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  1. #1
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    Wedding attendance/gift dilemma

    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.

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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.
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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.
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    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
    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 soxxy; 03-26-2011 at 05:45 PM.

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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.
    "I miss footwork that has any kind of a discernible pattern. The goal of a step sequence should not be for a skater to show the same ice coverage as a Zamboni and take about as much time as an ice resurface. " ~ Zemgirl, reflecting on a pre-IJS straight line sequence

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    Quote Originally Posted by soxxy View Post

    ETA: Do some cultures consider giving cash gauche? My Italian culture certainly doesn't! lol
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emason View Post
    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.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    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.
    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 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.

  9. #9
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    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
    I'd name my first-born Louis(e).
    Last edited by soxxy; 03-26-2011 at 09:48 PM.

  10. #10

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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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BittyBug View Post
    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.
    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".

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

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    And if cash is a typical gift in his place/circle, there's nothing wrong with it.
    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.
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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"

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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
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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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    Quote Originally Posted by skatemommy View Post
    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.
    Actually, you are being judgmental.
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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?
    "awwww....shades of Janet Lynn" - Dick Button on anyone who makes more than one mistake in their program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skatemommy View Post
    ^ 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?

    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.
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  20. #20
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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.

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