Wedding attendance/gift dilemma

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Louis, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. Louis

    Louis Tinami 2012

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    A friend of mine is getting married this summer on a holiday weekend in a place that's not terribly easy to get to and also happens to have a huge event going on that same weekend. Airfares are expensive, and hotels are scarce and ridiculously overpriced. Plus, I have some serious family stuff going on that makes travel risky and unpredictable. While I would love to go to this wedding of two people I genuinely adore, I'm not sure I see the wisdom of spending $1,000 - $1,500 to do so, especially when there's at least a 25% chance I'd have to cancel the plans.

    Both the bride and groom are in societally important but not especially well-paying jobs. They can barely afford the wedding and don't have enough money to go on a honeymoon. You can see where this is going.... Instead of spending $1,000+ to go to this wedding, I would like to write them a check for $1,000 and tell them to put it toward a honeymoon. Would this be terribly rude? Is it too ostentatious? I know it's a big gift for a wedding, but it's what I would've spent anyway just to get there.

    Opinions/advice appreciated. Friend knows about the family stuff and wrote a nice personal note with the invitation that they completely understand if I can't make the wedding due to what's going on.
  2. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    One thing to consider is how socially acceptable it is to give large cash gifts like that in your circle.

    For instance, in a case of a traditional Russian wedding, the guests bring cash and there's rarely a registry. So while this kind of gift would be considered extremely generous, it would acceptable and welcome.

    If it is, I think they would be over the moon if you can afford it and couch it in the right terms.
  3. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Since they know your personal situation it sounds as though they are very close friends. Your gift idea sounds completely appropriate to me and I'm sure would be much appreciated.
  4. soxxy

    soxxy Guest

    This is mind-blowingly generous and considerate! I can't think how to improve it.

    ETA: Do some cultures consider giving cash gauche? My Italian culture certainly doesn't! lol
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2011
  5. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

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    I'm one who tends to err on the side of more not less, but I think $1,000 in cash is simply too much money for a wedding gift to a non-family member. And while the grand is what you might have spent to actually attend the wedding, that sum would not have gone directly to the couple. In my circles, cash is always welcome but the typical range would be $250 to $500 per couple, max. Four figures is aunt and uncle territory.

    I guess I'd turn it around and ask you how you would feel if you and Sweets were getting married and a friend of similar proximity but more means gave you a check for $1,000. Would you feel comfortable accepting the gift? Or would it feel patronizing?

    It's a very generous sentiment and it's extremely thoughtful of you to be concerned for the financial impact that their wedding expenses will have on this couples' finances, but maybe instead of outright cash you could find a way to contribute to their day in a way in which the exact amount of your expenditure would not be as obvious - perhaps a gift certificate to a dinner paired with a gift certificate for some activity (like a couple's massage, much as you hate that yourself) for their honeymoon. Alternatively, would you be interested in sponsoring some aspect of her wedding? You could tell her that you really want to be part of her celebration, and since you can't be there in person, you'd like some aspect of the wedding to be there because of you. Could be the cake or flowers or the limo ride or something. Just a thought.
  6. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Yes, in some places it is considered quite tacky. I would never, ever give cash for a wedding present. I would give an actual gift, which is so much more personal. Cash is a no-no where I come from, unless the bride and groom have everything they need and specify that they want no presents but would like gifts to their favorite charity instead.
  7. millyskate

    millyskate Well-Known Member

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    In my circle also.
    However, in the case of an exceptional and very generous gift like this, it would not be tacky.

    I've benefited from great generosity from people I wasn't closely related to in the past, and I'm very grateful for it. I think your friends would be as well.
  8. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    That sounds wonderfully generous and kind of you. If you have the money to spend, do it. You might send it with a nice card and something small like a photo frame from their registry.

    I don't understand what's gauche about giving cash (like a registry of "here, buy us these presents we picked out for ourselves" isn't gauche?). Personally it's my favorite gift :lol: For that amount, especially knowing I couldn't pay for a honeymoon otherwise, I'd be laughing, crying and kissing your feet all the way to the bank.
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  9. soxxy

    soxxy Guest

    I'd name my first-born Louis(e). ;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2011
  10. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    I think it would be lovely -- but maybe accompanied by a memento?

    Maybe a little smaller, and keep back enough money so that you and your sweetie can visit them later in the year for a wonderful weekend?

    I hope your "family stuff" settles down in the best possible way, Louis.
  11. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    It sounds as if Louis is very close to the couple. And if cash is a typical gift in his place/circle, there's nothing wrong with it. (Side note--are any of you saying cash is considered a tacky gift in the U.S.? Because in my experience of several different regions, cash has become a pretty standard gift for nearly all occasions. I prefer not to give cash myself, but I've yet to encounter a region where it is considered unacceptable).

    I actually think that telling someone you wish to pay for their wedding cake, limo, flowers, etc...would be much more patronizing. It's like announcing to them "I know you can't pay for your wedding; please let me--your wealthier friend--do it".
  12. Lacey

    Lacey Well-Known Member

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    I'd lower it to $500 and then decide whether to make it a present gift or cash.
  13. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

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    Louis is in NYC, and in NYC cash is almost always appropriate. So it's not the cash itself that's at issue, it's the amount, and I'm guessing that if gifts of such large amounts were routine in his circle, Louis wouldn't have initiated this thread.
  14. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Cash (Well, a check) was a very common gift at my wedding, but I would feel very uncomfortable with this sort of gift from a friend. I don't think many of my friends gave me money in excess of $50, some gave me gifts that were worth about $100 off my registry. (The dinner was about $30 a plate- so I think they went by the rule of thumb of 'pay for your meal' but of course, they didn't really know what the meal cost.)

    Getting $1,000 from anyone other than family is just too much. $500 would be overly generous, in my opinion, but a little easier to accept. $250 is in the range where it's more "gift from weathly friend". $100 is what I'd call "generous, but normal"
  15. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    among the people I know, actual gifts are frowned upon, cash is the way to go

    however, $1000 or more may make them a little uncomfortable, $100 - $200 is normal so maybe $500 is about right
  16. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    Wondering why a couple who can't afford a honeymoon would have a destination wedding that is hard to get to, very expensive, and have friends that can't afford to attend? Why not have a small local wedding where friends can attend and then afford to have a honeymoon? Not being judgemental but I really can't see the logic in this situation. Not attending because of finances (and family matters) and then offering to pay for part of the honeymoon seems odd.
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  17. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Actually, you are being judgmental.
  18. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    ^ in what way? You think it logical to spend oodles of money on the pomp and circumstance yet can't afford to go camping for a honeymoon?
  19. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Because you know almost nothing about these people and yet are rendering opinions on their choices when the reason Louis started the thread was to ask for opinions about his choice.
  20. mkats

    mkats New Member

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    I don't think Louis said it was a destination wedding... maybe they live there?

    It seems like a lovely gesture to me, as long as it comes accompanied by a card or a handwritten note, not just a check in the mail.
  21. jp1andonly

    jp1andonly Well-Known Member

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    what a wonderful and gereous thing to do. At my wedding last summer we had one person give us cash of about 500. We were shocked and it brought hubby to tears. I didnt do a gift opening with friends or family so therefore no one knew what each person gave....
  22. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    Years ago, a friend of mine from college got nothing but crap for her expensive "destination" wedding in a place that was a popular choice for that sort of thing at the time.

    Except that she was born and raised there and getting married in the church where she was baptized and confirmed and where her parents were still members.

    You can't make assumptions that someone is having a destination wedding because it is in a popular location.
  23. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    Looking at the bigger picture, when I got married 20 years ago, my first concern was for my guests. I decided to get married in my husband's hometown instead of mine because he has a much bigger family. I held the reception at a hotel so guests could choose to stay over and I secured a group rate. No cash bar, I paid the tab. My mom made my veil and my dad paid for the rehersal dinner; otherwise I paid cash myself for everything including my honeymoon. What I got in cash gifts did not even cover my dinner expenses and I didn't care. I had a great party for my friends and family but I guess that is not what is important these days.
  24. skaternum

    skaternum Grooving!

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    Since you asked, Louis, I think (a) it's too much and (b) kind of like enabling their bad choice. You're helping bail them out after they made the poor decision to spend $$$$ on an expensive destination wedding when they can't really afford it. THEY made the decision to forego a honeymoon for an expensive wedding. It's not your responsibility to help them pay for a honeymoon.
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  25. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    :rolleyes: And if all that isn't being judgmental then I don't understand the meaning of the word. I'm not defending their choice nor denigrating it, it's not my business.
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  26. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    ^uh, see skaternum's post. Word.
  27. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    Give the $ and a nice note. They're close enough to know about your family obligation and tell you to not even worry about it. They sound like terrific friends. I have a coworker who's pissed off about another coworker not making her 4th freaking wedding. Non attendee had just lost her mom 3 weeks prior and the wedding was 90 minutes away on a Friday at 5 pm. :wall:

    Oh, and if I ever get married, can I invite you? :lol:
  28. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    I did and it's as ridiculous as most of her posts. I'm done, I have nothing more to say.
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  29. BelleBway

    BelleBway a monkey stole my title

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    I think that if you sent a really nice note- explaining the same things as here- it would be a lovely gesture. If they are good friends, they will appreciate that you chose to send a very generous amount for the right reasons (as opposed to being ostentatious)

    But then again, I've never been particularly concerned with society conventions. :shuffle:
  30. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

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    Except that Louis didn't say that it was a destination wedding (one or both of them might be from there), nor did he say that it was an expensive wedding (just that they weren't in well paying jobs and could barely afford it). Louis also didn't say that it was his responsibility to pay for a honeymoon, just that he'd like to :rolleyes:

    Louis, I think it's a wonderful gesture. I don't know if it's considered too much money, if it was accompanied by an explanation of how much it would cost you to go there, how much you'd love to go, but how impossible it would be with the family situation. This way, you might not be able to make their wedding, but they'll remember you whenever they think of it because of the honeymoon :)

    I think it's a great gift. If you're worried it's too much or inappropriate, is there anyone close to your friends, like their parents of siblings, who you could get a second opinion from?
  31. skaternum

    skaternum Grooving!

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    Wow. Totally unnecessary. Glad you have nothing more to say -- goodness knows what it would be. :rolleyes:
  32. mmscfdcsu

    mmscfdcsu Skating Pairs with Drew

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    Louis, you are the only one who knows how your friends would interpret such a huge gift. I know if it was me, I would feel awkward, as it would point out the large power/financial gap between me and you. I would also worry about how the heck I would reciprocate when I got a wedding invitation from you. I would be ashamed to give a gift that I could afford. I think that even a $500.00 gift would be astoundingly generous.
    I still struggle at Christmas and birthday time when my best friend and her family go all out on me, spending several hundred dollars every time. I have finally accepted that they do this because I am buying for five of them and they are buing for 1 of me. We are probably spending fairly close to the same .
  33. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    even if you get tons of money at a reception it's not like you can book a "better" honeymoon the next day. But then again I left the day after my wedding for the honeymoon, I couldn't even cash the checks - my dad took them home for me.
  34. KikiSashaFan

    KikiSashaFan Well-Known Member

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    The last few weddings I've been to the couple hasn't gone on their honeymoon until months after. Granted I live somewhere that's miserable in the winter, so people usually have nice summer weddings and then wait until winter to get away.

    I gave cash to each one of those couples as well, between $50 - $200 depending on the people. I think what you're suggesting is a wonderful gesture.
  35. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    Whatever you give, it is a real kindness to send the gift in advance of the wedding. You'd be saddened by the number of gift cards that get separated from the associated gifts, and dealing with the gifts at the reception is generally a hassle. And, if the bride and groom aren't going to be living where the wedding is taking place, that adds one more complexity that they don't really need.

    I hope you can celebrate with your friends before too long.
  36. millyskate

    millyskate Well-Known Member

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    I agree
    :rolleyes:There is absolutely nothing in Louis' post that mentions a destination or an expensive wedding. For all you know they might be having it in their back yard.
    And even if they weren't... you're in no position to label it a bad choice.
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  37. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    Please point out the phrase in this post where it says they're having a) a destination wedding and b) spending money on a lavish wedding. :rolleyes:
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  38. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

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    I also think that you are being judgemental. Just because that was your idea of the perfect wedding, doesn't mean that it is everyone else's. My niece and nephew in law had a destination wedding on a cruise. They did not expect anyone to go on the cruise with them. I did, because at the time my finances allowed me to do that. Another niece and nephew in law got married in Las Vegas with a themed wedding. I attended that too, as my finances allowed it. My son and soon to be daughter in law will have a destination wedding. They do not expect people to attend (other than family). It has been her dream wedding since she was little. My older son and his wife had a wedding with a judge presiding over the event. And my youngest son had a wedding that could be described as shot gun in the backyard of a friend.
    Weddings are for the couple. Guests are invited to share, but shouldn't be the focus.

    Nowhere do I see that Louis indicated that this was a destination wedding (which to me implies that the couple would in fact have a honeymoon). From what I read, the couple either a) live some distance away or b) are returning to their home town to be married around family. I feel that Louis is asking if the gift is too much or should be a thing rather than money.
    Louis you know your friends best, but they might be embarassed by such a large gift, knowing that there would be no way that they could reciprocate when you and Sweets get married.
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  39. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    Both the bride and groom are in societally important but not especially well-paying jobs. They can barely afford the wedding and don't have enough money to go on a honeymoon..

    um that part...
  40. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    Louis, I'd give the cash, but think a bit about whether it would stand out. If the family and friends include people who are well off, and yours isn't likely to be the only large check, go for it.