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May 13, 2005 09:56 AM

Another Wedding Etiquette question

  • p

With the season of weddings upon us, I have a quandary that could use some learned advice.

A friend of mine was to get married in September. Usual wedding hoopla. So I got her a Le Creuset 5.5 qt round dutch oven as per her registry request. She stressed out and ended up eloping a couple weeks ago. No more wedding hoopla. My question? Should I still give her said expensive pot or should I get her another present that is less expensive?

Now I would like to say money is no object and give out expensive presents all the time, but I'm at that age where I'm giving out so many wedding, engagement, baby, and other various gifts that my present budget has gotten all out of proportion. In addition, I have other friends who are getting married with the hoopla and my sense of equity says these people should get a gift that is a little more expensive than someone who elopes (and thus has no hoopla).

How do you vote?

P.S. If said pot is returned, I would get something for myself (Kitchenaid Accolade stand mixer) so I can't be counted on to make an objective decision.

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  1. A wedding gift should be an expression of congratulations on the occasion of a marriage. It is not a quid pro quo for your attendance at a lavish wedding, or repayment to the bride for the expense of all the "hoopla."

    You should decide which of your friends get more lavish gifts based on their closeness to you, not the quantity or cost of hoopla in their weddings.

    3 Replies
      1. re: Grace

        My thoughts exactly.

        1. Ignore your sense of equity.

          Recite three times: The gift is not a quid pro quo for the level of event or hoopla.

          1. While I agree with the sentiment expressed below in theory, I also empathize with your feelings. In reality I give roughly the same amount for every wedding I attend regardless of degree of hoopla, and I don't believe this is truly optional, but if there is no wedding I do feel a gift (and my budget) is optional.

            I have never heard of a registry when there is no wedding which is in effect the result of her actions. Is the registry still in effect? It is possible that she may actually be embarassed to receive expensive registry gifts after the elopement. On the other hand, I hear a lot of brides & grooms watch their registries obsessively, so they may notice that the item is returned (although they won't know who purchased it). Just something to consider.

            3 Replies
            1. re: julesrules

              But there was a wedding. They were wed. The original poster just wasn't invited to witness it. But there was a wedding. If she wishes to recognize it with a gift or not is entirely up to her.

              1. re: curiousbaker

                I should have clarified: I've never heard of a registry for an elopement, only for weddings with guests invited.

                1. re: julesrules

                  I'm sorry - that sounded much tarter than I intended. I was just bristling because it seems so much attention is paid to the "event" around the wedding, rather than the wedding itself as an event in a couple's life. (Says the divorcee who wouldn't marry again for all the chocolate in Belgium.) But of course, I agree, people don't normally register for an elopement; you elope in order to avoid all the hoopla, and I would definitely consider a registry part of the hoopla. (But that doesn't mean that close friends wouldn't want to mark the occasion with a gift, of course.)

            2. Give your friends what you want to give them. If you feel the gift is too much, then return it and get something more appropriate.

              Personally, with aquaintances, I usually send a small gift if I don't attend the wedding, or none at all. UNLESS they are good friends and I am not invited or don't attend the wedding for a valid reason, then I send them a gift on par with the level of our friendship.

              I decided a few years ago that all my gifts would be just that, GIFTS. If I wouldn't normally give someone a large gift I don't. If they are a very good friend, then I give accordingly.

              In my area most wedding gifts are expected or even requested as cash, which I think is crass and lazy. As well as expensive. When cash is the gift I try to find out how much per person the dinner is and give that much for myself and guest as the monetary gift. Sometimes the cost is so high that this is beyond either my budget or sensibility, then I give what I can afford.

              Remember, you don't have to give anything extravagent or even at all when you attend a wedding. You are being asked to be a guest in celebrating an event, not to help pay for it. Give within your budget.

              6 Replies
              1. re: The Rogue

                The gift of cash is not considered crass or lazy in some cultures. I can only speak for my Asian family, but the standard wedding gift from close friends and family is cash (in a pretty red envelope).

                1. re: chococat

                  I never saw gift items given at any Jewish weddings I've been too--only money.

                  1. re: Chorus Girl

                    I can't imagine why you would. Gifts should be mailed in advance to their home. Bringing gifts to the wedding just adds to the the stress.

                    1. re: JudiAU

                      Exactly! I don't know why people insist on bringing gifts to a wedding. It is not a birthday party.

                      1. re: Candy

                        It used to be considered less than good form (if not exactly bad form) to bring gifts to the wedding. Gifts were properly delivered to the bride's house before the wedding, or to the couple's house after the wedding.

                  2. re: chococat


                    On the other hand, what has been traditionally considered very poor manners in US culture is *expecting*, *requesting* or *treating* cash as the preferred form of gift. And still is in most quarters.

                    The relatively recent evolution of registries to pay for expenses of the wedding festivities (not just the honeymoon, but the food and photos and limos et cet.) is simply beyond the pale.

                2. Give according to your level of friendship with the person, NOT the cost of the wedding. Also, I agree with the other poster who said to stay within your budget.

                  Really, whether or not they have a wedding shouldn't have anything to do with it. If I consider the person a friend, I'll give a gift, eloping or not. If I don't, I'll send a card (and not attend the wedding either, if they are having one).