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Wedding Guest Who Doesn’t Give Gift

My sister in law and her guest, and my niece and her husband, attended my daughter’s wedding and gave no card and no gift. My sister in law’s other daughter and guest responded that they would be attending and did not come. None of them responded by card. When my daughter didn’t receive the RSVP card, I called them and they all said they would be attending.[tongue]. My husband says let it slide, but it really bothers me. What to do ?

Donna, Wedding Queen

This might be the first (and maybe last) time I ever type these words but here goes — listen to your husband! [:)]

While I agree that accepting an invitation and not showing up is impolite, and many experts agree that you should bring a gift of some sort to a wedding (although frankly, I feel gifts should come from the heart and not given because you are obliged), what good could ever come from confronting your guests — besides making you look just as rude as they behaved?

Blow it off and know that you are wiser and much more civilized than these family members.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

From an etiquette point of view, I completely agree with the wise Wedding Queen.

Sometimes husbands can be very wise also. [:)]

Best wishes,

Reader Response

How about this one… we attended my husband’s nephew’s wedding on Saturday the 20th. My married daughter and her husband were there as well but had forgotten to bring the card. They live out of town so are putting it int he mail. Well, here it is today, three days after the wedding and my brother-in-law (Father of the groom) calls and says that our daughter (his niece) didn’t leave a money /card for the couple. Did they intend to and if so why didn’t they? etc. Also reminded us of what they gave our daughter for a wedding gift(which, by the way, we as the parents didn’t even once question them about as it was not our wedding but theirs) alluding to the fact that we didn’t give as much to their son…and mentioned the cost per head for the dinner etc. I couldn’t believe my ears!! Could it be that they were being so rude? I say if your going to throw a big todo, then plan to pay for it and have a good time. It’s not about the money is it?

Donna, Wedding Queen

Of course, you’re right; it is NOT about money. Gifts should be given from the heart. Otherwise, we would all just sell tickets to these things and be done with it, right? (Of course, I’m kidding about selling tickets!)

Please, please, please…everyone…brides, grooms, parents, guests…the focus of the wedding is to celebrate love. To surround the couple with friends and family and to witness their exchange of vows. And yes, to party and celebrate afterwards too! The gifts, and all of the other wedding paraphanalia, gets forgotten, used and sometimes even lost, tossed or packed away….hopefully, the memories and the love is what remains. Corny, but true.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

I couldn’t agree more. And, for someone to think that the gifts should equal the amount spent per head… It really is like believing that the wedding guest should pay for the reception.

About a month and a half ago, Brent and I got married. It was beautiful, and everyone had a rip-roaring good time. My question is, of the 125 guests who attended, only about a third have given us a gift, or card — is this normal?

I hail from the east end of Long Island, Brent’s roots are in California. Granted, it was an enormous expense for Brent’s side to travel to our wedding, and I know there’s a difference between east coast and west coast wedding traditions — namely, the east coast seems to be much more formal — but isn’t it rude to not even write a card?

I am extremely upset over this, and don’t know what to do. We’re talking about members of our bridal party, close friends, even immediate family. Where I come from, wedding guests usually give something – big or small – as a token of goodwill to the couple. Is that not the case elsewhere?

OF COURSE, you might say. However, I’ve spoken to several couples who’ve gotten married in the past couple of years, and shockingly this seems to be a common problem. The fact that Brent and I are not alone in this doesn’t make me feel any better. I just don’t know how to let this go!!

It’s really not about gifts, or money — I’m deeply hurt. The majority of the guests at our wedding have yet to even send a card. I feel we went out of our way to honor our guests – transportation for out-of-towners, a live band, terrific food, a full bar. That the majority of our guests didn’t even write out a card really hurts.

I really don’t know how to deal with this, please help. I know there’s probably not much I can do but try to let it go… if you can offer advice, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Donna, Wedding Queen

I think you’ve answered your own question really. What do you expect to accomplish? If we tell you they should have sent a gift, what then?

Take a few moments to read through some other posts on the forum where brides are crying because their family members cannot make it to their wedding or even refuse to attend.

Consider yourself blessed that you have all of these family members willing to travel to help you celebrate your day. That’s the real point of all of this wedding hooplah, now isn’t it? Years from now any gifts you have received will be used, spent or maybe even forgotten. It will be the people and the memories that will be lasting.

You’ve married the man of your dreams so forget about gifts and move on to your happily ever after.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Very well put and I couldn’t agree more.

Wedding gifts are typically given and cards are traditional. However, it should never be expected. It is extremely expensive to travel so that could be a part of it. But, none of that really matters. The Wedding Queen really summed up what is really important here.

Reader Response

Thank you for your input. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t care about receiving gifts and/or money – but I DO care that the majority of our guests could do no more than show up on our wedding day. If nothing else, a simple greeting card would suffice. Honestly, I take it as a personal affront.

Then again, it could be that our guests do not possess even one iota of social grace — and if so, how in the world did that happen? Where has appropriateness and social etiquette gone?

I personally don’t show up to someone’s home for dinner without a bottle of wine or some token of appreciation. I never would have thought someone would show up to my wedding empty-handed, let alone the vast majority. I really find it shocking!

None of this is to say that I don’t appreciate that these people made the effort to attend the wedding. I do. There were certainly many people whom I wished could attend, but alas could not – my late mother being one of them.

I don’t think it’s right to say that gifts and/or a card shouldn’t be expected. It’s a wedding. A momentous occasion such as this should be acknowledged and honored by those invited to share in it.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

It’s wonderful that you are a good guest. But, as hosts, we invite because we want to share something with our guests. We shouldn’t expect something in return. That is the point.

Yes, I would send a gift if I were attending a wedding. But, I don’t think that we can judge these people for not giving.

I do think that it is impolite not to at least send a card. We should do this even if we do not wish to attend.

I suppose all of this is part of the bigger problem of people just not knowing proper etiquette and not wanting to know. Too many people just want for themselves and make up the rules as they go. If someone, such as I, were to tell them that it is viewed negatively they balk. It isn’t part of their belief system.

So, the best thing to do is to focus on what we do. Leading by example is the best teaching tool.

Please just let this go and focus on the positive.

Donna, Wedding Queen

I agree with all of this. I never arrive at anyone’s home empty handed either and wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if everyone did things exactly perfectly — like I do! [:)]

So — If everyone is supposed to bring a gift, or at least a card, then what’s the value of that gift or card really? I mean, they brought the gift because they were obligated to? I prefer giving and receiving gifts unexpectedly, even for birthdays or weddings. I’m thrilled when someone I care for, like my son, remembers my birthday and calls me or asks me to lunch. It’s nice to get a card or a gift but it’s not necessary. I don’t really think any less of him and I know he was raised with manners. [;)]

Don’t get me wrong, I like gifts, but what I like more is the effort that’s put behind the gift or the gesture of a phone call, letter or presence at my wedding.

So, these people didn’t but a pre-written card and haphazardly signed their name to it — would that be better?

My dad always told me to expect nothing. Then when you get anything, you’ll be thrilled.

Just my 2 cents.

Random Reader Response

I got married two weeks ago and I know exactly how you feel! I am really trying to not be hurt but I went through a lot of stress preparing for that wedding. I did practically everything myself and the morning on my wedding day I almost had a nervous breakdown (no kidding). I was so busy with everything, I didn’t even get a chance to get my feet or nails done! So I had the wedding (in which I wanted to go away to mexico but family didn’t want us to) and we get home and open our gifts and cards and realize a lot of CLOSE friends didn’t get us anything! My husbands sister didn’t get us a thing–not even a card! His two best friends–nothing. A few of my best girlfriends –nothing! Again, I know you shouldn’t be mad but we purposly didn’t have any groomsmen/bridesmaids cause we didn’t want them to pay for it and we couldn’t afford it. I guess it’s just that people like you and me would come to a wedding with a card or gift without even thinking about it. And I think that is what is so aggravating. I know it sounds really selfish but it’s gonna take time for me to get over it. I think it’s rude to not give at least a card…