Wedding Woes

Your family is being totally ridic and tacky.

Dear Prudence,

Is it tacky to ask for somewhat expensive gifts when you are not throwing an expensive wedding? My fiancé and I do a lot of volunteer work. Because of that, we’ve made some connections with people that are gracious enough to donate materials or time to the wedding.

We are having a wedding in the spring in a community garden center. It’s in a beautiful Victorian-style mansion that was donated to the organization. Most of the beautiful flowers will be in full bloom during that time. Our taste is a bit more casual and we love the architectural details of the house so much that we’ve decided to have very minimal decorations. I’m getting married in a regular dress I bought right before the pandemic but haven’t been able to wear. My fiancé has his outfit. Instead of paying for the food, we’ve basically been donating a ton of time to help in the vegetable and herb gardens. Some of that food is getting dried or pickled and will be used in our wedding dishes. We will hopefully have some crops that we will get in the spring as well. Because of all of this, we are paying very, very, little, like in the low thousands.

Well, fast forward to last weekend when my family figured out just how little we were paying for the wedding. My fiancé and I decided to make sure we put our registry up before the holidays in case anybody wanted to shop early and get some deals. That brought up the topic of the wedding. My family kept asking me about which vendors we were using and how we were decorating. After the twentieth time of me telling them that I wasn’t doing X with my wedding, it finally dawned on them that we were spending very little. Some of them kept telling me it was tacky for me to put such expensive stuff on our registry when we weren’t spending much on the wedding. Our registry isn’t that extensive, but it has very few things below the $30 range because my fiancé and I have been living together for a while. There were some big-ticket items on there that we honestly just expected people to buy as a group. The food and ambiance are going to be amazing, but a bit more casual. Is it an etiquette faux pas to ask for “expensive” gifts when you’re not spending money on the wedding?

—Tacky Wedding Planner

Re: Your family is being totally ridic and tacky.

  • I think it's utterly insane they're 'sleuthing' about your wedding costs.  I'd stop talking about any of it with them.  

    But a registry is a 'wish list' of things you want, but no one is required to buy them for you.  Also, people don't even have to give you things off your registry.  It's literally a suggestion.  
    charlotte989875ILoveBeachMusicSTARMOON44MesmrEwe
  • I also find them insane.  What do they care what someone is spending?  And think of the sweat equity here!  That's worth something.  
    Registry is a wish list, they didn't do anything wrong, I think it is ridiculous that their family is shaming them for spending less on their wedding.  You don't have to go into debt to have a nice wedding.  Shesh!

    charlotte989875
  • You don't need to go into debt for a wedding but you should also have a registry at a variety of price points.  Maybe you need to do things like add more kitchen utensils and lower cost items but also people will buy what they want to.  Just make sure that your prices are not so high that no one is going to buy them.  Unless you have a family of really close knit siblings people don't really go in on gifts together - that was at least my experience.  So consider what the average gift is for a couple vs. multiple couples that may chip in together.  Don't register for the Wustof set.  Register for individual Wustof knives. 
    ILoveBeachMusicshort+sassy
  • Honestly, if the entire myth of "covering your plate" as gift costs could just die out for both the hosts and the guests, it'd be great.  Last time I found a registry where the items in my price point had been purchased, I just grabbed a GC to the registry store at the price point I wanted.  I don't mind the more expensive things being on there, lots of people do that and use the "registry completion" discount.  
    MesmrEweshort+sassy
  • I think the LW and their FI did make a minor faux pas in not having enough items in lower price points.  But that's when cash or a gift card to that store is a good option for guests who are looking to spend less.

    But who the heck are these family members giving them the third degree about how much the couple is spending on the wedding?  And then telling them they are tacky about their registry items.  That goes past faux pas, it's just flat out rude.
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    banana468Casadena
  • I think the LW and their FI did make a minor faux pas in not having enough items in lower price points.  But that's when cash or a gift card to that store is a good option for guests who are looking to spend less.

    But who the heck are these family members giving them the third degree about how much the couple is spending on the wedding?  And then telling them they are tacky about their registry items.  That goes past faux pas, it's just flat out rude.
    I've known people to put $$$ stuff only on their registry in the hopes that people will just give them cash or gc's.   Our go-to wedding gift for years has been cash just because then the couple can do what they want with the money.  
  • I read this as they have plenty of stuff $30 and up just not much under $30. I think $30-50 is fine as a starting registry price point. I’d never register for like a potato peeler!
    charlotte989875ei34
  • I think if the LW is also going to have a shower then they need to have lower $ items.

    We thought more people would go in on bigger items and they just didn't.  Ultimately I put more lower cost things on there because if we didn't we'd end up with more photo frames. 

    Listening to that it makes me wonder and read between the lines if the complaint isn't that the LW is having a lower cost wedding but that the LW needs to have more gifts on the registry at a lower price because guests are going to want to give according to budget.

    I also HATE the cover the plate thought but I know there are some old school people who do this.  MIL talked about how in her youth the women would congregate in the bathrooms to fill out their cheks. 
    charlotte989875
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree that the family is tackyAF for trying to find out the wedding budget, but I'm a little weird about LW basically receiving the wedding as a "donation" from the non-profit. 

    Renting the grounds for a song is one thing, but serving all the vegetables from the community garden at a private wedding seems wrong. Shouldn't that food be for the community or people in need?
    charlotte989875short+sassyei34
  • I read this as they have plenty of stuff $30 and up just not much under $30. I think $30-50 is fine as a starting registry price point. I’d never register for like a potato peeler!
    A lot of people will do that especially if they have guests who may attend that are starting out.  Put together a few kitchen utensils like a peeler, rasp grater and cheese and you have a cute gift that isn't that expensive. 

    We absolutely put those on our list.
    ILoveBeachMusicshort+sassyMesmrEwe
  • I agree that the family is tackyAF for trying to find out the wedding budget, but I'm a little weird about LW basically receiving the wedding as a "donation" from the non-profit. 

    Renting the grounds for a song is one thing, but serving all the vegetables from the community garden at a private wedding seems wrong. Shouldn't that food be for the community or people in need?
    I just re-read that part of the letter.  

    It does sound like they're bragging about all the hours they spent volunteering...uh, to grow food for their wedding on land that belongs to a charity.

    I might be more understanding if it's a small percentage of the total amount of food the gardens produce.  But it seems like we're talking about a lot of food that's being used.  I wonder what the other volunteers and donaters think of this.

    Morally, I think they should be giving a donation to this charity that's a percentage of the food value they are receiving.
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    banana468charlotte989875mrsconn23levioosa
  • mrsconn23 said:
    Just to play the opposite side of speculation, it's possible this 'community' garden is truly being ran by the community and they aren't taking away food insecure people.  BIL/SIL live near downtown Cincy and a lot of people don't have the space for a proper garden, so their village set aside space for people to grow crops in a community garden. SIL was one of the coordinators for the effort. 

    So this could be a situation where LW and their FI are tending to people's crops for them in exchange for that person's surplus that they wouldn't be able to eat.  

    LW didn't explain themselves well with regard to getting this wedding for a 'steal' and what the whole food situation meant.  Honestly, LW sounds kind of braggy.  Which could be why they're ruffling feathers with the registry BS.  
    I could see a situation like that also, which would be a great idea.

    But all their talk about charities and volunteering left me wanting to know more about what the purpose of this garden is supposed to be.
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  • She has student loan debt. That’s hardly piddling her money away or racking up huge debt because she’s frivolous about money. 

    Yeesh. If she’s newly out of school it’s perfectly normal for her to not make much or have money for a down payment. But if she contributes to their shared household (and there’s no reason from the letter to think she wouldn’t) how is she not a good financial partner. If they’re building a marriage together just because she doesn’t have as many assets as he does doesn’t mean she doesn’t get a say in how they live. I think pushing to sell the rental property is a bit much but getting a day in how they live together is absolutely reasonable. And if he says no that’s a huge red flag. 
    CasadenaMyNameIsNotSTARMOON44
  • She has student loan debt. That’s hardly piddling her money away or racking up huge debt because she’s frivolous about money. 

    Yeesh. If she’s newly out of school it’s perfectly normal for her to not make much or have money for a down payment. But if she contributes to their shared household (and there’s no reason from the letter to think she wouldn’t) how is she not a good financial partner. If they’re building a marriage together just because she doesn’t have as many assets as he does doesn’t mean she doesn’t get a say in how they live. I think pushing to sell the rental property is a bit much but getting a day in how they live together is absolutely reasonable. And if he says no that’s a huge red flag. 
    This is the wrong letter, but I know it was in response to my comment.

    It's possible she isn't wasting money and truly has most of her income earmarked for other bills.  I just don't think that is the most likely scenario.  He didn't say much about her financial situation, other than implying there was room for her to pay down more of her student debt.  I also assume she doesn't have any other debt, like a car loan or 'cc balances, or he would have suggested paying off that.

    We don't know much about his either, other than he seems to be comfortable enough that he would be okay with supporting her if they lived at his condo, so she could look for a job she likes better.  That's the opposite of money-hungry, which makes it especially unfair she was name-calling him.  From what I remember in the letter, it implied she was not going to be paying any of their housing.  It's possible she would help with bills.  But housing is almost always the biggest one.

    I 100% agree she has a choice in where they live and if the condo isn't it, that's fine.  But if he can't afford or doesn't want to take on the extra financial burden of selling/renting his condo and then buying or renting a different place, that's understandable also.  Either she needs to have enough income after her bills to make up the difference or they need to wait until they can afford a bigger place.
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  • I think the LW and their FI did make a minor faux pas in not having enough items in lower price points.  But that's when cash or a gift card to that store is a good option for guests who are looking to spend less.
    I know people who've done higher priced things - figuring they'd split with someone.

    We didn't do a registry - we did honeymoon. Any cash we got went to that anyways.
  • Family is being weird.

    Who cares how much LW & FI are paying? It shouldn't affect gifts.
    If someone did sleuthing into M & my wedding, they'd think we paid crazy. Absolutely not, SFIL & MIL paid for it as our gift.

    For all some family knows, maybe LW & FI are getting it gifted.
  • I think the LW and their FI did make a minor faux pas in not having enough items in lower price points.  But that's when cash or a gift card to that store is a good option for guests who are looking to spend less.
    I know people who've done higher priced things - figuring they'd split with someone.

    We didn't do a registry - we did honeymoon. Any cash we got went to that anyways.
    For sure!  Nothing wrong with higher priced items on a registry.  I just think there should be a range of prices and enough items in those ranges, so people can choose something that fits comfortably in their budget.

    I realize people don't have to buy from a registry.  But I think there is definitely a set of people who prefer to buy a physical gift from a registry.  I would hate for someone to feel bad because their budget is $20, but the lowest priced items are $30 and there aren't many of those.
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    ILoveBeachMusicbanana468MissKittyDanger
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited November 2022
    mrsconn23 said:
    Just to play the opposite side of speculation, it's possible this 'community' garden is truly being ran by the community and they aren't taking away food insecure people.  BIL/SIL live near downtown Cincy and a lot of people don't have the space for a proper garden, so their village set aside space for people to grow crops in a community garden. SIL was one of the coordinators for the effort. 

    So this could be a situation where LW and their FI are tending to people's crops for them in exchange for that person's surplus that they wouldn't be able to eat.  

    LW didn't explain themselves well with regard to getting this wedding for a 'steal' and what the whole food situation meant.  Honestly, LW sounds kind of braggy.  Which could be why they're ruffling feathers with the registry BS.  
    There are tons of these "Community Gardens" all over this area - a lot of people get plots in them who live in HOA's that don't even allow raised planters on the patio let alone a small garden plot.  And yes, they rely on volunteers because not everyone is an active gardener, some people plant it and forget it until harvest time...

    ETA:  There are also coops that are "Buy-ins" and have the reduction in the cost of the buy-in if people come and work the plots...
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