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  1. #1
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    Etiquette for Destination Weddings

    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

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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.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

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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.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    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.)
    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!
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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!

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

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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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    (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.")
    .
    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.

    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.

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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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    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 though.
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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. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    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".
    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.
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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.

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    drinky typo pbp, closet hugger
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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.
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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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garden Kitty View Post
    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.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albee View Post
    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....
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genevieve View Post
    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.
    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyliefan View Post
    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.
    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.

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    Wedding gift etiquette from Emily Post:

    http://ww12.1800flowers.com/template...ersionTag=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.

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