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Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give th

My husband and I had our wedding about a year and a half ago.  We preferred money over gifts like almost any other bride and groom these days,  but we still registered for shower purposes and some people are old fashioned and already have their mind made up they are getting you a gift and not cash.   Before our wedding, when I would attend other's weddings, I would give everybody $150-200 cash in a card as a gift, following the old rule that if you can, you should give enough to cover your dinner for you and your guest.

For our wedding a few guests didn't give anything or they gave small gifts off the registry ($30-50).  (I did spend about $180 a person for food and premium open bar for my wedding, so it’s not like I only served cake and punch).  I am thankful for those who gave us even a small gift; however, their weddings are coming up now and I need to give them something either cash or gift.  Would it be bitchy to forgo my original rule of giving enough to cover my dinner and my husband’s dinner, or should I give them something similar to what they gave us - nothing from one couple and a $30 registry gift from another? What would you do if you had a similar situation?

Not to mention, I have since gone back to Grad school, so it’s not like we are well off financially at the moment, I am making less at the moment than all of them.



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Re: Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give th

  • In Response to Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?:
    My husband and I had our wedding about a year and a half ago.  We preferred money over gifts like almost any other bride and groom these days,  but we still registered for shower purposes and some people are old fashioned and already have their mind made up they are getting you a gift and not cash.   Before our wedding, when I would attend other's weddings, I would give everybody $150-200 cash in a card as a gift , following the old rule that if you can, you should give enough to cover your dinner for you and your guest. For our wedding a few guests didn't give anything or they gave small gifts off the registry ($30-50).  (I did spend about $180 a person for food and premium open bar for my wedding, so it’s not like I only served cake and punch).  I am thankful for those who gave us even a small gift; however, their weddings are coming up now and I need to give them something either cash or gift.   Would it be bitchy to forgo my original rule of giving enough to cover my dinner and my husband’s dinner, or should I give them something similar to what they gave us - nothing from one couple and a $30 registry gift from another? What would you do if you had a similar situation? Not to mention, I have since gone back to Grad school, so it’s not like we are well off financially at the moment, I am making less at the moment than all of them.
    Posted by courtneyandtimothy
    First of all, the whole cover your plate thing is not a rule, it is BS.

    Second, give what you can afford to give.  Period.  Wedding gifts are not tit for tat.  You have no clue what your friend's financial situation was at the time of your wedding.
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  • GLB I usually agree with you but in the NYC area the cover your plate thing is the "rule".  It's what everyone is taught growing up.  OP I feel your pain as soon we will be in a similar situation.  Give what you can. I'm actually surprised that you got physical gifts at your wedding as it's uncommon around here. 
     
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  • In Response to Re: Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?:
    GLB I usually agree with you but in the NYC area the cover your plate thing is the "rule".  It's what everyone is taught growing up.  OP I feel your pain as soon we will be in a similar situation.  Give what you can. I'm actually surprised that you got physical gifts at your wedding as it's uncommon around here. 
    Posted by HobokenBride2012
    Yup, here too.  I have always been told your gift should cover your meal.

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  • This is a toughie, especially when the weddings fall close to one another, but I almost always go with a similar value gift or $100. Whichever is more.


    $100 is absolutely the minimum I would ever gift, though, because that's how I was raised.

  • I think it's a little petty to adjust the amount you're going to give solely because of what you were given. My wedding was only three weeks ago, and already I don't remember specific amounts I received from specific people. To remember and hold a grudge about it is just weird to me.

    If your income is less now than it was before, it's perfectly fine to give less than you used to. But just give what you can afford. A gift is never required, but it's a nice gesture, and IMO taking what you were given to heart takes the pleasure out of gift giving and receiving.
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  • In Response to Re: Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?:
    I think it's a little petty to adjust the amount you're going to give solely because of what you were given. My wedding was only three weeks ago, and already I don't remember specific amounts I received from specific people. To remember and hold a grudge about it is just weird to me. If your income is less now than it was before, it's perfectly fine to give less than you used to. But just give what you can afford. A gift is never required, but it's a nice gesture, and IMO taking what you were given to heart takes the pleasure out of gift giving and receiving.
    Posted by Ali092011
    You see, it varies from person to person, but personally, I remember what each guest gave me in detail.

    It's not a grudge, I just wouldn't want to look like I'm "showing up" someone by giving a gift triple the value of the one they gave me. And vice versa, I wouldn't want to "low ball" someone who was incredibly generous.
  • My MOH and her H gave us about $150 worth of fresh meat as our wedding present (cost them very little, as they own a farm with hogs and cattle). We gave them about $30 worth of tangible gifts from their registry because it's what we could afford. I would be livid to find out that she was comparing the worth/value of her gifts to that of ours.

    Give what you can afford, regardless of what they gave you. How friggin petty.
  • I would say that if it is (and always has been) a rule for you, then stick to what you've always done. You obviously thought that giving enough to cover your dinner was the right way to do it... you haven't been gifting that much over the years only so that the other couples will do the same to you, right?

    I can understand how that would be a frustrating or disappointing situation, though. 
  • In Response to Re: Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?:
    In Response to Re: Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one? : Yup, here too.  I have always been told your gift should cover your meal.
    Posted by LiLe422
    I live in the NYC area as well, and I think that this is the most assinine thing ever.  Give what you can afford to give.  That is not in the spirit of gifting, IMO.
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  • In Response to Re: Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?:
    In Response to Re: Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one? : You see, it varies from person to person, but personally, I remember what each guest gave me in detail. It's not a grudge, I just wouldn't want to look like I'm "showing up" someone by giving a gift triple the value of the one they gave me. And vice versa, I wouldn't want to "low ball" someone who was incredibly generous.
    Posted by itzMS
    I wouldn't call that petty, though. I see where you're coming from and I think you just want to be gracious and make others comfortable. The OP, on the other hand, sounds a bit spiteful.

    I personally wouldn't necessarily felt "shown up" by someone who gave us $150 if I had only been able to afford to give them $40 at their wedding, but I understand what you mean. Basically, my point was that if you give what you can afford and give it willingly and happily, you can't really go wrong. People read WAYYYY too much into gifts and lose sight of the intention.
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  • Joy2611Joy2611
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    edited October 2012
    In Response to Re: Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?:
    GLB I usually agree with you but in the NYC area the cover your plate thing is the "rule".  It's what everyone is taught growing up.  OP I feel your pain as soon we will be in a similar situation.  Give what you can. I'm actually surprised that you got physical gifts at your wedding as it's uncommon around here. 
    Posted by HobokenBride2012
    That logic doesn't make the cover your plate "rule" any less stupid, in my opinion.

    OP - you don't have to cover your plate.  And honestly, how the hell are you supposed to know how much your plate even is?  The whole thing is just phenomenally silly.

    You give the gift you can afford.  Look, I have friends who subscribe to the cover your plate idea.  They have a spreadsheet that they consult to see who gave what at their wedding.  If it wasn't "enough," they made fun of the person, cut them down, and basically said they didn't deserve anything at their own wedding.  I'm seeing some parallels with your post and these people.

    You know what I call these friends?  Nothing.  I don't speak to them.  I find them unspeakably rude.
  • The "cover your' plate thing is a guideline. You will never know how much the exact cost is but the average wedding here costs $100-$175 pp.  So you go based on the average which would be a gift of $200-$350 per couple.  I know many people don't get it but it's how it's done around here.  And music, I'm sorry to tell you, but South Jersey is very different from Hudson/Bergen/Morris counties.  I'm not saying OP is right, I'm just letting you know the plate thing is real around here.
     
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  • In Response to Re:Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?:
    In Response to Re:Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?: I've never been to a wedding without a dollar dance and cash bars are more common than not in my hometown. Because most couples do those things here, does that make them okay? Certainly not. Its absolutely ridiculous to think that by generalizing regional behavior and deeming that the local 'rule' exempts you from making the rude assumption that your guests owe you the amount that you're spending on them. OP, a gift of any amount is never compulsory. And for what it's worth, I'm far from old fashioned, but I personally think cash gifts are tacky as helll.
    Posted by Sleeper2013
    I was just clearing up where the idea came from and pointing out that it's probably a regional thing. That's all.
     
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  • I'm definitely not from anywhere close to NY, but I think the cover your plate thing is ridiculous as well.  Frankly it obligates people to spend a sh*ton of money just because the bride and groom decided they wanted a 3 course plated rather than a buffet meal.  That totally defies the point of a gift, which to me is all about the giver, not the recipient.

    OP, I agree that changing your rule because you feel like you didn't get enough is petty.  If you can't afford it, that's beyond fine.  But doing it as a "screw you" move is entirely unreasonable.
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  • ITA with everything Retread said. 

    You don't put dollar figures on friendships and expect there to still be a friendship afterwards.

    I don't care if I get ZERO gifts from anyone for my wedding. That's not why I'm getting married.  I'm doing it because I want to marry FI.  It's not about money or stuff or anything like that.  OP is coming across as WAY greedy and entitled and snotty about something that really means nothing at all.
  • edited October 2012
    In Response to Re: Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?:
    The "cover your' plate thing is a guideline. You will never know how much the exact cost is but the average wedding here costs $100-$175 pp.  So you go based on the average which would be a gift of $200-$350 per couple.  I know many people don't get it but it's how it's done around here.  And music, I'm sorry to tell you, but South Jersey is very different from Hudson/Bergen/Morris counties.  I'm not saying OP is right, I'm just letting you know the plate thing is real around here.
    Posted by HobokenBride2012
    It may be a regional thing but it still does not make it a rule or right any more than all of the Minnesotans who designate friends to be hostesses and personal attendants because that is how it is done there.  Cover your Plate is BS but apparently is it BS that the NYC area is willing to put up with.
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  • I would definitely never follow the "cover your plate" idea. How is it fair that just because my friend decides to go all out and have a super expensive wedding, I now am supposed to spend more than I can afford on a gift? Doesn't make sense and that should absolutely NOT be what weddings are about.

    OP give what you can afford. I do think it's petty to say "My friend didn't give me anything so I'm not giving her anything." You have no idea what her financial situation is/was, and gifts are not required actually at all.


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  • edited October 2012
    The only gift we received that I was a little insulted by was money from a friend that explicitly told me she followed the cover your plate rule that was a low estimate on her part.   I didn't care about the amount by itself, but I was annoyed that that was her estimate of the value of our wedding, since she told me it would be.  No good can come out of the cover your plate rule.  (And I was raised/have tons of family in the tri-state area, if we're keeping track.)

    I gave the same friend a nice gift off her registry in an amount we were comfortable spending, because we generally don't give cash gifts.

  • Joy2611Joy2611
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    edited October 2012
    In Response to Re:Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?:
    In Response to Re:Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one? : I was just clearing up where the idea came from and pointing out that it's probably a regional thing. That's all.
    Posted by HobokenBride2012
    Hoboken - I'm well aware that this little "rule" exists, but it's stupid.  Instead of defending it like it's something that has been imprinted in your mind for all time and should never be questioned, why don't you help brides try to see how silly it is?  Unless, of course, you feel that this is how things should be done.  You do seem to have a lot of strong opinions of how all weddings should go based on what you've seen in North Jersey/NYC.  You tell us a lot.

    EDIT: I'm not attacking you, by the way.  But, I am going to finally point out that recently many of your responses to posts have been through this NYC/New Jersey eye piece.  I'm starting to find it exhausting.  "Don't have a mascot come to your wedding - it would never be done where I'm from!!"  "We subscribe to cover your plate!!  That is how it's done up here in North Jersey!"  "I had a North Jersey wedding and here we do x, y, and z."  I'm starting to scroll past your responses.  Not all weddings are the same, even if they happen to occur in Northern NJ. 
  • I'm on the same boat as the rest of the non-cash givers. The only two people I will ever give cash as a wedding present to is my sister & my best friend.
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  • I don't subscribe to cover your plate, but I think it's silly to think that if it's regionally expected it won't be interpretted by those you love and care about as "rude" to ignore it. Etiquette rules vary country to country, culture to culture, and while I don't think cover your plate is the best representation of the sentiment behind gift giving, I also think if you care about how those around you view you, you should probably do your best to stick with the norm or risk getting side-eyed (however undeservingly) by those you care about. 
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  • In Response to Re: Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?:
    I don't subscribe to cover your plate, but I think it's silly to think that if it's regionally expected it won't be interpretted by those you love and care about as "rude" to ignore it. Etiquette rules vary country to country, culture to culture, and while I don't think cover your plate is the best representation of the sentiment behind gift giving, I also think if you care about how those around you view you, you should probably do your best to stick with the norm or risk getting side-eyed (however undeservingly) by those you care about. 
    Posted by emeejeeayen
    Well said.
     
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  • In Response to Re:Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?:
    I don't subscribe to cover your plate, but I think it's silly to think that if it's regionally expected it won't be interpretted by those you love and care about as "rude" to ignore it. Etiquette rules vary country to country, culture to culture, and while I don't think cover your plate is the best representation of the sentiment behind gift giving, I also think if you care about how those around you view you, you should probably do your best to stick with the norm or risk getting sideeyed however undeservingly by those you care about.nbsp; Posted by emeejeeayen
    So, if it is expected regionally or in a social set that guests should "cover their plate", should those guests who cannot afford a 200 dollar or more gift simply decline the invite because they cannot afford to meet the expectations for gift giving? How absolutely ludicrous. I'm so glad I have friends that value my attendance at their weddings for our relationships rather than for what they think I can help them recoup from spending...
  • In Response to Re: Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?:
    I don't subscribe to cover your plate, but I think it's silly to think that if it's regionally expected it won't be interpretted by those you love and care about as "rude" to ignore it. Etiquette rules vary country to country, culture to culture, and while I don't think cover your plate is the best representation of the sentiment behind gift giving, I also think if you care about how those around you view you, you should probably do your best to stick with the norm or risk getting side-eyed (however undeservingly) by those you care about. 
    Posted by emeejeeayen
    If someone wants to side eye me because I can't afford a $300 gift because the B&G decided to have a super expensive wedding, I don't really give a crap and they aren't people I want to spend my time worrying about anyhow. That's absolutely ridiculous. I do understand societal norms vary from place to place, but that doesn't mean I can't think some are absurd and not buy into them at all. Side eye away!


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  • that is the stupidist thing i have heard. i just went to a friend's wedding in september and i hope she isnt angry over the amount my FH and I gave her since we are still in school. Give what you can give. period. if that cant understand that then they / you arent good friends in the first place.
  • edited October 2012
    I just did the math and realized that all of our guests owe me and DH a crap-ton of money.  We wound up spending $406 per person for our reception.  Pay up people because you didn't give us anywhere near that.
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  • In Response to Re:Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?:
    In Response to Re:Give friends the same thing they gave you for gifts? If they didn't give you one, should you give them one?: So, if it is expected regionally or in a social set that guests should "cover their plate", should those guests who cannot afford a 200 dollar or more gift simply decline the invite because they cannot afford to meet the expectations for gift giving? How absolutely ludicrous. I'm so glad I have friends that value my attendance at their weddings for our relationships rather than for what they think I can help them recoup from spending...
    Posted by KellyBrian2013
    If I went by this logic, I wouldn't ever see any of my friends and family get married.  Heck, I wouldn't have been able to attend my own sister's wedding.  I couldn't afford a gift for them at all.
  • racholasracholas
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    edited October 2012
    OP - Imagine looking back on this a few years from now. Which decision will you feel most comfortable with?

    1 - Following your personal standards / regional rule
    2 - More closely matching the recipients' spend (justified with your return to grad school)

    Do the one you'll be most comfortable with in the long run.

    I don't have a problem with being petty (and I'm not saying that you are). You are what you are and you feel what you feel. If you'll always remember the inequity, and if you'll feel more comfortable with equity, than so be it. Create what you'll be comfortable with. I personally am one of those people who remembers everything. I know what I spent on who, and I know what they spent on me. And if I had know in advance that people I spent over $1000 on (travel and gifts) would not attend (which is totally legit) and would forget to give me a gift (less legit), I probably would have downsized my gift to them. And, I would feel more comfortable with that scenario than I do with the current one.

    According to a lot of people, that mindset makes me a petty person. Oh well. I am who I am.
  • OP - Try to look at it from the flip side....if one of your guests gave you a very expensive gift which was out of your typical gift giving price range, would you feel the need to get them a gift of equal value, even if you couldn't afford it? 
    I think you should spend as much as you would normally spend on the couples, and do not even consider what they gave/spent on you.
    One of H's friends sent us a check as a wedding gift.  The dollar amount was DOUBLE what H and I usually spend on wedding gifts.  While we greatly appreciated their generosity, we could not "repay the favor" at their wedding because it just wasn't in our budget.  So we spent our normal amount.  I was a little worried that they might be offended, but H and I simply couldn't afford to give them as much as they gave us. 
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  • First, going off the "cover your plate" thing.  I live in the NYC area...Morris County to be exact.  I have HEARD of this but I have never followed this.  I would never say that it's common around here. I would never make the generalization.

    What I give for a gift depends on my current financial situation and my relationship with bride & groom.  I've gone to a coworkers wedding where I just gave $200 (as a couple).  And we recently went to a wedding of a very close friend of ours and gave $300....and I spent about $80 on a bridal shower gift.  So it really just depends.  But I do not base it on my plate.  Like I said, I've heard of this rule but I kinda think its tacky.  Just my opinion though.

    If you are considering giving a lesser gift than usual because you did not receive an expensive gift from them....I think that's tacky.  It's not tit for tat.  And honestly, if someone gave you a gift be grateful.  There is no rule that you HAVE to give a gift.  I understand most people do but you certainly do not have to and you should not expect it.  Be thankful for what you receive.

    Now, if your financial situation is a little tight then maybe don't go as big as you normally would.  Always just give what you can afford.  Do not put yourself in a bad situation just give a big gift at a wedding. 

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