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How much to give at a wedding? Please Help

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Old 08-19-2011, 08:15 PM   #1
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Default How much to give at a wedding? Please Help

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?
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:27 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:34 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:35 PM   #4
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$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.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:59 PM   #5
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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?)
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:02 PM   #6
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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.
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*~Small Steps to ONEderland~*


(1) 235 [X] -- 9/17/14_____________(6) 210 [X]
(2) 230 [X] -- 9/29/14_____________(7) 205 [X]
(3) 225 [X] -- 11/5/14_____________(8) 200 [X]
(4) 220 [X] -- 11/12/14____________(9) 195 [X]
(5) 215 [X] -- 11/19/14___________(10) 190 [X]
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandalinn82 View Post
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.
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:21 PM   #8
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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.....

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Old 08-19-2011, 09:34 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:38 PM   #10
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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...
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonicaM View Post
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

Brown - I COMPLETELY agree
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(1) 235 [X] -- 9/17/14_____________(6) 210 [X]
(2) 230 [X] -- 9/29/14_____________(7) 205 [X]
(3) 225 [X] -- 11/5/14_____________(8) 200 [X]
(4) 220 [X] -- 11/12/14____________(9) 195 [X]
(5) 215 [X] -- 11/19/14___________(10) 190 [X]
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:39 PM   #12
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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.

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Old 08-19-2011, 10:49 PM   #13
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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.
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*~Small Steps to ONEderland~*


(1) 235 [X] -- 9/17/14_____________(6) 210 [X]
(2) 230 [X] -- 9/29/14_____________(7) 205 [X]
(3) 225 [X] -- 11/5/14_____________(8) 200 [X]
(4) 220 [X] -- 11/12/14____________(9) 195 [X]
(5) 215 [X] -- 11/19/14___________(10) 190 [X]
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:56 PM   #14
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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.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:57 PM   #15
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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..
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