A while back we all heard about the Brides in Hamilton, Ontario who called out one of their wedding guests via text for gifting them a Homemade Basket of treats including pasta, olive oil, marshmallow fluff, Sour Patch Kids and Butterscotch sauce; texting, “Hey ‘Mr. Guest’, It’s ‘Bride’. I want to thank you for coming to the wedding Friday. I’m not sure if this is the first wedding you have been to, but for your next wedding… People give envelopes. I lost out on $200 covering you and your date’s plate…and got fluffy whip and sour patch kids in return. Just a head’s up for the future ” Of course the guest who was also a co-worker, was infuriated and used social media to voice his outrage on the Brides lack of etiquette. What the Hamilton Bride should have done, is graciously received the gift by saying ‘Thank you for coming to our wedding, it was a pleasure having you celebrate with us”.
This brings me to this #WeddingWednesdays topic: Gift Etiquette 101.
First and foremost a gift is not about how much a plate of food costs. Honestly if you were going to use the ‘monetary gift per guest’ method to calculate your wedding budget, then you shouldn’t be having a wedding reception at all. Just have a lovely ceremony and call it a day. Besides that, the per guest cost for a wedding is not just the food; add in the chair cover, an eighth of the table linen, centerpiece, the cost of the napkin etc. you may as well just sell tickets to it.
It’s been said time and time again that a wedding is not about the gifts. You are inviting your guest to celebrate the unity of your love. They are honouring you with their presence, not with what’s in an envelope. Can you imagine finding out that you were an invited guest at a wedding because the couple felt you would put in ‘top dollar’ at their wedding?
Etiquette states that a gift is symbolic, not warranted. At least that’s the written rule. A Wedding gift is a way to let the couple know that you wish them well. There are no guidelines as to what you have to give or how much. It’s a nice touch to show your love to the couple. Granted that nowadays couples are usually registered with a reputable Gift Registry or are given money to start their lives together.
The unwritten rule, which would make Miss Manners cringe for days, is that you don’t go to a wedding empty handed; and nowadays for many couples that means an envelope with money or a gift worth the dollar amount of what your dinner & drinks cost.
What do you think of the gift giving debate? Is the written etiquette important or is it outdated?