Wedding gift

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
Frita
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Wedding gift

Post by Frita » Thu May 02, 2019 10:49 am

We are at the age where our friends’ kids are getting married. Often, like this time, it is people we were once close to and have drifted apart. Now that we’re in a college town where many of these kids attend uni, our sporadic contact is upped to annually.

Anyway, we have been invited to a wedding in July (and cannot attend due to a family reunion/memorial for DH’s dad). The couple’s registry states they’d like people to chip in for their $7600, 5-night honeymoon at Sandal’s. Or just receive cash. They have a child together and have all their household items due to living together for the past three years. I am of a generation where the groom’s family paid for the honey moon or the couple did (DS and I paid for one night in a local bnb. His family couldn’t afford to contribute. My mom paid for a very modest, small wedding. We saved up and took a cruise 10 years later after paying off all debt.).

I understand not wanting more stuff but these kids are 22 and 23 years old with a 2 year old! He has had a professional job for 8 months and she’s just graduating. This trip seems excessive and like a poor investment. (I have never taken such a trip and wouldn’t, on principle alone.). I would love to give them a gift but dislike their registry list.

What have you done in a similar situation? Thoughts?

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Bankai
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by Bankai » Thu May 02, 2019 11:09 am

I was not in a similar situation but considering that:

1) You're not actually going

2) These are not your friends but their kids

3) You're not close if you only meet once a year

I'd only offer a token gesture, i.e. card and a small amount of cash.

I'd definitely not volunteer to tell them their honeymoon trip is a bad and irresponsible idea. Unless you want to make sure you're not invited again :)

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unemployable
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by unemployable » Thu May 02, 2019 11:22 am

Frita wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 10:49 am
This trip seems excessive and like a poor investment.
It's not an investment. Fifteen hundred dollars a DAY!? That's one Jacob. That's a down payment on a house in some places.

I used to fly to Thailand for a week at a time. An upgradable fare PLUS a very nice hotel PLUS a box full of tailored business clothes PLUS a trip down to Phuket or wherever PLUS everything else would set me back a little more $2000 total, late 2000s dollars.

You mention wedding traditions... how bout the one where your presence is enough of a gift and any material thing on top of that is a bonus? Or that you get married before having kids?

prognastat
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by prognastat » Thu May 02, 2019 11:44 am

I would say you have just about no responsibility to the kids of someone you might see once a year.

I agree with Bankai that a card and a very nominal amount as a token gesture is plenty to just show consideration.

jennypenny
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by jennypenny » Thu May 02, 2019 12:07 pm

Buy them a bond or something similar that they can't cash in immediately to finance their honeymoon. Or a copy of ERE*. :D

*I'm at the same stage you are and tend to give a nominal cash gift along with a collection of 3-5 books like ERE, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, The Happiness Project, Move Your DNA, The Wisdom of Insecurity, etc.

cmonkey
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by cmonkey » Thu May 02, 2019 12:08 pm

That's ridiculous. I wouldn't get anything more than a [free online] card and a 10 dollar gift card.

+1 to a copy of ERE, or YMOYL.

prognastat
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by prognastat » Thu May 02, 2019 12:15 pm

Also given your limited involvement with this friend and I'm assuming even more limited with the kids you aren't in a place where you should comment on their life/financial decisions to them.

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unemployable
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by unemployable » Thu May 02, 2019 12:43 pm

prognastat wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 12:15 pm
Also given your limited involvement with this friend and I'm assuming even more limited with the kids you aren't in a place where you should comment on their life/financial decisions to them.
I'd say she's free to say whatever she wants and accept the consequences.

Jason
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by Jason » Thu May 02, 2019 12:52 pm

Frita wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 10:49 am
Thoughts?
Fuck them.

Solvent
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by Solvent » Thu May 02, 2019 1:01 pm

You say that you would love to give them a gift. I'd say that's a good guide. Now, with that in mind, they've let you know what they want...

I've given gifts from registries for very close friends before, where it's become apparent that our tastes are remarkably different. It's kind of a good lesson. You don't need to judge people. I mean, you can, but keep it in your mind and don't vocalise it. I think that if you're close enough to want to gift then something, then just give, think about their happiness, and if you want to change their preferences over time, then there are many other more appropriate ways to do that.

prognastat
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by prognastat » Thu May 02, 2019 1:03 pm

unemployable wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 12:43 pm
I'd say she's free to say whatever she wants and accept the consequences.
The difference between could and should. They could say whatever they want and are free to do so, but they shouldn't as they aren't in the kind of relationship to these people where they are likely going to be open to the feedback and the most likely result is souring the relationship with them and with the friend/parent.

Of course if they want to sour the relationship then they should.

Peanut
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by Peanut » Thu May 02, 2019 1:25 pm

Man, y’all are cheap! Ten dollars? That’s worse than nothing imo. And it makes little difference that one is not actually attending the wedding in my view.

I’m as traditional as it gets but I think it’s great these kids are getting married—high time and definitely worth celebrating. You don’t need to approve of any of their life or financial choices but etiquette requires an appropriate wedding gift.

I would first think about what if your kid was getting married and they invited friends of yours to their wedding. What would you expect for your friends to do? I think either buy them something ugly off their registry or give them $100.

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unemployable
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by unemployable » Thu May 02, 2019 1:31 pm

Peanut wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 1:25 pm
etiquette requires an appropriate wedding gift.
No it doesn't. A wedding is first and foremost a social event and the couple should consider it a privilege merely that others choose to share in it. And OP won't even be attending.
I would first think about what if your kid was getting married and they invited friends of yours to their wedding.
I would be embarrassed they were begging strangers (to them) for money to pay for their overpriced vacation.

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C40
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by C40 » Thu May 02, 2019 1:31 pm

Nothing at all.

You don't really even know these kids, and you're not going to the wedding.

(I recommend you don't share your opinion on what the kids should be doing or not doing)

jennypenny
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by jennypenny » Thu May 02, 2019 2:08 pm

Just to speak to the legitimacy of the OP's dilemma ... In my social circle, the expectations would be the same as they are on Frita. It's completely normal to be invited to the wedding of the children of your friends and close coworkers, even if you don't see them often. It may seem crazy to a lot of you, but the expectation would be the same if Frita then invited those people to her own child's wedding. Everyone's kids benefit financially from the tradition at some point.

The difference now is that people usually don't get married young (or at all). Or the adults of Frita's age don't have kids who would be the recipients of the social generosity at some point. That might change traditions going forward.

Still, helping to maintain such traditions (weddings, funerals, graduations, etc) is an easy way to maintain your status in your social group. You might think that's BS but the importance of strong social ties are (IMO) too often discounted on the forum. Being generous, and being seen as generous, has also been proven to make people happier and make them more valued members of their community.

If, OTOH, Frita would like to bow out of this social group, she could use this opportunity to make that known by forgoing the gift and just sending regrets.

bigato
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by bigato » Thu May 02, 2019 2:13 pm

I’m thinking about how to tell my sister that I won’t attend our brother’s wedding, so what can I say

RealPerson
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by RealPerson » Thu May 02, 2019 2:43 pm

Given the circumstances in this case, I would not send a gift. But as JP pointed out, this can vary greatly by region and social circle. You probably know the answer better than a bunch of strangers on the internet.

I would discourage the giving of books, especially ERE, YMOYL etc, unless you know the couple very well. These books can easily be seen as a form of judgment, especially if the couple are big spenders and non-savers. This is akin to giving unsolicited advice. As others have said, I would refrain from verbalizing any criticism of the lifestyle. I also would recommend not letting your opinion of their life choices influence your gift giving.

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unemployable
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by unemployable » Thu May 02, 2019 3:06 pm

jennypenny wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 2:08 pm
Just to speak to the legitimacy of the OP's dilemma ... In my social circle, the expectations would be the same as they are on Frita. It's completely normal to be invited to the wedding of the children of your friends and close coworkers, even if you don't see them often. It may seem crazy to a lot of you, but the expectation would be the same if Frita then invited those people to her own child's wedding. Everyone's kids benefit financially from the tradition at some point.
It's normal that OP is invited to this kind of wedding. What is tacky is the blatant cash grab for such ephemeral ends.

The true rich, the true socially secure, don't have these problems, you know. The parents, still usually the bride's parents, pay for the wedding and it's a true social event.
Still, helping to maintain such traditions (weddings, funerals, graduations, etc) is an easy way to maintain your status in your social group. You might think that's BS but the importance of strong social ties are (IMO) too often discounted on the forum. Being generous, and being seen as generous, has also been proven to make people happier and make them more valued members of their community.
That's not friendship; that's keeping up with the Joneses.

My lifelong experience is to choose to be generous because it makes you feel good, not because it will necessarily be reciprocated.

Frita
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by Frita » Thu May 02, 2019 5:29 pm

Well, I definitely would not share my opinions about their financial choices. They have not asked. Books or savings certificates seem like underhanded commentary. (I am okay with either of those for graduation though. Gifts are more optional for that occasion.)

Now we’ll use this for conversations with DS14. We have previously spoken about a set amount to use as he and his partner would like (i.e., wedding, frugal destination wedding, down payment on a home, or some overpriced Sandals vacation). I sincerely hope we raise him well enough to eschew the latter option. DS and I would not be insisting on inviting anyone, much less old friends who are now acquaintances at best.

The bride’s family could afford an outrageously expensive wedding; however, they have set a reasonable (too me, still high) budget. The couple is paying for/financing the extras themselves. I work with the groom’s mother (One of our school drama queens, I am pleasant and keep my distance.). She and her husband could afford a modest honeymoon only, but something nice and memorable.

Being ERE when others aren’t can be awkward at times like this. DS officially consults but does about nothing. I teach part-time and am gearing up to be done in a month. The bride’s dad used to always tease us for being “cheap.” When we last saw him this fall, he commented that our frugality has funded our current lifestyle (not a compliment). The groom’s mom sure seems to like buying crap. I feel social pressure to participate in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable.

I do like the idea of a card and nominal cash ($25-$50, more like $100 if we were actually going). Or I guess I could just use her registry with this amount in one of the categories. If she had a traditional registry, I’d probably just pick out the most useful item in my price range.

prognastat
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Re: Wedding gift

Post by prognastat » Thu May 02, 2019 7:00 pm

It doesn't sound like you're actually all that close to them at this point in your life and definitely sounds like you would be considered a loose acquaintance rather than friends to the parents let alone the kids. I think $50 would be plenty generous since you aren't even attending the wedding.

Not sure why they even invited you given that it sounds like the couple getting married barely interact with the two of you.

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