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Wedding attendance/gift dilemma

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

  1. Lil Sarah

    Lil Sarah Active Member

    I think your friends will understand if you aren't able to go to their wedding. A nice card with well wishes would be nice.

    As someone who is getting married in 2012, without much money to put towards a wedding (we are both still making student loan payments and don't have great paying jobs), if you give the monetary gift ahead of time it would be wonderful for them to plan a bit of a honeymoon.

    Many people have said $1,000 is too much but you know what to do in your heart. If you only came up with the $1,000 because it was your travel cost then you could go a little lower. Just make sure that by giving the money you aren't giving away money that you need.
  2. taf2002

    taf2002 zexy demon

    Our closest friends give bigger gifts than we do but we know the gifts are from the heart & they don't make us uncomfortable. Our other close friends give much smaller gifts than we do. We all know each other's circumstances & don't give it a thought. As long as the gift is what the giver & ther receiver is comfortable with, what other people think is immaterial.
  3. Louis

    Louis Well-Known Member

    :lol: I did not expect 90+ responses.

    Anyway, it is NOT a destination wedding. The bride is from the area where the wedding will be held. It's just not in an incredibly convenient place from the East Coast, and there happens to be a major event going on the same weekend (which the couple did not know when they picked the date). The wedding plans themselves are very modest, but also super-cool. I'm amazed at what this couple put together on the budget they did and would love to attend the wedding. If it weren't for the family situation, which has already thrown a wrench into multiple travel plans this year, I'd definitely go regardless of cost.

    And, no, the bride and groom are not "society" people; they're people who spent years in school and racked up tons of debt to do low-paying but really important jobs that they believe in (teaching & research). Neither of them is from a well-to-do family, which could make this the biggest wedding gift and a bit awkward :shuffle:. I would never expect reciprocation, and if Sweets and I ever get married (which neither of us is in any hurry to do), there will be a very strict no-gifts/charity-only policy. That said, it could throw off the dynamic of our friendship.....

    Maybe $500 is safer, and I can put the other $500 aside for some other occasion. Sweets' first reaction to my idea was :yikes: (even though I'd be the one writing the check), so I'm giving that a lot of weight, too. Maybe we could take them out for a very nice meal as well.

    And, of course, there would be no strings attached to the gift. I mentioned honeymoon because I know they would like to go on one but can't right now, but they can do whatever they want with it.

    Anyway, thank you for all of the input/advice!
  4. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

    Ummm... because not everyone's idea of a vacation involves a wedding. I went to my best friend's wedding in Hawaii (while unemployed and on my savings) because she is my best friend. She was shocked that I was coming, but was over the moon. I did let her know that I would be there for 4 days... the day that I flew in, the day of rehearsal, the wedding day, and the day after I would fly home. She was fine with that. But I learned this...

    Most who came for the wedding expected more from my best friend in terms of travel advice, places to stay (they didn't like the places she chose), etc. Destination weddings are for the bride & groom and few others. If you want a big wedding, you might as well just stay home.
  5. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

    Louis, plan to send the gift that you feel that is appropriate... it's your gift. Since you are such good friends, I know that the bride will understand why you won't be coming. Next time you see said friend (and husband), take them out to dinner for a Louis-Sweets-Friend-Friend's husband only make-up reception and celebrate the wedding. I bet they would love it.
    Habs and (deleted member) like this.
  6. KikiSashaFan

    KikiSashaFan Well-Known Member

    That's probably true but considering my entire wedding guest list has less than 50 people on it, all of whom have fully supported the idea, I'm not too worried.
  7. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    I had a friend who couldn't get married in the Catholic Church of choice because her and her fiance were living together. The priest said they would have to move into separate places. It just made no sense for them to pay two of everything with rent, electricity, water, food, etc. They had to make the hard decision to get married at another Church. So I agree, something was probably left out about why exactly skatemommy was not allowed to get married in a particular church, I seriously doubt it had anything to do with inviting everyone in a 100 mile radius, that makes no sense. Could the church even hold that many people if they should all decide to come?

    Louis, I think you have come to a good decision. $500 plus a really nice dinner when you see them sounds perfect.
  8. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

    ^ Brian, I know it's hard to believe but my husband's family sent and paid for 6 children to attend parochial school at this parish. 4 boys were altar boys for 20+ years. We were shocked that the priest said we HAD to invite everyone within a 100 mile radius because we no longer lived in the Detroit area. I was like wow? You really won't marry me in my husband's families' boyhood church? It was a blessing in disguise as St. Paul's Monastery was so beautiful and the priest was amazing. But to be told by the priest who had only been there a year when my husbands family had been there 40 years that we weren't welcome was dissapointing.
  9. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    Did the priest say this was some kind of church/parish policy or is this just of his own doing? It sounds so ridiculous, I have to wonder if he was just being a tool for some reason you and your husband may not have been aware of.
  10. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

    ^ I believe he said it was the local diocese policy and he was going to lay down the letter of the law because he was new. Well, I wasn't going to beg them to take my money so I didn't press the issue. Sad really how the church beats down those that want to support it.
  11. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    That kind of sucks, but it at least makes sense- the Church does not support cohabitation before marriage. The 100-mile radius makes no sense at all.

    We did have to do premarital counseling, a session at a church local to us (I got married at my "home" church, but lived out of state) and one with the priest who married us.

    My sister shopped around for churches, because he husband's father is a protestant minister who wanted to co-officiate. They had to do all the Catholic premarital counseling "will raise the children" stuff, but found a few priests who would share the ceremony. She ended up using one who basically said all he needed to do was open the ceremony, and pronounce them at the end, the groom's father could do the rest (service, not a mass- obviously). It worked out well for them. Then they baptized their kids at my parent's church, as I'm pretty sure they don't really attend...
  12. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow Dancing

    Are you not Catholic by birth? Maybe that had something to do with it. Non-Catholics marrying Catholics have to go through RCIA in order to be able to be married in the Church. Some may think that's foolish, but them's the rules.

    I think it is pretty realistic to think that many people who are members of bible churches do not recognize the Catholic Church as a Christian church, foolish as that belief is. Is that part of your problem with your wedding and the difficulties involved?
  13. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    That's not true. You only go through RCIA if you convert. You can get married to a Catholic, in the Catholic church without converting. I had the sacrament of marriage recognized by my church, and my husband is not a Catholic and has no intention of being one. He did agree to raise our children as Catholics. My sisters was the same way, with a non-Catholic minister co-officiating. Their children have been baptized as Catholics.

    (I think it is more complicated if the spouse is not a Christian, however.)
  14. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins Well-Known Member

    Actually, it was true that marrying outside of the faith meant you couldn't have a wedding in a Catholic Church. My mother was Catholic and my father was Lutheran. He didn't convert, but agreed that all of us kids would be raised Catholic. They were married in the Rectory during a small, private ceremony. I think that changed after Vatican II.

    The Catholic Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) is not just for people who are converting from another faith; the classes are for anyone who wants to join the Catholic faith and have not received any of these sacraments through the Church: Baptism, Communion, or Confirmation. I have a friend who was baptized Catholic as an infant and returned as an adult to receive First Holy Communion and Confirmation through the RCIA program. (At the Easter Vigil Mass - very exciting for him.)

    skatemommy's problem may have been a result of the "parish districting" that took place in the 1960's and 1970's. It was a misguided effort to prevent parishioners from going to parishes at a distance, leaving their local parish without members. It happened most often with Churches that had school attached - people would change parishes to save money on tuition since discounts were often offered. If the local Church didn't have a school/a good school, they would lose parishioners once they had school-age children.

    Another possible cause is the name-only Catholics. There are many people who walk away from the Church after making Confirmation in middle/high school, only to knock on the door years later when they want to have a big church wedding. Then they disappear until it's time to baptize the new baby. They don't understand that those sacraments are intended for practicing Catholics, not people who are fair-weather Catholics.

    Judging by the original statements, I suspect that a combination may have happened to skatemommy. Her husband may not have been to the parish in years - they didn't know him any longer, plus the happy couple lived over a 100 miles away, so it was unlikely that they would join the community. The "100 mile" remark may have been to show that there was no need to travel all this way unless you were inviting that many people.

    Churches are families that administer sacraments, not catering halls that you can rent when you want to have a party. Sounds like it was his "boyhood" parish that no one in the family had attended or supported in many years. If that's not the case, you should have had an active parishioner make the request on your behalf and it probably would have been more well-accepted.

    I had a similar situation; my mother's family (incl. her siblings & parents) had been in the same parish for 70+ years, but my mother stopped going to church after my father died. My sister and brother aren't observant and only set foot in a church if they have to make a guest appearance, lol. My husband and I joined his parish after we were married and loved it there. We were very active in the faith community, although it was a long way from our home. When my mother died, we had quite the dilemma: no one in the family was a parishioner at her parish. It didn't make sense to drive 30 minutes each way to have the funeral at my Parish, then come back for the burial 10 minutes from her old parish. It was important to me (and to my mother's siblings) that she have a funeral Mass.

    My pastor called and explained the situation to my mom's parish, and they agreed to let us hold the funeral Mass there, remarking that even though she was a stranger, this was her home parish and they would be honored to lay her to rest. No problem at all, but I think it was the approach that mattered and the fact that I was an active parishioner elsewhere after my marriage.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  15. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    My great uncle had not attended church for something like 50 years but had left the request that his funeral be in a Catholic church. My father, who was in charge of the arrangements and inherited his estate, simply contacted a local parish and it was arranged very easily since my uncle had been baptized and confirmed. My father is not Catholic and lives in a different state, but there was no problem with this request. They had a funeral service but not a mass.

    My grandmother just died earlier this month. She left the church in the late 50s and became a Lutheran. Yet in the hospice center, she asked for last rites. They called a local priest and he came and administered them without questioning it.

    The Catholic Church is really not that difficult about such things.
  16. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    We had services for my mother in the parish closest to where she grew up as her childhood parish had closed. The funeral home arranged it for us and we had no problems. We arranged a memorial at her home parish. I guess it depends on the diocese.
  17. Rock2

    Rock2 Well-Known Member

    Sorry...I know there have been a gazillion comments and I'm not taking the time to read, so...sorry if this is repetitive.

    1. Not sure $1,000 is necessary. That's a lot of dough.
    2. Call them and personally share your predicament (without going into details) and point out how much you adore them.
    3. Maybe you can do something else that's meaningful to them. If you are in the right geography, maybe host a reception or party when they return for those who couldn't make the wedding.

    Hope you sort this out. Good luck!
  18. KCC

    KCC Well-Known Member

    You probably gathered enough responses to formulate your decision, but here are just a few other options to consider: 1) split the amount you want to give the couple between the shower and wedding gifts (still very generous); 2) offer to take care of one special bill from the wedding -- the photographer, the cake, flowers, the DJ/band, champagne, a hotel bridal suite, etc.; 3) simply offer up the cash with deep regrets about not being able to make it but that you hope that your gift will be useful as they start their lives together as a married couple. In any case, I think it makes sense to talk to them by phone ahead of time about your situation and try to get a feel for what might be useful and appropriate.
  19. Prancer

    Prancer Cursed for all time Staff Member

    I think it does depend on the particular Catholic church, or even priest.

    My husband and I were not married in the Church, but he wanted our kids to be baptized. My son was baptized without a problem, but the priest who was in charge of my daughter's baptism refused to do it because we weren't married in the church. My FIL talked to him and he changed his mind, but he clearly was not happy to do it.

    We didn't get married in the Church because the young priest cleared us for a ceremony the older priest refused to sanction.

    There's one Catholic church in town that won't marry interracial couples.

    Maybe it's just a local thing, but here, at least, you can't assume that one church will do the same things another church would, Catholic or not.
  20. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    One of the most entrenched myths about the Catholic Church is that it is some monolithic institution with one policy for every issue and every person all around the world which is written on stone tablets and kept in the pope's Vatican office.

    The reality is far from that. Things vary by country, diocese, and parish.
  21. minx

    minx Active Member

    I doubt anyone cares about my opinion at this point but I say give what you can afford for any wedding, whether it's a little or a lot. A gift is exactly that, a gift, between the giver and receiver, and nowhere in wedding etiquette (yet) is there a big tote board that flashes a running total of loot gathered that is obvious for all to see. Louis could give the money and no one might ever know except the couple, which would be a wonderfully personal gift. Anyway, I read into the original post the idea that the wedding couple might think that cash is a poor substitute for the invited person's presence at the event. Like a rock star, meh, I'm too busy to go, here, have some cash. Phrasing the presentation is the hardest part of all of this. It does make perfect sense, and perhaps you could enclose an invitation for them to come and have dinner with you at some future time, all expenses on you of course.
    *Jen* and (deleted member) like this.
  22. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    Eh, except with the Catholic Church (also Orthodox and Eastern Rite, though fewer levels of authority, as as I understand it the Anglican church, though they're having schism problems again) if you have the money, time and cojones you CAN keep complaining up the food chain, theoretically all the way to Rome if you're THAT upset about whatever the issue is. And the higher authorities can pull rank if they want to/feel it's justified.

    And the most stringent priests these days are often the young ones. God help you (literally) if you ran into our young priest at the church I went to in Arlington when you went in for confession.
  23. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

  24. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training


    For example, Mr. Mac and I were living together and we got married in our local parish with no problem. It never even came up.
  25. Allskate

    Allskate Well-Known Member

    I think it's nice and generous and is a way to let them know how happy you are for them and wish you could be there. But, you know better than anyone if it would make them feel uncomfortable.

    My sister lives half-way around the world and recently had a baby. I felt bad that I couldn't be there to help her, especially since she was having complications and had been through so much to finally have a baby. So, I sent a lot of baby gifts, including a number of things I knew she'd want and would be useful, but she would never spend the money on. She mocked me relentlessly for going nuts, but I think she was really happy. Yesterday, she e-mailed me to tell me that one of the things I sent her was the most useful gift she had received. Mostly, though, I think she likes it because it reminds her that I'm thinking of her and am really happy for her.

    I imagine that your friends would be love to not only receive the money, but also know that you obviously want to celebrate their marriage. If you think they may be uncomfortable with the amount, just reduce it and send a wonderful card telling them how much you wish you could be there and how happy you are for them.
    MINAM and (deleted member) like this.
  26. Really

    Really I need a new title

    I think that's a lovely gesture, Louis! How very thoughtful of you!
  27. Meredith

    Meredith what a glorious day!

    I think your idea is tremendously thoughtful, and have all the confidence in the world that your gift will be received in the spirit in which it is given.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  28. jadingirl

    jadingirl Active Member

    My friend who is Catholic decided to get married in Greece. When she contacted the first Catholic church out of 2 she found in Greece the priest refused to marry them as he said it was frivilous and showing a lack of respect to the marriage by coming all the way there to get married rather than get married in Canada at their local church. The priest at the other church said yes and the whole town came to their wedding and threw them a wedding dinner and party afterwards!
  29. mkats

    mkats Well-Known Member

    Not directly related, but all this where-to-get-married talk reminds me of a clip I saw in the newspaper where a local couple had met on the yellow line of the DC metro and were thinking of holding their wedding ceremony on the station platform :yikes: Not that we have a say in it, obviously, but all my coworkers reacted with a big, loud NO... it's crowded enough on those not-too-roomy platforms during rush hour as it is.
  30. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    As danceronice said, just because it's at a destination doesn't mean it's a destination wedding. A co-worker got married across the country because it was extremely important for her grandparents to be there. Her grandparents are in ill health and have limited mobility, so she held it close to where they live. Most of their invited guests were across the country and had to decide whether to travel that far. On the other hand, some weddings are clearly destination weddings. The difference lies in why the bride and groom chose to hold it there.

    If it's a "destination wedding", as opposed to a wedding held at a destination, then many couples stay a few extra days, and that serves as their honeymoon.

    This case, according to Louis, is not a destination wedding. I think it would be appropriate to give a gift certificate for a few nights in a nearby resort or getaway. It looks less tacky and less like you're trying to show off how much money you have in comparison. Personally, if someone gave me $1000 in cash and told me to spend it on a honeymoon, I'd feel very uncomfortable accepting. Somehow, the gift certificate wouldn't feel the same, even if it's worth the same amount. There's something about cold hard money that's different.

    But that's just my view, and it depends a lot on the specific cultural and social circles.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
    Cupid and (deleted member) like this.