WARNING: Rebecca D. shows flagrant disregard for the rules of punctuation... She uses ellipsis with wild abandon... Punctuation interventions have been done to no avail... If you are offended by such irreverence to the rules of grammar... The very glue that holds our society together... STOP READING NOW... Move on... There is a little button at the top that says "next blog"... You would be well advised to use it... You were warned...

Broken Record...

Friday, June 29, 2012

For some reason I have zero motivation to blog right now... I guess I am as sick of talking about the wedding as you guys are of hearing about it by now, and other then the wedding, my life is pretty boring right now. All I seem to be doing is catching up on all the stuff I put on hold while working on the wedding and trying to avoid saying "yes" to anything new right now.

Ok, I lied... My life is still all weddings all the time... It just is... In fact the theme of this summer seems to be weddings. Several of our girlie's friends are getting married as are the adult children of several of our friends. So all I have to talk about is weddings right now... Sorry if all this wedding talk makes me sound like a broken record... I guess it's the season we are in right now.

As I type this one thought keeps popping into my mind... There is a rant post I have been wanting to do on wedding gifts but have been holding back. Why you ask? Well, I don't want to sound ungrateful... Here is my question for you... What do you view as proper etiquette on wedding gifts and/or what do you personally do for wedding gifts?

Here is why I ask, Katy and Jed didn't receive much in the way of wedding gifts...  Aghhh... That last sentence sounds horrible to me... I am really not ungrateful at all for what they did receive, I am just curious about why people don't seem to give wedding gifts like they used to.

I was taught as a child and believed that there are certain rules or guidelines to gift giving. Here is what I have always believed, how much you spend on birthdays and other "annual" events is flexible based on how well you know the person and what family traditions / local customs apply to where in the country you live. (Believe me, location does seem to impact gift giving... Big time.) When it comes to "showers" (baby-bridal) it is also based on how well you know the person but I always tried to aim for a gift of at least $25 in value. (More based on how well you know the bride/mom-to-be.) 

These days I always try to get them something off their registry. Because they actually want and/or need the stuff on their registries...  I didn't always do this, but have started in the last few years because let's face it, almost everyone registers at Target and and the like and it is so easy to get them what they really want.

But when it comes to weddings, graduations, and other once in a lifetime events, the very nature of the event seems to require a bit more. Our personal rule of thumb was if we attend the event to either buy them a gift or give them cash in a minimum of $50 value. It has always been our view that our gift should at least cost as much as it cost to feed us at the wedding. If we receive an invite to a wedding we can't attend we just generally pick something off their registry that lets them know we are thinking about them, but let me just say, I don't think this is necessary, but rather just something I think is nice to do. I may catch a lot of flack for this next sentence, but I do think it is obligatory to give a gift if you attend the wedding.

Now I want to go on the record here and say, this is all coming from me... Katy and Jed never have so much as uttered a negative word in front of me about their lack of wedding gifts... In fact there was one card that had $20 in it that wasn't signed and when Allison pointed out the fact that they didn't get very many gifts Katy said (with a smile) that maybe that card was collectively from everyone else.

Sorry if this post offends anyone... That is not my intent, I am truly just curious about the question I asked above: What do you view as proper etiquette on wedding gifts and/or what do you personally do for wedding gifts?

Thanks for listening,


  1. not offensive at all ... I've always kind of wondered myself if I was doing the right thing. I def feel like you do - give a gift based on how well you know the person - but by all means, give a a gift!!! My question has been - if you give a gift at the shower, do you have to give another gift at the wedding. I don't ... but I also can't. In the last few years, we can only give about a $20 in value gift to graduates and weddings - and less at baby showers ... BUT I try to be personal and heart-felt and sincere. Sometimes I do gift cards if I don't know someone well or have time.
    Ok, guess I didn't answer anything - but just babbling along with ya! :)

    1. I always give a gift at both the shower and wedding, since I personally see them as separate events, but I am learning that a lot of people don't do this. If I am on a limited budget I try to be more creative with my gifts.

  2. Yikes, I think this is kind of a touchy subject, in that what I do is different than what I expect.

    What I do... the amount I spend varies with our financial situation and how close we are to the person. Frankly, there are times I just can't spend what I'd like to. But whatever the amount/value I try either work from their registry or "clue in" to who they are/what they want. Make it personal. I've given a lot of baby quilts (not for wedding gifts!) and those seem to be appreciated. Even when it comes to the registry, though, I'm a pretty practical person, so I tend to shy away from some of the more extravagant items I've seen on some registries and lean toward more useful items. (But I doubt that was an issue with your kiddos!)

    As to what I expect... frankly, I think we have to expect nothing, and accept what is given with grace. Maybe people spent what they could on the shower gift and considered that their wedding gift? Maybe they're mailing a gift rather than bringing it to the wedding? (I ordered online from my bro/SIL's registry and never even saw "my" gift!) Or maybe... maybe... I don't know.

    We invited our friends and family to our wedding because we wanted to share the joyful moment with them :D

    Funny story, though - shortly after I got married, one of my best friends (and bridesmaid) got married. She and her fiance lived on Maui and were married there, and I flew over to be her bridesmaid :D Her fiance really wanted this "great friend" of his to be one of his groomsmen, and the guy lived on another island. The guy kind of waffled and my friend and her husband paid his inter-island flight, and paid his tux rental to have him there. And you know what he gave them for a wedding gift?

    Remember those ads that offered a free coffee maker if you would try Gevalia coffee? Yah. He gave them the coffee maker. And it was USED. And neither of them even drank coffee!

    Tacky, or what?

    In fact they got TWO of those coffee-makers! (At least the other one was new, but still!) You just never know.


    1. There have definatly been seasons financially that have forced me to give less (out of pocket) cost wise, (now being that way too) so I try to be creative... One time I found a beautiful framed photo by a local artist at a thrift store for $7.00 and gave it as a wedding gift. It would have retailed for over $100 and was much nicer then what I could have "afforded" on their registry... I just try to buy off it, if I can.

      I too do the baby quilt thing although mine are by far less beautiful than yours are! I also have a die-cutting machine and have been known to gift a personal "certificate" to do custom vinyl wall art for the baby's room... There are lots of creative ways to give a good gift without resorting to giving away free coffee makers! (oh.my.goodness... who would do that??)

      I do think if I had to fly to Hawaii to be in a wedding, with all the costs involved with being "in" a wedding, I'd definatly be limited on the gift I could give. We purposely kept the cost down for the wedding party, keeping in mind that they are all young people. I was able to get the bridesmaids dresses for $30 each and we went ahead and bought those for the girls (as their 'gift" for being in the wedding)... Our goal was to cost them less than $40 overall out-of-pocket. Jed is going to be in the wedding of one of his groomsmen in two weeks and was asked to rent a tux that ended up costing $120... They are a newly married couple and Katy wanted to know if renting the tux could count as their wedding gift? I didn't have a good answer for her...

    2. I think sometimes the costs of being in the wedding should be the gift! Maybe write a nice letter about how much the friendship means to you :D

      And hurray for the $30 bridesmaids dresses! When I got married we chose dresses off-the-rack at Bon-Macy's. I think they were forty bucks, but still reasonable. And at least three (of the four) bridesmaids told me they wore them again. (Not overly fancy, just a nice forest-green dress, which was a popular color in the 90's ;D )

      You're so right, though - there are creative ways to give a lovely gift that don't have to cost a ton of money. I bet you're really good at stretching your bucks, given what I've seen you do on the blog!


  3. I am sorry for you and the kids. I know it's not everything, but it says something to you. I agree with you, I choose $50 as a min as well and even more if we are very close. The whole idea is that you only get married once (at least we should act like it no matter what happens) and you are never truly "starting out" again. I see it as a very important step and want to treat it with dignity and honor. Even if the couple doesn't really treat it that way I want to because it's just plain awesome when people choose to commit their lives to one another!!
    In defense of what happened, it is possible if there are a lot of weddings, like you said, that they're are trying to budget out their gifts for rather than saying you are not important to them. That would have an effect on how "generous" I would be to each couple too.
    It will be intriguing to see how God provides for them as they start their life together. He certainly seems to use creative, out of the box ways in your life :)

    1. I didn't want to come off as sounding ungrateful for what they did get, I was and am curious how everyone else handles gift giving. I know the Lord will provide what they need, and it will be fun watching them start out, and has been fun already!

  4. Here are my two cents on gift giving: a shower gift will be in the $20 range, usually a bit more. A wedding gift means that I will spend more money, but I would not spend $50 or more unless it was a close friend/family. This s a Utah thing, as there are constant weddings/showers here.

    Now, you may find this cheap, but it is customary here that if a nice gift is given (something substantial) at a wedding shower, that is the gift for the couple. Period. If I were invited to just the wedding, there isn't a chance in heck I would show up without a gift in hand.

    Now, this is my family's thing, and no one else will agree with us, but we find registries to be , hmm, like looking a gift horse in the mouth. That is NOT to say we all didn't go and register for fun, but we never pushed the registry thing unless asked. That's just us. For me, I enjoy giving gifts that are my favorite item in my house, or something I really wished I had as a newlywed that I only now have 12 years in. A "tried and true", if you will.

    I will bet you really wanted all this info, huh??

    1. I have another friend in Utah who basically said the same thing when we were chatting on Facebook last night... In fact she said she "stocks-up" on her favorite wedding/baby gifts when she finds a good deal because she knows she will need a lot of them.

      I didn't really look at who did and who didn't give the kids gifts until last night, but the question of do you give a gift at both the shower and the wedding kept coming up, so I did go back over the guest list. Of those who brought a gift verses who didn't about half of each were at the shower... Ironically there wasn't a lot of cross-over of guests... It seems like a lot of people could either make it to the shower or to the wedding.

      I used to feel that way about registries but now that I am one generation removed from most the moms-to-be and brides I buy for, I find them very helpful. Plus, we (like you) have moved a lot over the years and have friends in lots of locations and just hopping onto Target.com or similar is just too easy to be ignored. (I did get invited to a shower recently where the bride only registered at Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Sur La Table, Williams and Sonaoma and other equally expensive stores... I decided she was nuts and got her a Wal-Mart gift card... I have to admit, I love being ironic!)

    2. I think you learn a lot about a person by what they register for (Williams and Sonoma vs. Target, or whatever is local). I'm SO PRACTICAL that I really like to use the registry.

      I may think a vase or a beautiful fruit bowl is "just the thing", but if people are just starting out and they really need a toaster or bath towels, I'd rather get them what they need :D

      The other nice thing about the registry is that if the couple does somehow get duplicates they are usually a lot more cooperative about returning/exchanging items.

      When we got married we had a lot of people coming in from out of town, and I wonder if several of them shopped the day of (or day before?) the wedding and maybe the store registry couldn't keep up??? Because we got SEVERAL duplicates (four blenders???) and had no trouble returning three of them for store credit OR CASH :D But that was nearly 20 years ago, and they may not be so free with the cash anymore!


  5. I definitely think things are different here as far as wedding etiquette goes. My mother always said if you give a shower gift, your not "obligated" to give a wedding gift, so that's always sort of how I've done it. If I go to a shower and they have registered, I usually try to buy something from the registry ... its so convenient (why would you not!) and then there is no guessing if they'll like/appreciate your gift! And even then, if I'm still on the fence about a gift, I'll go the gift card route. I love gift cards ... I just assume everyone else does too! Ha! ;-)

    Since we're on the topic ... another thing I have wondered about is "wedding china". Do couples still register for that? We didn't, but I have had friends who live in southern New England (think Rhode Island, Massachusetts) who registered for china. (Really pricey china!) Is this "tradition" still happening in other parts of the country? Just curious! :-)

    -Allison P.

    1. The wedding china thing puzzles me too... I told the girls unless they think they are the kind of family who will use china, not to. We didn't register for china, Paul being an only child inherited all of his parent's wedding china, so it seemed redundant. Plus we eloped, so we didn't really register at all. My mom has since given me her china too, so I already have two sets, one for each girl so it seemed like a crazy thing for them to register for.
      We were invited to the wedding of some close friends of ours in Montana's oldest son and although we can't make it, wanted to buy them something. When I looked at their registries I noticed they did register for China, and it is $129. per place setting! This just seems so impractical these days. We ordered them the electric griddle...

    2. I keep commenting on the comments - okay, Rebecca ?

      We knew we wanted to have kids and thought it was kind of silly to register for china we'd just end up storing for years, (hello Corelle!) when we needed so many other things.

      Then while we were shopping/registering we saw some china we just swooned over. So we registered for just a couple of serving pieces to sort of "keep the dream alive". Later we managed to pull together eight place settings, before the line was discontinued. Then MUCH later, my mom found a huge box of it at a garage sale. Jackpot! I have almost 20 place settings now - plenty for our growing family - and have fun USING them.

      But why get something if you're not going to use it? Young couples are usually in small apartments/homes and don't have room for stuff that's just stored.

      So that's my two cents ;D


      PS It was Dansk "Waves", if you're interested.

  6. We are also in that season of life and here is my personal gift policy-if we are invited to a wedding we send a gift, even if we cannot attend. I generally give something off their registry when invited to a bridal shower and $$$ as the wedding gift. If I'm invited to the shower and wedding I do give two times, a shower gift and a wedding gift.

    I cannot imagine actually attending a wedding and not giving a gift. I consider that bad manners.

    1. Joyce,
      It may be because my husband is also from New Jersey, and we spent our early years of marriage there, or it may be some other reason altogether, but I agree with you totally. I have been known to give gifts cards at a shower, but usually cash at the wedding.
      I was also unprepared to have a gift table AT the wedding... I was always taught if you give an actual gift (not just a card) you mail it in advance of the wedding. When we were setting up for the wedding I was advised to have a "gift table" and was somewhat taken back by that. I had Paul go load up the gifts and such into our car during the reception, and apparently some people were disappointed we didn't open them right there!
      I grew up here, but must have moved away before some of the customs took root in me. I do feel like I am living in a parallel universe with some of these odd gifting customs.
      I am most shocked to find out that generosity is greatly effected by local customs. Paul looked it up and it turns out Maine is in the bottom ten states for low tipping and gift giving. Most of the states we have lived in during my adult years are in the top 15 so I think I have grown accustomed to different standards.

  7. I'm playing catch up today because I have loads of time. Anyway...

    For the bridal shower: I give a gift that is just for the bride and it's usually around $25. I give the gift even if I'm not going.

    For the wedding: I never bring a gift TO the wedding. I was always told by my "elders" that it was tacky and the appropriate thing to do is mail the gift before hand OR mail it after...even if you live in the same town. Also if it's mailed after you have up to 12 months after the wedding to mail it. (That's proper etiquette according to my PNW family.) Rich and I were still getting gifts 9 months into our marriage and it was great. As for the amount spent...it depends on how well you know the person. $40-$150 is our range. I give the gift even if I'm not going.

  8. I know at least in FL it is expected to give a gift at both or all 3 if you have a lingerie party. I got gifts at both... More actual gifts at the showers (We had 2). At the wedding it was mostly cards/cash... We were moving too so everyone knew we needed things. We did not have anything mailed to us before/after the wedding other than cards with possibly cash or check in them. We had a huge gift table with a card box in the middle.

    I gave gave $50 at the last wedding we went to plus a shower gift.


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