Going to a wedding party

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aqan
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Going to a wedding party

Post by aqan » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:18 am

So my dear friend from my work invited us to his wedding and we’re excited to attend an American wedding for the first time since we arrived here 15 year ago.
I was wondering what to expect at the party. We’ve already sent a gift from their gift registry and thinking of bringing some flowers with us to the party. Is that what people usually do? Also, whats an appropriate time to take a leave? the party starts at 6pm we’d probably want to leave around 9 so we can get back to our kids before 11pm.
Any other inside information you can throw at me would be great as well.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by RickBoglehead » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:23 am

If you sent a gift, then no gift at time of the event would be necessary. Normally one would bring the gift to the wedding itself, but sometimes sending it in advance makes sense.

A party after the wedding ceremony would be 3 - 4 hours. Many venues charge extra hours after 3.

Should be no problem making excuses to leave at 9 for the kids. Or, get a sitter that has no issue staying late and have a great time.
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prudent
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by prudent » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:32 am

I am assuming when you say "party" you are referring to what most people call the "reception" after the wedding. You wouldn't want to bring flowers. The reception may or may not start with a cocktail hour where drinks and small appetizers are served, followed by the announcement of the bridal party as they enter, then a meal, then music/dancing as the guests mingle and the newlyweds circulate to greet the guests. If you sent a gift you don't need to bring anything to the reception. You can leave at 9, no one will mind.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:40 am

msi wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:37 am
For clarity, you are also supposed to bring a check and a greeting card to the wedding itself. It's not just a gift from the registry beforehand. Don't bring flowers or another physical gift.

Perfectly fine to leave at 9.
"Supposed to bring a check" to the wedding??
After/in addition to sending or bringing a gift?

Huh?

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miamivice
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by miamivice » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:43 am

msi wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:37 am
For clarity, you are also supposed to bring a check and a greeting card to the wedding itself. It's not just a gift from the registry beforehand. Don't bring flowers or another physical gift.

Perfectly fine to leave at 9.
No, haven't heard of this.

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msi
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by msi » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:47 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:40 am
msi wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:37 am
For clarity, you are also supposed to bring a check and a greeting card to the wedding itself. It's not just a gift from the registry beforehand. Don't bring flowers or another physical gift.

Perfectly fine to leave at 9.
"Supposed to bring a check" to the wedding??
After/in addition to sending or bringing a gift?

Huh?

RM
Completely misread the OP. Ignore the old post.

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aqan
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by aqan » Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:07 pm

prudent wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:32 am
I am assuming when you say "party" you are referring to what most people call the "reception" after the wedding. You wouldn't want to bring flowers. The reception may or may not start with a cocktail hour where drinks and small appetizers are served, followed by the announcement of the bridal party as they enter, then a meal, then music/dancing as the guests mingle and the newlyweds circulate to greet the guests. If you sent a gift you don't need to bring anything to the reception. You can leave at 9, no one will mind.
Correct it’s the reception. Thanks for laying it out for me. Really helpful.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by drawpoker » Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:11 pm

The "money tree" custom at weddings still exists but only among the ethnic groups that have observed this as part of their culture. If this is an "American" wedding as the OP describes it is unlikely the money tree for checks or (cash) will be up and running. Unless either the bride or groom is a member of one of those ethnic groups.

https://wedessence.com/money-tree-etiquette

Before the existence of nice stores having efficient and reliable delivery service - and the emergence of FedEx and UPS - guests would bring gifts to the wedding itself. Although this may have made a nice display it also represented extra work for the bride's family. As people would have to be designated to take charge of the table(s), receiving the wrapped gifts, making sure the donors' cards did not get misplaced, keeping an eye that nothing got swiped by dishonest employees working the venue, etc.

If this is the first American wedding for the OP the most important thing that hasn't changed much over the years is the value of the wedding gift should equal (or exceed) the cost of the reception.

The reception could be anything from a small, modest affair to be held in the church hall with no alcohol to a lavish affair at a hotel, country club, or other venue where the per-guest price runs over $250.

The OP should make discreet but sufficient inquiry beforehand to make sure the cost of the wedding gift is appropriate.

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Brianmcg321
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Brianmcg321 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:32 pm

Keep your fingers crossed for an open bar, and you will have a great time.
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dm200
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by dm200 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:19 pm

In the US, there are very wide differences in wedding receptions. They range from just cake, and small amounts of other food (and no alcohol) to large and elaborate sit down dinners - with an open bar. Many of the differences are related to the religion and/or ethnicity of the families of those getting married.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by PalmQueen » Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:42 pm

drawpoker wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:11 pm
If this is the first American wedding for the OP the most important thing that hasn't changed much over the years is the value of the wedding gift should equal (or exceed) the cost of the reception.

The reception could be anything from a small, modest affair to be held in the church hall with no alcohol to a lavish affair at a hotel, country club, or other venue where the per-guest price runs over $250.

The OP should make discreet but sufficient inquiry beforehand to make sure the cost of the wedding gift is appropriate.
I disagree!
Your gift should not be about reimbursing the couple for their wedding day and you should not make inquiries about the cost of the wedding.

The old adage about matching the cost of gift to the cost of the wedding was always regional and is finally obsolete.

I never understood why anyone would suggest that a couple choosing a modest wedding didn't deserve gifts as nice as a couple throwing a posh affair.

You were wise to select a gift from their wedding registry and have it sent to them. It will be something they want and will appreciate.
Enjoy the day!

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:07 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:19 pm
In the US, there are very wide differences in wedding receptions. They range from just cake, and small amounts of other food (and no alcohol) to large and elaborate sit down dinners - with an open bar. Many of the differences are related to the religion and/or ethnicity of the families of those getting married.
No alcohol at our wedding as we were underage for drinking! Foolish youths, but here we are almost 48 years later.

Having been to "dry" weddings, and free alcohol weddings, I much prefer the free alcohol ones. :D

I think the most beautiful wedding we ever attended was for a Korean friend's wedding. The Korean ladies wore some gorgeous dresses/gowns (not sure what their native garments were called). Unbelievable handwork.

So far as the value of a gift, I never have figured that custom out. DW and I paid 100% for the DD's weddings. Whatever DDs received as gifts didn't offset wedding costs, as the gifts were DDs and sons-in-laws. :confused

Broken Man 1999
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Watty
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Watty » Sat Sep 28, 2019 5:05 pm

aqan wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:18 am
....the party starts at 6pm we’d probably want to leave around 9 so we can get back to our kids before 11pm.
You were likely invited to both the wedding and the reception so you would be going to a wedding ceremony and then a diner. (An afternoon wedding might just be the ceremony then cake and light refreshments.)

The wedding will be before the reception so be careful not to arrive late. I would plan on arriving at about 5:40 PM for a 6:00 PM wedding to allow a bit of leeway in case you hit bad traffic.

After the wedding there will usually be some time before the reception starts while they are doing things like having more of the wedding photos taken. There will usually be refreshments and possibly drinks available for the guests while you stand around and talk while waiting for the people in the wedding.

Often the actual wedding ceremony may be fairly short and only last 30 minutes or so but this can vary. A Catholic wedding mass will tend to be longer and likely be about an hour to an hour and half.

Between the photos and the length of the ceremony if the wedding is at 6:00 PM the reception probably will not begin until about 7:30 or 8:00 so leaving by nine could be a bit too early. It would be good to plan being able to stay until 10:00 PM if you need to.

It should be perfectly fine to ask your friend about the times so that you can plan on the babysitter.

The drinks may be free or there may be a "no host" bar where you buy your own drinks so have some cash handy for that. Even if you get a non-alcoholic soda or ice water I would normally tip the bartender a dollar or so.

Sometimes there may be limited parking so you may have to use Valet parking so make sure that there are not valuables in your car.

Sometimes the wedding will be at a different location, like a church, and then everyone will go to the location were the reception will be at so be sure you are clear where the locations are if there is more than one location. I once went to the wrong address for a wedding where there were two streets named Washington in a city and also a nearby suburb so be very clear on the address so I was about 20 minutes late for it and missed the ceremony.

If they are having a religious ceremony and you are a different religion you should still feel comfortable during the service. If they have something like a prayer that you don't feel comfortable saying it should be acceptable to just stand or sit (like everyone else) and just quietly observe.

If your friend is by any chance in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints(Mormon) then the process varies and they may(or may not) have a service in their temple that only Mormons can enter so don't feel offended if you are not invited to that part of the wedding.

If your friend is Jewish and getting married in a Synagogue(basically a Jewish church) then males may( or may not) be expected to cover your head as a sign of respect but if that is the case they will have skull caps that you can use.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by drawpoker » Sat Sep 28, 2019 5:29 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:07 pm
......as the value of a gift, I never have figured that custom out. DW and I paid 100% for the DD's weddings. Whatever DDs received as gifts didn't offset wedding costs, as the gifts were DDs and sons-in-laws. :confused
You are referring to way back when. The olden days. When the bride's family footed the entire bill for the wedding (except for cost of rehearsal dinner).

Now in these modern times we are in, with the ages of both brides and grooms older, maybe established in careers and making good salaries, quite a large percentage of weddings are being largely paid for by the couple, not the bride's family.
2nd, 3rd weddings, destination weddings, all sorts of scenarios where the bride's family is not the bank.

So, if you can pretty much figure that the reception is a sit-down dinner, and you are marking your choice on RSVP card whether you want chicken or beef, are you going to give a $50 gift if you know the per-plate cost of your meal is $100?

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by KlingKlang » Sat Sep 28, 2019 5:41 pm

Brianmcg321 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:32 pm
Keep your fingers crossed for an open bar, and you will have a great time.
Should probably mention that depending on the ethnic background of the participants (I'm German, Irish, Polish :sharebeer) and of course the individuals themselves some weddings involve a large consumption of alcohol by the guests. If this is not something that you want to participate in your plan to leave by 9 pm is probably a good one.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 5:53 pm

drawpoker wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 5:29 pm
Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:07 pm
......as the value of a gift, I never have figured that custom out. DW and I paid 100% for the DD's weddings. Whatever DDs received as gifts didn't offset wedding costs, as the gifts were DDs and sons-in-laws. :confused
You are referring to way back when. The olden days. When the bride's family footed the entire bill for the wedding (except for cost of rehearsal dinner).

Now in these modern times we are in, with the ages of both brides and grooms older, maybe established in careers and making good salaries, quite a large percentage of weddings are being largely paid for by the couple, not the bride's family.
2nd, 3rd weddings, destination weddings, all sorts of scenarios where the bride's family is not the bank.

So, if you can pretty much figure that the reception is a sit-down dinner, and you are marking your choice on RSVP card whether you want chicken or beef, are you going to give a $50 gift if you know the per-plate cost of your meal is $100?
We have always been generous, but our reasons had nothing to do with whatever the couple might have spent for a dinner. If the couple is truly worried about recovering the costs, perhaps they should have a less expensive wedding. Trying to get back the costs of a dinner seems a bit tacky to me. Sounds like guilting is in full bloom and is the new norm, perhaps. Gifts should be what is appropriate and affordable. Perhaps the poorer guests can be offered mac & cheese.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by SrGrumpy » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:07 pm

aqan wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:18 am
I was wondering what to expect at the party.
The only person who can answer that is the "dear friend" who invited you. What did he say when you asked?

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by drawpoker » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:12 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 5:53 pm
.....a bit tacky to me. Sounds like guilting is in full bloom and is the new norm, perhaps.....
Perhaps? New norm?

Ever wonder why Bridezilla TV show has been on the air since 2004? And still going strong in the ratings :greedy

FI4LIFE
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by FI4LIFE » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:20 pm

People are making general statements about "the way things are" but wedding customs are regional and differ throughout the country. The custom of giving a monetary gift is a norm where I live but may not be in other parts of the country.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by MathIsMyWayr » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:32 pm

A few years ago, I attended a wedding of a daughter of a dear friend of mine. I flew from CA to New England, stayed at a hotel, went to the wedding followed by a reception. I think I wrote a check of around $500. Money well spent. Depending on your financial situation, not being stingy is the way to go. I still have a fond memory.
Last edited by MathIsMyWayr on Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

stoptothink
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by stoptothink » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:33 pm

PalmQueen wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:42 pm
drawpoker wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:11 pm
If this is the first American wedding for the OP the most important thing that hasn't changed much over the years is the value of the wedding gift should equal (or exceed) the cost of the reception.

The reception could be anything from a small, modest affair to be held in the church hall with no alcohol to a lavish affair at a hotel, country club, or other venue where the per-guest price runs over $250.

The OP should make discreet but sufficient inquiry beforehand to make sure the cost of the wedding gift is appropriate.
I disagree!
Your gift should not be about reimbursing the couple for their wedding day and you should not make inquiries about the cost of the wedding.

The old adage about matching the cost of gift to the cost of the wedding was always regional and is finally obsolete.

I never understood why anyone would suggest that a couple choosing a modest wedding didn't deserve gifts as nice as a couple throwing a posh affair.

You were wise to select a gift from their wedding registry and have it sent to them. It will be something they want and will appreciate.
Enjoy the day!
That suggestion has nothing whatsoever to do with American weddings, it is (apparently) an expectation in specific cultures that exist in pockets of America. At most weddings in my (region/religious) culture, most guests do not bring a gift at all to wedding receptions. I've lived in 5 different states and been to easily 100+ weddings in the past 20 years, and I never even heard of this "cover your plate" suggestion until I became a member of this board.

Do what you feel comfortable with and don't worry about what others may think. If a bride and groom gives a 2nd thought as to what a family member or friend gifted them on their wedding, that's their issue.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by MarkBarb » Sat Sep 28, 2019 8:32 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:33 pm
PalmQueen wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:42 pm
drawpoker wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:11 pm
If this is the first American wedding for the OP the most important thing that hasn't changed much over the years is the value of the wedding gift should equal (or exceed) the cost of the reception.

The reception could be anything from a small, modest affair to be held in the church hall with no alcohol to a lavish affair at a hotel, country club, or other venue where the per-guest price runs over $250.

The OP should make discreet but sufficient inquiry beforehand to make sure the cost of the wedding gift is appropriate.
I disagree!
Your gift should not be about reimbursing the couple for their wedding day and you should not make inquiries about the cost of the wedding.

The old adage about matching the cost of gift to the cost of the wedding was always regional and is finally obsolete.

I never understood why anyone would suggest that a couple choosing a modest wedding didn't deserve gifts as nice as a couple throwing a posh affair.

You were wise to select a gift from their wedding registry and have it sent to them. It will be something they want and will appreciate.
Enjoy the day!
That suggestion has nothing whatsoever to do with American weddings, it is (apparently) an expectation in specific cultures that exist in pockets of America. At most weddings in my (region/religious) culture, most guests do not bring a gift at all to wedding receptions. I've lived in 5 different states and been to easily 100+ weddings in the past 20 years, and I never even heard of this "cover your plate" suggestion until I became a member of this board.

Do what you feel comfortable with and don't worry about what others may think. If a bride and groom gives a 2nd thought as to what a family member or friend gifted them on their wedding, that's their issue.
If anything, my preference is to spend in inverse proportion to what I think the wedding/reception cost. If someone is throwing a $100,000 soiree, my assumption is that they are extremely wealthy and my present should be only about sentiment. If someone is putting together a wedding on a shoestring budget, they are more likely to need my contribution.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Thegame14 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 8:47 pm

PalmQueen wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:42 pm
drawpoker wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:11 pm
If this is the first American wedding for the OP the most important thing that hasn't changed much over the years is the value of the wedding gift should equal (or exceed) the cost of the reception.

The reception could be anything from a small, modest affair to be held in the church hall with no alcohol to a lavish affair at a hotel, country club, or other venue where the per-guest price runs over $250.

The OP should make discreet but sufficient inquiry beforehand to make sure the cost of the wedding gift is appropriate.
I disagree!
Your gift should not be about reimbursing the couple for their wedding day and you should not make inquiries about the cost of the wedding.

The old adage about matching the cost of gift to the cost of the wedding was always regional and is finally obsolete.

I never understood why anyone would suggest that a couple choosing a modest wedding didn't deserve gifts as nice as a couple throwing a posh affair.

You were wise to select a gift from their wedding registry and have it sent to them. It will be something they want and will appreciate.
Enjoy the day!
This is NOT true, that is NOT "finally" obsolete at all. Yes most people would say you are expected to meet the cost of your plate plus a small gift. The couple is not just paying for the wedding but also flowers, DJ, photo, video, etc.... Do you HAVE to do this no, but it is still the current train of thought and custom. Also it matters how close your are to the couple. dear friend from work, Id say $100-$150 per person should be fine, maybe on the low end, but depends on where you are located. Like people said, some people have a VFW hall or in the backyard with just catered food or a wedding hall at a country club or wedding venue which is MUCH MUCH more expensive. When we go married the cost was minimum $90 per person up to $300 per person just for the hall

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Random Musings
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Random Musings » Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:10 pm

Leaving to go back and take care of the kids is fine. Give a gift that you want to give and what is within your budget. When my wife and I got married 16 years ago, we invited people who we cared for and it wasn't about recouping back costs.

The bigger question I have is do you tip their wedding planner if the wedding went beyond your expectations?

RM
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Random Musings
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Random Musings » Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:26 pm

[/quote]

If anything, my preference is to spend in inverse proportion to what I think the wedding/reception cost. If someone is throwing a $100,000 soiree, my assumption is that they are extremely wealthy and my present should be only about sentiment. If someone is putting together a wedding on a shoestring budget, they are more likely to need my contribution.
[/quote]

Can depend on what financial situation one is in as well as relationship with the bride and groom, but I like your thought. Someone in our area had a five million dollar wedding, in that case it is to impress and I am sure a good portion of the guest list were pretty well off, sure they got some really nice gifts but not five lime nice.

RM
I figure the odds be fifty-fifty I just might have something to say. FZ

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by SrGrumpy » Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:38 pm

N.B. OP, very wisely, has taken care of the gift issue.
aqan wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:18 am
We’ve already sent a gift from their gift registry

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Luckywon » Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:51 pm

If you R.S.V.P. you are unable to attend, your friends will be appreciative of your gift, will save on the expense of your attending, and you will be spared having to sit through an archaic and boring ritual. Win win for everyone. I've never attended a wedding where I wasn't continuously assessing whether the time had arrived that I could leave without offending anyone. Just my perspective, I know some feel differently :)

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Watty
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Watty » Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:54 pm

One thing I forgot to mention is that traditionally a woman should not wear a white dress to a wedding since that is the traditional color of wedding gowns.

SrGrumpy
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by SrGrumpy » Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:21 pm

Luckywon wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:51 pm
I've never attended a wedding where I wasn't continuously assessing whether the time had arrived that I could leave without offending anyone. Just my perspective, I know some feel differently :)
One of my life's greatest accomplishments is that I have attended just 4 weddings - 2 family, 2 colleagues. That doesn't include the one I fled before it started. I left the colleagues' weddings as soon as the ceremony ended.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by stoptothink » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:53 am

Thegame14 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 8:47 pm
PalmQueen wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:42 pm
drawpoker wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:11 pm
If this is the first American wedding for the OP the most important thing that hasn't changed much over the years is the value of the wedding gift should equal (or exceed) the cost of the reception.

The reception could be anything from a small, modest affair to be held in the church hall with no alcohol to a lavish affair at a hotel, country club, or other venue where the per-guest price runs over $250.

The OP should make discreet but sufficient inquiry beforehand to make sure the cost of the wedding gift is appropriate.
I disagree!
Your gift should not be about reimbursing the couple for their wedding day and you should not make inquiries about the cost of the wedding.

The old adage about matching the cost of gift to the cost of the wedding was always regional and is finally obsolete.

I never understood why anyone would suggest that a couple choosing a modest wedding didn't deserve gifts as nice as a couple throwing a posh affair.

You were wise to select a gift from their wedding registry and have it sent to them. It will be something they want and will appreciate.
Enjoy the day!
This is NOT true, that is NOT "finally" obsolete at all. Yes most people would say you are expected to meet the cost of your plate plus a small gift. The couple is not just paying for the wedding but also flowers, DJ, photo, video, etc.... Do you HAVE to do this no, but it is still the current train of thought and custom.
As several of us have noted, this isn't a thing in our areas of the country. If the OP wasn't already aware of it, even not being a native, then it likely isn't in theirs either.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:20 am

miamivice wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:43 am
msi wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:37 am
For clarity, you are also supposed to bring a check and a greeting card to the wedding itself. It's not just a gift from the registry beforehand. Don't bring flowers or another physical gift.

Perfectly fine to leave at 9.
No, haven't heard of this.
Agree - a check in addition to a gift is nonsense!

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Kenkat
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Kenkat » Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:22 am

Gift of two head of cattle, four sheep or ten chickens is custom from old country.

As others have said, customs can vary by region or family ethnicity. If you know others who will be attending, ask around as to what they are doing. The best gift you can give is to attend with true joy and happiness for the couple.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Shallowpockets » Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:29 am

Be aware of the hokey pokey and line dances and other follies that seem to crop up at weddings. Melt yourself to the back of the room if so much as a hint of that begins. Or else you will be sucked into some sort of ridiculous endeavor.

Also, don't be afraid to ghost out of there. No good byes and prolonged hand shakes and hugs and such.Just leave.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by harrychan » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:00 am

Just came back from a wedding reception last night. The rule of thumb my DW and I use is we give gift in line with the amount we think the reception cost per head. If it was a modest venue, then the gift would be $60-80 per head. If it were a more high end venue, anywhere from $100-120 per head. In other words, if you bought a $40 gift from their registry, I may feel obligated to give another gift or bring a thoughtful gift card on the day of the reception. As for the actual reception, just go with the flow, take pictures, partake in any activities they ask you to partake. It may feel a bit uncomfortable at first especially you may only know the people from work but have fun.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

KyleAAA
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by KyleAAA » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:29 am

Customs vary widely by region and background, but in general if you’ve already sent a gift you don’t need to bring anything to the wedding. Do not bring flowers, your host wouldn’t know what to do with them.

No problems leaving at 9pm, as you won’t be the only ones. The bride and groom will be swamped and might not even notice you are gone. You’ll probably want to make a special effort to talk to them before you leave.

Make sure you learn the chicken dance and electric slide. For some reason every wedding will have those.

afan
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by afan » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:01 am

aqan,

As you can see from these replies, traditions vary widely. It depends on the couple, the families and to some extent the region.

Since the invitation is from a close friend, just ask. Mention that you have never been to an American wedding. You have already taken care of the gift.

Ask about how to dress. Many weddings are about as formal as standard business attire- suits for men comparable clothing for women. Some are very formal- evening wear for men for men, for examp!e. Some are much more casual, with no one wearing a tie. If the invite does not say, just ask. Some are indoors. Some are outdoors.

Make sure you are clear on whether you are invited to the reception only or both the wedding and reception. Some couples have a small wedding with few guests and a larger reception. If the invitation is not clear just ask.

How long to book a baby sitter? Again, ask if the invitation is not clear. Depending on the families receptions can end in a couple of hours or run long into the night. A common tradition has the serving of wedding cake some time after dinner. Not important in itself but it is part of the event, so worth waiting for it the time works for you. As a guest you are there to join in the celebration, see frinds, meet guests you do not know, etc. You want to stay around long enough to do that.

After the stand up part of the reception there may be no other food, a buffet meal, a sit down meal, or something else. Again, ask if the invitation is not clear.

There are many variations on traditions. People in the U.S. come from all over the world, often marry those from other cultures, pick up ideas for weddings and receptions from frinends, relatives, other events they have attended and things they see online. Some are religious ceremonies at churches. Some have no mention of a diety. At some the couple will wear special wedding clothes. This is more common for women who are getting married than it is for men. At many the couple wears everyday clothes, same as they would to work or a party.

There are no rules that everyone follows.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama

FireProof
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by FireProof » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:19 am

PalmQueen wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:42 pm
drawpoker wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:11 pm
If this is the first American wedding for the OP the most important thing that hasn't changed much over the years is the value of the wedding gift should equal (or exceed) the cost of the reception.

The reception could be anything from a small, modest affair to be held in the church hall with no alcohol to a lavish affair at a hotel, country club, or other venue where the per-guest price runs over $250.

The OP should make discreet but sufficient inquiry beforehand to make sure the cost of the wedding gift is appropriate.
I disagree!
Your gift should not be about reimbursing the couple for their wedding day and you should not make inquiries about the cost of the wedding.

The old adage about matching the cost of gift to the cost of the wedding was always regional and is finally obsolete.

I never understood why anyone would suggest that a couple choosing a modest wedding didn't deserve gifts as nice as a couple throwing a posh affair.

You were wise to select a gift from their wedding registry and have it sent to them. It will be something they want and will appreciate.
Enjoy the day!
My parents just attended a wedding this month, a three day event for the daughter of Silicon Valley friends. The wedding planner was at the reception as well, and my dad, direct as always, told her, ¨Wow, this is some shindig. It must have cost 100,000 bucks." She said, "Are you kidding? The flowers alone cost $200,000!"

Oops! Guess they should have upped that gift by $10,000 or so...

Momus
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Momus » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:26 am

I give $100-300 depending on my relationship with the person. I don't bring physical gifts and most people just like money than a junk duplicate clutter.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Church Lady » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:14 pm

OP,
As others have mentioned, wedding customs vary widely according to where you live, and the religion (or lack thereof) and ethnicity of the happy couple.

You've crossed the biggest hurdle by selecting a gift from the registry. Automatically, the gift is appropriate in terms of usefulness to the couple, and the price range of the gift. The couple would have taken that into account when putting together the registry. You're done! :sharebeer

However, in my ethnic group at least, there will be activities at the reception designed to collect cash for the couple. For example, you might 'buy' a dance with the bride or groom. The cost is nominal, like a dollar (so no one is embarrassed) but if you think the couple needs :dollar and you're feeling generous, you can 'pay' a lot more for the dance. Or there may be a basket to put in cash for the couple. You should bring some cash for collections of this nature, but don't feel compelled to contribute a lot. You've already brought the perfect gift.

If the wedding has a no host bar, you might have to pay even for mineral water and sodas, so bring cash for that, too.

You can leave pretty much anytime you like. You won't be the only couple with kids and babysitters to worry about, and the family will have taken that into account.
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

Wenonah
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Wenonah » Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:55 pm

If you sent a gift from the registry, you are done. The last wedding I went to they said gifts are not necessary, but if you would like to contribute to our fund to asked for our new house, we would appreciate it. And another wedding this summer, we brought a gift from the registry and a card. In the Pacific Northwest, the amount of the gift has nothing to do with how much you spend on a wedding gift. Give what you feel comfortable giving. I gave the first couple $50.00 which was on par with others.
If you sent a gift through the registry, a card would be nice, but no flowers because the couple has already coordinated flowers they picked out. No need to ask about the wedding. Just show up and then when you leave, go hug the couple, explain about the babysitter, and say congratulations and goodbye.

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wander
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by wander » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:10 pm

Not sure if it is applicable in this case since different ethnic groups will have different traditions. One thing I am sure that most (maybe 99.99%) Asian American weddings are accustomed to accept checks as gift at the weddings. How much a gift is very much up to the guests. If the Op has already sent gift registry, then doesn't need to bring any more gift. Do what you feel right, wedding is supposed to be fun, money is secondary. :sharebeer
You can leave any time.

Coburn
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Coburn » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:36 pm

Reading through some posts...I say wow! Money trees?! Dollar dances with the bride/groom?!

And if a shindig cost 200K, that must have been something. :happy

an_asker
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by an_asker » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:26 am

drawpoker wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 5:29 pm
Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:07 pm
......as the value of a gift, I never have figured that custom out. DW and I paid 100% for the DD's weddings. Whatever DDs received as gifts didn't offset wedding costs, as the gifts were DDs and sons-in-laws. :confused
You are referring to way back when. The olden days. When the bride's family footed the entire bill for the wedding (except for cost of rehearsal dinner).

Now in these modern times we are in, with the ages of both brides and grooms older, maybe established in careers and making good salaries, quite a large percentage of weddings are being largely paid for by the couple, not the bride's family.
2nd, 3rd weddings, destination weddings, all sorts of scenarios where the bride's family is not the bank.

So, if you can pretty much figure that the reception is a sit-down dinner, and you are marking your choice on RSVP card whether you want chicken or beef, are you going to give a $50 gift if you know the per-plate cost of your meal is $100?
As someone who has never paid $50 for one-time meal, wouldn't it be too much to expect me to pay $100 for a meal - if that is what the expectation of a newly married couple is? I would rather not attend such a wedding and send in a $50 gift than "pay" $100 for a wedding dinner.

That would also be my attitude if someone were to invite me for a college reunion (or any other reunion for that matter). If the destination is out of my budget, I would politely decline.

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dm200
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by dm200 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:52 am

True story about weddings and receptions -

Many years ago, well before I was married, and on my first job after college, I had only been to several weddings and receptions - all of which were very low key events.

I then saw the movie, "Goodbye Columbus" and there was a Jewish wedding and reception portrayed in that movie. I had, at that time, never attended a Jewish wedding or reception. I thought this scene in the movie must have been an extreme exaggeration. My office mate, at the time was Jewish and was married. So, I said, "Allen, was your wedding and reception like that in 'Goodbye Columbus?' "". To my great shock and surprise, he replies, "EXACTLY".

A few years later, I attended a Jewish wedding and reception of a college classmate. It was wonderful - in many ways.

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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by Whatyear? » Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:07 pm

SrGrumpy wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:07 pm
aqan wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:18 am
I was wondering what to expect at the party.
The only person who can answer that is the "dear friend" who invited you. What did he say when you asked?
SrGrumpy, you must be feeling grumpy today :)

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8foot7
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by 8foot7 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:46 pm

In case it wasn't already clear, one gift per wedding. Since you already sent a gift, you do not need to bring anything additional to the wedding/reception. You might bring a card but even that is optional and certainly above and beyond.

Boy, do I hate weddings. :oops:

I generally give $100 for first weddings of fairly close friends, $50 or in some cases less for first weddings of distant friends/acquaintances. These amounts would be on top of travel expenses to attend their non-local events, which as detailed below can approach $1,000 or more.

If we haven't seen or spoken to the person inviting us to the wedding in five or more years, we consider the invitation a fishing expedition for a gift and we send our regrets with no gift.

If a couple explicitly says no gifts, we honor that.

We are getting old enough that we're being invited to some second weddings; rule of thumb is that unless they're local, we generally don't attend, although if we do, we deduct cost of attendance from gift, which generally has resulted in us giving a nice greeting card with lots of best wishes for those non-local affairs. 8-) Typically those weddings cost of $250+ a piece for plane tickets, at least a night in a hotel at $125+, $50+ to board the dog, taxi or car rental, and whatever babysitting expense we incur. We go to those weddings as a sign of our support and friendship since our outlay would typically be about a thousand bucks or more; we wouldn't generally give on top of that cost.

For the local second weddings, a max of $50 depending on my wife's and my best-guess evaluation of the couple's finances; in most cases we either do not give or donate to charity in the name of the new couple, although if someone's been through a really rough divorce or are adopting or something we'll give them the money directly. I'm sure we occasionally guess wrong.

Have zero experience with third weddings but I hate weddings in general and can't see either attending, or giving someone money for, a third wedding unless it's maybe my best friend or my wife's best friend or my sons.

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dm200
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by dm200 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:35 pm

Boy, do I hate weddings. :oops:
In several ways, I like weddings. As a young single man, it was almost always the case that there were many young, nicely dressed, attractive single women.

Now, as a much older married man - I still like seeing young, nicely dressed, attractive women!

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aqan
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by aqan » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:26 pm

Thanks everyone for the wonderful insights. The wedding was a lot of fun. My friend and his new wife were super excited to see us. Also met a lot of nice people. We did end up leaving right after dinner, so missed the cake but no regrets. I’m sure the couple was too occupied to notice:). My buddy sent me a Thank you text next morning. It was all cool.
Again really appreciate all the great advice.
Love BH.

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dm200
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Re: Going to a wedding party

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:13 pm

aqan wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:26 pm
Thanks everyone for the wonderful insights. The wedding was a lot of fun. My friend and his new wife were super excited to see us. Also met a lot of nice people. We did end up leaving right after dinner, so missed the cake but no regrets. I’m sure the couple was too occupied to notice:). My buddy sent me a Thank you text next morning. It was all cool.
Again really appreciate all the great advice.
Love BH.
Glad it worked out so well for you!!

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