The Monetary Wedding Gift

“Well, you need to make sure you cover your plate.”

“I’m going to give less if I go to a backyard BBQ!”

“Are you bringing a date?”

Since beginning the process of planning a wedding we have heard that we will never “make back” what we are putting into this wedding.I have a big family and since I was a little girl I never thought of the dress, the ring, or the cake- I thought about my family and friends gathering around and enjoying each others company. We can hardly all get together any more and what better than a wedding! However- the wedding gift is always a hot topic.

I am at the age where wedding invites start to pile up, the dollar signs start to flash: destination weddings; bachelor and bachelorette parties; and gifts, gifts, and more gifts. The idea of having to spring for flights, hotels, bridesmaid dresses, and a present for each occasion can be a serious source of stress. Complicating matters more is the seeming lack of concrete rules for gift giving. After all, “How much should I spend on a wedding gift?” seems to be the most often asked gift-giving question.

For myself and many others, that total is just another number in the chaotic mathematics of gift giving, a calculation in which what to give, and how much, is downright bewildering. It seems that the most common equation really consists of three portions: Reception location + Covering your plate(s) and bar tab + number of attendees = the Perfect Gift.

I don’t care about the money. I want you at my wedding because I love you and want you to be a part of my special day. I don’t want to use the word greedy but some couples have become so overly concerned with the size of the gift that it’s inevitability used against you. I have heard brides say “Well she only gave [X amount], so I am giving her as much as she gave me!” I makes me sad- this personal monetary vendetta.

I find it really appalling when a bride/groom looks at a gift and expresses their discuss that a couple, a friend, a family member did not do their part in pulling their weight to help pay off someones wedding. A lot of people say that covering your plate and alcohol is a standard way to calculate a gift, but it’s not. It’s not tradition and it’s not universal. People should give according to their relationship and their means.

Here’s my thought on the whole thing.

The closer you are to the bride or groom, the more you are expected to give, and do not ever give more than you can afford just because of the expectations. The location and cost of the reception should not be the burden of the guest. Don’t have a wedding that you can’t pay for on your own. My gift is not meant to fund your party. It is a present that represents our relationship and the path that brought us to this point. Like any other gift given it represents something that I want to offer you.

What should be most important to the couple is everyone having an amazing day, especially the two that this entire event is about. So enjoy your friends and families and don’t think about what’s inside those cards.


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