General chatter - How much to give at a wedding? Please Help




Scarlett
08-19-2011, 08:15 PM
How much should I give at this wedding. I have never been to a wedding alone and really have no idea.

I am 24 years old and unemployed (I get to see all my college friends that have good jobs…) and will attend the wedding alone.

I know the bride and groom as casual college friends. I lived with the bride for a semester. Currently I see them about once a year and don't have either of their phone numbers. The three of us have a bunch of mutual friends. I'm driving 2.5 hours each way to the wedding. The event is on Sat. I would guess the wedding will cost in the 20-30K range (give or take). It will be open bar but I probably won't drink much (though I know that doesn't matter). I just wanted your guys opinions. I'm really just going for enough to be polite and not noticed. The bride is the type of person who would make an excel spreadsheet of her guests and sort them by how much they gave. She'll be able to tell me 5 years from now what my check was for.

I found this calculator online that said 85$ That seems a little low to me. What do you guys think?

http://www.theweddingenvelope.com/calculator.php

Have any of you guys been to a wedding lately? How much did you guys give?


mandalinn82
08-19-2011, 08:27 PM
The answer is, "what you can comfortably afford".

If you are good enough friends that they a) want you at their wedding and b) you want to go, they know your financial situation. And if you have to give more than you can comfortably afford to feel like the bride won't judge you...I would honestly question that friendship. $85 seems fine or even a bit high, to me, but it's about your personal budget.

bargoo
08-19-2011, 08:34 PM
I think $85.00 sounds like a lot. Why are you giving a check ? Aren't the bride and groom registered at local stores with items they prefer, styles, china patterns, crystal patterns and the like ? If they are registered pick something from their list and make a purchase you can afford. If they have a crystal pattern picked out you might get wine glasses. If they have given color preferances for the bathroom give them towels in their preferred shade. Same for the kitchen give them something in their chosen color, tea towels, place mats are some ideas. I would steer away from a check.


kelly315
08-19-2011, 08:35 PM
$85 sounds like a lot to me as well. I would have said $50. Have you asked if they have a gift registry somewhere? I bet they do.

And I just tried that calculator as well. I put in the lowest salary amount, casual friends, etc, and it said $125. I think that is massively excessive.

bellastarr
08-19-2011, 08:59 PM
i have a similar question... i was invited to a wedding reception of my soon to be student teacher. i would consider her a "very casual" friend but i am sure we will get closer over these next 8 weeks. i don't currently hang out with her or anything but i do like her, she's sweet. she was married a year ago (hubby is in marines) so they had a reception/party type thing this past july. i didn't go. i still feel i have to give a gift, especially since i will be seeing her everyday when she student teaches in my classroom. what would you give (amount wise?)

Scarlett
08-19-2011, 09:02 PM
thanks for the replies guys

We don't keep in touch all that much. So they don't know too much about my financial situation. Last time I saw them I also wasn't working but was taking graduate classes.

There wasn't anything in the inviation about a registry, plus she probably would have posted on FB about it if there was. I think they just want money. Plus the wedding is tommorow, so it's a little late for that.

I honestly am not crazy about the bride. We're "friends" though. I barely know the groom. Though we;ve all been out to bars and stuff a few times. I'm really just going to see my college crew. Everyone is scattered all over the country and it's a good event to get everyone together.

Smiling_Sara
08-19-2011, 09:08 PM
The answer is, "what you can comfortably afford".

If you are good enough friends that they a) want you at their wedding and b) you want to go, they know your financial situation. And if you have to give more than you can comfortably afford to feel like the bride won't judge you...I would honestly question that friendship. $85 seems fine or even a bit high, to me, but it's about your personal budget.


Yep....That's the one.

For fun I put in all the info from the last wedding i went to into the calculator, and it said I should give $205.00 All I have to say to that is ........ yeah right. I could not afford that with my monthly bills.

Gogirl008
08-19-2011, 09:21 PM
I must be really out of touch with current trends. I would never expect a 24 yr old to give $85 cash. I would have trouble with that now and I'm almost twice your age. IMO friends and same generation guests should go with a registry gift or something like a gorgeous photo frame or vase, the kind of thing you can buy on YOUR budget. I've always thought it was the older generations that should give money as a gift. Maybe I'm way off though.

If you are in the same age range as the couple than it seems like you shouldn't be expected to contribute so much. Gosh, that actually seems inconsiderate to the guests.....

MonicaM
08-19-2011, 09:34 PM
I was taught that you ALWAYS cover the costs of the meals at the reception, and then add on for a gift. If you cannot afford that, perhaps you should consider sending a gift and not attending. To be blunt, it will be noticed. Two of my sons are now married; we insisted on paying for all our guests so we would feel free to invite whomever we pleased. We were quite surprised to find the small and HUGE amounts our sons received.

Example - the husband and wife physicians next door, that I babysat for gratis many days, cane, danced and drank the night away and gave a vase worth about fifty cents, while our long-time cleaning lady gave them a $100.00 check and did not attend.

alaskanlaughter
08-19-2011, 09:38 PM
i attended a wedding last weekend for the first time in years upon years....i helped organize the wedding, i cooked a great deal of the food served, and i also baked their wedding cake ahead of time so my SIL could decorate it...the wedding was for my BIL's cousin, who they live next door to, and we're all rather good friends...DH bought them an ipod gadget (i dont know what, he picked it out) and he said it was about $50-60...i was too busy cooking to even see what gift "we" got them LOL...i have no idea if that was appropriate or whatnot and we werent around when gifts were open...

Scarlett
08-19-2011, 10:24 PM
I was taught that you ALWAYS cover the costs of the meals at the reception, and then add on for a gift. If you cannot afford that, perhaps you should consider sending a gift and not attending. To be blunt, it will be noticed.

This is what I mean. How do I determine what the cost of my meal is? I want to give a polite amount.

Also I just got some generous birthday money and have minimal expenses as I'm living at home. I could "afford" $85-$100 atm. I just got offered a smaller job that isn't official yet. I should be making some money in the near future :crossed:

Brown - I COMPLETELY agree

MariaMaria
08-19-2011, 10:39 PM
Your plate at an open-bar wedding is in the three digits--I'd say $150 would be okay but frankly that's probably less than a summer Saturday night wedding would cost. I do agree that either you cover your plate or you send your regrets--and if it were me, I'd seriously think about coming up with a reason not to go, if I'm not close with these people anyway.

(To be very, very clear: I'm explaining the etiquette, not creating it.)


EDIT: I think location matters a lot here. Urban/suburban northeast, this is how it works. Other areas, maybe not so much.

FINAL EDIT: Whoops, it's tomorrow? You can't back out now.

Scarlett
08-19-2011, 10:49 PM
I'm going to the wedding because I want to see some of my college friends who will be there. My college crew doesn't get together that often because everyone lives all over the place. I'm living in the suburbs and am looking for work. I almost never go out. I couldn't turn down an opportunity to party with my friends. This is why I want to go when I don't like the bride.

I'm really looking foward to it.

MariaMaria - Thank you so much. I kinda thought $85 sounded a little low. I haven't made a decision yet, but I appreciate your honest input. I'm driving home and don't really drink that much. Will probably have 3-4 drinks max and it will probably be beer. Therefore I won't be slamming shots and giving an average amount.

ERHR
08-19-2011, 10:56 PM
I disagree that you have to cover your plate at a wedding. First, there is no way to know what that amount is. Second, weddings are about hospitality on the part of the people paying for it. There should be no expectation of gifts and certainly not gifts that reimburse them for the cost of the wedding. The idea of covering a plate is anathema to basic etiquette and hospitality.

My husband and I (26 yrs old, fairly low-paying jobs in comparison with our peers) together always spend $65-75 on a wedding gift off the bridal registry before tax and shipping, no matter our relationship with the bride and groom, whether or not we attended the wedding, or the perceived cost of the wedding. That is an amount we can afford for the several weddings we attend per year so that is what we give.

Gogirl008
08-19-2011, 10:57 PM
Geeze, is this where we are now? This makes me sad. If you want people to come to your wedding do you only invite people that can pay to attend?

I've only planned my own wedding, but I DID NOT rate the cost of gifts we received. I invited people that were important to me and my spouse. It never even occured to us to put a value on what we recieved in return.

I do not believe that you should ever invite a guest based on what you will recieve in return. However, that is my own personal rule. Obviously, that is not everyone's rule of etiquette.

Apparently, there are weddings that I should have not attended.. :(

Gogirl008
08-19-2011, 11:05 PM
By the way, even more important than what ever gift you may choose is whether a thank you note is sent in return. I see more people lacking in gratitude these days. I hope whatever your gift is that you receive a nice thank you note for your generosity.

theox
08-19-2011, 11:06 PM
The answer is, "what you can comfortably afford".

This. If you feel comfortable giving $85, go ahead. If you don't, give what you feel comfortable with, and if the bride gets in a snit because it wasn't "enough," let her deal with it - it's not really your problem, and it's not like you're very close to them, anyway.


This was an eye-opening thread for me. It had never occurred to me that people should feel obligated to "pay" for the cost of a meal that they've been invited to share to celebrate a (theoretically) joyous event like a wedding - and then maybe feel obligated to give something else to the couple as well! It strikes me as cheap, shallow, and ungracious. I guess I still thought that the basic point of these types of affairs was to mark a special day with family and friends, and that the cost of the event was absorbed by the couple or their families as a way to show and share their happiness. Is this a Northeastern thing?

mandalinn82
08-19-2011, 11:15 PM
I was taught that you ALWAYS cover the costs of the meals at the reception, and then add on for a gift. If you cannot afford that, perhaps you should consider sending a gift and not attending. To be blunt, it will be noticed. Two of my sons are now married; we insisted on paying for all our guests so we would feel free to invite whomever we pleased. We were quite surprised to find the small and HUGE amounts our sons received.

This is an etiquette myth.

3. Should the amount I give depend on the price per dinner plate or how posh the venue is?

Quite simply, no. "Never think about it in those terms," says Martha Woodham, author of "The Bride Did What?! Etiquette for the Wedding Impaired." Instead, think about it this way: You're not expected to pay for your meal at a friend's dinner party, so why should you be expected to pay for a night of dinner and dancing at a wedding? A gift is separate from the party itself and should not be considered "the admission price to the wedding," says Woodham.

http://www.smartmoney.com/spend/family-money/the-wedding-gift-etiquette-guide-23264/

I can honestly say that when I got married, I was so grateful to see people that I never kept ANY kind of track of the size of their checks or gifts. I just wanted the people I cared about to be around me for a special day.

ahyessophie
08-19-2011, 11:53 PM
I can honestly say that when I got married, I was so grateful to see people that I never kept ANY kind of track of the size of their checks or gifts. I just wanted the people I cared about to be around me for a special day.

I really hope most couples have this attitude!

Somewhat unrelated: It was my understanding that gifts at a wedding were meant to help the couple start their life together. With many people cohabiting before marriage (if you get married), I would think that they'd have plenty of household stuff. Just has me wondering if the wedding gift and registry thing is a bit outdated for some.

MariaMaria
08-20-2011, 12:47 AM
Is this a Northeastern thing?

That gifts tend to cash, in largeish amounts? Yes.

That anyone's thinking about it as cheap, shallow, ungracious, or paying the cost of the event? No.

Remember that etiquette is local here, and what is correct in your area or subculture might not be correct everywhere else. And maybe consider not judging.

I was shocked the first time I went to a wedding where gifts were expected rather than cash (and I was even more shocked the first time I saw a registry where guests were clearly buying, like, two plates from Crate and Barrel). And I was beyond shocked the first time I went to a wedding where the happy couple expected their guests to buy their own liquor/beer/drinks (no open bar). Right? Wrong? Neither. Just subcultural.

EZMONEY
08-20-2011, 08:58 AM
The way I see it people can have their wedding however they want....

that's their business...

People can choose to give gifts of their choice...or no gift at all...

that's their business....

People worry too much AND share too much information on the giving and receiving of gifts.....

Angie and I have been at many weddings because our kids have a lot of friends that were close to us....we made a decision years ago to give everyone the same gift!

$100 Home Depot card.....

If I haven't been invited to other activities of the brides and grooms because of our gift....all I can say is....

THANK-YOU!

Lovely
08-20-2011, 09:08 AM
Whatever you can comfortably afford is the right answer.

People do not throw weddings to get their costs reimbursed, but rather to enjoy the company of those they invite. They are the hosts. They are hosting a party. You are the guest, and any gift or monetary amount you choose to give is splendid.

theox
08-20-2011, 09:03 PM
That gifts tend to cash, in largeish amounts? Yes.

That anyone's thinking about it as cheap, shallow, ungracious, or paying the cost of the event? No.

Remember that etiquette is local here, and what is correct in your area or subculture might not be correct everywhere else. And maybe consider not judging.

I was shocked the first time I went to a wedding where gifts were expected rather than cash (and I was even more shocked the first time I saw a registry where guests were clearly buying, like, two plates from Crate and Barrel). And I was beyond shocked the first time I went to a wedding where the happy couple expected their guests to buy their own liquor/beer/drinks (no open bar). Right? Wrong? Neither. Just subcultural.

No, is it a Northeastern thing to expect people to cover the cost of a celebratory event they've been invited to, and get upset if the guest doesn't give them enough? That's what seems cheap, shallow, and ungracious to me. I'm aware that giving large amounts of money as a wedding gift is standard in the Northeast (at least among certain sets), and that's something that I've never felt inclined to pass judgment on. It's the sense of entitlement and the apparent valuing of money over people by those who buy into this practice/mindset (which I tried to find some more information on) that I find unpleasant, and I'm curious as to whether that's something that's coming out of the Northeast.

Also, I'm aware that etiquette varies by culture and subculture - I've even attended weddings and other special events where the traditions were those of another culture. I've just never attended a ceremony or party commemorating a significant life event where I was expected to pay for the privilege of attending. I apologize if I stepped on your toes, but I don't need a lesson in cultural relativism or tolerance.

I don't think it's inappropriate to form an opinion on the practices of one's own or other cultures, as long as one has some understanding of the underlying social, cultural, and economic mechanisms underlying the practices. Cultural practices may not be right or wrong in any absolute sense, but they often are indicative of broader societal beliefs and values, and reflect or have some effect - large or small, good or bad - on that society. To that extent, I think examining them critically can be a worthwhile pursuit.

I think that many cultural practices can be (relatively) good or bad, depending on their explicit and implicit purposes and the intended and unintended outcomes from performing them. Of course, determining what's good or bad is a personal matter. Still, I don't think that that's any reason to shy away from making value judgements, as long as a person tries to be informed about the practice, tries to be logical in assessing practices, refrains from employing things like double standards, and is open to revising his/her opinion in light of new evidence (which I am).

I accept that there are people out there who think that how much they made off their wedding is more important than having friends and family with them on a special day, or that friends and family should be judged by the monetary value of their gifts. But I reserve the right to disagree with their belief in light of my own philosophy and worldview and to let that difference inform my understanding of those people (specifically, their motivations and values), unless/until something comes along that makes me revise that judgement.

nelie
08-20-2011, 09:54 PM
I have to say that $85 is a bit much and I was quite surprised at the few people that gave over $50 at our wedding. Personally, I was also very grateful for anyone that came to our wedding. I also feel that however someone decides to have a wedding is up to them and they invite whoever they want, that doesn't mean you owe them a certain amount.

I should also say that some of my favorite gifts at my wedding were not money gifts but things people thought that we'd like.

zoritsa
08-21-2011, 09:02 AM
The wedding caculator is a joke.It told me I should have given $285.00 for an informal THIRD wedding.

Give what you can,not what you feel you should.I hate that weddings have become this whole,How much is everyone dishing out to attend...and not what they are suposed to be.Now I'm even more glad my husband and I eloped 17 years ago.

Bellamack
08-21-2011, 10:12 AM
That website is crazy, for the heck of it I put in the data from the last wedding ( in the last 8 months) that I attended. I went alone as my husband was out of town. It said $225, LOL I gave $100 for wedding and $60 for shower gift. That calculator is crazy, that is like a car payment or heat bill in the winter. People have other weddings, graduations, kids in college or daycare. I have heard of some pretty tacky wedding things in recent years. We had a wedding we could afford and just wanted our friends and family to enjoy the day with us. I think since you are single and don't have a strong relationship with either the bride or groom that $50 -85 is fine. I wouldn't worry about it, what ever happened to "its the thought that counts". Hope you have fun seeing old college mates.

ann71
08-21-2011, 05:13 PM
The idea of covering the cost of dinner weirds me out. Now is that the average cost per person, or how much I actually eat? So a drinker at an open bar should bring a better present?

What about if I spent $1000 on plane tickets and a hotel. Does the bride have to pay ME?

Scarlett
08-21-2011, 06:00 PM
Thanks for all the input guys. I considered everything you all said and then asked my mother.

I mentioned the $85 calculator, she said I could get away with $75 and that $100 would be generous.

I decided to go with $100. An extra $25 is not worth the drama imo.

It was a VERY nice reception. 5 course meal, 300ish ppl, beautiful spacious room with a large dance floor.

There were alot of younger people and I'm sure at least a few of them skimped on the gift. Also the couple had a guy cancel 2 days before when he rsvped with a date. Then this guest had the nerve to Facebook "check in" at another local bar on the night of the wedding. soo I'm the least of their problems as far as rudeness is concerned.

By the way. I had an absolute blast. I get social anxiety and usually feel nervous at least some of the time in cocktail party type situations. Yesterday I felt relaxed and happy literally the whole night. More of my college friends showed up than I expected. Some friends let me crash in their hotel room so I didn't have to drive and I ended up in the hotel bar pool in my dress.

thanks again

fatferretfanatic
08-21-2011, 06:35 PM
Good lord! I had a small wedding with a potluck reception because I didn't have money,but I am glad it was like that. I wanted to enjoy the company of my closest family and friends. I did not expect gifts and what everyone got me was sweet and just fine. All things that I needed! One of my favorite things was a laundry basket care package for a new bride. Stuff like dish detergent a dish drainer, laundry detergent, paper towels, clothes pins, and other odds and ends that I might not have thought of until we got our home. It was a great starter kit. I think gifts should be whatever the heck you want to get or however much you want to give.It's better that way!

Justafewmore
08-23-2011, 02:27 PM
The last few weddings I have been to I have been very close with the bride and groom, so despite being FAR from well off, I usually take the hit for around 200 dollars. The reason being is that this is a once in a lifetime event so my slight discomfort is a fairly transient one.

4star
08-26-2011, 10:54 AM
"What you can comfortably afford" is the best answer. I would have been very upset if someone felt they couldn't have come to my wedding b/c they couldn't afford a large gift or even any gift. I invited people b/c I loved them and wanted them there with me, no money motive attached. My best gift was actually a hand-made sampler. Such a sweet gift made with so much love and care!

I have heard you are "supposed" to cover the cost of your dinner at the reception. And I have heard people expect their gifts to add up to x amount b/c they threw themselves a big wedding. That is in poor taste, etiquette-wise. When you invite a "guest" it should not be with the ulterior motive of what they will gift you. That's a new 21st century faux pas that people are trying to pass of as etiquette b/c they are wanting to make some of the money back off their wedding costs. Hence, the importance of a keeping a wedding budget and having a wedding you can afford.

Munchy
08-26-2011, 02:11 PM
I'm going to a wedding tomorrow in New England and not anticipating spending more than $50. I spent $65 on the bridal gift two weeks ago. As a single mom, it can be hard to shell out a lot of money (especially with my last minute $850 car repair bill yesterday lol).
I'm there to see my friends get married - I'm happy for them, and I know they just want to celebrate with friends, so I'm not worried.