Lamenting Wedding Traditions

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
theanimal
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Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by theanimal »

I am at the age where many of the people around my age are getting married. I enjoy weddings, but do not enjoy travelling and the obligations that come with them.

My parents have a similar mentality of those discussed in the OP in this thread... viewtopic.php?f=16&t=10641 Weddings are traditional and lavish. Gifts are expected. EVEN if you are not going. This has been a constant point of contention with my mom and I. I don't agree with the notion that one should give a gift just because they get an invite in the mail. I also have 40+ cousins. I'm not looking to start giving multiple gifts out every year and have this become a serious expense (for those I'm not attending). That being said, I don't really have a strategy for weddings I go to now. Toska's strategy in the other thread seems appealing $100 for family/$50 for friends/$25 for everyone else. I make salmon strips that are very good (not just my opinion) and have thought of sharing those with others. My mom told me it wasn't appropriate as a wedding gift. Grr...

Any other gift giving ideas that come to mind?

Now I'm able to avoid most issues since I live so far away from my family. However, my sister is getting married this summer and I will be going. She has asked me to be an usher and with that she wants me to wear a tuxedo that matches the wedding party. This is provided through some new business where they send it to your home. Renting everything costs me $200. I'm not really into the idea of spending so much on clothes for one day when almost everyone else is in a suit and will look just as good. Unsurprisingly, my mother does not agree with my line of thinking. Her argument is that my sister wants me to do it so I can help her celebrate her big day. My argument is that I'm already paying to fly 7 hours twice to be there and celebrate her big day, what I'm wearing does not factor in. Anyways, I'm unsure how to proceed.

Would you go along with it and get the tuxedo? Thoughts?

ffj
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by ffj »

You gotta do it for your sister, but the 40 cousins? My god that's a lot of weddings. Surely you can make up a half-plausible excuse to miss for those. I wouldn't bail on your immediate family though. It's just the price you have to pay for being in a family so I would go and enjoy the party, tux and all.

bostonimproper
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by bostonimproper »

Does your sister think you wearing a tux is $200 important? If so, eat the cost. You gotta do it for a sibling.

If I had 40 cousins, I'd skip all of the ones I'm not close to and ignore gift-giving unless you attend.

Why are you talking with your mom about this anyway?

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Ego
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by Ego »

Rent the tux and tell her over and over again how happy you are to be a part of it.

Trash the cousins invitations and leave that to your parents

theanimal
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by theanimal »

Thanks for the responses. I'll rent the tux.

@bostonimproper = I discuss it with my mom because she brings it up in asking me about gifts. In the case of my sister's wedding, my mom has been very vocal in many aspects because she is the first of my siblings (5) to get married.

Toska2
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by Toska2 »

I should have noted that the average plate was $10. The events have been at home, hotel restaurants, fire/township halls and a nice community center.

Your fish idea made me laugh. I gave my cousin 60 lbs of *fresh* strawberries. The family party the next day devoured all of them, it was a hit.

Definitely rent a tux if a part of the brides/grooms party.

theanimal
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by theanimal »

I believe it. I think those types of gifts are a hit among the type of people who have the more low key functions. This will not be that...it's something like $25k :shock:

GandK
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by GandK »

Yes to the sister, no to the cousins.

Handmade gifts are best if you're an artisan in any way. A friend of mine gave me a wood and wire hanging sculpture that probably cost him all of 15 bucks in materials but a few hours of work. It was my favorite gift by a mile.

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C40
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by C40 »

I think living in Alaska gives you a full free pass on any wedding expectations other than your immediate family. You are "that one weird cousin that lives in Alaska". They have many other cousins to be concerned about. You will be easily left out of aggravations they direct at people for not following their made-up and idealized expectations of anyone and everyone giving them as much as possible.

Jin+Guice
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by Jin+Guice »

I'm not for weddings, what they stand for or all the goofy money people blow to prove that they care about each other. However, it's important to remember it's the gesture that counts. It's the day for the bride and groom, not you. Nothing says you care about some motherfuckers like dealing with the silly bullshit they put you through to execute their vision.

I'm surprised to hear you say the salmon wouldn't be a hit. Of course I don't know your fam, but IME almost all people enjoy some shit you really put effort into more than some shit you bought.

ZAFCorrection
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by ZAFCorrection »

My theory is give the normie gift and show up in the tux iff you and your sister share some intersecting values and you can expect her to have your back in the future.

My (white United Statesian) wife is Indian so I have gotten a crash course in significant family social expectations. Basically, the modern man/woman often likes to use traditional social norms to benefit themselves in some way (e.g. assistance, attention, money, power) while selectively ignoring the bits that might involve them having any obligations. A good example is my in-laws using their cultural prerogative to butt in about the wedding and our relationship while (a) not ponying up with any money (dowry is still a huge thing in India) or (b) treating me as an entity deserving a non-zero amount of respect and consideration (it's a patriarchal society and I'm a dude who married a daughter in their family). I got a boatload more examples involving her friends and my own family in an American context to conclude people like to quote social norms to get what they want and nothing else.

Build up social capital but make sure you aren't getting scammed. The scammers are often members of your own family.

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Bankai
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by Bankai »

Think about it from your sister's perspective. It's the most important day in her life and you are her brother. The last thing she needs is to worry about what you will wear. Just do it for her. If you don't, she might might never forget. We had a really small wedding (20 people) and we didn't invite one of my wife's aunts. She basically cut the ties and my MIL is still bringing this up with resentment each time we see her. You don't want this and $200 as a one off is not that high price to pay.

As to cousins, I agree no need to attend.

jacob
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by jacob »

To many people weddings, funerals, baby showers, and the likes are very big deals---and possibly even the biggest deal in their life if they otherwise lead normal boring lives. Therefore, whatever you choose can will alter and set the expectations of future family relationships. Since this is partially about personal finance, it concerns how the spending of money affects relationships now and in the future. This means not only how you deal with them or they deal with you but also how they deal with each other insofar you set an example.

I've found that everybody has a price at which point they'll dig in their heels, but to me it's not really about the price but who is paying for it and what the expectations are.

For example, I recall a conversation about "a friend of a friend" who wanted a $$$$ destination wedding (something like Tier 9 of viewtopic.php?p=200124#p200124 ) but then got pissed because some of the invitees couldn't or wouldn't spend so much money to attend their wedding. Given those expectations and lack of concern for the financial impact on the guests, I would have stayed away out of principle.

In my book, if the happy couple want "extras" from their guests (like a tux or arriving in a lambo) in order to conform to some dream wedding, the couple pays for the "extras". Otherwise, the standard/minimum gift price corresponds to the price of the meal. Tit for tat. Very middle class. If not attending, the minimum is a card or a phone call. And if the couple don't want to pay for the designated costumes themselves, you just wear your nicest clothes. These are not hard rules.

I'll reluctantly dig in my heels here to set an example for future relations. The other way around is like asking for a birthday gift and not only specifying exactly what you want but also how much it should cost and then getting pissy if you don't get it. It's crass and it crosses a line for me. I suppose I'm disagreeable that way, but I don't think even a wedding is a license to impose on how other people spend their money.

To summarize, this is not really about how much something costs but the thought behind the cost distribution. If the person or couple show little concern for the impact of what they're explicitly or implicitly asking for, my policy is to give them as little as possible and vice versa. Setting such a standard does have social repercussions. These are not necessarily all bad. For example, I don't mind terribly much not being close to family or friends who take other people's money or life energy for granted insofar that is their choice.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

For many brides, the aesthetics of the occasion are very important. This is true at a level beyond wishing to make an impression on others or following tradition. For relatively frugal alternative-artsy counter-example, my DD28 requested that my DS31 and her best male friend both wear navy blue turtlenecks with jackets and braid their long hair with ribbons to match her female Bride's People, and they both complied. Wearing a tux for such an occasion is like providing an unobstrusive, high quality frame for the beautiful picture the bride will be on her special day. So, do it!

OTOH, forget about the cousins or go head and send the salmon or whatever other creative token you prefer.

basuragomi
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by basuragomi »

I'd rent the tux for your sister. If nothing else, you don't want to be the one sticking out in all the photos that inevitably will get dragged out every occasion.

How close are you to your cousins? Most of them may not even invite you to their weddings, especially if you come with an obligation to invite 40 additional guests in your relationship tier. All of our cousins (~40 with SOs) have been executing an informal arrangement to not invite each other to keep costs and size down.

theanimal
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by theanimal »

Yes, Jacob spoke to the way that I'm thinking. It's the imposition of costs that get me. Sure it may be selfish to want to but it's no less selfish to require people to spend extra on accessories that solely serve the other person and are not of consequence to the event itself.

This event is emblematic of the differences in lifestyle and thought that have developed between my family and I. A decade ago, I would've thought this was "normal." It's almost the exact opposite now.

basuragomi wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:26 am
How close are you to your cousins? Most of them may not even invite you to their weddings, especially if you come with an obligation to invite 40 additional guests in your relationship tier. All of our cousins (~40 with SOs) have been executing an informal arrangement to not invite each other to keep costs and size down.
My family is American Irish Catholic and very big on family/family events. I get invited to every wedding. So far I've missed 4. To be clear, I love my immediate family and extended family very much. I'm just not willing to spend nearly $1k in total costs every time one of them gets married. So far I haven't and it hasn't been a problem.

Frita
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by Frita »

I agree with people on the tux rental. Smoked salmon seems like a fine gift and one could create a nice basket with wine, crackers, etc. But hey, I am a low maintenance Wyomingite married to an Alaskan. After navigating your 40 cousin’s weddings, you will be an expert resource for all of us.

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Ego
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by Ego »

.
Different people see things differently. I look at the $200 tux rental as a cost of not harming the relationship with your sister and possibly with other family members. Only you know how important that is to you.

Guessing here but from their perspective you've removed yourself from their lives by moving to Alaska. Is your sister including you because she really wants you to be a part of the wedding or because of pressure from your mother to do so?

Either way, from the bride's perspective, not wearing a tux is - like Jacob mentioned above - an intentional stick in the eye. Is that what you intend?

theanimal
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by theanimal »

I should have noted in my last post that I ordered the rental tux last night.

Most of my siblings live/have lived in a different state than where we grow up since finishing school. But yes, I miss a handful more events each year. This particular sibling and I have the most conflict out of all. This disagreement in styles is just one of many... Hopefully, this will just be a one time occurrence.

bigato
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Re: Lamenting Wedding Traditions

Post by bigato »

The way I see it is, have the person ever come to visit you were you are? If they didn’t, I wouldn’t feel obligated to make the same trip the other way, let alone wear fancy or buy gifts. In that situation, the relationship already doesn’t exist now, for any meaningful definition of relationship.

I obviously don’t know whether this is the case for you. But it’s definitely the case for me and most of my family. In a few months I’ll complete 5 years here, about one thousand km from most of the rest of the family. It is what it is and I’m fine with that, and thus wouldn’t feel obligated to travel for anyone.

I’ve been to the marriage of a couple of close friends here though, tuxedo and all (I happen to have one from years ago), was the best man to one of them and tasked with filming the other. Gave both of them a money gift of what appeared to me a reasonable amount but surprisingly to me it seemed to be sincerely received as “very generous”. Those are people I like and that like me, with whom I spend time and have fun. My point being real relationships matter to me, but formalities and family obligations don’t. I mean, my brother married some months ago and I didn’t go and didn’t gift.

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