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do people make up their own etiquette rules?

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biblobaggins23

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do people make up their own etiquette rules at their weddings?

one of my friends and i were out to lunch the other day, and we were discussing her registry. we got on the topic of our mutual friend's (we will call her jane) wedding last summer. my friend asked jane what kind of gift she wanted off her registry, and jane said that a guest should buy a gift that is equivalent to what the bride is paying per person at their wedding. so if jane was spending $70/head, then the guest's gift should be about $70.


i was shocked that our mutual friend jane would say this was etiquette. i didn't think it was etiquette, but rudeness to tell a guest that or to expect guests to spend that amount. jane's registry was completely overpriced, and was shocked/irritated when she received gifts that were not on her registry (she shouldn't have been shocked).

anyway, is jane making up her own rules, or is she correct? or should a guest buy the best quality gift they can afford?

long story short, despite jane's suggestion for a gift around $70 dollars, neither of us received true appreciation for our gifts that were around that amount or from her fine china line. in fact, from us bridesmaids who bought her nice gifts, she doesn't even make efforts to call us anymore.
 

Pandora II

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FI & I tend to spend around £50 on a wedding gift. I almost never buy from the registry - I tend to give antique english silver. I am a great bargain hunter and most people end up with something worth around the £150 - £250 mark if I was buying it retail.

I will end up spending around £80 a head for my wedding - I don''t expect people to spend that much on a gift. I intend to have lots of things round the £10 mark on my registry - then if people are feeling generous they can buy a couple! Frankly I don''t care if our guests don''t give me a gift (well, except an artist friend who always gives his own paintings - I soooo want one and can''t afford his prices!
) - I''m inviting them because I want their company not a gift.

(Prices above all in GBP)
 

wifey2b

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Date: 3/31/2007 11:17:09 AM
Author:biblobaggins23
do people make up their own etiquette rules at their weddings?

one of my friends and i were out to lunch the other day, and we were discussing her registry. we got on the topic of our mutual friend''s (we will call her jane) wedding last summer. my friend asked jane what kind of gift she wanted off her registry, and jane said that a guest should buy a gift that is equivalent to what the bride is paying per person at their wedding. so if jane was spending $70/head, then the guest''s gift should be about $70.


i was shocked that our mutual friend jane would say this was etiquette. i didn''t think it was etiquette, but rudeness to tell a guest that or to expect guests to spend that amount. jane''s registry was completely overpriced, and was shocked/irritated when she received gifts that were not on her registry (she shouldn''t have been shocked).

anyway, is jane making up her own rules, or is she correct? or should a guest buy the best quality gift they can afford?

long story short, despite jane''s suggestion for a gift around $70 dollars, neither of us received true appreciation for our gifts that were around that amount or from her fine china line. in fact, from us bridesmaids who bought her nice gifts, she doesn''t even make efforts to call us anymore.
IMHO wouldn''t it seem a little rude to ask the Bride first how much she is paying per plate - I mean - isn''t that what you would have to do in order to know how much to spend if that is the case?
I believe a person is invited to the wedding to celebrate your memory of marriage - if they cannot afford a gift, then who cares, if they do not spend a lot because they cannot afford it - then be appreciative for what they gave you - it is a memory for down the road - someone comments and you can say "Oh, so and so gave us that as a wedding gift!"
Weddings are all about the memories, not the money! So I think she did start her own etiquette, and I am sorry if I sound harsh, but I almost feel like saying "Shame on you!"
I know weddings today are nothing like they used to be, I guess I am just still stuck in the old-fashioned world!
I know ;} The opinions of this commentary do not represent those of this board or it''s sponsors...we now return to our regular postings
giggle :}
 

enbcfsobe

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People definitely make things up. I think the example you gave is one of those. Sometimes there are ethnic/local/religious customs that people follow and assume that everyone else does the same. In some areas/groups, I have heard from people who expect that they will get cash gifts for their wedding, and even went so far as to say that they were going to have an engagement party because they "needed the money." I am baffled by this, and personally think that cash gifts for a wedding -- unless specifically requested -- are not appropriate. I could respect this if it was a religious or ethnic custom, but it just seemed to be a result of keeping up with the joneses. These folks definitely expected that their guests would pay the equivalent of what the couple was paying per head. I can''t understand that -- if you don''t want to pay as much money, don''t invite as many people, or just have your friends out to a restaurant for a small celebration. I think it goes with the whole apparent trend of people getting in way over their heads with regard to wedding costs and expectations Just my 2 cents. I haven''t even started planning and am already pretty annoyed with the whole wedding business.
 

Munchkin

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People definitely make up their own etiquette rules to justify actions regarding weddings.

However, I have often hear of the "pay for your plate" approach to gifts. It is hardly a rule of etiquette, but many do use that as a ballpark idea for how much to spend on a gift. I was raised in Mass and never heard of that approach, but FI and all his family (NY and NJ) adhere to the policy. FI and his family try to guestimate how much a plate would cost, then double that for a couple and give the equivalent in cash.
 

neatfreak

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Date: 3/31/2007 1:40:52 PM
Author: Munchkin
People definitely make up their own etiquette rules to justify actions regarding weddings.


However, I have often hear of the ''pay for your plate'' approach to gifts. It is hardly a rule of etiquette, but many do use that as a ballpark idea for how much to spend on a gift. I was raised in Mass and never heard of that approach, but FI and all his family (NY and NJ) adhere to the policy. FI and his family try to guestimate how much a plate would cost, then double that for a couple and give the equivalent in cash.
I agree...I was also raised in MA and we never did that, but the rest of my family is from Long Island and that is ALWAYS their rule of thumb. They will take the venue, number of people, menu, etc. and try to estimate a cost pp, then they will spend roughly the same amount per person on a gift (or give cash).

I don''t think it makes sense, but these days I think many people do use it as a guide for how much is appropriate to spend on a gift. I DO think it was completely inappropriate of the bride to expect that though!
 

Fancy605

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Date: 3/31/2007 1:40:52 PM
Author: Munchkin

However, I have often hear of the ''pay for your plate'' approach to gifts.
I''ve often heard this as well. I don''t know anyone who has actually called and said, "hey, how much per person are you spending on your wedding," but you cxan generally figure it out by time of day/type of meal/whether alcohol is involved. I tend to spend the same on my friends regaurdless.
 

starryeyed

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Date: 3/31/2007 1:40:52 PM
Author: Munchkin
However, I have often hear of the 'pay for your plate' approach to gifts.
This is just poor taste, period. Rude, small-minded, and petty.


Good thing "jane" doesn't call you anymore - she sounds like a self-centered brat.
 

Tacori E-ring

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I have heard this as well though I have never heard of people demanding it.
 

Trelala

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Yeah, out here in California, the Chinese and Vietnamese guests tend to do that. Estimate the cost per head, round it up to the nearest "lucky" number and give that amount in cash.
 

KimberlyH

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I have never heard of this (I''m in Southern CA) and think it''s quite odd/rude, not etiquette. Gifts should be given that are within a person''s budget, not to compensate for the cost spent on their food.
 

niku414

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Date: 3/31/2007 4:43:53 PM
Author: Trelala
Yeah, out here in California, the Chinese and Vietnamese guests tend to do that. Estimate the cost per head, round it up to the nearest 'lucky' number and give that amount in cash.
Yup, 2nd that --'m in southern cal-- and am in the chinese population -- and that's how i've been doing it-- estimate the amt it will cost them and give them cash for it, although I have NEVER heard of bride asking/expecting for it though.....
 

zoebartlett

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I''ve heard that as well, but I''ve never heard of the bride mentioning it in reference to her own wedding.
 

ephemery1

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I don''t think that particular etiquette rule is made up... it is pretty much the standard amongst all of our friends here in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic area. And most people seem to be aware of it, so I can''t imagine a bride feeling the need to point it out to someone!! Definitely seems a bit tactless...

We usually give $200... sometimes an item from the registry, more often cash. And we''re definitely not rolling in the dough over here... its just sort of assumed. Although if a lot of travel is involved, or other significant expenses, we might keep it closer to $150... definitely depends on the circumstances.

For shower gifts, I usually spend between $50-$100... but I was actually surprised by how many people gave $200 items from my registry for my own shower last month. Now I''m thinking I should be spending more!!
 

Gypsy

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Date: 3/31/2007 1:40:52 PM
Author: Munchkin
People definitely make up their own etiquette rules to justify actions regarding weddings.


However, I have often hear of the 'pay for your plate' approach to gifts. It is hardly a rule of etiquette, but many do use that as a ballpark idea for how much to spend on a gift. I was raised in Mass and never heard of that approach, but FI and all his family (NY and NJ) adhere to the policy. FI and his family try to guestimate how much a plate would cost, then double that for a couple and give the equivalent in cash.

My FI is from NJ... and this was definitely true out there... I'd never heard of it before living in CA and DC though!

It's a regional thing I think. And frankly its silly. If the bride wants to have a small cocktail reception... or a 300 a plate extravaganza I give what I can afford, and what's appropriate to the relationship.

I've spent 15 bucks on a wedding gift before... coworker's daughter, I bought (I kid you not) an authentic pair of MINT brand new Tiffany toasting flutes IN its own gift box of ebay. Plus gift wrapping paper which I ALWAYS stock up on after Christmas (if you pick the right paper its very multi-event friendly... white and silver or white and gold. Solid red with stripes. So on....) She loved them. They retailed for over 100 at Tiffany. ETA: We did not attend the wedding. Sent our regrets and the present.

I've spent over 300 before. Close family wedding. Persian= I had to buy jewelry for the bride PLUS a gift. 250 for pearl jewelry plus $100 gift. And I was in college.

I firmly believe that people's wedding choices are not MY problem.

ETA: If I have to travel... it impacts the gift giving too. We went to very close friend's wedding in MN and it was expensive. REALLY expensive because it was one of those bridal weekend things... Rehearsal dinner with EVERYONE invited. Wedding. Brunch for EVERYONE after. Crazy. So we only gave $100 gift certificate....
 

Gypsy

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Thought I''d post this separate:

If you opt NOT to attend a wedding... do you then gift less?

I generally do. I get invited to gift greedy ninth cousin twelve times removed weddings all the freaking time. They all require travel and time spent with distant relatives which is usually unpleasant. So I sent a gift but... it''s never an expensive one.
 

gailrmv

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Date: 3/31/2007 7:04:16 PM
Author: zoebartlett
I''ve heard that as well, but I''ve never heard of the bride mentioning it in reference to her own wedding.
I agree.

I usually budget $50 if I am not attending the wedding, and $100 if I am. I adjust up or down depending on how close I am with the couple, costs of travel, and possibly, how fancy the wedding is.

I think it''s rude for the bride to calculate how much each guest should spend. Anyone trying to recoup the costs of the wedding is bound to be disappointed. Its a celebration, not a business deal!

I didn''t even calculate how much I was spending on each person. (This was on purpose, but also, I was lucky my parents covered many of the costs and so they handled most of the budget calculations.) Anyway, I was grateful for every gift and I would not want anyone to give more than they could afford or were comfortable with. I was surprised that some affluent relatives gave less than I might have thought, but more importantly, I was just glad that they could attend the wedding.
 

chickflick

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I haven''t read the other posts but here''s my take on this. What we spend on the gift is based on how close we are to the couple. I have no idea how much is spent per person at other people''s weddings, and frankly that''s a personal choice, anyway. I don''t give gifts based on what I expect to give in return. If I thought I was expect to give a larger gift for a lavish wedding, I simply wouldn''t go to the wedding.

I agree that your friend was quite rude. In fact, I hope she''s not your friend any longer.
 

ladykemma

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i think it's a NY/NJ thig. my NJ mother got very upset that she spent $200 on a texas bride's wedding present when she first moved down here, and it was an afternoon cucumber sandwich, punch, and cake reception. my mom came home angry, she said she felt gypped.
 

Class n Sass

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I usually give a gift from the registry for the bridal shower. I generally spend whatever I am comfortable with spending. When it comes to the wedding gift I do give cash and I make sure I at least cover my plate. I am also from NYC and that is a general rule of thumb that most people I know use.

However, I do think it was rude for the bride to actually come out and say that, but I think along those same lines when attending weddings. A wedding should not be given just to receive gifts but I have heard some stories from brides about wedding gifts they received. These gifts were not from people that could not afford a decent gift, but were from people who just did not care. My mom gave me a graduation party last year at a reception hall and it cost her a lot of money. My uncle and his wife came and put $25 in a card. Some people can truly only afford that but this is an uncle who is always bragging to people about how much he has and him and his wife drive around in a brand new luxury cars, he''s always vacationing and boasting. They came to the party and ate and drank more than anyone there. It''s quite annoying. So I think those are the kinds of people that some brides worry about.
 

So_happy

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Interesting. My FI is from NYC and always refers to this per plate rule. It really sounds bratty of him when he mentions it in reference to what his aunts and uncles (from NYC) will gift us. I hadn''t realized it was a regional thing.
 

Gypsy

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Date: 4/3/2007 4:59:42 PM
Author: Class n Sass
I usually give a gift from the registry for the bridal shower. I generally spend whatever I am comfortable with spending. When it comes to the wedding gift I do give cash and I make sure I at least cover my plate. I am also from NYC and that is a general rule of thumb that most people I know use.

However, I do think it was rude for the bride to actually come out and say that, but I think along those same lines when attending weddings. A wedding should not be given just to receive gifts but I have heard some stories from brides about wedding gifts they received. These gifts were not from people that could not afford a decent gift, but were from people who just did not care. My mom gave me a graduation party last year at a reception hall and it cost her a lot of money. My uncle and his wife came and put $25 in a card. Some people can truly only afford that but this is an uncle who is always bragging to people about how much he has and him and his wife drive around in a brand new luxury cars, he''s always vacationing and boasting. They came to the party and ate and drank more than anyone there. It''s quite annoying. So I think those are the kinds of people that some brides worry about.

I''m sorry but you don''t invite people to get gifts at all. You invite them for the pleasure of their company. A gift-- even to a wedding-- isn''t REQUIRED. And a gift that meets certain monetary guidelines is DEFINITELY crass.

Just because a person has money doesn''t mean they are required to part with it. It''s theirs, and with it is their discretion. I never think, "She can afford to spend more" when I get a gift. A $25 gift card to a graduation is fine when you consider all they really HAD to get you was a card.

That''s just wrong and classless.
 

krockie

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Its looking like this is a regional thing - I''m from NYC and I''ve always heard that your gift should roughly match the couple''s per head cost.

But, and ths is a big but, that should never be something you say to someone who is asking you what to do for your gift. Its so rude! If someone asked me what I wanted as a gift, my standard response would be that any gift coming from you will be special, regardless of what it is. But do demand a certain monetary value? That''s just awful.
 

Class n Sass

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Gypsy...to each''s own. What may clearly be wrong to you may not be wrong to others. I know plenty of peopl that think along the same lines as me. As I said a wedding is definitely not given to give gifts, but I myself like to follow certain rules of thumb when they are feasible for me.
 

DiamondSeeker7

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I agree this definitally sounds like a regional thing. I am from NJ and we always give CASH as a wedding gift in about the amount of what it costs per head. It is really unheard of to give a gift off the registry, the registry is mainly for shower gifts. I think things are done differently depending on where people are from.
 

DMBsGirl

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from NY as well and we also do the cash thing calculated by how much the couple spent per head. Can get really expensive, boyfriend and I had several weddings last year and gave each couple at least $200. The registry also tends to be used for shower gifts. I think it might also be a cultural thing though, I mentioned this to my orthodox jewish friend (also from NY) and she couldnt believe this.
 

upgrading mama

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Date: 3/31/2007 1:40:52 PM
Author: Munchkin
People definitely make up their own etiquette rules to justify actions regarding weddings.

However, I have often hear of the ''pay for your plate'' approach to gifts. It is hardly a rule of etiquette, but many do use that as a ballpark idea for how much to spend on a gift. I was raised in Mass and never heard of that approach, but FI and all his family (NY and NJ) adhere to the policy. FI and his family try to guestimate how much a plate would cost, then double that for a couple and give the equivalent in cash.
we kind of do the same thing. (I am greek, so I don''t know if it is an adaptive cultural thing)..

We at least cover our meal, the only way to guestimate is when I see "ballroom" on an invite or " hors d''uevres to follow" I can guess what might be a good amount... anyway, above that we give what we can.


I always buy off a registry bc those are things they want, and to me that just makes sense. WHy not buy them something you know they want?

to each his own, but if she is holding a grudge that''s just silly.
 

VRBeauty

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Date: 4/4/2007 9:09:06 PM
Author: DiamondSeeker7
I agree this definitally sounds like a regional thing. I am from NJ and we always give CASH as a wedding gift in about the amount of what it costs per head. It is really unheard of to give a gift off the registry, the registry is mainly for shower gifts. I think things are done differently depending on where people are from.
Well look at that, I learned something new today!
It sounds like ''pay per plate'' is the norm in some areas.


I''ve never encountered that here in Northern California, but maybe I just didn''t recognize it. Maybe this explains one or two thank you notes that I never recieved...
 

Gypsy

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We''re actually going to DF''s first cousin''s wedding New Year''s Eve. And we will be giving them about 300 cash to cover out plates. JUST THIS ONCE. It frankly irritates the hell out of me though because we will be spending over 1000 dollars just to attend the freaking thing. Plus shower AND wedding gifts their wedding is going to cost ME $1500.
 

diamondfan

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I have heard that too, but how on earth would a random guest even KNOW what the bride is spending per head? How would that even come up? A gift is not an obligatory item, it is just that, a gift, and NO ONE should be hosting a wedding expecting certain things. That means couples need to spend double, right? How rude and nasty. I just do not get where THAT came from, since, again, how would you know the cost of the meal etc for you as a guest, unless the bride or groom to be were gauche enough to tell?
 
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