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Monday, July 4, 2011

Weddings and Frugality

By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches

Recently I was invited to a friend's wedding. When I make that statement it sounds simple enough, only as details of the wedding & pre-wedding showers emerged, it became incredibly complicated.

The Wedding

Takes place on a weekday = a day off of work (unpaid)
Reception takes place 2.5 hours north of the Church in a very rural area = renting a car and possibly an overnight stay (it is assumed guests will book rooms as the hotel is so rural and there are events the next day).
A new outfit because I have nothing to wear having just moved overseas

Shower One
In a rural location, absolutely no public transport there. On a Sunday which means renting a car for the day
Required to give $50, which they will use to buy things
Everyone attending will also need to pay towards the costs of the shower

Shower Two
On a weekday afternoon which means taking a day off work unpaid
All guest (even if you already attended the other shower) are required to give $50 towards the honeymoon
There will be a charge for activities but it is not known how much yet

Anyone trying, through necessity, choice or circumstance, to live a frugal life will know where I'm going with this... Firstly and perhaps most importantly I want to clarify that it isn't my friend's fault that I would need to rent a car or buy a new outfit, those are because of my circumstances and my circumstances alone. But it is increasingly difficult to attend showers and weddings because of the financial implications and expectations of brides & grooms. At the very least, attending each shower will be almost $100 per event, and I was specifically asked to attend both. On top of that it was made clear that the shower gifts do not replace the wedding gift. This week, before I purchased what I planned to give to the couple, I asked if there was a registry for the wedding, I was told everyone invited was asked to give money because they already own 10 homes, already live together and don't need anything, so they want to use the money to splurge. What's more the wedding coincides with my friend's 30th Birthday, so there will be a separate party so that the Birthday isn't over looked. I didn't ask if I'd be asked to contribute financially to that too, because my then I was already doing the math in my head ;)

Doing my sums and taking all the costs out which are because of my individual circumstances (renting a car, time off work unpaid, a new outfit etc), attending the wedding and two showers & paying the minimum suggested for gifts, the total comes to $455, the suggested contribution towards gifts alone is $175.

When I first found out all the facts, I was a tad disgruntled about it all, many people commented on my blog & emailed in outrage that a bridge & groom could expect their guests to contribute so much. There were an array of similar stories and others shared they to have had to send regrets to events because expectations were too high in their particular season of life.

I wish my friends well, marriage is a gift and I hope they have truly found their life mate. For a while I felt incredible guilt about not being able to be there on their special day, but the more I put into practice the skills and thought process' this simple, green & frugal life has taught me, the more honest I was able to be with myself. Right now it simply isn't possible. And there's no guilt with that!

I'd love to hear from you. Do you think it is OK to charge attendance for showers? Is it OK to request monetary gifts in specific amounts? Have you ever had to say no to a wedding or shower because of the financial implications?

48 comments:

Stacey said...

Wow. I am gobsmacked that a couple that already owns 10 houses and has everything even thinks it's ok to tell people to contribute money "to splurge". I don't actually know many rich people, so the entitlement this kind of thinking displays is utterly alien to me. Showers? I'm not even sure what they are! I can understand couples asking guests to bring a meal (frugal wedding), I can understand a polite suggestion that money would be more useful than a gift (but most weddings I've been to have been very polite about it, the couple is saving for a house deposit etc and gratefully accepted gifts as well) but the sheer arrogance in expecting guests to fork out SO much when you are already rich seems crazy. Living in the real world? I don't reckon they are. Oh and no, I wouldn't go, and in fact might even say something rather pointed about the reason why.

mollymakesdo said...

Personally, and I'm no saint, we told most of our friends that we didn't expect gifts at our wedding and being there was enough because when we got married most of our friends were still in or just out of college. We realized that just asking them to be there was expensive enough and three years down the road I can barely remember what my in-laws got us,so not getting a few more gifts obviously didn't hurt in the long run.
Maybe expectations are different in circles were money or credit runs a little more freely, but I think it's ridiculous to charge for attendance to a shower of all things and for a couple who's already well off to have such high expectations of others deep pockets puts a bitter taste in my mouth.

Val said...

If that much money is had to start with, why on earth are others paying for the cost of their parties?

I specifically request no presents for any parties I hold. If I received invites such as that, I would not be attending the wedding.

I DID recently receive a wedding invite that suggested "money gifts" as the best idea. It wasn't well worded, but the couple was young and the faux pas was easily overlooked, especially since I knew they were struggling. I actually just forgot to give a gift at that wedding, but I did have an opportunity to give the bride a sizable gift card (to a grocery store) a few months later. Money so people who already have money to splurge can splurge more? Eff no. Does not fit my ethics.

Myrnie said...

I absolutely am not passing any judgement, but I've never heard of such a thing. Perhaps in a certain circle of their friends, this is standard? If it is, then I would expect that they value your friendship to want to include you in festivities so obviously outside your own sphere.

JeCaThRe said...

Telling guests what to give is rude. If you're paying for the party it's not hospitality, it's a fundraiser.

I don't think this is limited to wealthy people. I've seen this kind of extortion at all income levels. A wedding reception is a party like any other: invite the people you want to be there, offer them what hospitality you can afford, and know that the people who love you will appreciate your effort.

As a guest, you have the right to decline invitations to showers that require an entrance fee. For the wedding gift you can choose something you think of as a splurge, such as a few nice bottles of wine, assuming you know what the couple likes. And if you don't know what the couple likes? Then it's safe to write them a nice letter wishing them the best and skip the wedding (and the expense) altogether.

notesfromthefrugaltrenches.com said...

Thanks for all the replies so far! I too don't think it is limited to the wealthy, other friends of mine who are from low income families & didn't have 2 pennies to rub together recently had a $45K wedding with the shower held at one of the most expensive venues in their city and extravagence at every single option from centerpieces to the honeymoon. I now think (after reading some of the comments left on my blog) there is a real sense of entitlement mixed with "norms" the media portrays...

africanaussie said...

I was so pleased when my daughter got married that they decided to exchange their vows in the park (after the official registry office ceremony) then we had the reception in the garden, catered by myself and my daughters. What a lovely family time that was. I think your idea of mosquito nets for a newly married couple is perfect.

mollymakesdo said...

45k for a wedding?! My husband and I could pay off our student loans (thus being officially debt free) and still have money left over to put towards a house with 45K - not to mention what 45K would be in a college fund for our son and future kids!

Tracey said...

If one of my friends did this I would conclude that we no longer have anything in common, politely decline the invitation, and slide quietly out of their lives.

That may sound harsh, but I just don't want to be around that kind of materialism and entitlement. If other people do, that's their choice, of course : )

Dea-chan said...

I am currently in the process of planning my own wedding, and I find that absolutely appalling. ... I keep trying to find words, but seriously, TEN HOUSES?! I just can't get over that.

You want to throw a party? Awesome. Pay for your party. You don't have money for a party? Awesome. Don't have a party. It's simple.

How much am I planning on spending for my wedding? $1000. Is anything required? Hells no. (Oh that's not including our rings... pop that to $2000 since my engagement ring only cost $1500, and it has a stone unlike my wedding band)

I will say this: you are being incredibly open-minded about this situation and opening up the story to us. I know that for myself, I might be considering why they are friends. But that's me. Perhaps they were the people that drove you in a snowstorm to rescue your grandma when the power went out. :-P

I guess send a card?

joolzmac said...

Like Stacey, I am also gobsmacked - the more I read the more ludicrous it all sounded.
I would send an inability to attend, parcel up a gift and card that your budget can handle and sleep well knowing that you have good manners, which your friends do not!

Julie said...

I cannot believe the requests your friend made. How rude of your friend. I think these requests reflect the "consumer culture" that exists. I wouldn't have gone to the wedding either. Don't feel bad, you are not alone in your thoughts. Actually, I think you should be proud of yourself for being true to yourself and your beliefs. Well done. xxoo

Quatrefoil said...

I think that this is a problem which goes beyond weddings. Recently I went out for lunch with various friends, and, being frugal, chose not to have a glass of wine and shared a desert. When the bill came, one of my much wealthier friends just decided to split it between the six adults present without consultation, so I ended up paying far more than my meal was worth, subsidising my wealthy friends and paying for their child's lunch. There was no way I could have graciously objected, but it left a very sour taste in my mouth.

Kristy said...

I think it's (the ones doing the inviting) displaying an attitude that completely misses the point, to be honest. I agree with several of the points made by previous posters.

I simply couldn't afford to attend and would politely decline, wishing them happiness. Good luck :)

Robert said...

Dunno what a shower is, but it seems gross cheek for a couple who are already wealthy (or a poor one for that matter) to invite friends (presumably), and effectively present them with a bill for attending. Our wedding was a party we threw for our friends, and we got the bill, not them. I believe that's normal.

SARINA said...

I think that is appauling! That`s where friendship stops. True friends would not expect anything of you appart from your company on the day. I`m amazed they had the gaul to ask guests to contribute financially. Disgusting behaviour!

Vi said...

It's crazy to request guests to pay a certain amount of money for the showers and wedding. What the?
I am currently planning our wedding and we are having a wishing well, where guests are able to give what they want..money or gift. But I knew I had to find a saying that would make people feel okay about choosing either. It should be up to the guests what they want to give.

Frugal Living Uk said...

What an unbelievably story! It seems so greedy to actually request money (especially when they don't sound like they need it) You are absolutely right not to attend. It is always a bit of a nightmare when a wedding invitation plops onto the doormat nowadays. No-one does anything locally: a stag night now has to involve getting a plane somewhere, often the wedding is somewhere distant. The last wedding I went to involved a plane, hire car and ferry crossing to get there, plus 2 nights in a hotel. It is unreasonable and I applaud your decision.

Attila said...

The word "Guest" implies, unless you are running a hotel, that you are paying for the things the guest will consume or use. Or next time someone says "Be my guest" should I ask "How much will it cost me?" When we got married we expected to pay everything ourselves, seeing as we were independant adults of 30-odd years old. My mum insisted on paying for the flowers and cake ingredients, both of which were done at cost price by two different friends who were in those businesses. We did ask that the 100 guests bring a small contribution to the feast if they were able, but I provided about half the food myself. Our hairdresser, dressmaker, florist, cakemaker and chauffeur all provided their services free of charge as a gift. We had a gift list of modest things that we needed and gave it only to those who asked for it. Many gave us money and when we wrote our thank you letters we told those friends what we had spent it on. The very idea of demanding a gift......! (((SHUDDER)))

Emily Dale said...

Weird. I've gone to weddings in various social spheres on two continents and never heard of such things. Showers are usually hosted, if they are somewhere where a guest pays for lunch/activities = no gift required. I always thought it was polite to give one shower (if invited) and one wedding gift, but it isn't necessary to do both. We've been told by friends for whom us attending their wedding was a pretty major inconvenience(day off work, looong drive, hotel rooms etc) that we didn't need to bring a gift; we did anyway, something lovely and not very expensive, but it was a choice and we felt good about it. Good luck with this situation.

@ Quatrefoil - my mom is often in this situation with work trip meals, (rice and beans while friends are having appetizers, expensive entrees and various alcoholic drinks). Now she always clarifies how the bill will be split at the beginning of the meal and offers to do the math: ) If everyone else is determined to split it evenly, she chooses her meal accordingly and enjoys the treat.

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised, but I am sad that people live with such materalism and determination to have more, no matter what the cost to others!

Elizabeth

Laura Jeanne said...

Due to financial constraints, we have not attended any of the weddings in my extended family for years now. I usually sent a small gift to the shower, or went in with my sisters and mom on a gift. If I don't attend the wedding, I don't feel obligated to give them anything.

In every case, the weddings we were invited to were for young career couple who already had a home and quite frankly, already had MUCH more money and way more possessions than my husband and I, who are trying to struggle along with 4 children and erratic employment. Honestly, we don't even have 6 matching plates, why should I feel I need to buy a set of good china for a cousin I rarely speak to?

My honest opinion is that the level of materialism which pervades the modern wedding is disgusting. People use their wedding as an excuse to cash in at the expense of everyone they know. I know someone very well who boldly told me she invited people she hardly knew to her wedding, so they would make more money off of it. :(

It's so sad, because in all this materialism, the true beauty of what should be a meaningful event is lost.

At our own wedding, I was hoping for some sentimental gifts, maybe even something handmade--and I was disappointed that people only gave us money!

I am generally an understanding and open minded person, but this phenomenon of requesting large amounts of money from shower or wedding guests is in my view, unbelievably rude and uncivilized.

Liz said...

Omigosh, that is just unbelievably rude.

At our wedding, we asked that our guests not give us gifts, since we were combining two households and really didn't need anything more in the way of things, but gave them the option to make a donation to charity on our behalf, or put some money towards our honeymoon. A couple of people chose the latter option, we were given one or two gift cards by people who really wanted to give us *something* on the day, but nobody felt compelled to give us anything if they couldn't afford it, and we paid for the reception. We wanted our friends to be there to share our big day with us, not underwrite it. I'd be saying goodbye to these "friends", I think!

katie z. said...

No, their expectations are NOT okay. It is RUDE to tell people how much they are expected to give.

Yes, I have declined events. My husband's family lives 6 hours away and are all significantly wealthier than we are. I don't go to lots of events with them because: I wouldn't know what to wear, I wouldn't be able to afford a gift chic and expensive enough, I wouldn't have anything to talk about with them. I even, as a bridesmaid, once put my foot down about added costs to our clothing because another bridesmaid didn't like the cut of a dress, we had to choose a more expensive dress. In addition, at the wedding, I was told I needed to pay for a shrug they bought for all of us... I had just gotten married myself, was in the middle of moving, and did not yet have another job. I didn't pay for my shrug, but gave it back to her...

You have to put your foot down somewhere.

Sharon said...

OMG.. You do not need these people as friends.. They are clueless.. They the wedding couple should be sharing this day with generosity to there friends.. Saying no gifts needed.. With a donation to Charity.. Selfish and self center people that you do not need. And dont worry about not gifting.. Hold your head up high and know you are smarter and kinder and in the long run happier.. God Bless you dear and hang strong on you frugality..

trashmaster46 said...

I was thinking "bullshit" already on the "required" $50, and that was before noticing that the couple owns... well, more than one home. Adding a birthday in there? Total crap.

I got married last year. Our wedding date was a week from my husband's birthday - birthday officially skipped. He got me for a birthday present.
I had a shower at work, mostly because a really nice co-worker invited other co-workers to come have cookies with us at the end of the day during a small staff meeting a few of us were already doing. No presents requested, one piece of tupperware received.
I had one shower on purpose with friends - mostly friends who weren't coming to the wedding. We had it in the back room of a casual pub/restaurant and people could order what they liked, and enough of us had money to share that no one went hungry.
The wedding itself - a friend officiated, two other friends volunteered to take photographs (one a former professional photographer!). Other friends helped set up and take down. I did have my dress made for me, but by someone in town, and it's a dress I'll wear again when we go out swing dancing. We did buy a dance floor for the reception - a crappy piece of leftover linoleum from a flooring shop that we threw down on the driveway (great for dancing in our socks!).
The wedding itself was underneath our beautiful dogwood tree. Our only decorations were white christmas-type lights strung along the house and some beautiful paper pinwheels I bought off etsy.com. I put the music together myself. I made the guest book myself. I could have made the food myself or asked it all be potluck, but we did decide to splurge there and had a local middle eastern restaurant cater. We weren't going to say anything about presents or register anywhere, but enough people asked, so we said if they really wanted to do presents - which we didn't need! - we'd like gift certificates to a local plant nursery and to Home Depot so we could work on building our garden. I think our wedding, from food to dress to his clothing to the 'dance floor', cost us about $1000, spread out over 4-5 months.

Ambra said...

Oh WOW! Is all I can say. That sounds like a horrible wedding. We don't have "showers" here for anything so I can't comment on that. But my daughter was married last year and we had almost 100 people over, but did it very frugally. The invites were home made, ceremony was in a local nature spot, the reception at home and in the garden. Flowers from the garden and picked wild. Home sewn dress, thrifted decorations and borrowed china, table cloths and silver ware. We baked cakes and served grilled hamburgers. Friends provided music, make up for the bride and the best guests ever. It was so happy and wonderful! Everyone loved it! There is no need to spend a lot to have the most fantastic wedding.
I feel so sorry for your friends.
I think they are missing out on what matters most in life - It sure ain't money!
And the guests

Rosa said...

It sounds like you're not rich enough to be their friends. Or that at least you should tell them you can't afford things like that and see if they make an accomodation to still be your friend.

I decline a LOT of invitations that feel like gift-fishing (or, worse, that they think they have to invite me to not hurt my feelings - I think a lot of weddings grow out of control that way.) And since we do have frugal-minded and plain poor friends, lately I've had to do the same thing with time - say, you know, I would love to help but I can't.

On the other hand, sometimes it *is* the culture of the people you love or want to be close with, and then you kind of have to suck it up and do it. Or get new friends. I only have one brother so we're going to be attending his ridiculously expensive wedding and also giving him a gift - I think if I had 2 brothers, I'd tell You Only Love Me if You Spend Money On Me to suck it.

Chariot said...

Oh my gosh! That's outrageous! I think people should read an etiquette guide before planning an event like that. No one should ever expect anything from guests--because they are GUESTS. My experience with showers is that it is the maid of honor and best man to arrange those events. And the wedding party alone might be asked to contribute.

Personally, I don't even like the tradition of expecting the bridal party to pay for their own wedding party clothes. It doesn't seem right to ask people to purchase $100 to $200 dresses + shoes and accessories.

Good article. I think we all need to take a good look at these new traditions. If we aren't willing to pay for it ourselves we shouldn't ask others to do it for us, especially since we don't know all our friends financial situations.

Anonymous said...

You know, I see nothing wrong with throwing two showers--maybe to accommodate unusual guest lists or so that guests in distant locations don't have to travel. And if you want to have a big fancy wedding, hey, it's your money.

But that's the point. It's THE HOST'S money, as in, that which is NOT the guests' money. It is beyond tacky, rude and socially clueless to make these sorts of requests in the first place.

I say this from experience: Five years from now, if the couple is still together, nobody, NOBODY including any family who might have initially been upset, will give a crap whether they eloped or got married by the local JP whilst wearing jeans and tee shirts. They will have gotten over it. But if they are NOT together in five years, everyone will remember that they blew $$$$ on an expensive failure.

The whole thing reminds me of an old joke:
Rich woman 1 says, "My husband is so rich, he bought me a fur coat."
Rich woman 2 replies, "Isn't that nice!"
Rich woman 3 says, "Really? My husband is so rich he bought me a BMW!"
Rich woman 2 replies, again, "Isn't that nice!"
Rich woman 1 asks, "What did your husband buy YOU, Courtney?"
Rich woman 2 says, "My husband is so rich he sent me to finishing school, where I learned to say 'Isn't that nice' instead of 'eff you!'"

Jo said...

Wow - just wow. I have had both friends and coworkers determine what I should give for a shower or a party. I normally just say I do not wish to be included and get the gift for the person or couple that I can afford.
I am lucky that in my family weddings are considered to be a time to get together and celebrate, however, the dollar dance does chafe me a bit. Seriously, you did the right thing. That was greedy and rude. Thank you for putting this out there for discussion. A wedding invitation is an invitation to celebrate the union of two people not an opportunity to practice extortion on your family and friends.

Anonymous said...

I think a wedding shower must be an american thing - in the UK we just have a hen party or a stag do before the wedding. Neither of these require giving gifts - just an excuse for a big party with your mates :) I'm getting married in 2 months and for my hen do I have bought tickets to a musical. This has cost me quite a lot but I wouldn't dream of asking my friends to pay!

Michele said...

In my opinion, that's not a wedding about the couple joining together with friends and family to celebrate their joy. It's a money grab to finance the "splurge" they want. Greedy. Rude. Destined for unhappiness.

My husband and I eloped to the next town over, grabbed a couple of great friends and made our wedding about each other and the commitment we were making to each other. $50 for the license, $50 for the officiant, $30 for gas. Even our rings were recycled from friends. Awesome day. I wish all brides and grooms such happiness as we had on our day.

Good for you for declining the invitation.

Anonymous said...

First of all, good for you for declining. Secondly, this is such poor manners on the part of the bride & groom and the members of their wedding party, whose job it is to throw the shower themselves. There's a reason for etiquette-- to avoid situations like the one this has put you in! It also points to a problem that I'm seeing more and more-- people requesting others to pitch in extravagant amounts of money for various occasions, such as "coach gifts" at the end of a sports season or baby shower presents at work.

Notes From The Frugal Trenches said...

There is such a wealth of reflection & serious thought about frugality, values and being able to bow out gracefully here in these comments. A massive thank you to every single person who left one, not only were they affirming but they were so appreciated. Thank you! Now I'm off to send a nice note of regrets!

Anonymous said...

I find any sort of 'shower', be it baby or bridal, to be an outrageous grab for money or presents. Most weddings these days have a bridal shower ($$$), hens night (more) and then you're also expected to give a present to the tune of $100+. It's ridiculous! This is the exact reason my husband and I got married at a small, local wedding venue by a celebrant, and we invited immediate family (siblings and their kids, parents and grandparents). We're not rich, but at the same time not poor. But regardless of that, we didn't want anyone to be out of pocket, so we specified on the invitation 'no presents please'. Most people still gave presents, but these were according to the various peoples' budgets and so personalised. It was lovely. I dread being invited to yet another wedding as I just cannot stand them, especially seeing as we all know that 1/3 of them end in divorce. Quite the cynic, aren't I?

Janet said...

Wow, my jaw hit the ground when I read this. Where I lived most of my adult life - Alberta, Canada - anyone in my circle of friends who were that well off generally said "no gifts" on the invitation. The concept of paying to attend the shower also knocked me flat...my gift is my payment and my gift is MY choice.

I have to admit I would feel no guilt about not attending a friend's wedding under these circumstances. I would also not be shy of telling them why, politely of course. They should know why people are not attending, and I woder if the bride is even aware that her shower guests are being asked to pay for the shower itself.

I won't pass judgement on your friends as I don't know them and that would not be fair. I do think you owe it to them to explain why you aren't attending - the costs are way too high for the average person.

Hope it all comes out well for you and them.

Angela said...

Wow. I've never heard of expecting people to pay for a shower. I understand young couples who are just starting out and struggling requesting cash rather than gifts, but otherwise find it rude.

When we got married, we provided an online registry with gifts ranging from a few dollars up, and included three charities that were close to our hearts. I'd say about a quarter of our guests went with the charities which was great because we were at a point where we couldn't afford to send them anything.

Sarah Jane said...

When my older half sister got married, it was in Vegas, a 14 hour bus ride away, I was invited to be in the wedding and I had to pay for my own dress (I was 17 at the time, no money and my mom wasn't going to help) which was going to be over $100. Hotel, dress, gift, getting there and back. I couldn't afford it. It made the decision not to go easier when she uninvited me from being a bridemaid because I got dreadlocks and "she'd have these photos for the rest of her life." Which was rich, she hadn't even seen the dreadlocks yet. She had no idea what they looked like. If it were me, I'd chose my bridemaids because it was important for me to have those people there on such an important day in my life. Not for the photos.

Is this a result of being brainwashed by all the brideporn on tv nowadays? Even my sister turned into a Bridezilla!

Chris said...

It's completely okay to charge attendance for showers and for monetary gifts in specified amounts. None of these things are strange to me. I've seen a lot of different ways people celebrate meaningful events in their lives.

In fact, if you were having this conversation in China, they'd be mortified at the amount of people who were not prepared to give money when it came to special events. Because in China, giving money means to give good luck.

If an invitation didn't align with my values or means of the day however, a polite "cannot attend", suffices. :)

After all, an invitation is not a values competition. It's only ever about choosing to go or not. We don't have to go, just because we were invited. :)

Anonymous said...

I think your friends need to take a good look at themselves. I have chosen the single life and I am deeply irritated by the way in which friends getting married assume that invitees will shell out $$$'s to attend their wedding. Imagine if I held a party and said "BTW, it'll cost you $500 to attend". I can imagine what the general response would be.

Should I ever marry I will not ask for gifts - if I want to celebrate my love for another person then the party will be on us. I know I have had to turn down attendance at some weddings (or even pretend I didn't get the invite) because I couldn't afford to go. I don't want anyone to feel they couldn't come to my wedding.

Originally wedding gifts were to set up a young couple in a new home. Your friends are clearly wealthy and to be frank - in my opinion what they are doing is greedy and immoral.

Annodear said...

Wow. I haven't read the other comments, but something tells me that they are all pretty much saying, What the heck!?!

These people need to buy a Miss Manners book quickly and do a little research before asking people to donate *specific amounts* ~ even worse than simply asking for money. How tacky! Seriously, how they are pulling this off with a straight face?

The way you ended your blog was worded wonderfully, and that is what I would put into a card ~ with a gift or without, of *your* choosing ~ saying only that you wished them well, etc.

I'm still flabbergasted at the gall of the people throwing the showers and the happy couple themselves (altho they may be less to blame ~ I don't know).

And yes, I have turned down a wedding commitment ~ a cousin wanted my then 5-year old twins to be in their wedding, but renting miniature tuxedos (and not knowing if they could behave well enough to be in a wedding) caused us to decline.

Cher said...

Wow! We just got married in 2009. He was divorced and we both had kids. We didn't need a bunch of things but had a frugal wedding since he was in Truck driving school. Our family gave gifts of the food (I made all the rolls and pasta salads) they bought the meat and beans. Another friend gave us our Wedding cake simply decorated and I made Gum Paste Daisys to go on them. My parents gave us the DJ.

It really helped us out. And then freiends and family gave us things the meant something special. We recived an old train set that my husbands Grandfather had bought for his uncle. 2 really cool wood signes with our names and dates. And even a bushel basket of canned goods with our wedding verse written on a legg of jean material. (I should mention it was a Western Wedding) My unlce even gave my Husband a New Stetson for the wedding. We never expected a bunch of money. We regestered at 1 place because people asked but otherwise we were so thrilled with special gifts from the heart! There is no way we could have asked people to give us that much money!

Dinner of Herbs said...

I totally feel your frustration! As a fellow frugalite, I've been finding all the hoopla for an upcoming wedding very difficult. First the engagement party, with gifts, then the hens night, where we were expected to pay for food, drinks, entertainment, plus an extra $50 charge per head to cover 'expenses' which we only found out about after RSVPing. Then gift and outfit on top for the day (formal dress code)- it all adds up! I ended up not going to some of the events, simply because I couldn't afford it.
It just highlights the totally different priorities that people have. I think you're doing the right thing by sending 'regrets'.
From my experience, the more expense and fuss, the less enjoyable the event actually is anyway- there's such an emphasis on everything being perfect because so much has been splashed out, that the couple ends up being very stressed and not enjoying the moment.

Dinner of Herbs said...

I totally feel your frustration! As a fellow frugalite, I've been finding all the hoopla for an upcoming wedding very difficult. First the engagement party, with gifts, then the hens night, where we were expected to pay for food, drinks, entertainment, plus an extra $50 charge per head to cover 'expenses' which we only found out about after RSVPing. Then gift and outfit on top for the day (formal dress code)- it all adds up! I ended up not going to some of the events, simply because I couldn't afford it.
It just highlights the totally different priorities that people have. I think you're doing the right thing by sending 'regrets'.
From my experience, the more expense and fuss, the less enjoyable the event actually is anyway- there's such an emphasis on everything being perfect because so much has been splashed out, that the couple ends up being very stressed and not enjoying the moment.

Anonymous said...

@Stacey
@Val
@Tracey
@joolzmac
@Julie
and @ all other like-minded comments. You rock. So many here have expressed my feelings as well or better than I could.

NFTFT - you have figured out the right course. You rock too.

BStitches

Kerry DiLeonardo said...

I think this level of expectation of gift giving is absurd, and completely insensitive to their friends' and family's financial comfort...

Attending a wedding or shower, is primarily about the support and love from one's friends and family. The gifts traditionally are meant to allow the couple to start their life together--obviously not a problem here.

Too bad they've lost track of the point. If anything, a well off couple should be offering to help facilitate guest's attendance--with helps of cars or lodging.

I'd try not to worry about it too much--I'm sure you have friends who are about YOU and not what you can fork over monetarily.

Leah Wright said...

Wow. I've spent way more time than I'd like to admit reading up on etiquette lately, planning my wedding for this fall. The #1 thing plastered on the internet is that it is NEVER okay to ask for money! A shower is supposed to be to shower a couple with gifts to help them start out. Even then, registry information is supposed to be spread by word of mouth, not in the invitation. If you don't want gifts, you don't get a shower, you get a luncheon or something. And you are never supposed to expect gifts at a wedding, it is a GIFT, given by CHOICE. If you charge a guest admission, they're no longer a guest. Same thing with stag & does, unless you're a broke couple starting out, throwing a party to make money is bad taste. My wedding will be rustic and simple (though not very frugal, it will be catered). I'm not having any showers (most of our guests are from home, in another province, flying in for the wedding), and I have no registry-after the price of flying or driving for 2 days, they can give me whatever they want, even a card, though preferably something thoughtful and/or homemade. A wedding is supposed to be about celebrating a union, and I'd decline any invitation with a price of admission.

It is a difficult spot when you accept before knowing. I'm a bridesmaid for a friend who I thought was rather poorly off, but she's having us buy hideous $160 dresses, $200 cowboy boots, $160 pearl jewelry, get hair, nails and makeup done, plus a stag and doe and the gifts for the shower and wedding. I'm making her a quilt, and that's all she's getting. Hopefully the materialistic fever that hit her wears off before she has children, or I will not be attending any of those showers!