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Etiquette on wedding gifts - need your opinion

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happydreams

Shiny_Rock
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321
Hi everyone. I have recently been invited to a friend''s wedding, and I won''t be able to attend. It''s half way across the country but as the date inches closer, I am wondering how much I should be sending her as a gift. Some history: I have only seen her once in the last 5 years and we don''t keep in touch regularly. However, we were good friends about 10 years ago for a few years - so we are old friends. My question is: How much should i send her in a check?
(yes, it has to be a check). I''m a student now and my budget isn''t exactly huge, but dont'' want to be stingy. Opinions appreciated.
 

gwendolyn

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Messages
6,770
Does it have to be money? In that situation, I'd be more inclined to find a reasonably-priced item on her registry to send instead. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like, if I give money, it has to be more than I'd have spent on a gift, and I wouldn't want to wince over what I spend on a distant friend.
 

sammyj

Brilliant_Rock
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Date: 4/10/2009 11:00:00 AM
Author: gwendolyn
Does it have to be money? In that situation, I''d be more inclined to find a reasonably-priced item on her registry to send instead. Maybe it''s just me, but I feel like, if I give money, it has to be more than I''d have spent on a gift, and I wouldn''t want to wince over what I spend on a distant friend.
I agree with everything gwen said! I am more inclined to give a cash gift for close friends. If she has a registry I would personally try to find something in the $50-$75 range.
 

happydreams

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2008
Messages
321
Date: 4/10/2009 11:16:03 AM
Author: sammyj

Date: 4/10/2009 11:00:00 AM
Author: gwendolyn
Does it have to be money? In that situation, I''d be more inclined to find a reasonably-priced item on her registry to send instead. Maybe it''s just me, but I feel like, if I give money, it has to be more than I''d have spent on a gift, and I wouldn''t want to wince over what I spend on a distant friend.
I agree with everything gwen said! I am more inclined to give a cash gift for close friends. If she has a registry I would personally try to find something in the $50-$75 range.
Thanks Sammy. I was thinking about a check in the amount you suggested.
 

Hudson_Hawk

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I personally would send her whatever I could afford. I think $100 is reasonable considering you''re not going to be at her wedding. If we attended and there were two of us I might go up to $150/person for a total of $300 which is my standard amount for non-sibling weddings.
 

gwendolyn

Ideal_Rock
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Date: 4/10/2009 11:17:05 AM
Author: happydreams
Thanks Gwendolyn. However, She said she prefers money...that's the thing.
Well, clearly it's up to you, but I don't like feeling obligated to give someone a gift, let alone a wad of cash, *especially* if I'm not even attending the event it's supposed to be for!


If you must send a check, though, I think you should send it for the lower of the amounts you're considering. She is a distant friend and you're not even going to the wedding. Sorry, but from the fact she flat-out said she would prefer cash, I find her attitude to be slightly greedy considering you don't ever *have* to give a gift.

But that's me. Bottom line: send what you're comfortable sending.
 

jcarlylew

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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3,899
Date: 4/10/2009 11:23:48 AM
Author: gwendolyn
Date: 4/10/2009 11:17:05 AM

Author: happydreams

Thanks Gwendolyn. However, She said she prefers money...that''s the thing.
Well, clearly it''s up to you, but I don''t like feeling obligated to give someone a gift, let alone a wad of cash, *especially* if I''m not even attending the event it''s supposed to be for!



If you must send a check, though, I think you should send it for the lower of the amounts you''re considering. She is a distant friend and you''re not even going to the wedding. Sorry, but from the fact she flat-out said she would prefer cash, I find her attitude to be slightly greedy considering you don''t ever *have* to give a gift.


But that''s me. Bottom line: send what you''re comfortable sending.
I agree with gwen. A nice card and the amount you are comfortable is more than enough. The weddings we''ve been to recently we''ve only spent $50 and $100, and that is ATTENDING the wedding.
 

Inanna

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
565
I think $50 is fine... in fact, its generous of you.

Reading a recent thread in BWW, I was reminded that people are not obligated to give gifts. I don't plan on registering for gifts and would never EVER request cash. If some of my guests or invitees are moved to give us any gifts or cash (in any amount), I'll be extremely grateful.
 

happydreams

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2008
Messages
321
Thanks for your kind advice, all.
Just to be fair: I asked her what she preferred, and she said cash.

But I really value your feedback.
 

Clairitek

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
4,881
Date: 4/10/2009 11:22:52 AM
Author: Hudson_Hawk
I personally would send her whatever I could afford. I think $100 is reasonable considering you're not going to be at her wedding. If we attended and there were two of us I might go up to $150/person for a total of $300 which is my standard amount for non-sibling weddings.
Wow, HH! Wanna come to MY wedding??


Damn girl, you're very generous! I feel like a total cheapskate now for only giving $50 to my friend last summer. I'm a grad student and its what I could afford but I know her wedding must have cost upwards of $200 a head.

But back to the OP. I agree with HH. Send what you can afford.

Just curious though- how did you find out she prefers money?
 

sammyj

Brilliant_Rock
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Date: 4/10/2009 11:49:59 AM
Author: happydreams
Thanks for your kind advice, all.
Just to be fair: I asked her what she preferred, and she said cash.

But I really value your feedback.
I find this to be very off-putting...even if you did ask her directly (which I''m not sure you did...perhaps you asked through someone else?). I just know that if someone asked me I would say "don''t worry about it...but I really wish you could come to the wedding!
" That''s just me, though. I agree with everyone that said that no matter what you decide to give, it will be plenty generous and much appreciated.
 

happydreams

Shiny_Rock
Joined
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Messages
321
Date: 4/10/2009 11:52:08 AM
Author: Clairitek

Date: 4/10/2009 11:22:52 AM
Author: Hudson_Hawk
I personally would send her whatever I could afford. I think $100 is reasonable considering you''re not going to be at her wedding. If we attended and there were two of us I might go up to $150/person for a total of $300 which is my standard amount for non-sibling weddings.
Wow, HH! Wanna come to MY wedding??


Damn girl, you''re very generous! I feel like a total cheapskate now for only giving $50 to my friend last summer. I''m a grad student and its what I could afford but I know her wedding must have cost upwards of $200 a head.

But back to the OP. I agree with HH. Send what you can afford.

Just curious though- how did you find out she prefers money?
I asked her directly! "are you registered? can i get you a gift or do you prefer cash?"
Honestly, I don''t think it''s a big deal that she prefers cash. We are both Asian and in our culture, we do a lot of cash exchange for weddings. (practical purposes) Plus, it saves me the trouble of spending money on the shipping. Even if my friend weren''t Asian, I usually give cash because it''s just easier.
I am in grad school as well and the budget is tight - I don''t really spend much money other than neccessities such as groceries and subway fare. I rarely eat out anymore and it''s been ages since I bought myself anything new. SO I''m leaning towards 50 dollars. If she were a close friend, I would give $200 even If i didn''t attend, and at least $300 if I did attend. but the situation being what it is, I will have to agree with you, Claritek.
I just wanted some affirmation on my decision.
 

Clairitek

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
4,881
Date: 4/10/2009 12:11:21 PM
Author: happydreams
Date: 4/10/2009 11:52:08 AM

Author: Clairitek

Date: 4/10/2009 11:22:52 AM

Author: Hudson_Hawk

I personally would send her whatever I could afford. I think $100 is reasonable considering you''re not going to be at her wedding. If we attended and there were two of us I might go up to $150/person for a total of $300 which is my standard amount for non-sibling weddings.
Wow, HH! Wanna come to MY wedding??


Damn girl you''re very generous! I feel like a total cheapskate now for only giving $50 to my friend last summer. I''m a grad student and its what I could afford but I know her wedding must have cost upwards of $200 a head.

But back to the OP. I agree with HH. Send what you can afford.

Just curious though- how did you find out she prefers money?
I asked her directly! ''are you registered? can i get you a gift or do you prefer cash?''

Honestly, I don''t think it''s a big deal that she prefers cash. We are both Asian and in our culture, we do a lot of cash exchange for weddings. (practical purposes) Plus, it saves me the trouble of spending money on the shipping. Even if my friend weren''t Asian, I usually give cash because it''s just easier.

I am in grad school as well and the budget is tight - I don''t really spend much money other than neccessities such as groceries and subway fare. I rarely eat out anymore and it''s been ages since I bought myself anything new. SO I''m leaning towards 50 dollars. If she were a close friend, I would give $200 even If i didn''t attend, and at least $300 if I did attend. but the situation being what it is, I will have to agree with you, Claritek.

I just wanted some affirmation on my decision.
I saw your post that you had asked her after I posted mine, edited my post, and forgot to click submit!

Thanks for telling us about the cultural thing. Personally I think its terrbily rude to ask for cash but I realize in some cultures its totally acceptable.

I think you''re very thoughtful send what you are going to send her. I bet she will appreciate anything you can afford to give.
 

tlh

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
4,511
Honestly, whatever you can afford is nice. A $50 gift is quite considerate. Even in a check form. I think your friend will be THRILLED by a gift in that amount. (If 10 people cannot come and give $50 a piece... that is $500... and that is nothing to sneeze at.)

Honestly I remember getting a check from a great aunt who couldn''t come. It was for $5 or $10. I broke down crying because the gift touched me so much. I knew she couldn''t afford much, but the thought behind it was soo WONDERFUL and sweet. I knew she gave what she could, and I was just overjoyed that she sent me ANYTHING AT ALL. So don''t look down at monetary gifts, even the smallest amount can have the greatest impact.

HUGS!
 

Winks_Elf

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Nov 28, 2008
Messages
1,673
Lol...she''s seen you ONCE in the past five years and invited you to the wedding? I''m sorry, but that seems like such a grab for gifts!
 

tlh

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
4,511
Date: 4/10/2009 3:26:57 PM
Author: Winks_Elf
Lol...she''s seen you ONCE in the past five years and invited you to the wedding? I''m sorry, but that seems like such a grab for gifts!
my BFF moved to NY when we were 16. Then to TX when we were 18. We stayed in touch, and never saw each other. I invited her to my wedding because she was such a part of who I was, and I always wanted her to come... I did not expect her to come in a million years. When she accepted, I was soo happy I cried. It was not a fish for gifts, but was someone I couldn''t bear to "B" list.
After all the wedding stuff died down, I flew to TX and visited her.. though long overdue, it gave our friendship a revival... . just wanted to give another side to the brides intentions... love you winks!
 

Hudson_Hawk

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
10,541
Date: 4/10/2009 11:52:08 AM
Author: Clairitek
Date: 4/10/2009 11:22:52 AM

Author: Hudson_Hawk

I personally would send her whatever I could afford. I think $100 is reasonable considering you''re not going to be at her wedding. If we attended and there were two of us I might go up to $150/person for a total of $300 which is my standard amount for non-sibling weddings.

Wow, HH! Wanna come to MY wedding??



Damn girl, you''re very generous! I feel like a total cheapskate now for only giving $50 to my friend last summer. I''m a grad student and its what I could afford but I know her wedding must have cost upwards of $200 a head.


But back to the OP. I agree with HH. Send what you can afford.


Just curious though- how did you find out she prefers money?
Don''t joke-you''re basically getting married in my back yard!
 

Hudson_Hawk

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
10,541
I would like to make one suggestion. Send cash, not a check. I know some people might think it''s risky, but from someone who''s leaving for her honeymoon the day after her wedding, I know I''ll rather have cash. I won''t have time to go to the bank to deposit everything and if I have some cash on me from the cards, then that''s one less stop I have to make on the way to the airport. Even if you do go to the bank the next day to deposit everything and you deposit the cash, at least it''s available immediately as opposed to having to wait 3-5 days for personal checks to clear.

Amex gift cards are also great. They can be used anywhere and they come in a $50 denomination.
 

sammyj

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 28, 2008
Messages
1,247
Date: 4/10/2009 12:28:29 PM
Author: Clairitek


I saw your post that you had asked her after I posted mine, edited my post, and forgot to click submit!

Thanks for telling us about the cultural thing. Personally I think its terrbily rude to ask for cash but I realize in some cultures its totally acceptable.

I think you''re very thoughtful send what you are going to send her. I bet she will appreciate anything you can afford to give.
I don''t think it''s a cultural thing at all...I''m Asian (born and raised in Canada though) and I also think it''s terribly rude and not acceptable to ASK for cash. Giving it as a wedding gift is what I think she was saying was cultural, not asking for it. I''m still
about it!
 

happydreams

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2008
Messages
321
Date: 4/10/2009 4:10:24 PM
Author: sammyj

Date: 4/10/2009 12:28:29 PM
Author: Clairitek


I saw your post that you had asked her after I posted mine, edited my post, and forgot to click submit!

Thanks for telling us about the cultural thing. Personally I think its terrbily rude to ask for cash but I realize in some cultures its totally acceptable.

I think you''re very thoughtful send what you are going to send her. I bet she will appreciate anything you can afford to give.
I don''t think it''s a cultural thing at all...I''m Asian (born and raised in Canada though) and I also think it''s terribly rude and not acceptable to ASK for cash. Giving it as a wedding gift is what I think she was saying was cultural, not asking for it. I''m still
about it!
No, I hear you Sammy. But in this case, I asked her what she preferred...and when someone asks you, I think it''s ok to tell the truth.
I''m a very direct person, so I appreicate it when people get to the point and don''t beat around the bush. I think it also depends on the person and individual friendships.
 

girlie-girl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 29, 2008
Messages
819
I agree if you asked her specifically and she really would like (need) money, that it's okay for her to say so. I'd much rather give something they want or need.

As far as the amount, I agree $50 would be a nice gift. I like the suggestion of doing an american express gift card, though the others (visa/mastercard) may have them available as well. This would give her instant access to the money without having to go to the bank.
 

Italiahaircolor

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
5,184
Date: 4/10/2009 11:23:48 AM
Author: gwendolyn

Date: 4/10/2009 11:17:05 AM
Author: happydreams
Thanks Gwendolyn. However, She said she prefers money...that''s the thing.
Well, clearly it''s up to you, but I don''t like feeling obligated to give someone a gift, let alone a wad of cash, *especially* if I''m not even attending the event it''s supposed to be for!


If you must send a check, though, I think you should send it for the lower of the amounts you''re considering. She is a distant friend and you''re not even going to the wedding. Sorry, but from the fact she flat-out said she would prefer cash, I find her attitude to be slightly greedy considering you don''t ever *have* to give a gift.

But that''s me. Bottom line: send what you''re comfortable sending.
Ditto
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
I would send a card and a gift that reflects my affection for this person, and fits my budget. I wouldn''t feel obligated to send a certain amount of money just because it is a check; if this couple isn''t gracious about your gift (or any gift) regardless of what it is, then they really aren''t worth worrying about at all, are they?


Since you asked her what she would prefer as a gift, then there was nothing wrong with her answering your question honestly.

If I were a student and was invited to the wedding of an old and not-so-close friend who lived out of state, I would probably just write a lovely note congratulating the couple on their wedding along with some small gift that was either off their registry, or something beautiful and unique that I felt she would appreciate. I''d probably spend no more than $30 or $40 in this situation, myself. (For reference, when we attend weddings of friends and relatives DH and I usually give between $250 and $300 from the both of us.)

Spend no more than what you can afford, and what makes you comfortable. We found that people give a wide variety of gifts, and some of them can be surprising, but regardless of what or how much they give, a gift is never wrong. The only thing wrong that can happen in association with a gift is when an ill-mannered bride has something negative to say in response to receiving it.
 

wishinpink

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
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Messages
587
Date: 4/10/2009 12:11:21 PM
Author: happydreams

Date: 4/10/2009 11:52:08 AM
Author: Clairitek


Date: 4/10/2009 11:22:52 AM
Author: Hudson_Hawk
I personally would send her whatever I could afford. I think $100 is reasonable considering you''re not going to be at her wedding. If we attended and there were two of us I might go up to $150/person for a total of $300 which is my standard amount for non-sibling weddings.
Wow, HH! Wanna come to MY wedding??


Damn girl, you''re very generous! I feel like a total cheapskate now for only giving $50 to my friend last summer. I''m a grad student and its what I could afford but I know her wedding must have cost upwards of $200 a head.

But back to the OP. I agree with HH. Send what you can afford.

Just curious though- how did you find out she prefers money?
I asked her directly! ''are you registered? can i get you a gift or do you prefer cash?''
Honestly, I don''t think it''s a big deal that she prefers cash. We are both Asian and in our culture, we do a lot of cash exchange for weddings. (practical purposes) Plus, it saves me the trouble of spending money on the shipping. Even if my friend weren''t Asian, I usually give cash because it''s just easier.
I am in grad school as well and the budget is tight - I don''t really spend much money other than neccessities such as groceries and subway fare. I rarely eat out anymore and it''s been ages since I bought myself anything new. SO I''m leaning towards 50 dollars. If she were a close friend, I would give $200 even If i didn''t attend, and at least $300 if I did attend. but the situation being what it is, I will have to agree with you, Claritek.
I just wanted some affirmation on my decision.
I really don''t think this is weird that she told you her preference! It''s better than being passive aggressive about it, and secretly wanting something and not telling you what she wants. I''m Asian too, and maybe I''m just used to it, but really, I do not think it''s weird to give or receive cash for a wedding.
I could see why some of you would think it''s greedy, but if it were my wedding, and you asked me what I wanted as a present, rather than leaving you to guess, I''d tell you what I preferred as well!
Actually, I don''t really think asking for wedding presents is greedy at all. I mean, it can come across as greedy if you seem more focused on presents than seeing your friends, but honestly, who expects for a guest to come to a wedding and bring NOTHING at all? Personally, I wouldn''t mind asking for presents because any presents I get from my friends- I''ll be giving back to them in equal or greater amounts when it''s their wedding/baby shower/ other important life event. Just my 2 cents!

If you send your friend cash- I think anything from $50-100 is fine!
 

ckrickett

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
5,348
give whatever you're comfortable with, and a nice card, a thought out note. But don't go too overboard. 50-75 sounds right.

I know you asked her and she said cash, but it still sounds kinda tacky.
I mean I'm planning on registering and cash would be best and blah blah blah but if your not going , and you rarely see her she should have just said "dont worry about it, I just wish you could be here" or something.
At least that's what I would have done.
 

babygirl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 11, 2008
Messages
120
Happy, I think everyone''s advice to you is right on.. In similar situations, I''ve gotten gifts from friends'' registries around the same price point.. 50-75, but usually closer to 50. I generally reserve gifts upwards of $100 for close friends and relatives (though it sounds like many of you are much more generous than I!)
 
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