image I’ve been to my fair share of weddings. In the past year alone I’ve been a regular guest, a maid of honor, an honored guest and a bridesmaid. The summer before that I flew to two weddings my boyfriend, Ike, was in within two months of each other. We’ve got another ceremony in September and are flying to the Caribbean next spring to listen to the sweet sweet sound of more wedding bells.

By now I’ve got my routine down. There are no less than four dresses I can choose from which swing from super fancy pants throw down to the low key affair in a converted warehouse. There are an array of satin shoes in the back of my closet just waiting for the Wobble and hairspray under my sink that only gets used for my “I do” updo — a French twist with just the slightest bouffant.

Send me an invite and I can be in a pew that night with a tear at the ready. But what I won’t have is a gift. Ever. I am strictly a no-wedding-gift guest. This is a controversial stance for some people. So let me explain.

Firstly, I’ve never been to a wedding I can walk, bike ride, hop scotch, jump rope or swim to. Every wedding I’ve attended since my friends and family have started getting married has been miles upon miles upon miles away. A few have even earned me new passport stamps.

Let’s break down the numbers. On average, I spend $300 dollars for a round trip plane ticket. On top of that, I’m staying at least two nights (and sometimes three) in a hotel room, which, even with the nuptial discount, will run you anywhere from $100 to $200 dollars per night. According to those calculations, thus far I’ve spent a minimum of $500 dollars and we haven’t even Wobbled yet.

Add to all of that local transportation to and from airports, eating anything besides the reception dinner, and whatever non-wedding-related fun you might want to have in New York, Puerto Rico, Long Beach or the host of other cities I’ve witnessed the state of holy matrimony in and we’re talking a cool G conservatively. Basically your fancy invitation in the mail is like a bill written in Monotype Corsiva.

But I’ll pay it gladly in order to play a small role at the starting line of the marathon folks call marriage. I want to ring the starting bell with you and maybe jog a little bit of the way with a water jug and sign that says “Keep Going!”. Because that’s the real point of having more than one witness there. You’re establishing a community of people that will hopefully hold you to the vows you made. And I take that unwritten and unofficial role quite seriously. So serious in fact that I’m paying for the privilege. So if any of my friends tried to come at me on some old “Where’s our $100 gift to pay for all that dry chicken we fed you?” foolishness like these folks, then I’d have to bust out a fistful receipts and dust off my TI-80.

Recently a HuffPo reader got this email from a bride:

“Hi Tanya, how are you? I just want to know is there any reason or dissatisfaction of Mike’s and I wedding that both you and Phil gave 50$ each? In terms of the amount we got from you both was very unexpected as a result we were very much short on paying off the reception because just for the cocktail + reception alone the plate per person is 200$ (as per a normal wedding range with open bar is about) and Mike and I both have already paid for everything else including decor, photography, attire etc and didn’t expect we had to cover that huge amount for reception as well.”

I have no idea where this trend of not only expecting more than a toaster but also emailing guests to express dissatisfaction over the gift received started but it needs to stop. Blame it on wedding reality TV all you want but brides be trippin’!

A good friend of mine who just got married, and whose gift is not in the mail, told me recently, “If you can’t pay in cash, elope.” Or better yet, just tone it down a few notches. Thing is, I’m planning on contributing big to her honeymoon fund because I’m much more inclined to give the gift of memories rather than buy you a $379 dollar duvet cover when I’m still on my Target steez.

Don’t get me wrong I love weddings. What I don’t love are self-important dumb dumbs. People who think that the rest of us owe them a gold star (and cold had cash) for getting hitched.

Any true etiquette expert will tell you that gifts, though lovely and thoughtful and appreciated, are not required entrance fees to the chapel. You are not hosting a rent partyyou’re getting married on your dime. And this new line of faux classy reasoning stating that wedding gifts should cover the cost of the reception is so very bootleg I can’t even deal. If you’d like me to pay for your wedding, then I will. The guy who cleans my yard, Kenny, can officiate in my living room then we can have sugar cookies and Shasta on my stoop. Congratulations or whatever.

What’s your stance on wedding gift giving? Is it ever enough?



This post originally appeared on XOJane. Republished with permission. Click here for more
Helena on XOJane!

  • Ash

    Man, that huffpost article made me so mad the first time I read it! The whole wedding industry is a joke. People are spending all this money on weddings that don’t even last.

    I don’t think your stance on wedding gifts is wrong, especially if you’re spending so much money in attending the wedding.

    It’s tacky to use gift money to cover your wedding expenses. I don’t understand people that do that. My future wedding is going to be the courthouse followed by a cookout with tons good food , friends, and alcohol. That’s all that matters.

  • PinkStuff

    I think gifts are nice to give IF you can. The bride and groom should realize the financial burden that destination weddings can put on their guests, and understand that showing up may be their gift.
    As far as emailing your guests to ask why you didn’t receive a larger gift, that’s tacky and ridiculous. When you invite people to a wedding, it isn’t required that they bring a gift, much less a specified amount. Tacky.

  • Esta Fiesta

    While a gift is expected (I wouldn’t want someone coming to my wedding empty handed ESPECIALLY if I wasn’t empty handed at theirs), the only thing ruder than not bringing a gift is following up with your guest to see why they didn’t give you one.

  • Whatever

    Wow. I always give a bridal shower gift for the bride and put about $100 in my card at the wedding. These are family members and friends, not some fair-weather friend of a friend whose wedding i’m crashing for free drinks and dinner.

    I’m not saying that everyone needs to give in the same way, but even an inexpensive gift that shows thought or your love for the couple would suffice. Marriage is a pretty big deal and I am happy for all my friends and family that have found someone they want to spend their lives with. I don’t see dollar signs when I open invitations, like the author. There is usually a variety of gifts on wedding registries that range in price so why not pick up the $20 gift and a nice card an call it a day. I could see if the author’s stance was staying within her budget… but it seems more like she’s just hell bent on NOT giving a gift to anyone no matter the circumstance. Seems pretty selfish to me.

    As for that bride that was not satisfied with receiving $50 each from the couple, after reading that email I would have cut her off immediately. How tacky of her to EXPECT her guests to pay for their reception. If you can’t afford an extravagant wedding then scale it down to what you’re comfortable paying on your own. Your guests are not venture capitalists looking to invest.

  • Ladybug

    Even if gifts are not expected or required, you should have the decency to give a gift. Something. $50 to a spa. Something. It is a way to honor this new journey the couple is going on. Otherwise, why don’t you just stay home with that attitude? Seriously.

  • SayWhat

    why don’t you just stay home with that attitude?…because the same person who would have a problem with her not bringing a gift, is the same egomaniac who wants to be able to say they had 200 people at their wedding after ‘trimming’ the list, so they would most likely tell her ‘come, you attending is my gift’ knowing they will dog her out afterwards for coming empty handed.

  • Guest1234

    Weddings are expensive. A gift is merely an acknowledgment of that. If you’ve got out-of-town guests, it’s customary for the bride and groom to provide them with a little gift when the arrive at their hotel, invite them to the rehearsal dinner, offer a brunch the morning after, and of course the per-person price of the wedding/reception itself. That’s a lot of money the bride and groom (and most likely their parents) are shelling out to accommodate the friends and family members they love most for a joyous occasion.

    For a gift, you give what you can. It doesn’t have to be a lot. But you should give something. It’s just common courtesy. To not do so is just rude. You just factor it in to your wedding budget. It’s a tiny price to pay to show respect for people who love you enough to want to celebrate their love with you. Bad attitude, lady. You’d be pretty sad if nobody loved you enough to invite you to their wedding. And lonely, too.

  • Guest1234

    That’s cool. But I’d caution against hating on people’s weddings. My wedding was fairly large (big families), and my hubby and I did it up. I ain’t gon’ lie. The reason for the blowout wedding was this. It was a party, not for us, but for our friends and family. The people I love most deserve a huge party and a damn fun one, too. It was all about doing what we could to show how much we appreciate and how grateful we are for our loved ones. We were honored that these wonderful people would come to celebrate and support our love and our union. It was deeply personal, touching, and humbling for me to look out and see the incredible people in my life. And for that, those amazing people deserve one HELL of a party. And we gave them one. I don’t regret ONE CENT spent on an affair fitting of the most glorious people God put on this earth. They deserve hundreds of times more than I could give them, but I was glad to do what I could to make that occasion special for my loved ones.

    It ain’t always about David Tutera. Your POV is a-okay. But that doesn’t make every body else’s stupid.

  • Ash

    To clarify, my problem is with weddings where people can’t afford them (like the lady in the huffpost article). To each their own. The wedding industry as a whole is a joke but I wouldn’t dare judge individual brides who choose large events.

  • Mademoiselle

    I agree with the author. I give gifts as I see fit. You aren’t getting married as a favor to me, so why would I be obligated to give a gift. If money is tight enough that you need everyone to pay their share of a budget you set (without so much as their input on the price points), either tone down the wedding, head to the courthouse, or keep your guest list to you, the officiant and the witnesses signing your marriage license. Otherwise, treat a gift like what it is: a gift — completely voluntary, unexpected, and at the discretion of the giver’s budget. Same goes for housewarmings, baby showers, graduations, and any other milestone celebrations — don’t count what’s in everyone else’s pockets when you set your budget.

  • Simone L

    A few years ago, I was invited to a wedding I really wanted to go to, but couldn’t because A) our living situation was crazy and we had to move and B)I was getting married a few months later and had to save my pennies. Wedding was expensive as hell. I would have had to pay for airfare, hotel fees and all that. Guess what? They’re in the process of a divorce. I would have been out all that money, plus a gift just to see the damn marriage disintegrate. Look. If I spend tons of $$$ just to get to the wedding, you may not get a gift. Sorry. I had a small wedding, didn’t really need gifts but was glad who came made it.

  • Simone L

    My presence is a damn gift. Congrats!! I’m here!!

  • Mademoiselle

    I have a few questions after reading your comment. Would you take the same stance if you had a friend who announced he or she decided to never get married? Why is it selfish to not give a gift to people who made this decision without you? If the gift is to show your love for the couple, does that mean you’d been giving them couple-gifts prior to the wedding, or that you’ll continue to give them gifts after the wedding?

  • Guest1234


    How do you know whether somebody can afford their own wedding? And is it really any of your business? I’m quite fortunate to come from a large loving family who all wanted to celebrate my nuptials with us. Think what you want, but spending a bit more to accommodate all that love is a-okay with me. For me, it’s better to have lotsa love than to be at the courthouse all by our lonesome. (Note: I’ve been to a couple of courthouse weddings, and they were lovely – but that wasn’t quite right for us.)

    I get saying “a big wedding isn’t for me.” I just don’t get concerning onesself with someone ELSE’S wedding, their budget, their personal finances, their family relations, etc. What makes even less sense is having a strong opinion about hypothetical “people who can’t afford them”. Who are these people everybody seems to be intimately involved with? I’ve certainly never met one. That always sounded like some made-up stuff to me. No offense, but this sounds like a whole buncha hateration to me. To each bride, her own style. What business is it of yours how much money somebody else has to spend on their own wedding?

  • Ash


    I think you’re inferring things beyond the scope of my posts. Disliking the wedding industry doesn’t equal being a “hater”. Calm down. You have some misplaced emotions. You liked your wedding. Great. Why are you explaining your choice to me? I really don’t care enough to “hate”.

    My stance is: To each their own. I think as a whole the wedding industry is a joke but that doesn’t mean I’m in a corner scuffing at brides with big weddings. The article is about people who expect gifts to pay for a “dream wedding” that they can’t afford. Which I think is tacky.

  • Guest1234


    Make no mistake. I’m not justifying my choices to you. I’m using them as an illustration of why some people may make different choices than you. I figured you were bright enough to catch on to that one.

    And BTW, Not everybody who disagrees with you has some “misplaced emotions.” That’s a pretty lame counter. I thought I was interacting with another person in good faith who would take the argument and illustration into account, and was trying to offer an example – which is a good way to conceptualize someone else’s point of view. Just thought I was engaged in a reasonable discussion – a mild entertainment.

  • K

    this is so interesting i have a bit of a different perspective. first, i have never in my 30 years of life been to a wedding, ever ever ever. so perhaps i am by virtue of inexperience unknowledgeable about wedding etiquette. I agreed with the author of this article except when it got the the point on paying for the honeymoon, but she let me see it differently. A while ago an acquaintance got married. they post on fb the link to honey fund dot com and were asking for money for their honeymoon in a distant “exotic” location. I was so confused, i was literally asking people is this acceptable. first class tickets, excursions etc why should i pay for your honeymoon was my question? They also had a gift registry, so I was then like do you pay for gift and honeymoon contribution? aside from me never having been to a wedding, I guess i was also struggling with a similar mindset of the author (only im in a worse predicament) in that I dont have much and the people getting married are both lawyers so I know they could more than afford the honeymoon and stuff they were asking for. I say all this to say ..the author kind of opened my eyes to something else as im still learning about wedding etiquette on the off chance i attend one before i die. “Contributing to memories” that was the line that did it, i can dig that, helped me see things in a new light, yet and still i would not contribute to honeymoon AND buy a gift no mam pam.

  • Ash


    Perhaps you should use some reading comprehension when someone says “I wouldn’t dare judge individual brides who choose large events” yet you continue to go on and on on the assumption that I’m judgmental. I’m not saying that to be snarky.

    I’m done. Best wishes. Have a good day.

  • Charlie

    I totally agree with you, Ladybug.

    I equate giving a gift at a wedding with giving a tip at a restaurant. If you can’t/won’t give a gift, then don’t RSVP for the wedding. It’s that simple.

  • AVC

    I was trained to gift to the couple, wether or you attended the wedding or not. It is common courtesety and wedding etiquette. We seemed to have lost lost kindness and good manners. I am appalled with this article as well as the responses, If you harbor will, DO NOT THE WEDDING, rsvp. This selfish trend give an indication of out selfness amd entitlement of today’s mankind!

  • dmac

    Plenty of my wedding guests came without gifts and I did not care one bit! I loved having so many friends around and I would’ve hated for any of them to stay home because they couldn’t give us a gift. Or even if they could have but didn’t want to, forgot, whatever, who cares? We’re adults who have everything we need. Gifts should be the last thing on the minds of a couple getting married.

  • mEE


  • mEE

    I remember getting caught up in the wedding gifting and guilt when I participated in my first wedding. I was a bridesmaid for my, at the time, best friend. it was the first wedding I attended as an adult and the first time I was ever IN a wedding.

    first of all, when you become a bridesmaid (and maybe everyone knew this but me), they should give you a freaking invoice that tells you how much money you’re going to be forced to cough up. between the shoes, dress, makeup, hair, gas in my car for random duties, “helping” with the shower, “helping” with the bachelorette party, etc, etc I was already out a good $1000.

    then at the bridal shower (actually they had a coed wedding shower), I had to give a gift which I thought would be my ONLY gift. so I gifted them a couple’s spa day (read: MAD MONEY).

    so we’re on our way to the reception and I overhear them saying that they’re gonna use the money they get in gifts tonight to sustain them during their MONTH LONG honeymoon and help them with moving costs/etc. huh?? what?? wait I was supposed to give you more of my money?

    apparently they asked for cash in lieu of gifts. …but didn’t we all just give you a gift at that shower last week? all I had in my two long hands was a really nice card where I wrote a bunch of heartfelt things about the two of them and their union. oh but you want cash? my bad.

    so I call my boyfriend in a panic and ask him to bring my checkbook to the wedding. all the while I’m furiously googling “how much money is appropropriate to give for a wedding gift”. Google told me $200. so what do I do? I wrote them a check for $400 to cover myself and my guest.

    all in all I spent just about $2000 on someone else’s wedding. yes I was happy to be there and yes I was happy for them. and truthfully it wasn’t the constant coming outta pocket that bothered me. it was the gifting guilt. feeling like I wasn’t giving enough or doing enough or whatever. never. again.

  • mEE

    girl, my aunt just told me she went to the THIRD wedding of a friend. each wedding required a trip out of town with a hotel stay. 2/3 required airfare and a passport.
    I’m sorry but THREE?! at that point I’d think maybe I was bad luck. maybe the reason you keep getting divorced is because I keep showing up to your wedding spending my hard earned money.

    I asked her if she gave a gift each time and she said yes. buggin! she said she probably spent maybe $5000 in total on all of this woman’s 3 weddings. smh

  • hugs

    You have a choice to bring a gift, same as a birthday party or baby shower or any other celebration. Just be sure to expect the same from them when you want to celebrate an occassion.

    As someone who is currently planning a wedding (and yes we can afford it) your presence is not a gift. Your presence is your presence. Matter of fact your presence is what raises the price as most things are priced per person. If you open a wedding invitation and your first thought is of how it will negatively affect you instead of being happy or excited for the couple, maybe you shouldn’t go. This “you should be glad I came” attitude is odd to me

  • L

    Here are a few instances where I dont give wedding gifts:

    1. If I have given you a gift for your engagement party, bridal shower or bachlorette party. i mean, do you honestly need multiple gifts.

    2. If the couple has been living together for years. To me there is nothing you need to start your household. you’ve had years to do that.

    3. If i think the marriage is not going to last. I probably wont attend the wedding if this is how i feel. to be honest, some people get married for the wrong reasons and everybody knows it.

    4. If i spent hundreds in travel expenses to come to your wedding. My presence is your gift.

  • MimiLuvs

    When it comes to weddings, I believe that bride and groom might be to occupied to do a gift count during this time. A few days later, maybe. But not on the wedding day.
    Off topic: I’ve noticed that ‘not giving a gift’ habit has infiltrated other functions such as baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties, etc.
    The last baby shower that I had gone to had taken place at a catering hall and it was nice. There had to be at least 125 guests (they only sent out 43 invitations), but the parents-to-be received ten gifts from guests.

  • Karyn

    Give the gift at the wedding shower. The gift = gift card of $0-100 inside of a card. Voila.

  • Simone L

    that’s a down payment on a house, almost!! Wowwww. Third wedding? Nah. No gifts after the second. The toaster should still work from the first wedding.

  • Mademoiselle

    If inviting people to your wedding is costing you money that you don’t want or have to spend, then you should trim your guest list by each person you aren’t willing to foot the bill for. Only one person asked you to get married, and that person isn’t anyone in the pews. So if your invitation means anything more than “we want you to be present when this happens,” maybe you shouldn’t invite certain people and manage your costs that way. The onus is not on your guests to make sure you break even for an event you put together for yourself. Gift or no gift, you will still walk out the church married and that is what matters.

  • Mademoiselle

    I think the “no gifting” phenomenon is a response to the “throwing lavish intermittent parties for every private decision we make in our lives so we can get other people to pay for things we want” phenomenon. Party planning is becoming a scam when you consider that you can have a registry for everything now. Some people have fallen for the marketing ploy of creating a false sense of obligation through social guilt trips masked as “etiquette,” others refuse to let parties inadvertently force them to financially support someone else’s lifestyle.

  • Lisss

    You guys have seen nothing yet! To all the haitians living in Montreal, this one is for you.
    Among the haitians living in Montreal (the precision is very necessary), there is now this trend, especially among the younger ones born in Canada, where the guests MUST pay a fee to participate in the reception. The fee can range anywhere between 80$ – to 200$. Matter of fact, if you are invited and the invitation says 80$, you can the Lawd because that is the lowest you will ever find. It has gotten so bad, that people have to now choose which wedding they will go to (the rule is now one wedding per summer) because the reception fee plus the hair, nails, dress, shoes etc… is starting to add up and becoming more expensive than the electricity bill. As for me, i attend the church ceremony, kiss the bride and groom, wish them a happy life, and eat a McFlurry in their honor.

  • Lisss

    *thank the Lawd

  • Miss A

    I am with you Ash! I am engaged and tried to plan a small simple wedding, but that went up in smoke because the guest list got longer and the venues in Atlanta are not cheap! Factor in bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts, caterers, flowers, photographers, my dress, etc., I almost had a nervous breakdown!! My fiancée and my Mom were worried about me and told me to rethink some things. I thought since this is my first wedding, my Mom would want me to have a big extravagant wedding, but she said “go to the courthouse and have a reception”….my fiancée agreed and we will be doing just that in September.

    I realize I love my fiancée and it is not about the wedding…it’s about the marriage! The wedding will be just me and him and our two closest friends. Then we will have a big, cost effective, reception/celebration for family and friends that we can afford. If we get gifts, fine…if not, no big deal.

  • L

    That sounds like a smart idea to me Miss A. If i ever get married i always said im eloping and having a big ceremony for my 5th or tenth anniversary. That way we don’t start off broke and we actually earn the big “party”.

  • urbansista

    This is madness! When did this start? I left Montreal years ago, but I haven’t heard any of my Haitian friends mention this. You’re right: it would be a high five at the altar and I’d join you with some McNuggets in their honour.

  • Lisss

    I have been living in Mtl for the last 6 yrs. And the whole time, this had been the norm. Im not quite sure when this foolishness started.

  • Bells&Whistles

    Since baby showers were thrown into the conversation- DO NOT SHOW UP AT A BABY SHOWER WITHOUT A GIFT. The whole purpose of a baby shower, which everyone knows and there should be no shame in, is to HELP the parents by giving them items that they will need for their infant. For the first 6 months of my son’s life we didn’t have to buy anything besides diapers and wipes bc of the gifts that we received. Please people, don’t be so tacky and rude. There’s nothing wrong with helping out your loved ones. If you don’t want to give a gift, (and I am differentiating between want and can’t) don’t attend.

  • Kacey

    How did we get the point where the married couple are expecting their guest to reimburse them for the cost of the reception? When did that get to be a thing? It seems like weddings are now a big show/performance that guests are paying admission fees to attend. smh

  • MimiLuvs

    “Since baby showers were thrown into the conversation- DO NOT SHOW UP AT A BABY SHOWER WITHOUT A GIFT. The whole purpose of a baby shower, which everyone knows and there should be no shame in, is to HELP the parents by giving them items that they will need for their infant…”

    When it comes to baby showers, the “My presence is enough” attitude needs to be shot and tagged.
    Like I had mentioned before, I had gone to baby showers where there were more guests who didn’t give the unborn baby a gift than there were guests who did.
    There have been situations where invited guests had brought ‘+1′… Or in some cases, ‘+10′

  • Ash

    @Miss A

    Congrats! Best wishes to you and your fiancee.

  • Ash


    I agree. For that cost of admission I could buy a fancy dinner of my choosing instead of the usual overcooked baked chicken and green beans with almonds. lol

  • Ash

    Yeah, baby showers are definitely different. I mean, the name alone tells you you better have a gift!

  • donnadara

    I don’t think you should begrudge the long-time living together couple a gift. I’m sure they could use some china or something. I believe giving a gift is a part of celebrating and if you think the couple doesn’t “deserve” a gift, you probably should stay home. I got married for the second time, and had a big wedding because it was my husband’s first. Some family members gave no gift or a very cheap gift, I think to make a point. If they didn’t want to celebrate wedding number two with me, they should have stayed home.

  • Whatever


    No, I would not give a gift to a person who decides he/she will never getting married.

    The tradition of giving a gift to newlyweds has absolutely nothing to do with single people and their decision to never get married.

    The gift is for 2 people that are starting a new chapter of their lives together and possibly starting a family. That is a huge step and should be celebrated. A wedding is a celebratory event.

    Even though, here in the states the wedding industry has gone mad and have people brainwashed into thinking they need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to have a wedding, all around the world, no matter the tradition, culture or religion, people celebrate marriages and give gifts of some sort. Maybe not off of a Macy’s registry but gifts are given.

    As for continuing to give them gifts… I give anniversary cards and occasionally anniversary gifts.

  • Sheena

    This says it all! This is exactly how I go about deciding how, or whether or not to give gifts at a wedding.

  • Whatever

    Thank You.

    I was surprised by the selfish attitudes as well. This is why it’s important to invite only your CLOSEST family and friends. Keep the negative energy away on a day when the couple is supposed to be celebrated. I understand having a tight pocket and all but some people are just against gift giving all together.

  • Ash


    Asking for honeymoon donations to me is tacky. Ugh no, I need a vacation myself…not paying for yours.

  • anon4

    In other words, your guests would be wrong for thinking about you in the exact same way you’re thinking about them.

  • wfm

    If you are an able bodied, working adult, bring a gift or stay home! This includes weddings, bridal showers, house warmings, baby showers, etc. If someone invites you to dinner its a nice gesture to bring a bottle of wine. If someone invites you to a cook out bring a dish, soda, water, beers, something! Some people seriously need some class!

  • JS

    This! 100%

  • JS

    I think the only valid excuses would be 1 & 4. (Clarification: I say excuses instead of reasons because I don’t think anyone needs a reason not to give a gift at a wedding as weddings do cost a lot to attend sometimes. However, if your motto is you do give gifts but with some exceptions then it would fall into the excuses category).

    For #2: Even living together for years there is always something someone needs. Appliances don’t last forever and a gift card to Target would suffice.

    For #3: I think it would be best not to attend all together rather than go and you reason for not gifting being you don’t believe they would last. It’s their special day and its about them. They don’t need that negative attitude and why put yourself through the trouble of pretending you are happy for them? If it is a very good friend or family member though I do think you should just go and suck it up for the sake of supporting them.

  • Karhai

    Well they can try to bring that ish to the US and you will see a bunch of expensive receptions with NO ONE in attendance. My question to these types of brides is this: Why should I pay to celebrate you? You invited me! Most times, I’ve already given a bachelorette and bridal shower gift. I’ve traveled to come to your wedding.

    Pay your own way and stop crying.

    This is truly the effect of the “every kid gets a trophy” generation. Some of us are so damn spoiled.

  • Karhai

    See, attitudes like this are what kill friendships/families.

    YOUR wedding shouldn’t cost ME a dime. I don’t care if you’re planning a million dollar affair or a backyard cookout. If the presence of your family and friends aren’t enough, why are you inviting them? I mean be honest with yourself – it’s to get gifts and/or money! I just find that to be selfish.

    I hope some of your family and friends can read you. And I hope some of these decline your invite.

    This “you are invited to my wedding = pay me” attitude is odd to me.

  • Karhai

    That baby shower situation is a shame. I mean it’s a SHOWER. That means you are to literally shower to new mom/bride with things they will need.

    But I am wondering about a baby shower with 125 people…

  • Karhai

    And this is precisely why there are articles out there now that tell women how to politely decline being in someone’s wedding. That was one wedding for one friend. Now imagine being asked to be in 2 or 3 weddings a year. Ridiculous.

    And to think that they were going to use the money for a “month long honeymoon.” Really? I just can’t.

  • Hailey


    I hope for the sake of the people you invite to your wedding that THEY DON’T SHOW UP.

    Your wedding day is in no way the same as someone’s JOB as a waitress. A waiter is working. You planned a party. Big difference.

  • Hailey

    I guarantee you that the wedding guest lists in America are not based on inviting all the people the bride and groom LOVE. Being invited to someone’s wedding is not equated to the guests self worth or self esteem. Are you crazy?

    How about this – don’t leave me a gift in the hotel room and don’t pay for my brunch. I’ll cover that. And you can go on your marital way with whatever gift I choose to give…if I choose to give one.

  • guest

    Family and friends should help the bride and groom prepare for the wedding with gifts or services. That’s what they’re for right? Make their day as easy as possible. I don’t want people like this at my wedding. No one wants to hear “I’m here. you should be glad.” Gtfoh maybe they shouldn’t invite you so they can have extra cake and punch. I think the problem is that guests may not be genuine friends with the bride or groom.

  • Hailey

    That’s nice of you, as long as you didn’t expect your family and friends to foot the bill in the end. Did you?

  • Georgia

    I agree with you both, and what ever happened to a handmade or non-monetary gift, like write them a poem or draw them a picture or something if you don’t have the means? If you’re close enough to attend their special day, they should know you well enough to accept whatever generosity comes from your heart,/i>, not your wallet. I won’t ever have a wedding, but I would never regard a loved one in this manner. And if it takes 5 times to get it right (as it has for one of my dear friends) so be it. I’m going to celebrate the hope of each new start with you and cry with you when it doesn’t go as planned.

  • MommieDearest

    @ Miss A,

    That’s exactly what my husband and I did! We had a destination wedding/honeymoon (just the two of us) and threw a big reception when we returned. It was great! Years later, people were still talking about how much fun they had. I had attended and been in many weddings, and had my fill of drama. I knew I did not want to have to deal with any at my own wedding.

    As far as “to gift or not to gift,” I’m old school. IMO, if you care enough to attend someone’s wedding then you need to give them a gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Stick $10 in a beautiful card with a heartfelt handwritten message. Go in with a few other people and get a gift from the registry. Get creative- if your friend loves a particular dish that you prepare well, give them a “coupon” that they can redeem when they have a taste for it. Or volunteer to clean their house (once- LOL!!!!). Or plant a garden for them. Or babysit. The possibilities are endless. Having little or no money does not need to prevent you from giving. IMO, the only legitimate reasons for not giving a gift are:

    1. The couple had an engagement party or wedding shower and you gave one then.
    2. You don’t know the couple personally because you are going as someone’s guest.

    On the flipside, the couple needs to send thank you notes to acknowledge gifts received. Not doing so is tacky.

  • guest

    I agree. I don’t understand people not giving gifts when they’re friends and family

  • Ann Onymous

    LOL My relatives in Montreal have told me about this new phenomenon!!!
    I’m glad the Haitians on the US East coast haven’t caught on to this yet because I will be attending WAY less weddings if this ever starts here!

  • Hugs

    No where did I state that I expected a dime from anyone, we’re not even registered because we don’t need anything and I don’t want a bunch of extra stuff we don’t need. I just don’t get how you can come to a celebration that traditionally gives gifts and say “i didn’t bring you anything and i don’t care” I’ve been to 3 weddings as of recent and had to fly to 2. I would have felt bad showing empty handed. If the case truly is “be happy I came” then people shouldn’t complain about the lack of food, alcohol ect. I didn’t say I agree with asking people to pay for my wedding, because thats wrong. But I think skipping on a gift just to do it is wrong as well

  • Miss A

    Thanks Ash, and good idea @L! I refuse to start my marriage off with a huge wedding bill! We will have a new house to buy and furnish and I got student loans! lol……But at milestone anniversaries, we will have a big celebration and “when” we hit the 10 year mark I may plan a traditional wedding and walk down the aisle….

  • Hugs

    I’m sorry but as a guest, i would never go to anyones wedding with this “be happy i came” attitude. I understand “i’m not able to give” then I’m very happy you could at least come. But this ish that y’all are on, sad

  • ImJustSaying

    “I wouldn’t want someone coming to my wedding empty handed ESPECIALLY if I wasn’t empty handed at theirs”

    Give and let it be forgotten Receive and never forget.

    You should keep score on gift giving. If you have the money to do it great but to give a gift “with reciprocal strings” is unfair to the couple who simply asked for your PRESENCE at their wedding. You aren’t allowed to spend other peoples money because you decided to spend your own.

  • Esta Fiesta

    Part of the point of a lavish wedding is expecting gifts. If you really just wanted people’s presence as a gift you’d have a low maintenance backyard wedding. If you’re really humble about weddings to the point you don’t bring gifts, don’t accept them at yours either.

  • K

    well see that was my initial thought, i thought it was tacky and i was like hell im trying to get out the country myself lol but when she mentioned it in the article i was like meh i guess thats the norm and im just out the loop b/c as i stated ive never been to a wedding

  • SayWhat

    I bet you if enough people skipped the reception, that trend would end real soon.

  • SayWhat

    No, the problem is that you want people to help you keep up with the joneses. If you can’t afford the wedding of your dreams, have the wedding of your means.

    I don’t go to functions without a gift, but I also don’t attend over the top functions that are clearly for bragging rights.

  • SayWhat

    I too am giving a side eye to 125 invitations to a baby shower. I think part of the problem is that facebook, and myspace before it, has changed the meaning of ‘friends’. People ‘friend’ folks who they barely know or haven’t had contact with in years (and don’t really care to contact again). Not saying that this was the case, but i’ve seen facebook friends lead to hurt feelings.

  • Fanta

    I find your post zeroing in on Haitians truly classless, bigoted and unfair. I grew up in the States but I have many Canadian friends. Many are Haitian. All the Haitians I know have double degrees, went to the top schools, in fact my boyfriend is a surgeon and there is a high number of Haitian doctors who could pay for their own weddings and yours too. They are serious, hard-working and classy. Just like I don’t accept anyone attacking me based on my race, I won’t accept you coming here and attacking Haitian people. One of my best friends is Haitian. Your post proves to me that YOU are the one with the lack of class. Or you simply are incapable of associating with high-powered, intellectual, educated and classy people of all walks of life. Like my grandma says, if you want to know who someone is, check their friends. ALL my friends, yes the Haitian ones included, have elaborate weddings THEY pay for because they roll like that. Some can afford great weddings and opted for investing their money. My boyfriend organized a group of surgeons to volunteer in Haiti a few years ago. Again, amazing great people doing great things. I don’t like your post at all.

  • Fanta

    Urbanista: you probably associate with the upwardly mobile, classy and hard-working Canadian Haitians that I and my boyfriend associate with. This poster clearly has a thing against our Haitian brothers and sisters otherwise why point out their nationality in this way? All the Haitians I know are surgeons, doctors and professionals who can afford whatever they want. y boyfriend is a surgeon and our best friends are Haitian.

  • DC

    I have a very tacky friend who receives gifts and never sends thank you cards. Makes me nuts! Why have showers and weddings if you don’t care enough to send a thank you?

  • Mademoiselle

    No need to get so offended. I did a quick google search, and it seems asking guests to pay for their meal as a part of the invitation is a widely accepted trend in Canadian wedding etiquette. Maybe Lisss only knows Canadian Haitians, and that’s her reference point. Congrats to your friends who are doing things with their lives, but I didn’t take it as judgment about Haitians not being able to pay for their weddings. It was just an observation related to the topic of wedding etiquette and the expectations placed on guests.

  • guest

    The problem is that u lack reading comprehension skills. Ur making assumptions about wanting to keep up with the Joneses. I’m talking about an inexpensive wedding that won’t inconvenience most people. I will help my friends and family for their weddings because I care about them but I won’t be taken advantage of. There’s a difference.,

  • SayWhat

    @guest, there is nothing wrong with my reading skills so don’t try it. You wrote that family/friends SHOULD help by providing gifts or services.

    As I said, if you live within your means than you won’t demand that anyone do anything.

  • ImJustSaying

    Nope weddings big and small are to share a special moment with family and friends.
    If it were about gifts then there would be a bouncer at the door turning away those who come empty handed.
    Also if you’re spending a bunch of money on a one day wedding I think you probably have a budget to get your own home/life items. With your logic people with large weddings are essentially saying
    “Look I spent $70,000 today I am soooo hard up so give me presents!!!”

    I will say again as you might have missed the meaning the first time
    Give and let it be FORGOTTEN Receive and NEVER FORGET
    Be appreciative when someone does something nice for you. I get the feeling that you think it is your right to receive presents and look down on people who can’t give you something.
    You have a nice day. Be blessed

  • Kiki

    It this what the world is coming to? People are this put out about giving a wedding gift?! I hope all the people who deem their “presence is enough”remember that on their birthdays, graduations and their wedding days.

  • ImJustSaying

    I think the true issue here is people who think they are OWED a gift for any particular occasion.
    Birthdays – everyone has one whether you decide to celebrate or not.
    Weddings – Are a choice the couple makes to share the moment they decide to commit to each other Legally/Spiritually/Emotionally
    Baby- Also a choice (usually) between two people. They can decide to celebrate the baby with others.
    Graduation- Is a grey area as it is expected that you finish your education however far you decide to take it. Celebrating that fact does not automatically call for gifts.

    What I’m trying to show is that people give gifts because they WANT to give gifts. they WANT to show love in a tangible way.


    If you are having a wedding or birthday or whatever with the express hope of receiving gifts just send a card out with a big GIVE ME THINGS at the top. no party no nothing just a list. See how many gifts your receive versus no response.

  • stardancer2008

    I’m just amazed at the gall of folk these days roasting guests for the quality of their gifts. If I choose to pay hundreds of dollars to attend your wedding you can best believe that you will not get a separate gift on top of that.

  • Anike

    I think manners and etiquette are long gone. Folks now a days believe that so long as the behavior is convenient for THEM, it’s acceptable. So, have a lavish wedding, invite 150 to the wedding ceremony, but only the 75 you can afford to feed to the reception venue. TACKY, selfish, rude.

    Be a invitee to a wedding and reception, get your hair and nails done, bring your current boo, his kids, your kids and a rain check on the gift. “Girl, what do you need?, I’ll get you something when I get my…check”

    We all know the gift never comes .

    (Of course a lot behavior these days in the urban community is prompted by poverty and single parent status )

    But at last we have the increasingly popular destination wedding. I know these are touted as ” a vacation along with a wedding” for guests but to ask others to pay $$$ for travel and lodging expenses as well receive a gift? Well, only a well heeled friend or relative will most likely to able to do both.

    I think all of the injured parties are two sides of the same selfish coin

    old school; if you attend a wedding reception or baby shower you are expected to bring a gift.

    new school; pick and chose morality and what -serves- one- own- pocket- etiquette

  • Anike

    With all due respect, this was common in other ethnic communities long ago. Blacks have traditionally been at the bottom of the income totem pole so for many having catered 4-5 star reception site was not generationally in vogue.
    More likely than not ,the wedding reception was held in the church’s fellowship hall or a community venue. Now that many have entered the middle class those middle class traditions long held by others are now in play.

    Unfortunately many in the AA community just do not want the responsibility that comes with being any thing other than broke or poor, and many are still living below the poverty line.
    So, they try and live fabulously and then scrimp whenever they can; on gifts and ideas.

    btw Tipping is another area example. Waiters complain that Black folk enjoy eating out, of course expect adequate service, but then balk at leaving the server any more than $2 because “the food bill is already high”.

    The responsibly for having someone waiting on you is paying for the service. (yes, I know sometimes it is not adequate) but too often the mindset is “I do not want to part with any more of my money).

    But back to the point, agree with the poster who stated if one cannot afford the wedding of their dreams, have the wedding of their means.

    The key to have enough of everything and to be well organized. A wedding does not have to be expensive

  • Anike

    I attended one whereby a person (yes known to the mother) crashed the shower and didn’t bring a gift!

    While the hostess and the mother didn’t mind her coming,
    we both thought it tacky she would unabashedly just show up empty handed.

    A little human is arriving needing everything..

    If you are going to invite yourself to a shower, come bearing a gift!

    It’s not a party for you to attend JUST to eat, and enjoy yourself!

    Whatever happened to honor or “saving face”?

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