January 4, 2010

The Great Debate

This past weekend Brian and I attended a wedding here in NYC. And, like every wedding before, we had a heated debate over what the proper gift giving procedure should be. This may, in fact, be the only thing we cannot seem to agree on.

For those of you that have not figured out yet why we debate at each wedding... let me explain.

In Oklahoma, couples register for gifts and then we mail them to the couple. You can take it to the wedding but most gifts are mailed ahead of time. You receive things that you will need to make your home together. Sure, a blender and new dishes may not sound awesome but you will need them at some point. And, of course you will receive some interesting things that you never registered for or probably don't need but you may be pleasantly surprised! Even if you are not happy with what you were given it was a gift! Maybe just say "thank you" and move on.

In NYC, (and I am sure many other places) wedding gifts are a "cash only" policy. This "cash only" thing doesn't bother me so much, it is the how much that really gets me. $100 per guest + $100 for the gift. That makes it about $300 just to attend the wedding. (I cannot afford to give everyone I know that gets married $300. So chances are, I am just not attending your wedding.) I mean, that is before I pay for hotel and transportation and everything else. That is asking a lot from your guests!

Here is where the debate at our house begins...
Brian: You pay $100 per guest because you pay for your plate. Whitney: Why am I paying for their wedding? The gift is supposed to help start their lives together.
Brian: Exactly, that is what the last $100 is for.
Whitney: Oh, so I am paying for their wedding & giving them money for the future?
Brian: This is how it is done.
Whitney: I understand giving a gift of cash. I do not agree with paying for your plate.
Brian: Then they can't even cover the wedding costs.
Whitney: Why not throw a wedding you can afford then. Or hey, charge a cover at the door! That is the same thing right!
Brian: No! Now you are being unreasonable.
Whitney: Unreasonable is asking people to pay for your wedding and then asking for a "gift" on top of it!

This debate continues and continues...
The thing is, I can see parts to his side of the story. I mean, couples are older these days when they marry. They may have lived together and have the things that they need in their home. I also realize that a very good number of our friends paid for their own wedding and gifts of cash are greatly appreciated. Not too mention, when I someday get married... I can see really wanting cash! I get all of that. Really, I do, I love cash...

The real kicker for me is the way I have heard some people speak about friends and family after the wedding. The way that they judge what someone gave them and could not believe that they only sent them X amount when they came with a guest. Or how they knew how much the plate cost and they couldn't even cover that! People shouldn't feel obligated to give $300 when invited to your wedding. Gifts should not be the reason that people stop hanging out with dear friends. Money tends to be a sore issue with a lot of people these days and I think friendships are more valuable.

In all honesty, I know that this is just the difference in our cultures. And we solve the problem by Brian giving the gifts at his friends weddings and me giving to mine. FYI: My NYC friends, you know that I am a starving artist and cannot afford to shell out $300 when I come to your wedding. I will do my best to give you a wonderful gift but please do not make me call you to tell you about my financial situation so that we can remain friends.

So friends: what are your thoughts? Am I completely out of touch and need to step into the new millennium?


  1. Call me an okie, but I'm with you on this one whit! The purpose of registering is so you can select the items that you need. If you already have an established home (living together for some time) then don't register for a blender, register for what you need! I do love Brian dearly, but I can't side with him on this one (sorry Brian!) I do suppose it's difference of culture, but it was shocking to me none the less. You should have seen my face when I read this...my jaw literally hit the keyboard! I may live under a rock, but I had no idea that was the "norm" up yonder! Stand your ground girl. Oh and tell Brian that since he didn't get to come to our wedding, that I'm getting in the attic tonight to dig out an extra invitation to drop in the mail tomorrow. Checks made payable to "Mr. & Mrs. Scott Hofmann" please:)

  2. I really never considered myself old fashioned but....I guess I must be (at least on some issues!!!) I am with you on this one Whit! I feel that people should have a wedding they can afford and the guests should not have to pay to go to the wedding...That is just crazy! I don't mind giving cash as a gift, but I would like a choice to either give cash or a gift!

  3. okay so, I have to side with you on this one. I can totally see an "option" of giving cash, i.e. here is where we are registered...and you can also donate to our honeymoon fund, our savings account whatever, it gives guests a CHOICE! I totally get that people are waiwting until later to get married, but what's wrong with finding a furniture store or something and registering for that flat screen tv and people can come and make your downpayment but aren't obligated too.
    My point I guess is that I find it tacky that someone would ask YOU to pay for their wedding, it's like that sex and the city episode where Carrie loses her shoes at her friends apartment where they insisted she take them off. Afterall, can you imagine if I invited Brian to Hattie and Maggie's birthday party and said no toys, clothes, whatever, just please give me cash of $100 or more because her birthday is in DisneyWorld and if you can make it great, if not cash is still accepted??
    Either way, pretty tacky, tacky, tacky. If you can't afford your wedding then maybe you should rethink what you're doing, I think that's part of the reason the great USofA is in the economic state that we are in, i.e. I must have an iphone and the $30 extra a month it costs me but I can't afford my children's glasses....
    just saying :)
    Jessie Baby

  4. I love you Jessie Baby!!!

  5. I seriously have never heard of having guests pay for their portion of food/entertainment at a wedding! A cash bar maybe, but that still is considered a little tacky down here in the good ole south. I dont even think I've been to a wedding where the bartenders have tip jars out. I cant imagine expecting everyone I know to give me $300 so I can have the wedding of MY dreams. Its just wrong. I agree with you completely Whitney!! Hugs! Kristianne

  6. I totally agree with you, I actually had to ask for cash at my wedding since I was moving to another country and couldn't send all the gifts home, but nomatter what the gift was I totally appreciated them, there is no way I could afford to go to any $300 gift weddings...



Related Posts with Thumbnails