, I WILL DEMAND ONE place and more coming from a misplaced understanding that if something bothers you, you should speak up about it. Which is almost 100% entirely always correct…. except when it comes to gifts.
We received many traditional gifts and cheques, and a whopping twelve place settings of Christmas china. (Which I laugh about because I spend 364 days a year storing twelve extra place settings, but actually I totally love that we have special holiday plates.) The couple who gave us the china did, however, tie a simple Christmas ornament onto the box ;)
The Stand-mixer I wanted was the bowl lift model. It is about $200 more than the Artisan that most people register for (unless you track down sales), which is already quite expensive itself. If I put that on my registry, my family would probably just laugh at me for being absurd.
I love how she’s so concerned about “old-fashioned etiquette” yet doesn’t have any clue that the rudest thing in the world is whining to someone about how she didn’t get you a gift. Brat.
Obviously I didn’t tell them to buy me any gifts though, but that said, we didn’t ask the guests for any either.
Same!! Gift giving is at the very bottom of the pile for me as far as love languages go, so I have to remind myself (often) that not everyone has the same feelings as I do about gifts. I’m also the kind of person that tries to keep my possessions to a minimum, so that also plays strongly into my feelings about gifts.
As to the card issue: I love receiving cards, but I am not always great at writing them, and when someone I really, really love gets married, I often freeze up about what to say and how to express it all. And so I hope that in my years of knowing and loving the couple, I have said enough warm and lovely things spontaneously that they know how much I adore them, and what I adore about them, and how many wonderful things I wish for them. Cards just aren’t my love language; showing up is.
The appropriate amount to give someone at a wedding is whatever you can reasonably afford. If the couple are true friends they will understand. If they’re not, they probably only invited you for the gift anyway. When we got married, me and my partner had a money jar that people could add to anonymously, to remove the pressure. I started feeling guilty when the cheques were beyond £100. We wanted our friends’ company, not their cash.
Yeah, it’s assuming. A majority of people have their bridesmaids dress a certain way at minimum, if not force hair and makeup and beyond.
Yup. In my single years it used to really piss me off that everyone was jumping all over themselves to give people gifts for getting married. Single people need that stuff too, and I didn’t have another person bringing in a second income to share the rent and bills with.
In my family, we don’t even celebrate my parents’ anniversary with them. They do their thing. It is considered their anniversary, not ours; a private event, not a family event.
Though I agree with Lawyerette and others that gift giving is never an obligation, I feel compelled to offer a little redemption for the LW who is maybe a gift oriented person who was especially looking forward to receiving this gesture from her close friends and family. That said, I also find the tone and wording off putting.
No. The bride normally doesn’t plan her bachelorette party, but if you already know her expectations don’t line up with the plans…have a conversation about what is important to her. Cause even if you aren’t required to get her lingerie gifts at the party, she can still feel disappointed.
I’m sorry that you’re bummed. I hope that there is a good way for you to move past it, because, unfortunately, that’s really all you can control in the situation. Hugs.
Good old “gift grabby.” Maybe my least favorite wedding term? (Short of “br*dezilla.” Or maybe “STD.”)
Agreed. Frankly, I don’t even want to talk to anyone else on our anniversary: I think Meg has written here about how anniversaries feel like a secret holiday for just the two of you, and that sums it up perfectly.
I don’t even view it as bitterness, just fact. As a single lady, no one is going to buy me a stand mixer. If I put that on a registry and had a shower it would be snapped right up. I’m fine with people getting and giving wedding gifts and I don’t need some sort of alternate “you’re an independent adult now” shower, but I would like to at least be able to acknowledge that reality without getting told I’m a grown-ass adult who should just buy my own stuff.
This is common practice at my church. No one would call it the wedding reception, though. In fact, after the receiving line, a lot of the wedding guests (ones going to the dinner reception) don’t linger very long, and the bridal party usually leaves pretty quickly for photos. The congregants who show up for the wedding are aware that there’s another dinner reception following the ceremony, but (with rare exception) no one is offended that they’re not invited.
And I know I should let it go, but I’m still upset over the friends who came to the wedding FOR FREE (my sister paid for their hotel room and transport) and didn’t even get us a card.
Truth! When we got married, someone gave us a small gift that they didn’t wrap, that actually never made it to us. I can even see it in the photos of the gift table, but we never got it! You never know what is happening, so the benefit of the doubt is always great.
I agree with liz on this one, especially about the use of the word “confront.”
Thank you notes are only required for gifts (including gifts of service, time, whatever else), but not necessary for just “thanks for showing up.” I have no clue why anyone would think a “thank you for coming” was anything but thoughtful and nice, though.
In olden days, etiquette said you had up to a year to give somebody a gift. That’s old-fashioned, but still…
I’ve got two more weddings this year, and I’ll be gifting them different amounts. I don’t actually know the bride and groom in the first wedding, but my partner does. I will probably contribute £10 to whatever my partner gives as a goodwill token.
Wait what? I’m either missing a reference, or you are responding to the wrong person. How on earth was *my* response mean or harsh?
[picturing the original letter writing, reading these comments with her cheeks burning in shame]
“But there were lots, and it never crossed my mind to not be fine with that. Coming to the wedding WAS the wishing me well!” RIGHT. That’s exactly how I feel about our wedding. I was a little shocked when bridesmaids also gave us really nice gifts because it seemed like too much.
And not to pile on more (really!), but not sure what the bridesmaid bringing her boyfriend has to do with a gifting obligation? I guess the LW believes in the “pay for your (and your +1’s) plate” concept? That idea is squicky to me.
Wedding present for my nephew
I agree, Amy March, that you can’t worry about what other people “should” do, you can only worry about your own self “should.” But I think some of the folks commenting are just talking about how things made them feel, not whether or not it was right that they felt that way. Sometimes things bother me even when I know they shouldn’t. (and then I vent online/gchat my husband/text a friend and get it out of my system, and watch Unreal with a Kit Kat)
Oh that’s the other “great” thing: public status asking for gifts, but not all their friends were invited!
I sort of… don’t understand this comment? On one hand you admit that you were hurt by not receiving cards from friends, but then zig zag snap about how the LW is causing drama?
I think the issue is more that the LW *doesn’t* seem to know and, in fact, seemed to feel like she was entitled to the gift that made people’s hackles go up so hard. If she had said that she feels sad or disappointed or even a little angry, but knows it’s irrational, I imagine the response would be very different.
I think if you want well-wishes you can revisit easily and easily hold onto, a guestbook (or poster or whatever) is the thing to do. We got a poster instead of a guestbook, and it’s framed and hangs beside a big social studios collage of wedding pics in our hallway, and I love walking by and reading the notes on it. This is the one we bought (but in a different color scheme) https://www.etsy.com/listing/125643783/wedding-guest-book-alternative-radiah?ref=shop_home_active_23
It’s absolutely possible to graciously request no gifts. You’ll still receive a few– graciously, of course.
I appreciate your thoughtful and inspiring response. In the past year, we’ve grown so far apart and recently, with patterns established, it isn’t always the most positive relationship. No contributions to speak of, really, and the benefit of the doubt has been given such a regular and rigorous exercise, it’s pretty much exhausted.