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June 13, 2007

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I absolutely agree with The Knot on this one. $50 bare minimum is appropriate for anybody you're close enough to be invited to a wedding, regardless of financial need or previous marriage count. My reasoning? Think about how much they're probably spending to throw the reception. Ours was $100+ a head... though my wife's cheapskate family certainly didn't average $50/person for gifts (mine did though!).

FYI -- we get a LOT of invitations where we're really not close enough to the people to be invited to the wedding (think kids whose parents we know casually.) We don't go to the weddings but generally shell out the $25 mentioned above.

BTW, the fact that you were crazy enough to spend $100 per person on your wedding isn't my problem!!!! ;-)

This is my feeling. I didn't invite people to my wedding for gifts, we invited them because we wanted them to share the celebration with us. The cost per person was our choice, not theirs.

Buy a gift that is appropriate for your relationship, and for your income level. No need to charge up some pricey gift. If you really can't afford a gift, be creative...take the time and write you ten best marriage tips, or buy us a book that would help us out.

Maybe I am just different, but I didn't have any idea who gave us gifts and who didn't. Yes we wrote thank you notes, but I don't remember making any judgments at all. I was very surprised at the size of some of the gifts though.

The comments above suggest an interesting blog topic for Free Money Finance: just how much people spend on the weddings themselves.

I wholeheartedly agree that we shouldn't look at a gift as compensating for the cost of the wedding, over which we have no control. Keeping the gift affordable is the giver's responsibility.

There's another tangential topic here as well: being a groomsman. I was irked recently by a friend's wedding where I had to rent a tux to match the other groomsmen exactly. It cost as much as I'd pay to buy a tux (nearly $200). If you want a black tie wedding, fine, but just ask groomsmen to buy or rent a plain, classic black tux and then supply them with matching cummerbunds, vests or ties. That way, groomsmen can shop around and if they end up buying, they can wear the same tux again to their other friends' weddings. Black tuxes with matching accessories will all look the same in the photos anyway.

I imagine bridesmaids have it even worse, so often being asked to buy an unflattering dress (to make the bride look that much better!) which they'll never wear again.

My standard issue gift is $100 cash.

My thoughts: decide what you can afford to spend, not what convention dictates.

If you can afford $50+, then great! If not then spend less and don't worry about it. Hopefully the person who invited you recognizes that your friendship is more important than the monetary value of your gift.

DB

If I went to the reception, I'd go more with the guidelines from the article. If I wasn't attending I might go somewhat lower, particularly since in that case they're probably not a close friend.

I agree with the comment from Mike. Are you going to the reception? that changes the gift.

If I'm going to the reception, I feel a little obligated to cover my cost of attending the reception. In other words, if I am going to a reception that is held at a local park and serving Hot Dogs and the favor is a golf pencil, well, then my gift goes down. If the reception is held at the Four Seasons and serving Lobster and Steak and the favor is a 1 carat diamond, then my gift goes up. Granted, I also hope the person inviting me understands that I can only afford so much. I won't be able to afford to cover the cost of the Four Seasons dinner and 1 carat diamond.

I try to remember, that I am giving a gift. I don't ever expect to receive anything in return. I also think the idea behind a wedding gift is to help a new family starting out, and I try to do what I can afford while being as generous as possible.

I totally agree that you should give a nice gift, but if you can't afford $50+ then get what you can afford. My classmate is getting married next weekend, and him and his bride put on their invitation, that they dont' want their wedding to be about consumerism so they requested that gifts be either homemade, a regift, or given to charity. They will accept other gifts, but don't see thier wedding as being about getting gifts. They are having a wedding and reception to celebrate with family and friends, not to get nice gifts.

If someone wants to spend tons of money to have a fancy wedding, that's their choice but they shouldn't do it just to raise the price of the gifts they get. I would like my wedding to be about celebrating, not about showing off or getting fabulous gifts (although I would really like fabulous gifts!!!)

When we got married, my wife and I specifically requested innovative gifts. We knew we would get money and things off the registry, but we really treasured the few gifts we got which had some thought behind them. One person gave us a wonderful quote filled book about marriage, a couple of wine glasses and candles. They told us the story of how they have candle-light dinners every night and they already know how much we admire their marriage. It was one of the best gifts we got, and the total price was under $20.

I say, give with your heart and spend what you can afford. If you give out of obligation rather than friendship, begrudgingly over lovingly, it's not really a gift, is it?

Or, how about make more money so a $50-$150 gift isn't even an issue?

Um, I was taught to cover the cost of your meal minimally, so $50 meal = $50 gift. Now if it's not a someone I want to go the wedding I just say no and give them a card wishing them well. Also if it's someone I would give a gift to anyway and I can't go I still send a gift. I'm sure they are happier that way.

This way I give gifts that are appropriate because I really want to attend the wedding. I don't go just for free food. I go because I wish them they best.

I think it's tacky to invite everyone to a wedding just for the gifts. But a lot of times when you do that you'll get a $5 gift or something.

When we got married it was a small wedding. People wished us well and we didn't even have showers at work. We didn't do it for the money. And our families though certainly gave us enough money to pay for it all.

I usually spend about £20-£25 on a gift (approx $35-$45?). This is where I have been invited to the wedding (regardless of whether I go or not).

Group collections for colleagues weddings, I contribute between £3 and £5 (approx $5-$9). This is pretty standard. I give more to those I know better.

If a close relative or friend got married, I'd probably spend more but I reckon £100 is the absolute limit (approx $180) and that would be for one of my siblings.

Ok... the former wedding planner is here again. LOL! I prefer to get my etiquette advice from someone who isn't associated with the retail side of the wedding industry. Emily Post is my preference. She says about how much to spend on a wedding gift: "There is no rule, so it is entirely up to you. Let your affection for the bride and groom and your budget be your guide." http://www.emilypost.com/weddings/tips/wedding_gifts.htm

Personally I don't decide on the gift based on the price, I try to purchase a gift that will be meaningful for the couple and their particular interests or personalities. I don't always buy from the registry - especially if I know the couple really well. I guess I'm more of a sentimental person, so I want to give them a gift that will help them treasure the memory of their new lives together. Guess that's the scrapbooker in me, huh?

~Pam

I was wondering what does the groom's mom give?

If you have a job, spend $100-150 ($200-$250 if you bring a guest). $25? Ha. That's a little cheap, don't you think?

I don't think that you can specify an amount as it it surely dependent upon what you can afford and normally you have to select something off of the luck couples gift list and they normally have a range in price so that they dont offend. I always like to get a wedding gift that is a bit generic as it is sometimes hard to know their exact tastes.

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