Should your wedding gift reflect how much the couple pays per meal? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-01-2011, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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http://lifestyle.msn.com/relationships/article.aspx?cp-documentid=8318982

For those of you all who care, see question #2 and Miss Manners' response.

It's a ridiculous "rule" and is wrong on so many levels that PPs have already touched upon that I won't even go into it.

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Old 03-01-2011, 10:50 AM
 
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I'm actually offended by this rule.  If I'm expected to buy a gift that costs more than the meal THEY chose to serve me, I'd feel like I'm only invited to give them stuff.



 And, in fact, this is often the case.

 

I've also known people who deliberately invite people that they know won't be able to come, in the hopes of receiving the gift without the attendance. I am sometimes amazed at the greed and self centeredness that weddings bring out.

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Old 03-01-2011, 10:52 AM
 
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Where I'm from, I've known that rule for ever. The whole point is to start the young couple off. By covering your plate and then some, it helps them avoid the cost of the celebration and send them on their honeymoon, put money towards a house- what ever.

It's a one time gift and I assume that if you are an important enough part of the couples life that they want you to be part of the "biggest day of their lives' (besides having a baby), and assuming that you feel the same way about them, then I think it's reasonable to give as generously as you can.

It's a one time deal! I hate that it's so expensive, but because I know the rule, I can't do otherwise.

Around here people have engagement parties, and bridal showers with insane registry items. It is pretty sickening.

 

We only go to weddings of relatives or very good friends. If co workers invite us, just DH will go or we don't go if we can't afford it.

It is very expensive and I HATE the wedding industry.

 

 

 

 


Yes, this exactly how I feel about this rule. The fact you're invited at all to someone's wedding is an honour, one that you may decide to accept or not. If you do accept to attend, then in my circles, its expected that you'd be as generous as you can, or at least cover your portion of the meal.

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Old 03-01-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by HeliMom View Post

 

 I think thought it's a little rude to get indignant that your money is worth more than their money, in the idea that "well I can't afford to pay for my dinner but I don't care if they can't afford to pay for my dinner"

If the couple can't afford to pay for the GUESTS at their wedding, they need to scale back either the guest list or other wedding expenses.
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It is very expensive and I HATE the wedding industry.

You hate that it's expensive, right? Well, one thing that is most definitely in your control is how much you choose to spend on your gift. Don't 'buy into' this absurd 'rule', don't spend more than you want to. Be careful to separate the money grubbing wedding industry from real human beings getting married. Really, I don't think the couples wants to make their guests bitter and resentful about weddings.

The rest of what Miss Manners said about the idea that their gift must cover the cost of their dinner :
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Gentle Reader,
That this idea is widespread does not rescue it from being astonishingly vulgar and crass, for exactly the reasons you mention [guest cannot afford to cover the cost of her meal].

Etiquette recognizes no such rule, Miss Manners assures you. It assumes, perhaps naively, that wedding guests are invited solely because their attending has emotional value, and that wedding presents are selected by the guests from within their particular financial means, solely to please the recipients.


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Old 03-01-2011, 10:59 AM
 
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IME, most people give roughly what their plate costs if they can afford to. If not well they give what they can. These days, we usually give $50-$100 depending on how close we are with the couple at the wedding and something off the registry for the shower. We used to struggle more with money and gave more like $20. We don't go to wedding very often. Maybe once a year or less.

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:04 AM
 
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OK another related question... if your (whole) family is invited to a wedding where the meals will likely cost $50 per plate, but can only afford to gift the couple a ~$20 gift, would you still bring your kids? (I'm not talking about whether you'd prefer to enjoy the night with just your DH etc. -- just whether the meal expense alone would incline you to go without the kids or even without your DH...)

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:11 AM
 
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but... I mean... doesn't this seem like it's only allowing the rich to have nice things and if you can't afford a huge expensive wedding, you should only be allowed cheap things?  I dunno.  Seems awkward at best.



If I understand you correctly then yes.  The answer is yes, you should only have the things you can AFFORD.  It's a hard lesson to learn, but a valuable one.

 

I never heard of this "cover your plate" business till I moved to the notheast and I was horrified.  If the wedding your hosting is going to put you so far in debt that you need your guests to pay for it, swallow your pride and scale back.

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

OK another related question... if your (whole) family is invited to a wedding where the meals will likely cost $50 per plate, but can only afford to gift the couple a ~$20 gift, would you still bring your kids? (I'm not talking about whether you'd prefer to enjoy the night with just your DH etc. -- just whether the meal expense alone would incline you to go without the kids or even without your DH...)


I'm sorry, I can't get the multi quote to work so another from me.

 

I wouldn't take my child a very formal wedding.  Even at five, she wouldn't enjoy it and can't stay up that late without getting miserable.  I don't know that cost would have factored into my decision, but sheer practicality would at this point (I get that other kids could handle that better).

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think this bears repeating:
Quote:
I think thought it's a little rude to get indignant that your money is worth more than their money, in the idea that "well I can't afford to pay for my dinner but I don't care if they can't afford to pay for my dinner"
Quote:
If the couple can't afford to pay for the GUESTS at their wedding, *they need to scale back either the guest list or other wedding expenses.*


It's not the guests' responsibility to ensure that the wedding couple spends within their own means. The amount of money the couple spends should in no way be connected to how much the guests are 'supposed' to spend. The couple should buy the wedding they can afford with no thought to how much the guests are going to spend. To do otherwise is utterly tacky.

Seriously people, how classist can this be? The logical consequence of this rule is that if a couple chooses to spend a whole lot of money per guest for dinner then only only their wealthy guests should come. After all, if you are going to follow this rule then unless you are willing to pay a whole lot then you shouldn't come.

*Don't come to my wedding reception unless you are willing to spend as much money on me as I choose to spend on you.*

That's just sad.

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:21 AM
 
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If I understand you correctly then yes.  The answer is yes, you should only have the things you can AFFORD.  It's a hard lesson to learn, but a valuable one.

 

I never heard of this "cover your plate" business till I moved to the notheast and I was horrified.  If the wedding your hosting is going to put you so far in debt that you need your guests to pay for it, swallow your pride and scale back.

I think she means that shouldn't people  give the same sort of gifts to everyone they care about regardless of the nature of the reception that each chooses to have? If Susy marries a carpenter and Frank marries a lawyer, so Suzy's wedding budget has a buffet lunch ($12/head) and Frank's has a sit down multi-course dinner ($55/head) then why should Aunt June give Suzy a used tea set and give Frank a crystal vase?
 

 

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

OK another related question... if your (whole) family is invited to a wedding where the meals will likely cost $50 per plate, but can only afford to gift the couple a ~$20 gift, would you still bring your kids? (I'm not talking about whether you'd prefer to enjoy the night with just your DH etc. -- just whether the meal expense alone would incline you to go without the kids or even without your DH...)


I wouldn't bring my kids unless it was a very close relative- sibling or parent or the person strongly urged me to bring them. Catering halls often charge full price or close to it for children.


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Old 03-01-2011, 11:26 AM
 
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No, it is an absurd rule. Seems regional too, as is the giving of cash. I live in CA and have family in the midwest and througout the West Coast. The first time I heard of it was on wedding planning boards. I've heard of it being an East Coast thing and certain in some ethic groups.

 

Gifts have nothing, nothing to do with the cost of the reception and wedding. The cost of the reception of the wedding have nothing, at all, to do with the gifts received. Any suggestion otherwise is horribly rude. Gifts are based on the closeness of the relationship and of the particular budget/choice of the gift giver. Gifts have nothing to do with what you were given, your sister was given or any other tit for tat nonsense. You will not find this concept elaborated in a single etiquette guide written in the US.

 



That being said, DH is from the East Coast and he has heard of the "rule." He thinks it is vulgar as well. Most of the weddings we go to are black tie fancy affairs (ours was too) where children are not invited or very infomal potluck affairs with many kids.

Now if someone can explain the weirdness of a groom wearing a tuxdeo in the morning while the guests are in everything from suits to shorts I will *truly* understand American wedding customs.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:26 AM
 
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I think she means that shouldn't people  give the same sort of gifts to everyone they care about regardless of the nature of the reception that each chooses to have? If Susy marries a carpenter and Frank marries a lawyer, so Suzy's wedding budget has a buffet lunch ($12/head) and Frank's has a sit down multi-course dinner ($55/head) then why should Aunt June give Suzy a used tea set and give Frank a crystal vase?
 

 


Ohhhh.  Well that does make more sense.  Thanks for the clear-up!

 

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:26 AM
 
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I'm operating under the idea that the new couple is not established not yet living together and are going to need to spend their money on starting their new life together.  The registry should be filled with household items that are needed for their new home.  I assume a simple reception/ wedding. I don't expect anyone to pay for a dj or what have you but dinner?  I think it's only polite. If the couple has to pay for you and your guest that's money they couple have been spending on necessary household items. The point of gift giving is to show someone you appreciate them. So why if you know you are costing the couple money they would need for their life would you not want to help out?  If you cannot afford to  give them a gift approximately equal to the plate and they say come anyway, then come anyway. I think thought it's a little rude to get indignant that your money is worth more than their money, in the idea that "well I can't afford to pay for my dinner but I don't care if they can't afford to pay for my dinner" (I'm not saying that is why people don't pay for their plate thought, just that that is one reason some people have proposed) I think caring for the couple and guests needs goes both ways applies to extravagant or destination weddings, that's why i don't think you need to offset costs (of the couple) in those situations.  A destination wedding costs more to the guests than to the couple so, in my mind if the couple really wants those guests to come and their guests cannot afford it, the couple should make an effort to help offset the guests funds. I dunno  I just  think you should be thinking about the people you care about's needs.

 

I can't even begin to understand this thinking. I've been married twice. I didn't h"have to" pay for my guests. I chose to. If I needed that money to start out my new life, than I probably shouldn't have been throwing a party, instead. And, how would a guest know if they were costing the couple money? It's not generally considered polite to go around telling guests how much things cost or who's paying for it (it used to be that the parents of the couple paid for most of, if not all of, the wedding - and it's still far from uncommon with young couples). And, for the last bit I bolded, that would seem to involve a conversation something like, "oh, I'd love to come, but I can't afford a gift that would cover my plate" - "oh, that's okay - we want you there, anyway"...and there is no part of that discussion that fails to leave a bad taste in my mouth.

 

  I specifically made the statement if you have an expectation of being invited than yes you should pay for your plate.  I did word it to imply there was a  kindness being done by inviting the guest.   I believe many guests do get invited to weddings out of social obligation. I always grew up feeling that weddings were a waste of money, in relation to other one day parties. I hate large social gatherings and therefore my DH and I eloped and had no reception. Even now 6 years later we are  asked when are we going to have a wedding and  reception.  So maybe I am coming from a completely different mental place but if I were to have a wedding it would be a favor to the guests.

 

I think there are a lot of different ways of looking at this. I invited people because I wanted them there to celebrate with me. It certainly wasn't intended as a favour to them (that would seem to be an insufferably arrogant Bridezilla attitude, in most cases...not yours, where people have been asking you to have one, but in most cases.)

 

Anyway people have different customs, so I guess when in doubt ask the couple what they were thinking.  I mean if I was going to your, Limabean's, wedding and I asked about pay for your plate, and you told me it would almost feel insulting to you, there is no way I'd push my tradition onto you.  I hadn't thought of that possibility before but certainly I think open communication can smooth this kind of thing over.

 

I can't imagine open communication about this particular topic, actually. I'd feel kind of creeped out if someone brought up with me that they were going to buy me a gift to cover their plate. First of all, that leaves me knowing that they were planning to buy an expensive gift out of a feeling of obligation, not because they wanted to. Then, if I say, "oh - that's not necessary" and they buy me a cheaper gift, it opens the door to hurt feelings that never would have existed if I hadn't known they could have afforded more, and would have spent more out of obligation than they ended up spending out of desire. Umm...yeah - way to make the couple feel like crap (nothing like knowing you're not worth as much as a "rule" is). And, second...it would really rub me the wrong way to be asked about something like that, anyway. If that's your custom, do it. If it's not, don't.


This whole topic wigs me out. I think anybody expecting either a wedding invitation or a certain dollar value in gifts is so far out of line that it's not even funny. People should invite guests they want at their wedding. People should gift according to their hearts and capabilities. When it gets into "I expect....", then you get Bridezillas and hurt feelings all around and it's just ugly.
 

 


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Old 03-01-2011, 11:28 AM
 
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I think she means that shouldn't people  give the same sort of gifts to everyone they care about regardless of the nature of the reception that each chooses to have? If Susy marries a carpenter and Frank marries a lawyer, so Suzy's wedding budget has a buffet lunch ($12/head) and Frank's has a sit down multi-course dinner ($55/head) then why should Aunt June give Suzy a used tea set and give Frank a crystal vase?
 

 


yeah, this is what I meant... sort of. I guess it seems classist (or something?) to pay by how big a party is thrown. Using your same scenario, if Suzy can only AFFORD $12/head wedding (though she may want a bigger one), isn't she more likely to be the one in "need" of nicer stuff that Frank could more likely swing on his own (this is, of course, assuming people have reasonable wedding budgets for their income). That is, does Frank really need that high end coffee maker while Suzy just gets a crappy $12 walmart special?

I dunno. It... makes me feel uncomfortable. Like it's a rule that helps the rich be richer and the poor keep the status quo or something.

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:30 AM
 
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Now, there are cultures where that sort of quid pro quo works, but in those culture the wedding is just one part of a huge intricate series of giving and reciprocation. (Gifts as thank yous for gifts, whole categories of gifts that are acceptable because they have known, standardized, values, weddings that cost in the tens of thousands of dollars because of the obligatory guest list that is so obligatory that everyone in town knows who gets an invite when Person A marries Person B before Person A even pops the question.)

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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it's common and expected in our circles (another New Englander here).  you cover the cost of your meal and give a gift.

 

also, gifts are for bridal showers, cash at weddings.  most folks i know would be horrified to see guests bringing big wrapped packages in to a reception hall.  if you chose to break the give cash at the wedding rule, you mail them or drop them off to the bride/groom.  you don't add to the burden of the bride and groom by making them or their bridal party worry about carrying gifts out or making them set up a table for them.


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Old 03-01-2011, 11:35 AM
 
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Quote:
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I think she means that shouldn't people  give the same sort of gifts to everyone they care about regardless of the nature of the reception that each chooses to have? If Susy marries a carpenter and Frank marries a lawyer, so Suzy's wedding budget has a buffet lunch ($12/head) and Frank's has a sit down multi-course dinner ($55/head) then why should Aunt June give Suzy a used tea set and give Frank a crystal vase?
 

 




yeah, this is what I meant... sort of. I guess it seems classist (or something?) to pay by how big a party is thrown. Using your same scenario, if Suzy can only AFFORD $12/head wedding (though she may want a bigger one), isn't she more likely to be the one in "need" of nicer stuff that Frank could more likely swing on his own (this is, of course, assuming people have reasonable wedding budgets for their income). That is, does Frank really need that high end coffee maker while Suzy just gets a crappy $12 walmart special?

I dunno. It... makes me feel uncomfortable. Like it's a rule that helps the rich be richer and the poor keep the status quo or something.

I bet that the massively out of budget weddings happen more often in places where this "pay for your plate" nonsense has really taken hold.

 

I gotta wonder, if you're having that sort of wedding, do you photocopy the caterer's bill and include it in the invite? Put a price by each meal option? What about cake? First piece is free, but you'd better have a wash cloth off the registry if you want seconds?
 

 

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyway people have different customs, so I guess when in doubt ask the couple what they were thinking.  I mean if I was going to your, Limabean's, wedding and I asked about pay for your plate, and you told me it would almost feel insulting to you, there is no way I'd push my tradition onto you.  I hadn't thought of that possibility before but certainly I think open communication can smooth this kind of thing over.

 

Along the lines of what Storm Bride was saying, the logical, frank and very 'open' conversation here might look something like this:

 

Guest:  Hey, I got your wedding invitation in the mail today.  So how much are you paying per plate for dinner?

 

Bride:  $75. 

 

Guest: OK, so that means I should spend at least $300 on you for my family of four.  That's more than we can afford. I'm so sorry, I was really looking forward to seeing you dance your first dance with your new husband and cut the cake and so on, but we can't go.


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Old 03-01-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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Well if your reception was a gift to your loved ones and you wanted to pay for them, I don't see what the problem is. If you had that kind of money, and were able to do that, it made you happy then why not?

 

I'm operating under the idea that the new couple is not established not yet living together and are going to need to spend their money on starting their new life together.  The registry should be filled with household items that are needed for their new home.  I assume a simple reception/ wedding. I don't expect anyone to pay for a dj or what have you but dinner?  I think it's only polite. If the couple has to pay for you and your guest that's money they couple have been spending on necessary household items. The point of gift giving is to show someone you appreciate them. So why if you know you are costing the couple money they would need for their life would you not want to help out?  If you cannot afford to  give them a gift approximately equal to the plate and they say come anyway, then come anyway. I think thought it's a little rude to get indignant that your money is worth more than their money, in the idea that "well I can't afford to pay for my dinner but I don't care if they can't afford to pay for my dinner" (I'm not saying that is why people don't pay for their plate thought, just that that is one reason some people have proposed) I think caring for the couple and guests needs goes both ways applies to extravagant or destination weddings, that's why i don't think you need to offset costs (of the couple) in those situations.  A destination wedding costs more to the guests than to the couple so, in my mind if the couple really wants those guests to come and their guests cannot afford it, the couple should make an effort to help offset the guests funds. I dunno  I just  think you should be thinking about the people you care about's needs.

 

  I specifically made the statement if you have an expectation of being invited than yes you should pay for your plate.  I did word it to imply there was a  kindness being done by inviting the guest.   I believe many guests do get invited to weddings out of social obligation. I always grew up feeling that weddings were a waste of money, in relation to other one day parties. I hate large social gatherings and therefore my DH and I eloped and had no reception. Even now 6 years later we are  asked when are we going to have a wedding and  reception.  So maybe I am coming from a completely different mental place but if I were to have a wedding it would be a favor to the guests.

 

Anyway people have different customs, so I guess when in doubt ask the couple what they were thinking.  I mean if I was going to your, Limabean's, wedding and I asked about pay for your plate, and you told me it would almost feel insulting to you, there is no way I'd push my tradition onto you.  I hadn't thought of that possibility before but certainly I think open communication can smooth this kind of thing over.



The host invited close friends and family, the ones they want to share their special day. The host is overjoyed that the guest can come. The host is honored that someone choose to travel. The host wants to feed or entertain the guest and does so according to their means. It is not it for tat. Guests don't "cost" theio hosts money. They are guests whether served costco cake and apple juice or filet mignon. The guests are delighted to attend, buy gifts according to their means and closeness with the couple, they are thanks promptly.

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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I had never heard of this rule till I was planning my wedding and was on a wedding planning website forum.  I thought it was. . .odd.  As the bride I threw the party I could afford and hoped everyone could come and have a good time.  I would have felt awful if some of my friends felt they couldn't come because they couldn't afford to spend some "required" amount on a gift.  I would never have wanted my wedding to be a financial burden on my friends or family.  Paying for my wedding was the responsibility of DH and I (and our parents since they chose to help) not our guests.  Because of that we had a low-key reception with no alcohol and no DJ at 3 in the afternoon.  Thankfully here in the South, that kind of reception in fairly common.

 

Now giving gifts to others, I'm as generous as I can afford to be with some consideration to how close a relationship we have with the couple.  In my circle gift like a PP mention like detergent would be acceptable, but usually part of a basket gift.  Like a laundry basket packed with laundry supplies, maybe some hangers, detergent, lingerie bags, dryer balls, and fabric softener.  I remember giving a shower gift of a kitchen trashcan filled with kitchen stuff, dish towels, a bag of trash bag that fit the can, a nice manual can opener, garlic press, stuff like that.


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Old 03-01-2011, 11:43 AM
 
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It's interesting how we can see the situation so differently, both thinking that our way is the considerate way -- it must really be one of those strong regional differences. I do tend to give more to young couples who don't have their own place yet, but not as a way of "covering my plate" -- the weddings I've been to for couples like that have actually been the most simple weddings I've attended, so I'm sure that for them the cost of my gift far exceeded the cost of my plate. It would be counterintuitive to spend less on them because they spent less on me, and to spend more on my rich/established friends because they spent more on me...right? That just seems to go against the spirit of the custom as you described it. Maybe I'm not understanding something. 

 

Regarding the bolded, do you really ask the bridal couple flat-out how much the meals at their reception cost? 

 

I don't think of paying for you plate has a limit,  more of a starting point. So yeah I wouldn't say "Oh this reception was a pot luck therefore I refuse to give a gift." More like "Oh man I really just want to help A&B start their new life together. I'll try make sure that having me there isn't a financial burden"  So you could wind up giving a gift at a very inexpensive wedding that is mutliple times the food cost  if you wanted.

 

Regarding the bolded:
 Oh no I it was more that since I was not aware that people didn't always do a gift to cover the plate  (before this thread) that people should ask  about the custom, not the specifics.  I was thinking that since the thread has shown two very different viewpoints, that feel very strongly and since I'd like to make the bride and groom happy I'd try to go with their custom.

 

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:55 AM
 
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Quote:

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If I understand you correctly then yes.  The answer is yes, you should only have the things you can AFFORD.  It's a hard lesson to learn, but a valuable one.

 

I never heard of this "cover your plate" business till I moved to the notheast and I was horrified.  If the wedding your hosting is going to put you so far in debt that you need your guests to pay for it, swallow your pride and scale back.


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The host invited close friends and family, the ones they want to share their special day. The host is overjoyed that the guest can come. The host is honored that someone choose to travel. The host wants to feed or entertain the guest and does so according to their means. It is not it for tat. Guests don't "cost" theio hosts money. They are guests whether served costco cake and apple juice or filet mignon. The guests are delighted to attend, buy gifts according to their means and closeness with the couple, they are thanks promptly.


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I had never heard of this rule till I was planning my wedding and was on a wedding planning website forum.  I thought it was. . .odd.  As the bride I threw the party I could afford and hoped everyone could come and have a good time.  I would have felt awful if some of my friends felt they couldn't come because they couldn't afford to spend some "required" amount on a gift.  I would never have wanted my wedding to be a financial burden on my friends or family.  Paying for my wedding was the responsibility of DH and I (and our parents since they chose to help) not our guests.


Amen. That's how we felt, too.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:56 AM
 
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I bet that the massively out of budget weddings happen more often in places where this "pay for your plate" nonsense has really taken hold.

 

I gotta wonder, if you're having that sort of wedding, do you photocopy the caterer's bill and include it in the invite? Put a price by each meal option? What about cake? First piece is free, but you'd better have a wash cloth off the registry if you want seconds?
 

 


LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ROTFLMAO.gif

I have no idea if anyone I know has had an 'out of budget' wedding... Most of them seem pretty reasonable, despite the general "expectation" that guests will give a gift substantial enough to cover their meal. (And I say "expectation" loosely... it's like kids' birthday parties, it's not that you necessarily want/need the gifts, but you know that most guests will bring one.) I did go to one wedding that was really fancy - crazy dessert bar, drink tickets, etc. -- but that couple already had a house and good jobs & was in their late 20's or 30's... But when I hear about chicken wings and potlucks for weddings, that doesn't sound likely to happen often around here... almost everyone seems to rent a banquet hall. Part of that may simply be due to the very unpredictable weather we have. And most indoor facilities are pricey (you can't just rent a hall, you must pay huge minimum deposits and have the meal catered through them) and most people don't have a house big enough to accommodate everyone. Even places that would normally be free/cheap will up their prices for weddings (despite providing no additional services).

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:56 AM
 
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I don't think of paying for you plate has a limit,  more of a starting point. So yeah I wouldn't say "Oh this reception was a pot luck therefore I refuse to give a gift." More like "Oh man I really just want to help A&B start their new life together. I'll try make sure that having me there isn't a financial burden"  So you could wind up giving a gift at a very inexpensive wedding that is mutliple times the food cost  if you wanted.

 

Regarding the bolded:
 Oh no I it was more that since I was not aware that people didn't always do a gift to cover the plate  (before this thread) that people should ask  about the custom, not the specifics.  I was thinking that since the thread has shown two very different viewpoints, that feel very strongly and since I'd like to make the bride and groom happy I'd try to go with their custom.

 


Regarding the first paragraph, I guess I don't understand how the cost of the plate figures into that. It sounds like a (more reasonable) method of giving more to those who need more. The specific cost of the food appears to have very very little to do with it, so it's a confusing comparison to make. 

 

Regarding the second paragraph, thanks for clarifying -- that makes more sense. (ETA: But then your post below this one goes right back to flat-out asking the bridal couple about per-meal costs, so I'm back to being horrified. wink1.gif I don't think it's ever appropriate to ask a couple how much any aspect of their wedding costs. If you'd worry about giving too little, you could use crunchy_mommy's mom's method of calling the venue to get an idea of meal pricing, and if you just don't subscribe to the whole concept, you could just give whatever gift you're comfortable with and move on without a worry. If the bridal couple wants to be offended by the value of a gift, that's their prerogative, but I think it's insanely self-centered and rude.) 


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Old 03-01-2011, 12:08 PM
 
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Along the lines of what Storm Bride was saying, the logical, frank and very 'open' conversation here might look something like this:

 

Guest:  Hey, I got your wedding invitation in the mail today.  So how much are you paying per plate for dinner?

 

Bride:  $75. 

 

Guest: OK, so that means I should spend at least $300 on you for my family of four.  That's more than we can afford. I'm so sorry, I was really looking forward to seeing you dance your first dance with your new husband and cut the cake and so on, but we can't go.

 

I really don't see the problem with open and honest communication. Though I'd expect a lead in

 

Guest:  So as far as gifts are concerned are you guys "pay for you plate people? or not"

 

Bride: (in this scenario) We are.  

 

Guest: So approximately how much are you paying per plate for dinner becasue we have a family of four coming.

 

Bride: It's costing us 75.

 

Guest: Oh we definately can't afford 75 dollars for each person.  That's at least 300, which is more than we can afford. I'm so sorry, I was really looking forward to seeing you dance your first dance with your new husband and cut the cake and so on, but we can't go.

 

Bride:  Oh wow that really is a hardship for you guys, I hadn't thought of that (or whatever)  We'll I certainly want you guys to come. So let's...

 

Honestly I think this scenario has less resentment than if you had a bride who was of the pay for you plate custom, you didn't know and gave less.  Maybe the bride has no idea that  there are people who don't do pay for your plate.  Maybe the bride will look at the custom and say "oh i really do want the whole Smithson family with their 6 kids, I hadn't even thought what that would mean if they were expected to pay for their plates, geez that is a lot of money. " Maybe she would apologize.   Maybe she would try to figure something else out.

 

Or maybe a scenario would go like this

 

 

Guest: So do you guys do that whole pay for your plate thing?

 

Bride: Of course not! I just want you guys there because i love you. I know how times have been hard on you guys and I wouldn't dream of expecting you guys to pay for  your plate at Chez Frou Frou FancyInn.  We are having a fantasy wedding because  always dreamed of having my party at Chez Frou Frou FancyInn.  My dream is also to have you there celebrating with me.

 

 

Or whatever.  I think if anything this thread has revealed that people have customs that they are used to and feel are " the right way" and when someone else doesn't know that custom it can lead to hard feelings. So why not shine some light ask questions and if people are coming from a point of genuine caring, things will work out.

 

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Old 03-01-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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yeah, this is what I meant... sort of. I guess it seems classist (or something?) to pay by how big a party is thrown. Using your same scenario, if Suzy can only AFFORD $12/head wedding (though she may want a bigger one), isn't she more likely to be the one in "need" of nicer stuff that Frank could more likely swing on his own (this is, of course, assuming people have reasonable wedding budgets for their income). That is, does Frank really need that high end coffee maker while Suzy just gets a crappy $12 walmart special?

I dunno. It... makes me feel uncomfortable. Like it's a rule that helps the rich be richer and the poor keep the status quo or something.

Well it's more like a starting point (and we do cash only for weddings here). So you could give Suzy & Frank each the same amount, say $75, but if you are going to give only $75, it would be considered rude to bring your DH & 2 kids as well to Frank's wedding (but it would be fine for Suzy's)... so it's kind of a balancing act of weighing how close you are to the couple vs. how much the meals cost vs. how many are attending vs. what you can afford.

(I'm not necessarily defending this practice, just explaining it as I was taught!!)

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Old 03-01-2011, 12:18 PM
 
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hehehe... I guess I should add that I've never been to a wedding that didn't have a huge table full of big wrapped presents.  I guess it's a completely different world.  My MIL, for instance, would *never* just give cash.  It's so *impersonal* to her.  She's horrified when people just give cash.  lol.gif 


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