Etiquette for Destination Weddings

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Albee, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. Albee

    Albee New Member

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    So I've been invited to my first destination wedding. And this is the first time I'm unclear on Wedding Etiquette.

    The scenario: My friends are getting married in the sunny south, we received an invite and said 'yes'. We are not in the wedding party. The trip will cost us about $3100.00 to go. Do we bring a gift or card or cash to the island? When we go to the reception back home (The reception will have 150 people, the wedding will only have 30), are we also required to purchase a gift? I am assuming yes to all of the above, however it does seem like a lot of $$ to see our friends get married. All I asked of our friends was a toaster, coffee maker, towels etc....

    Any and all advice is welcome :)
  2. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    One gift is fine, and it should be in line with your budget, not the bride's registry. If you send it before the wedding, it should go to the bride's residence. If you send it after, to the couple's new home. I was raised that you don't bring gifts to the actual wedding or reception, just cards.
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  3. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    No matter where the wedding is held, you are not REQUIRED to bring a gift. A gift is just that, a gift.

    It's traditional to give a gift, and as Aceon6 says, keep to YOUR budget. I've given hand-painted Christmas ornaments (something I do, so it was homemade), and once I split with my friend on a tea service from the Lomonosov factory in St. P (friend's parents lived there for his work so she bought it in Russia and hand-carried it. Wasn't on the bride's list, but it was right up her alley and she loved it.)
  4. mag

    mag Well-Known Member

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    I will respectfully disagree about the required gift. IMHO there are three occasions where a gift is NOT optional: wedding, wedding/baby shower, and birthday parties. Now, I do completely agree that the gift should be within the budget of the person doing the giving not the registry of the bride. I also agree the gift should be sent in advance to either the home of the bride or the bride's mother. Again, IMHO one should never feel obliged to purchase something off a list just because it is asked for. A hand painted ornament, home made cloth napkins, crocheted dish clothes etc, etc, are all totally acceptable and often appreciated even more because it comes with a little something of the giver. Slightly OT, but I went to a 40th birthday party once where one of the guests gave a collection of things in groups of 40 - 40 smarties, 40 condoms, 40 tealight candles .... it was quite amusing when it was all opened up. I am going to a wedding this spring and the bride and groom have specifically mentioned home made or re-gifted items as things they would like to receive.

    Anyway, back to the OP, I would say that if you are making the effort to attend a destination wedding, your attendance is certainly part of your gift. I would find something small but meaningful to send in advance. I'm sure the bride and groom won't want to carry all the gifts back from the wedding especially with the new limits on checked baggage!
  5. El Rey

    El Rey Well-Known Member

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    You should only buy one gift.

    I've only been to one destination wedding and it was the best wedding I've ever been to. It was like everyone was on vacation so the reception and everything leading up to it was really fun. Most likely only people who are really close to the couple attend, so it's really personal and you actually feel like a special part of the ceremony. Have fun!
  6. Albee

    Albee New Member

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    Thanks for all the advice so far, it is much appreciated.
  7. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Well, from a "it would be a bit tacky" standpoint, you SHOULD buy a gift. But it is NOT a necessity. That is why it's incredibly rude to put registry information in invitations or make any note of gifts at all, even to say "no gifts". If you're doing the inviting and the party is for you that just looks like you're grubbing for presents. The bride and groom should never mention gifts unless asked directly and THEN they can say something about a registry or what they might like. (Though even then asking for money is still inexcusably rude, unless it's to say "Oh, instead of gifts we're asking you donate to X in our names.")

    An invitation is just that, a request for someone's presence at a social event. Implying in any way there's a price for attendance is horrible manners. Someone who turned away a guest or otherwise chastised them for showing up to an event they were invited to without a gift is the rude one. And if they decline to attend they're STILL not obligated to send a gift instead of going. This is especially true of blatant gift-grab invites--ie people who are children of coworkers inviting all their parents' friends when they've never even met them in the hopes they won't show but will send money or presents. (That is also why multiple showers with crossover on the guest lists are tacky, and why it's almost never appropriate for anyone related to the bride to host them.)

    In the case of a destination wedding that's going to cost that much, I would hope they don't actually expect much more than a token present. Unless everyone they know's crazy wealthy that's a LOT of money to shell out just to get there. If you drop 3k to go, and they have a fit because you didn't buy them a $200 gift, that tells you what sort of people they are.
  8. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    I find the donation request extremely off-putting. I have been asked for weddings to donate to organizations that I find questionable and, in one case, downright offensive in its principles (a religious school that espoused ideas and taught things I find highly objectionable). A relative requested donations to a political lobby for his b-day once. :scream:

    It is not appropriate to ask for money at all. And it is really inappropriate to ask your wedding or party guests to give money to support your political views or anything else.

    I find destination weddings problematic. All I ever hear is stories of people who have friends or family members upset with them because they cannot afford to go to Hawaii or Cancun or wherever it is for the person's wedding. (Of course, working in schools, I'm surrounded by people who typically cannot afford such things)

    I got married almost a year ago and during the planning I realized that the problem is that it is easy to forget that your wedding is not the most important day in everyone else's lives.
  9. bobalina77

    bobalina77 Duck Hunter

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    I actually like it when people have something saying where they're registered because it means I don't have to go asking for the information. A lot of the weddings I've been to haven't been people I see everyday or talk to everyday, so having that information handy is helpful. So not everyone finds it rude.
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  10. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    The one time I attended a wedding with a donation request, the couple was very clear that they did NOT want any gifts (they were in their late 30s and had all the housewares they needed), and asked that guests who wanted to give something make a donation to any organization of their choosing in the couple's honor. Both have connections to the local music scene, so I donated to an organization that sponsors all-ages rock concerts, but really I could have chosen any non-profit and they would have been fine with it. I didn't mind this, as they were trying to avoid gift-receivingand just giving people who wanted to celebrate their nuptials an option. I can see a couple is saying "spend money on us at THIS organization" being problematic, particularly if the desired agency is political. But I kind of see it as the same as saying "in lieu of gifts, family requests donations to x" in death notices.

    Asking for cash directly to support the couple is a bit :scream: though.
  11. lash

    lash New Member

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    I have been to a few destination weddings and this is how I see it. If you are close enough to the couple to be invited to such an intimate eventthen you are close enough to the bride/groom where "traditional" etiqutte probably doesn't not apply. Or at least you don't have to closely adhere to it. You know your friends, you know what will/won't piss them off or what will be expected of you. At least I'd hope you know them better then some random people on a figure skating forum.

    For the few of these I have been to, I was told no gifts. I did get them a small gift (usually top shelf alcool) brought to the local reception.
  12. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    I've heard this said before, but I don't understand it. I think it's a convenience for those who are invited to offer them some idea of what you'd like. Let's face it, most guests are going to buy a gift, so why tiptoe around the subject? How is it more polite to make them contact you and ask? I would far rather know -- without having to ask -- that I'm buying the couple something that they like and can use and don't already have, than be the ninth person to give them a toaster.

    Now, when they put super-expensive items on their registry, that's what I consider a little rude.
  13. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    I think you should buy one gift, and send it to the couples home- bringing it to neither the local reception or to the destination wedding.

    If these are very close friends of yours and they know that the price of the destination is taxing to you- perhaps provide them with a detailed photo album of the event, rather than buying a gift.
  14. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    It's not the registry itself that is considered tacky, it's putting it on the invitation. Traditionally, registry info is supposed to come from some source other than the actual couple. I believe that in today's world of online wedding home pages it's fine to put registry info there, but it's still really frowned on to have it printed on the invitations.
  15. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

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    How do people feel about referencing a "wedding website" in an invitation? I've seen it done and the website will have a variety of pictures and background info, give details about the wedding, including convenient travel information for any out of town guests, and will sometimes have a registry link discretely on some "other info" page.

    ETA: Genevieve touched on the topic of "wedding home pages" while I was typing this. :lol:
  16. Civic

    Civic New Member

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    As long as the couple is CERTAIN everyone on their invite list is computer literate and has access to one. I can see how it would save on postage. However, I don't know what the etiquette mavens have to say about them.
  17. Squibble

    Squibble New Member

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    First off, never, ever bring a wedding present to a wedding or, for that matter, a separate reception unless it is at the couple's home. Doing so only creates a headache for the maid of honor, best man, bride's mother, etc. If you buy something off a registry, there's usually an address for shipping the items. Or you could mail it to them yourself or give it to them on a separate occasion if that's convenient.

    In this case, if you bring a prsent to the island, the couple would have to schlep it back home. You didn't say what island you're going to, but if it's in another country, there might be customs issues, even for a gift of cash. (And there are some customs considerations even when going from the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland.)

    You are not required or expected to give separate presents for both the ceremony and the reception. However, if you take any good photos at either one, copies would make a lovely second present. Or you could increase your budget for the one gift you do give.

    I don't think the fact that it's a "destination" wedding and that you're spending $3,100 to get there should make much of a difference in what you choose to give them. If you'd give your friends towels if their wedding were where you live, then you should give them towels under the present circumstances.
  18. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    That's what I don't get -- from whom is it supposed to come? Is the couple supposed to appoint an Official Registry Person? I'm not being snarky, honest. :) I'm genuinely curious. This is one thing about wedding etiquette that I've never understood. Also, considering some of the massive rudeness and tackiness that seems to be part of a lot of weddings, registry info seems like such a tiny thing.
  19. Civic

    Civic New Member

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    The parents or guardians of the happy couple. Or their siblings or best friends. In other words, people who are close enough to the couple to know this stuff. You get an invitation from your friend's daughter to her wedding. The next time you run into your friend at the supermarket you ask if and where the couple is registered. If they aren't, ask your friend what would they like or need present-wise.
  20. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    Wedding gift etiquette from Emily Post:

    http://ww12.1800flowers.com/template.do?id=template8&page=4016&conversionTag=true

    I would not take a gift to a destination wedding. However, I have never heard of it being bad manners to take a gift to a wedding. I suspected this was a regional issue and, lo and behold, the link acknowledges that taking the gift to the wedding is done in some areas and cultures.

    I have never been to a wedding that did not have a designated area for gifts and cards to be left, often including people who take and arrange them as guests arrive. This was done at my wedding--the helpers were my 14 year old nephew and a cousin the same age who were happy to be included--and my in-laws picked them up in the morning and took them to our house. Only people who did not attend the wedding had gifts sent elsewhere--some on my husband's side to his parents' house, on my side to my parents and a few friends to our house via the registry arrangements.

    Some guests did not even give us a card and I found that a bit rude. Not because I want presents, more or less because it seems polite to at least get a card. A former professor of mine came and only left a card, no gift or money. I was incredibly happy to have a note of good wishes from him. But one guest who did not even spend a couple of bucks on a card was my maid of honor.
  21. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

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    My niece had a wedding on a cruise ship. I went and had a great time. They are both very well off and I gave them a card.

    I went to Las Vegas for another niece's wedding, besides my parents and my sister/bil, I was the only family member present. The groom's family - no one there. It had been planned for 12 months, plenty of time to plan to go. They were happy to have me there and did not expect a gift.

    Now there were people who couldn't believe that I would go on the cruise wedding trip for a niece who is a step niece. To me no difference. Somehow the Las Vegas wedding made more sense to them, because she is my "full niece. :rolleyes:
  22. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    I have a wedding etiquette question as well. A friend of ours is getting married and they are having multiple parties. They had an announcement party, she is having a bridal party, he is having a honey-do party and then of course the wedding/reception. The bridal and honey-do showers are both for couples so they will include males and females. There is another announcement party still to come that his family is throwing and they are making it FORMAL! :rolleyes: Anyway, my boyfriend is in her wedding party (Man of Honor) and he is concerned about $$. He is having to throw her bridal party along with the others in the wedding. Now he feels he has to bring a gift to that as well as to the Honey-do and then to the wedding. I say NO. I say you should only bring 1 gift. You don't get to have 100 parties to receive 100 gifts from everyone. Not to mention all the money he is coming out of pocket for to buy the tux for the wedding and then throw her bridal party. What is proper etiquette in this situation? As for me, I am refusing to go to the Formal announcement party because I do not own a suit or anything. My bf is a little upset but understands. I hope that doesn't cause problems.
  23. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    I've never even heard of a Honey-do party. I am so behind the times.
  24. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    It is a party for the groom and they usually register at Lowes, Home Depot, etc. The point is to receive a bunch of gifts for the man to use around the house. Lawn mowers, weed eaters, tools, etc. Basically, as a gay man, stuff I know nothing about! :lol:

    I am happy for them but honestly, it is their responsibility to begin their life together by getting a house and the things they need for that house. I don't think it is fair or right to throw as many parties as possible so all their friends and family can hand them the things they could easily save for or wait to get. It just seems all a bit too much and greedy.
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  25. Lorac

    Lorac Well-Known Member

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    LOL - I thought I was the only one who had never heard of this - can someone please explain them - thanks!!!

    As to gifts - one is totally acceptable - and should either be sent to the home or the local reception (I'm from the UK and every wedding I have ever been to we take gifts to the wedding proper - only people who were not attending but wanted to send a gift sent it to the home either the bride or groom!!!). Taking a gift to the destination would just cause too much luggage all around!!
  26. Albee

    Albee New Member

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    Ok, I will order something off the registry to be sent to their home BEFORE we go to the Caribbean. Then I will look through all my pictures that I will take on the island leading up to and during the ceremony etc.. Then will make a little photo album or digital photo album to bring to the reception. As well I will pay the money to go to the island. I'm happy to do all of this, and to be clear I am not bitching - BUT now that I written this out it does seem a bit excessive. However - I did say yes and I could have said no. Boy am I still glad I only ever asked for a toaster lol. I don't think I could have asked this of anyone….
  27. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    See, that's when it's getting absurd. I think a shower a few WEEKS in advance, and a wedding gift is plenty. Not ten different parties and you're expected to bring a gift to all of them. And what would be wrong with the couple having a joint shower? Or the BRIDE asking for the pruning shears? (And I cannot be the only one who thinks asking for stuff like riding lawn mowers and big-screen LCD TVs is just OTT. I can see maybe putting ONE big-ticket item on a registry, in case you had a rich uncle who wants to go nuts or a bunch of friends who want to pool on one big gift, but asking for tons of expensive electronics and stuff seems horribly greedy to me.)

    I think it would be nice (not to mention modern) to be able to put a wedding website address on the bottom of the invitation (really, we're reaching a point where I don't think there are THAT many people who cannot figure out what a website is.) Then not only could you have registry information, you could have maps and hotel information and things to do links for out of town guests.

    Were I to get married, if someone came and didn't bring a gift, assuming I noticed, that's one fewer thank-you note I have to write. While it seems a little much not to even bother with a card, I wouldn't want to presume anything about someone who didn't buy a present. I don't know what they spent to get there or what their finances are like.
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  28. Bev Johnston

    Bev Johnston New Member

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    Your post is making me break out in hives because it reminds me of my SIL's wedding "affair". I say affair because her in-laws made such a big to-do of the whole thing with multiple parties and showers. I'm glad they'd never heard of the honey-do shower because they would've had that, too I'm certain.

    Anyway, I think it's fine for you and your bf to give one gift if that's what you can afford. But then, I'm a wedding grouch and this kind of stuff makes me especially cranky, so I could be wrong. Generally, if I am invited to a shower and a wedding, I give a small gift for the shower, and something a little more expensive for the wedding.

    I also appreciate the registry info. Sometimes I'm invited to weddings where I won't see anyone related to the bride/groom before the wedding. When I got married, we didn't register and got about 20 bottles of wine and wine glasses to go with. I'm not complaining about the wine - it was surely enjoyed much more than another dish towel, but I stored most of the glasses and brought them out to replace those that we broke over the years.

    Finally, I was glad that my friends came to my reception and their presence was enough for me. I didn't care about gifts!
  29. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    I think that's a great solution! I bet the photo album will be greatly appreciated :)

    I've never heard of a "honey-do"* party. :rolleyes: The only reason for having a separate groom party (whether it's a bachelor party or a male version of a bridal shower, where house gifts are expected) is if both parties are gender-segregated.

    * I should say that I really hate the whole "honey-do" phenomenon, period. I don't care that spouses have different household tasks they're responsible for, but calling it a "honey-do" list perpetuates the culture of nagging women forcing their poor, whipped husbands into doing unpleasant tasks.
  30. El Rey

    El Rey Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry. I don't think I would ever be that happy about anyone's engagement to attend that many parties, much less buy that many gifts. And I love to party!
  31. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    The only big ticket item we registered for was a set of cookware. We did it because my mother-in-law asked us to as that was what they planned to get us and wanted an idea of exactly what we wanted. They ended up buying us a more expensive set utilizing my father-in-law's discount because he works for a major department store.

    I was shocked and dismayed at how hyper-critical people become the moment you decide to get married. I was told by one person that I didn't need or "deserve" any of the stuff on my registry --which literally had one item over $100 and only 2 between $50 and $100--because I was over 30 and clearly owned everything already. I have spent my life teaching in private religious schools. I did not own a pan with a lid or an actual set of dishes. The silverware I ate with prior to getting married was purchased at a Dollar Store. I was told that our wedding reception, which included a full buffet was done just to "show off". We did it because we have both been to too many weddings with a long Catholic ceremony followed by barely anything to eat at dinner time. We wanted to not starve our guests. And it cost only $16 a person including tax and gratuities--and my parents paid the bill from an inheritance from my dad's uncle (without his own children) who died four months before the wedding and told my father he would inherit it and he should pay for part of the wedding with it. So...we were trying to be good hosts and got accused of being bad ones.

    You can't win when you plan a wedding. Someone is always going to be pissed off about something. Possibly even about having a good meal.

    As for my MoH who didn't even give us a card---she and her husband take home around $110,000 a year in the low cost of living Midwest and she drove a whole 28 miles from home to get to the wedding. Her dress cost $96 and she wore shoes she already had and didn't get her hair or nails done. She gave us a $10 gift at the shower that the other bridesmaids threw which she only brought the chocolate fountain she already owned to and she skipped the bachelorette night which my sister-in-law had to plan by herself at the last minute. I'm fairly certain she could have spared two bucks for a card. And I would have been happy with that. Puzzled, but happy.
  32. Hannahclear

    Hannahclear Well-Known Member

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    You can't win with registries period. Personally, I think they should be abolished! :lol:
  33. Civic

    Civic New Member

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    They call this a male shower in my neck of the woods. IMO, it's yet another gift grab opportunity egged on by the bridal industrial complex.:rolleyes:
  34. bobalina77

    bobalina77 Duck Hunter

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    Yeah I think one shower is plenty. If you want to throw an engagement party that's fine but I don't think it's necessary to buy gifts for that.

    I think if boyfriend and I were getting married right now the only "big ticket" item we'd have on the registry would be a patio set. His mom gave us her BBQ because she never uses it, I got my Kitchen Aid Mixer for Christmas (and LOVE it haha!), he got a nice set of pots and pans for Christmas, the furniture we have will do for now.. if people wanted to go in on a livingroom set I wouldn't complain but I wouldn't ask for it :lol:

    I would love anything to do with baking. Or any of the attachments for my mixer would be good too! Not that we're getting married right at the moment :lol:
  35. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Well, the one problem with that, though it happens even with registries, is some people get...creative. Like the urn.

    Srsly. When my friend got married, her husbands' parents basically hosted the wedding and that meant lots of their friends were invited, and sent gifts. So when I got there a couple days before the wedding some gifts had arrived and my friend and her fiance opened them, and one was...an urn. A silver antique urn. Not REALLY suited to storing ashes, but also not exactly a flower vase, an ice bucket....just...an urn. We all kind of stood there looking at it, going..."Ohhhkay." They also got seven glass pitchers and four silver ones.

    That friend's now divorced. I think the urn is STILL in her ex-in-laws' attic. (Her ex's parents actually like her better than him these days and they did ask if she'd like it. She said no thanks.)
  36. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    I think registries are fine and I don't mind the occasional big ticket item. Sometimes people go in on one items with other friends/guests that any one of them couldn't have afforded on their own. And I do know a couple of people who put something on there that's totally pie-in-the-sky - they don't need it/expect to get it but figure if someone they know wants to spring for it, why not?
  37. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    Correct-a-mundo. I gift is NEVER required. And sending it to the bride's home (before the wedding) is so thoughtful and appreciated.
  38. bobalina77

    bobalina77 Duck Hunter

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    Why do so many weddings have a gift table if you aren't supposed to bring the gift to the wedding then? Every wedding I've been to has had a gift table..
  39. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    I think they have a gift table because so many people bring the gift instead of taking the time and/or effort of mailing it ahead.

    It makes good sense to mail it, if you think about it. The couple has to have someone gather the gifts, make sure the cards don't get separated, bring them to the couple so they have them when they get back from the honeymoon.
  40. BrokenAnkle

    BrokenAnkle Active Member

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