Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

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FireProof
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Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by FireProof » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:21 am

Going soon to a wedding with cash gifts, so we'll be ponying up. Should the amount of the gift be affected in any way by the fact that the happy couple has an income about five to six times higher than my wife and I? Obviously from an economic or philosophical standpoint, the argument would be pretty strong - there will be a net loss of utility in the world from any gift, since their marginal utility per dollar is a lot lower. On the other hand, I recognize that weddings are a completely traditional thing, isolated from and even opposed to logical and economic concerns (as are gifts, pretty much). Plus, ultimately the success of the gift will be measured by how it is taken by the recipients, who are not likely to perform a thorough analysis of efficiency.

My guess is also that most experts I could find on the internet would say it's irrelevant. But then again, most of them are in the thrall of the wedding industry, which survives by encouraging people to have $20,000 weddings.

Realistically, we'll still have to give a respectable amount, of course (or alas), but beyond that, should this disparity in wealth be a concern at all?

awval999
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by awval999 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:23 am

Unless it's immediate family, just give $100 and be done with it.

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GMCZ71
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by GMCZ71 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:03 am

Your gift does not have to be $$, but from what I have read should be worth more than what they spend per guest.
The gift from our wedding that stands out is a rock, yes a rock. I see it every day in the yard, they sent in a photo of our invitation sticker and had the rock engraved with that logo.
John

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Sandtrap
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:05 am

No. It's the gesture that counts.
Something really special to them that holds meaning vs cash is a good idea.

j
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KlingKlang
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by KlingKlang » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:07 am

Just put whatever you would normally gift at a wedding in the envelope, smile, and give the couple your sincere best wishes.

Under no circumstances make any remarks to anyone that the couple really doesn't need your money. These kind of comments will always eventually get repeated back to the pair.

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dm200
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by dm200 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:11 am

KlingKlang wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:07 am
Just put whatever you would normally gift at a wedding in the envelope, smile, and give the couple your sincere best wishes.
Under no circumstances make any remarks to anyone that the couple really doesn't need your money. These kind of comments will always eventually get repeated back to the pair.
I agree about making no comments, etc.

However, I would certainly take the relative incomes into account.

If I were on the receiving end, where there was such an income disparity, I would fully understand -

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dodecahedron
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:18 am

Today would have been our 40th wedding anniversary. We had a very small but deeply meaningful wedding (just immediate families and three close friends.) No cash gifts, but just simple meaningful ones from the heart. I cherish and still use the beautiful wooden salad bowl that our best man gave us to this day. (My late husband died six years ago, and every time I use the salad bowl, I think of the enduring nature of their friendship.)

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by delamer » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:21 am

The only income effect should be that you spend what you can afford.

Jags4186
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by Jags4186 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:22 am

No you should give what you are comfortable giving. We generally give $100-$200 depending on if we have to travel. We also fortunately have not been invited to 100 weddings like some people my age have been so it’s been manageable. We also don’t “give back” what we received from people.

I will tell you that what I have found that has been pretty universal is that parent’s friends were very generous. My parent’s friends all gave us in the $400-$500 range when we got married. Most of my friends gave in the $100-$200 range.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by Jags4186 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:27 am

GMCZ71 wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:03 am
Your gift does not have to be $$, but from what I have read should be worth more than what they spend per guest.
I would not recommend following this rule and I really don’t know where it got started or why it’s appropriate. Some weddings people spend $300+/person. Other’s spend $50/person. If a couple has parents who are spending big big bucks on a wedding for the kids, I don’t understand why they deserve a bigger gift than a struggling couple that did the best they could do on their own.

I fall back to give what you think is appropriate.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:32 am

dodecahedron wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:18 am
Today would have been our 40th wedding anniversary. We had a very small but deeply meaningful wedding (just immediate families and three close friends.) No cash gifts, but just simple meaningful ones from the heart. I cherish and still use the beautiful wooden salad bowl that our best man gave us to this day. (My late husband died six years ago, and every time I use the salad bowl, I think of the enduring nature of their friendship.)
Dodecahedron, your post made me tear up. Now that’s what a gift is about.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by bernoulli » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:33 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:05 am
No. It's the gesture that counts.
Something really special to them that holds meaning vs cash is a good idea.

j
Any gift, in my opinion, is to show your appreciation/love to the person receiving the gift. It is the thought that counts, not the dollar amount. If the relationship between you and the gift receiver is purely pecuniary, then give the amount the receiver has given you - or an amount you expect to receive back from the receiver in the future (like a Christmas gift or something).

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by bernoulli » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:34 am

dodecahedron wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:18 am
Today would have been our 40th wedding anniversary. We had a very small but deeply meaningful wedding (just immediate families and three close friends.) No cash gifts, but just simple meaningful ones from the heart. I cherish and still use the beautiful wooden salad bowl that our best man gave us to this day. (My late husband died six years ago, and every time I use the salad bowl, I think of the enduring nature of their friendship.)
This is what gift giving is truly about, beautifully illustrated.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by HomeStretch » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:41 am

No, I don’t use relative incomes in determining a wedding gift.

We are in a HCOL area where the cost per guest for weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc. is high. So we do try to keep current with the costs so our gift at least covers our dinner cost.

For nieces and nephews (we are close with all), we currently give $1,000 as a wedding gift to help with honeymoon cost or house down payment or student loans, even though many are getting married later in life and have well-paying jobs.

ETA: what we give as guests does not reflect what we expected at our wedding back in the day. We paid for it in full as we had very good jobs, considered it a party to celebrate, and expected no gifts as many relatives lived on very limited income.
Last edited by HomeStretch on Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by remomnyc » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:47 am

FireProof wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:21 am
Going soon to a wedding with cash gifts, so we'll be ponying up.
What does this mean? Does it mean that the couple don't have a registry or that they have specified cash gifts?

I think your gift (cash or otherwise) should be determined by what you can afford and your closeness to the couple, although I admit I gave significantly more to my poor sibling than would be dictated by my relationship with her (holidays only).

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by Shallowpockets » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:00 am

$100. Nice round number.other than a thank you note after a wedding, did you ever see or hear of feedback concerning what gift was given?
If you think the gift should be means based than maybe this couple doesn't need any gift. Not money anyway.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by MrBobcat » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:02 am

FireProof wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:21 am

My guess is also that most experts I could find on the internet would say it's irrelevant. But then again, most of them are in the thrall of the wedding industry, which survives by encouraging people to have $20,000 weddings.
$20,000 might have been considered an expensive wedding 20+ years ago, but by the time you factor in a hall, modest catered meal/buffet, bar, DJ, photographer and a reasonable sized guest list of a 100ish family/friends, I don't see most people getting out for much less than $15k unless it is very small and intimate.

That being said I'd go the gift route. Doesn't have to be extravagant, just meaningful if possible. The mrs loved the cake plate we got at our wedding, it has come out at every birthday/special occassion over the last 30+ years. She goes cake plate shopping every time we get invited to a wedding now, lol.

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Watty
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by Watty » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:04 am

GMCZ71 wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:03 am
Your gift does not have to be $$, but from what I have read should be worth more than what they spend per guest.
The gift from our wedding that stands out is a rock, yes a rock. I see it every day in the yard, they sent in a photo of our invitation sticker and had the rock engraved with that logo.
We have been married for over 30 years and the only wedding give that we still have is that someone in my office framed our wedding invitation with some dried pressed flowers.

We are not particularly romantic about our wedding anniversary and both of us have a hard time remembering the exact day so be have both admitted to going back to the study to double check the date on the framed invitation.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:07 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:05 am
No. It's the gesture that counts.
Something really special to them that holds meaning vs cash is a good idea.

j
+1

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by dm200 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:09 am

HomeStretch wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:41 am
No, I don’t use relative incomes in determining a wedding gift.
We are in a HCOL area where the cost per guest for weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc. is high. So we do try to keep current with the costs so our gift at least covers our dinner cost.
For nieces and nephews (we are close with all), we currently give $1,000 as a wedding gift to help with honeymoon cost or house down payment or student loans, even though many are getting married later in life and have well-paying jobs.
DW and I were married 40+ years ago. The costs for the wedding were very modest - reception held in Church Hall, my mother-in-law cooked/prepared most of the nice food for the buffet.She even made the wedding cake. We had a modest cost in person band and an open bar. I think we had about 100 or so guests. We also hired a modest cost photographer.

We received quite an array of wedding gifts, but in no way did we need the value of the gifts to defray the wedding costs. Together (mostly me), our income was very good - and we knew that many of the guests were from more modest means. We never wanted anyone to spend more on a gift than was affordable to them. As I recall, we did not actually get any expensive gifts - and that was OK. As I also recall, nobody got upset about anything either. Some things at the wedding and reception did not go well at all - but we all took everything in stride. For example, my wife was half an hour late. We got a call in the Church rectory two minutes before the scheduled time from my wife saying they would be late. The priest said tell the music folks to play some songs and he smoked another pack of cigarettes.

Our son was married last year. I think their wedding cost over $15,000 (not sure just how much) - two photographers and a videographer. Their wedding cake cost about $1,000. They are now in debt for the wedding costs - and it will take a few years to pay off that debt. Even with inflation over the last 40+ years, they spent a lot more than we did. We were both very active in that Church. We gave the church $200 for use of the Church hall, $100 to the church for the wedding and $100 to the priest (church pastor). I think this total of $400 was generous at that time for such a wedding. I am quite sure we could have gotten away with a lesser amount - but we could afford it and wanted to be very fair to our Church.

Seems to me that a few decades ago, there was a trend toward more modest cost weddings - but seems like the last few years folks are going for more expensive ones. I am not sure about this either, but I think (even with inflation) it is more difficult today to have a modest cost wedding with a lot of guests.

There are sometimes clashes of "culture" for paying for weddings. Friends of ours have a daughter whose husband is from a culture where the wedding guests pay for the wedding costs (or something like that). I never heard how this actually worked out.
Last edited by dm200 on Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

scorcher31
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by scorcher31 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:14 am

In every wedding we have been to wedding showers were for registry gifts and cash was for the reception. At our wedding we received registry items at our shower and cash from all but 1 couple at the reception. It was a rather large wedding and we made no specific requests for cash at the reception so at least in our e experience this is the norm.

I was also always taught the gift should at least cover your meal and alcohol at the reception. Usually we (as a couple) give 200 to 350 depending on the venue, closeness to the couple, and what we received from them at our wedding. We have never been to a family members wedding and would likely do more in that situation.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by dm200 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:17 am

Maybe others have an opinion, but part of the common challenge/problem for many of us today in the U.S. is that we often have so many different cultures with very different customs and expectations about weddings.

I think that it also happens that those with lower incomes and lower ability to give what they think is an "appropriate" gift may just not attend the wedding and reception. In our case, we did not care - and hoped that all who were invited would accept.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by scorcher31 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:38 am

scorcher31 wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:14 am
In every wedding we have been to wedding showers were for registry gifts and cash was for the reception. At our wedding we received registry items at our shower and cash from all but 1 couple at the reception. It was a rather large wedding and we made no specific requests for cash at the reception so at least in our e experience this is the norm.

I was also always taught the gift should at least cover your meal and alcohol at the reception. Usually we (as a couple) give 200 to 350 depending on the venue, closeness to the couple, and what we received from them at our wedding. We have never been to a family members wedding and would likely do more in that situation.
I should clarify, we knew many of our guests wouldnt be able to give that much and for us and we would much rather people come even if it didnt come close to covering a plate. The above is just what we do.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by stoptothink » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:49 am

dm200 wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:17 am
Maybe others have an opinion, but part of the common challenge/problem for many of us today in the U.S. is that we often have so many different cultures with very different customs and expectations about weddings.

I think that it also happens that those with lower incomes and lower ability to give what they think is an "appropriate" gift may just not attend the wedding and reception. In our case, we did not care - and hoped that all who were invited would accept.
Cultural norms for "gifting" in general vary significantly in this country which kinds of makes these threads a series of irrelevant anecdotes. Buying a $2k laptop for a niece for high school graduation, $1000 for extended family members for weddings; those things are so out of the norm in my circle that it is almost difficult to comprehend. We received a grand total of one gift at our wedding. Its cost was definitely <$50 and we did not think it was odd. In fact, the only reason I remember the gift (6yrs later) is because it was my first experience with products produced by the company I now work for. We were just happy that some family members drove 10+ hours to be there. We go to a lot of weddings and I've never personally contributed a gift even close to $100 (it's usually going in with other family members or friends on one large gift) and what we have given has never been out of place.

The chances of the bride and groom remembering what you gave, or caring at all, is likely slim so just give what you feel comfortable with.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by Gnirk » Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:11 am

I would give only what I can afford, whether that is the expected cash gift, or something more meaningful to the couple.

OTOH, it seems to me weddings in my day were much more personal, and far more simple. Married in the church, reception in the church hall with a lovely cake, coffee, tea, and punch, surrounded by family and friends truly celebrating the couple. No catered dinners, no bands, no booze. Weddings were focused on celebrating the couple and their new life together. Gifts were meaningful, in most cases, and not necessarily expensive. Cash gifts were usually only from the parents, and never expected .

And I do remember some of the gifts given to us 53 years ago: a lovely milk-glass bowl, a piece of our silverware, as well as the person or couple who gave them.

Now it seems it’s a tit-for-tat social event. Come to my expensive wedding, and pay the admission charge by giving a gift, cash or otherwise, equal to what it cost me for you to help me “celebrate”. I don’t see much romance in that.

Okay, I’ll step down from my soap box now.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by JGoneRiding » Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:30 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:22 am
No you should give what you are comfortable giving. We generally give $100-$200 depending on if we have to travel. We also fortunately have not been invited to 100 weddings like some people my age have been so it’s been manageable. We also don’t “give back” what we received from people.

I will tell you that what I have found that has been pretty universal is that parent’s friends were very generous. My parent’s friends all gave us in the $400-$500 range when we got married. Most of my friends gave in the $100-$200 range.
Crap I have the wrong friends! We got and give gifts in the $50 to $100 range for the most part. And most cash was in the $25 to $50 range. Some very close and better off friends gave $25.

I typically do $50 for close friends and some times more for super close friends. And less for others.

Edit: anyone adjust for times married?
Last edited by JGoneRiding on Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by dm200 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:37 am

Gnirk wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:11 am
I would give only what I can afford, whether that is the expected cash gift, or something more meaningful to the couple.
OTOH, it seems to me weddings in my day were much more personal, and far more simple. Married in the church, reception in the church hall with a lovely cake, coffee, tea, and punch, surrounded by family and friends truly celebrating the couple. No catered dinners, no bands, no booze. Weddings were focused on celebrating the couple and their new life together. Gifts were meaningful, in most cases, and not necessarily expensive. Cash gifts were usually only from the parents, and never expected .
And I do remember some of the gifts given to us 53 years ago: a lovely milk-glass bowl, a piece of our silverware, as well as the person or couple who gave them.
Now it seems it’s a tit-for-tat social event. Come to my expensive wedding, and pay the admission charge by giving a gift, cash or otherwise, equal to what it cost me for you to help me “celebrate”. I don’t see much romance in that.
Okay, I’ll step down from my soap box now.
Yes - this is the kind of wedding common on my mother's side of the family.

I do think, though, that you can still, for a reasonable price, have a reception with food, music, a bar (but not overdone), etc. It is probably more of a challenge today, though.

Just about anything with "wedding" attached to it almost always doubles the cost!

Want to have a dinner on a Friday evening for 30 people at a mid cost restaurant? Maybe $1,000 - $1,500 or so (depending on the menu). Call it a "Wedding Rehearsal Dinner" - the cost jumps immediately to $2,000 - $2,500!

Back 40+ years ago, we wanted to host a dinner the evening before the wedding for the wedding party, significant others, and some close relatives from out of town. We stumbled on a very nearby Chinese restaurant that had a very nice, adjacent room that would nicely accommodate this dinner. We got a very good price (cannot recall details now) and, even better, the Chinese dishes served were even better than the same items on the menu. That turned out to be a really, really nice - and not rushed at all - event to have - and we invited quite a few folks - and the price was very, very reasonable. I think everyone liked the variety of Chinese dishes served. Some folks, like us, were happy because we liked Chinese food. Others, I recall, liked it because they knew almost nothing about Chinese food and were happy to try it. The restaurant did not double the price because it was for a wedding - I don;t think we even told them.

My son and daughter-in-law "hosted" a dinner like this the evening before their wedding. They made it clear that everyone was paying for themselves. On our side of the family, there were two relatives of my wife and six (including 2 children) relatives of mine. We all sat together and had a great time - sine we had not all seen one another in a while. I paid (and was happy to do so) the bill for the whole table (total of ten).

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by telecaster » Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:58 am

My DW and I just celebrated our 12 year anniversary. At the time, I really only wanted cash gifts. In hindsight, someone made us a beautiful gift by hand from wood. It's the only wedding gift I remember now and I cherish it and think of them everytime we use it or move it.

I think this is especially true if the couple doesn't need the money in the first place.

In terms of your question though, I would personally treat this situation like any other in terms of the gift. On the other hand, if we were going to an event for someone close and dear that was struggling then I would absolutely give more than I would normally.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by defscott627 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:32 pm

In my opinion it is definitely what you can afford and what you are comfortable giving.

That being said, if you are only comfortable giving a gift that is appropriate with regards to the "average" the bride/groom will receive, I have learned that it is HIGHLY dependent on the area. So you may have to ask around where you live to see what other people give.

In NY (5 borough/Long Island area) I can tell you the average gift for a couple is $300-$350. That's basically without any relationship at all. When I got married about 4 years ago (we had around 210 people), we averaged even higher than that per couple, mainly due to very close friends and family who gave even larger gifts. We had maybe two couples under $300 per couple (or $150 solo).

However, I remember researching at the time that in some areas, giving a cash gift is unheard of, whereas in the northeast it seems to be expected? Cultural differences are strange even in different parts of the U.S.!

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by Mike Scott » Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:41 pm

A "cash" wedding sounds like a good one to skip.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by defscott627 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:47 pm

Mike Scott wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:41 pm
A "cash" wedding sounds like a good one to skip.
I think this is very area-dependent. In NY if you came with a non-monetary gift to a wedding, you would most likely be the only one.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by dm200 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:59 pm

defscott627 wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:32 pm
In my opinion it is definitely what you can afford and what you are comfortable giving.
That being said, if you are only comfortable giving a gift that is appropriate with regards to the "average" the bride/groom will receive, I have learned that it is HIGHLY dependent on the area. So you may have to ask around where you live to see what other people give.
In NY (5 borough/Long Island area) I can tell you the average gift for a couple is $300-$350. That's basically without any relationship at all. When I got married about 4 years ago (we had around 210 people), we averaged even higher than that per couple, mainly due to very close friends and family who gave even larger gifts. We had maybe two couples under $300 per couple (or $150 solo).
However, I remember researching at the time that in some areas, giving a cash gift is unheard of, whereas in the northeast it seems to be expected? Cultural differences are strange even in different parts of the U.S.!
Yes

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by keyfort » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:05 pm

At some of the weddings we've been to recently, the invitation or website had a link to the bridge/groom's Paypal account or even wire instructions for money. I couldn't help feeling this was tacky.

I would answer the OP's question like this:

If we were hosting a wedding and we knew that we made 5-6 times that of a couple coming, I would feel pretty disgusted with myself if that couple felt pressured to give us a lot of money.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by OnTrack2020 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:35 pm

FireProof wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:21 am
Going soon to a wedding with cash gifts, so we'll be ponying up. Should the amount of the gift be affected in any way by the fact that the happy couple has an income about five to six times higher than my wife and I? Obviously from an economic or philosophical standpoint, the argument would be pretty strong - there will be a net loss of utility in the world from any gift, since their marginal utility per dollar is a lot lower. On the other hand, I recognize that weddings are a completely traditional thing, isolated from and even opposed to logical and economic concerns (as are gifts, pretty much). Plus, ultimately the success of the gift will be measured by how it is taken by the recipients, who are not likely to perform a thorough analysis of efficiency.
Really? Who puts this much thought into a wedding gift from this perspective? :shock: Give what you wish, go to the wedding, and have an enjoyable time.

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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by dm200 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:44 pm

"Cultural" wedding differences can be interesting.

I have never been invited to a Vietnamese wedding, but this area has a lot of folks who originally came to this area from Viet Nam. Many (perhaps most) of the "Chinese" restaurants in this area are operated by Vietnamese folks.

There is a large, nearby Chinese restaurant where, on weekend evenings, most of the restaurant is separated off for Vietnamese wedding dinners/receptions. My wife and I would sometimes go there and eat in the small area left for other diners. There was always a very large photo of the bride, in her white wedding dress, displayed as the wedding guests arrived. There was a band playing many recognizable songs - but the lyrics were sung in Vietnamese. The large plates of many types of dishes delivered to the guests really looked wonderful.

When eating dinner, it was like enjoying the music at a wedding reception - but not having to give a gift!

There are several other "Chinese" restaurants in the area that also host such Vietnamese weddings as well - although none of the others have a separate area for other diners.

Hockey10
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by Hockey10 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:07 pm

dodecahedron wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:18 am
Today would have been our 40th wedding anniversary. We had a very small but deeply meaningful wedding (just immediate families and three close friends.) No cash gifts, but just simple meaningful ones from the heart. I cherish and still use the beautiful wooden salad bowl that our best man gave us to this day. (My late husband died six years ago, and every time I use the salad bowl, I think of the enduring nature of their friendship.)
This is definitely one of the best posts I have ever read on BH.

InvestorThom
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by InvestorThom » Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:24 pm

I’m usually the anomaly in these discussions. I’m going to go out on a limb and get it out.

I’m all for marriage. However, the older I get the more I truly dislike weddings.

Examples of the madness:
- The cost of weddings is obscene
- The tradition of gift giving has gone far behind its original intent
- Couples who’ve been married 2-3 times and are having ANOTHER wedding
- Couples in their fifties registering for gifts just to “refresh”, “throw out the old” or “starting new again”
- All the gushing about the couple “being in love” and “how perfect they are together” when we know all the real reasons they are together and love is down the list

Just have a simple religious or civil ceremony with a handful of witnesses. Within a couple of months have a nice BBQ in the backyard with all the relatives and friends to celebrate the union. Gifts to the bride and groom or to one of their charities are optional.

I’ll go back in my cage now.
Last edited by InvestorThom on Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

InvestorThom
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by InvestorThom » Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:25 pm

Hockey10 wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:07 pm
dodecahedron wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:18 am
Today would have been our 40th wedding anniversary. We had a very small but deeply meaningful wedding (just immediate families and three close friends.) No cash gifts, but just simple meaningful ones from the heart. I cherish and still use the beautiful wooden salad bowl that our best man gave us to this day. (My late husband died six years ago, and every time I use the salad bowl, I think of the enduring nature of their friendship.)
This is definitely one of the best posts I have ever read on BH.
This is great!

BobTexas
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by BobTexas » Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:06 pm

I’m not crazy about cash as a wedding present, especially for a couple who appears to be well off. They’re going to spend your $100 and forget about it. As others have said, something that they might use and enjoy seems better.

Love the post about the salad bowl

retiredjg
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by retiredjg » Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:33 pm

Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?
No.

What you wish to give and can afford to give are the only things that matter. Their income is not relevant.

cheesepep
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by cheesepep » Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:38 pm

Some (I think most) questions regarding income in this forum are a bit idiotic. The answer, of course, is no. Of course, you already knew this.

trueblueky
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by trueblueky » Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:56 pm

Gnirk wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:11 am
I would give only what I can afford, whether that is the expected cash gift, or something more meaningful to the couple.

OTOH, it seems to me weddings in my day were much more personal, and far more simple. Married in the church, reception in the church hall with a lovely cake, coffee, tea, and punch, surrounded by family and friends truly celebrating the couple. No catered dinners, no bands, no booze. Weddings were focused on celebrating the couple and their new life together. Gifts were meaningful, in most cases, and not necessarily expensive. Cash gifts were usually only from the parents, and never expected .

And I do remember some of the gifts given to us 53 years ago: a lovely milk-glass bowl, a piece of our silverware, as well as the person or couple who gave them.

Now it seems it’s a tit-for-tat social event. Come to my expensive wedding, and pay the admission charge by giving a gift, cash or otherwise, equal to what it cost me for you to help me “celebrate”. I don’t see much romance in that.

Okay, I’ll step down from my soap box now.
+1
Dinner with the both sets of parents Thursday. Friday rehearsal dinner in the church basement for people in the wedding. Someone picked up lasagna and salad from Olive Garden or equivalent.

No out-of-town bachelor party. Church hall, afternoon wedding and reception, no band, no booze, no sit-down meal, no debt. Best gift: A friend videotaped the whole thing, including the receiving line, which I enjoyed watching later with "Honey, which cousin is that?"

Still married.

mmmodem
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by mmmodem » Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:56 pm

In my sphere of influence, the answer is a resounding yes. For you, it will depend on your culture and how you feel about gossip.

Most young people I know getting married don't really care beyond you giving a respectable amount or gift just like any birthday party or baby shower. However, the bride and groom are not the only ones counting the gifts. Their parents may be as well. If there is a discrepancy it will be make its way back to you through your parents.

This being 2019, I don't care about this cultural shaming and embarassment nonsense. It's easy for me to ignore extended family that I won't see until the next wedding. However, DW does care about our reputation. Therefore, the amount we give is strictly scrutinized and our income compared to the wedding couple will be a factor.

PS Asian culture.

KlangFool
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by KlangFool » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:11 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:49 am
dm200 wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:17 am
Maybe others have an opinion, but part of the common challenge/problem for many of us today in the U.S. is that we often have so many different cultures with very different customs and expectations about weddings.

I think that it also happens that those with lower incomes and lower ability to give what they think is an "appropriate" gift may just not attend the wedding and reception. In our case, we did not care - and hoped that all who were invited would accept.
Cultural norms for "gifting" in general vary significantly in this country which kinds of makes these threads a series of irrelevant anecdotes.
stoptothink,

Correct. In some culture, the wedding guest is expected to give sufficient cash to cover the wedding banquet. Meanwhile, as an uncle, I am supposed to give a lot more cash and/or gold jewelry than typical wedding guest for my nephews and nieces wedding.

KlangFool

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FIREchief
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by FIREchief » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:21 pm

InvestorThom wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:24 pm
I’m usually the anomaly in these discussions. I’m going to go out on a limb and get it out.

I’m all for marriage. However, the older I get the more I truly dislike weddings.

Examples of the madness:
- The cost of weddings is obscene
- The tradition of gift giving has gone far behind its original intent
- Couples who’ve been married 2-3 times and are having ANOTHER wedding
- Couples in their fifties registering for gifts just to “refresh”, “throw out the old” or “starting new again”
- All the gushing about the couple “being in love” and “how perfect they are together” when we know all the real reasons they are together and love is down the list

Just have a simple religious or civil ceremony with a handful of witnesses. Within a couple of months have a nice BBQ in the backyard with all the relatives and friends to celebrate the union. Gifts to the bride and groom or to one of their charities are optional.

I’ll go back in my cage now.
++1. Don't even get me started on funerals..... :annoyed
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

SQRT
Posts: 1140
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by SQRT » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:05 am

Quite a disparity in “normal” gifts. I guess it reflects the general economic/cultural disparity in our society. Recently went to one of our best friends’ daughters wedding. Gave our standard cash gift ($1,000). Lovely wedding. Probably more than most would give but we tend to be generous in most things we do. I know the newlyweds can use it. Probably only go to about 1 wedding per year.

Should give what feels comfortable to you. This would, I think, have nothing to do with the wealth of the newlyweds? I suppose if the wedding was a very lavish/expensive one you might want to give a little more but you probably wouldn’t know this until after the fact and not be in a position to adjust the gift size anyway. Don’t over think this.

Edit to add. Here is another twist. When I got married back in 1973 my father wanted to know how much everyone gave us. He said it was because he would then adjust his gifts in future to reflect what certain people gave us. I thought this was awful and didn’t tell him.
My daughter got married a few years ago and I have no idea or desire to know who gave her what. She did say that all our friends were very generous.
Last edited by SQRT on Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:46 am

FIREchief wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:21 pm
InvestorThom wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:24 pm
I’m usually the anomaly in these discussions. I’m going to go out on a limb and get it out.
I’m all for marriage. However, the older I get the more I truly dislike weddings.
Examples of the madness:
- The cost of weddings is obscene
- The tradition of gift giving has gone far behind its original intent
- Couples who’ve been married 2-3 times and are having ANOTHER wedding
- Couples in their fifties registering for gifts just to “refresh”, “throw out the old” or “starting new again”
- All the gushing about the couple “being in love” and “how perfect they are together” when we know all the real reasons they are together and love is down the list
Just have a simple religious or civil ceremony with a handful of witnesses. Within a couple of months have a nice BBQ in the backyard with all the relatives and friends to celebrate the union. Gifts to the bride and groom or to one of their charities are optional.
I’ll go back in my cage now.
++1. Don't even get me started on funerals..... :annoyed
Not to mention the number of times I have seen families develop enduring frictions during the wedding planning process due to differing abilities/willingness to fund wedding, differing views about tradition/religion, differing views about the role of father/mother influence on weddings, intrusion of parents’ business relationships into wedding guest list, etc.

I love my kids. I suggest they get elope/marry at town hall. Have some parties if they want. I will pay 2x what I would have paid for a wedding if they elope, which they can use as they wish.

ETA: and that’s even without the famous drunk uncle attending the wedding :D
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

rick51
Posts: 85
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by rick51 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:55 am

SQRT wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:05 am
Quite a disparity in “normal” gifts. I guess it reflects the general economic/cultural disparity in our society. Recently went to one of our best friends’ daughters wedding. Gave our standard cash gift ($1,000). Lovely wedding. Probably more than most would give but we tend to be generous in most things we do. I know the newlyweds can use it. Probably only go to about 1 wedding per year
So that's why I only get invited to about 1 wedding per decade. :wink:

WillRetire
Posts: 186
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:01 am

Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by WillRetire » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:56 am

Base your gift on your means and your affection for the couple getting married.

You do NOT need to compensate for the wedding or reception cost. And there is no $ gift minimum.

Also, read these FAQs from Emily Post: https://emilypost.com/advice/choosing-a-wedding-gift/


ETA: The above is for weddings in U.S. I.e. Etiquette for U.S.

KlangFool
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Re: Should relative incomes be a factor in wedding gift?

Post by KlangFool » Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:59 am

SQRT wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:05 am
Quite a disparity in “normal” gifts. I guess it reflects the general economic/cultural disparity in our society. Recently went to one of our best friends’ daughters wedding. Gave our standard cash gift ($1,000). Lovely wedding. Probably more than most would give but we tend to be generous in most things we do. I know the newlyweds can use it. Probably only go to about 1 wedding per year.

Should give what feels comfortable to you. This would, I think, have nothing to do with the wealth of the newlyweds? I suppose if the wedding was a very lavish/expensive one you might want to give a little more but you probably wouldn’t know this until after the fact and not be in a position to adjust the gift size anyway. Don’t over think this.
SQRT,

In the culture where the wedding guest is supposed to give the appropriate amount, the wedding guest is implicitly told about this by where the wedding banquet will be hosted and so on. Unfortunately, due to differing cultures, many Americans missed this hint.

In summary, if a person is invited to a wedding of differing culture, the person should ask someone in a particular culture to the appropriateness of their gifts.

KlangFool

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