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Wedding attendance/gift dilemma

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

  1. Louis

    Louis Well-Known Member

    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 discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    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

    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 And the band played on

    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

    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

    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

    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.
    Stormy and (deleted member) like this.
  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

    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

    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

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

    BittyBug And the band played on

    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

    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 war crawling into canada

    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

    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.
    ChelleC and (deleted member) like this.
  17. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    Actually, you are being judgmental.
  18. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

    ^ 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


    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 Well-Known Member

    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

    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

    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

    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!

    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.
    ChelleC and (deleted member) like this.
  25. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    :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.
    mag, FunnyBut, *Jen* and 3 others like this.
  26. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

    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

    I did and it's as ridiculous as most of her posts. I'm done, I have nothing more to say.
    Stormy and (deleted member) like this.
  29. BelleBway

    BelleBway a monkey stole my title

    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

    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?