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?