Registry and Gift Forum

Is it OK to tell parents what their family members give to a wedding

My mom wants to know what our side of the family gave as gifts, ie amounts of monetary gifts, so she feels comfortable knowing what to contribute to their family's events. For instance, if a family gave us $250, maybe because they felt extra close to us, my mom may consider contributing something more than $50 to their daughter's wedding. I agree with my mom. I also don't think it's that big a deal.

However, my wife is adamant that no one know, and repeatedly says, "It's none of her business." That's the only reason I can squeeze out.

What's the proper etiquette here?

Re: Is it OK to tell parents what their family members give to a wedding

  • Gift giving is not tit-for-tat.  Just because Aunt Sally gifted you $100 does not mean that your mother should give her son the same amount for his wedding. 

    If it were me, I would feel very uncomfortable sharing this information.  Your mother should give what she feels comfortable giving, not match what someone gave you.  And your wife is right, it really isn't any of her business.
  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    She's right - it's none of your mom's business.  And, it was very rude of her to ask for that information.  She doesn't need to know it in order to give someone else an appropriate gift.  The only people who should know that amount are you and your wife.

  • edited August 2012
    Your wife is right.  It is absolutely none of your mother's business what people give to you.  That is the only reason you need. 

    And for future reference, it is also none of her business whatsoever how much money you make, how much your wife makes, how much you pay in rent, how much your house costs, what your car costs, how much Auntie Phyllis gives to your children for their birthdays or holidays, etc.
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  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited August 2012
    GLB - it sounds like you have some personal experience.

    I'm a MOB, with a nosey mother. When I was married, my mother wanted us to open our cards at her house after the wedding and leave them with her for 'safe keeping.' I refused. So she called after the honeymoon to ask what each relative had given. She wanted to know that the wedding was profitable. Plus, she needed this information in order to reciprocate, in the future.

    There were a few guests who gave my daughter cards at her shower. My mother called the next day to ask how much $$ were given. I told her I didn't ask because it was none of my business. That shut her up, for now, but I'm betting that she will ask again after the wedding.

    She has also asked about how much we have paid for cars, furniture, dogs, clothes, groceries, tuition for the children, vacations, you name it. You need to nip this in the bud, right now.

    My advice to you. If you are not sure if your wife is right or your mother - pick your wife.

    Good luck.
                       
  • edited August 2012
    Thank you for the general etiquette responses. It's clear from these responses what the general rule should be.

    However, I guess my next question is if this is a hard and fast rule.

    My mom paid for the entire wedding, and really, did much of the work, which was located in my home town where she lives, while we live 3000 miles away. She never, ever insisted on having anything her way at all. She treats us both with all the respect and freedom in the world. She is not your typical mother in law, which seems to be a common sentiment when it comes to weddings. I don't listen to my mom if I disagree with her, but at the same time, I don't think it's respectful at all to tell your mom 'it's none of her business' whether to her face or behind her back.

    She's also having to deal with our reputation of being on the receiving end more than the giving end, especially when it comes to me and other people's weddings/funerals, mainly because I'm just starting out in my career, while my wife is laid off and limiting her budget.

    My mom just wants to know what her and my dad's siblings and close friends gave, which to tell you the truth, are all much closer to my parents than we are. She does not care what our own friends gave.

    Anyway, this is all making me realize that it's time that I stopped being so tight with money when it comes to giving at weddings and funerals, because it seems to be prompting my own mom to take responsibility for giving to such events.
  • edited August 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_registering-gifts_is-it-ok-to-tell-parents-what-their-family-members-give-to-a-wedding-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:34Discussion:bfca508d-b3d1-431a-b0bb-a89287da2869Post:ffdec620-0e2d-4196-bd9b-af2f5bc62dd8">Re: Is it OK to tell parents what their family members give to a wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]GLB - it sounds like you have some personal experience. I'm a MOB, with a nosey mother. Posted by MairePoppy[/QUOTE]

    Nosy father.  Thanks to him (and my brothers' inability not to answer his every question) I know exactly what each paid for their houses and cars, how much one had been paying in rent and what they make at their jobs (and what one SIL makes).  He will bait you into an argument to get you to tell him and it has literally taken everything in me to not scream at him when he makes certain comments in order to inform him that my and DH's townhouse in NJ costs more than the houses of both brothers in Ohio.  The most recent was biting my tongue when he kept insisting that a full kitchen tear out and remodel wouldn't cost any more than $10,000.00.   It's like he is obsessed with having this information.  What makes it easier for me to hold tight to the information is the fact that DH would kill me if I ever told him.

    Oh, and he absolutely wanted to know how much we got in cash from the wedding (just like he wanted to know how much every one had sent me for law school graduation)
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_registering-gifts_is-it-ok-to-tell-parents-what-their-family-members-give-to-a-wedding-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:34Discussion:bfca508d-b3d1-431a-b0bb-a89287da2869Post:8adf8b80-044e-4d32-98e7-aa33828bd9ad">Re: Is it OK to tell parents what their family members give to a wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]Thank you for the general etiquette responses. It's clear from these responses what the general rule should be. However, I guess my next question is if this is a hard and fast rule. My mom paid for the entire wedding, and really, did much of the work, which was located in my home town where she lives, while we live 3000 miles away. She never, ever insisted on having anything her way at all. She treats us both with all the respect and freedom in the world. She is not your typical mother in law, which seems to be a common sentiment when it comes to weddings. I don't listen to my mom if I disagree with her, but at the same time, I don't think it's respectful at all to tell your mom 'it's none of her business' whether to her face or behind her back. She's also having to deal with our reputation of being on the receiving end more than the giving end, especially when it comes to me and other people's weddings/funerals, mainly because I'm just starting out in my career, while my wife is laid off and limiting her budget. My mom just wants to know what her and my dad's siblings and close friends gave, which to tell you the truth, are all much closer to my parents than we are. She does not care what our own friends gave. Anyway, this is all making me realize that it's time that I stopped being so tight with money when it comes to giving at weddings and funerals, because it seems to be prompting my own mom to take responsibility for giving to such events.
    Posted by dennei[/QUOTE]

    Then find a nicer way to say it.  There really is no grey area on this one and it doesn't matter that she is paying for the wedding.  Her paying has nothing to do with the gifts that your aunts and uncles give.
    Proud to be an old married hag!! image
  • Based on other people's responses, I gotta say, I feel extremely fortunate.

    My mom is also 78, and hosted an average of 10-14 people at the house the whole week, with never a complaint, and only offering to host others.

    My job is to instill confidence that I will properly thank and appreciate what people gave, and be generous as well, as she has a point in not trusting me to do so based on my past. This is probably a quiet and subtle way to cover for me.

    I can guarantee anyone she's not the nosy type at all though, but then again, I don't need to. I was just looking for informed feedback.
  • What about giving her a range? I do understand your wifes point of view regarding it not being your moms business and weddings are not tit for tat. However, to be perfectly honest I would take into account what someone gave me when writing a check to them.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_registering-gifts_is-it-ok-to-tell-parents-what-their-family-members-give-to-a-wedding-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:34Discussion:bfca508d-b3d1-431a-b0bb-a89287da2869Post:7a7f4d8a-d731-406f-9689-7c7c9250d9da">Re:Is it OK to tell parents what their family members give to a wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]What about giving her a range? I do understand your wifes point of view regarding it not being your moms business and weddings are not tit for tat.<strong> However, to be perfectly honest I would take into account what someone gave me when writing a check to them.
    </strong>Posted by TheSlowskys[/QUOTE]

    This still has nothing to do with his mother though.  If he and his wife want to base a future gift on what they were given there is nothing to stop them from doing that.
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  • My mom wanted us to share the entire spreadsheet we used to keep track of gift info (we just put it into the spreadsheet where we had collected addresses, etc.).  I didn't feel comfortable sharing the spreadsheet, so I told her that, but I do generally tell her when she asks about specific people when there is another wedding coming up. 

    I totally see not telling at all, and I am not criticizing PPs or that general rule.  I am grateful that I can be confident that my mom isn't going to dwell on what so-and-so gave or anything like that (part of the reason why I declined to share the entire list). 

    OP, it sounds like you are learning good lessons about gifting and being gracious from your mom.  I hope you wrote her a heartfelt TY note for all the wedding-related work she did!
  • In Response to Re:Is it OK to tell parents what their family members give to a wedding:[QUOTE]In Response to Re:Is it OK to tell parents what their family members give to a wedding:What about giving her a range? I do understand your wifes point of view regarding it not being your moms business and weddings are not tit for tat. However, to be perfectly honest I would take into account what someone gave me when writing a check to them.Posted by TheSlowskysThis still has nothing to do with his mother though.nbsp; If he and his wife want to base a future gift on what they were given there is nothing to stop them from doing that. Posted by GoodLuckBear14[/QUOTE]

    I hear you, however I'm assuming these are older guests of his mothers and she probably is coming from a good place wanting to match their generosity at their children's weddings. The guests in question sound like they themselves are already married. I could see my mom asking and I probably wouldnt think twice about it.

    I would assume most wedding gifts are in a range though, and I don't think it would be terrible to say for example that most gifts were between 100200.
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Your mom sounds like a sweety, but the answer is still no. You can just say "Uncle John and Aunt Jane were very generous with their gift."

    You know what would be nice? Write your mom a beautiful letter, letting her know how much you appreciate her help. Present it to her privately, the morning of your wedding or take her out to dinner to give it to her. I'm sure she will treasure that letter forever.

    Don't worry that you have been tight with your gifts, in the past. Gifts should be based on what you can afford and the closeness of your relationship to the recipients. Keep that in mind for the future. For now, make sure you express your gratitude in a timely manner.

    GLB, I'd like the name of your dad's contractor ; )
                       
  • OP, the real problem here is that your wife is not comfortable with it.  I get where you're coming from, I really do.  I'm an only child and very close to both parents.  My parents started saving for MY retirement as soon as they found out my mom was pregnant with me, and that savings gave me a nice little bundle to launch from now that I'm starting my own career.  My family is very open about money and finances, and my parents view their money as the "family money" so to speak because they always say I'll get it all anyway someday so they might as well help out and be open about things when I'm at an age/place in my life when I still need their help.  They know what I will be making at my new job - they received my bills for years while I was in an apartment and they know what I spend.  There are really no secrets between us about any of this, and I would have no problems telling them how much I received as wedding gifts.

    All of that said, my fiance comes from a different background.  His parents are very tight-lipped about money... they never had a single conversation with him about money, finances, savings, establishing credit, maintaining good credit, etc.... as far as we know we don't think they've even begun to save for retirement (his dad just turned 60), and my FI thinks they are in debt.  But he's not sure.  Why?  Because they don't talk about that sort of thing with us, and that's their right.  From reading these boards, it sounds like most people come from families like my FI's, and a family dynamic where talking openly about that sort of thing is normal is rather rare.  I know that my parents will ask who gave what - mostly out of curiosity, and not out of any sort of "screw so-and-so because they didn't give enough" type of mentality.  But I'm fairly certain my FI will not want them to know, because he was raised to not talk about these sorts of things, and talking money even with me (let alone my parents) is very uncomfortable for him.

    OP, respect your wife in this matter.  Even though these gifts were to you, they were also gifts to her.  She doesn't need a "logical" reason to be uncomfortable with your mother knowing the amounts.  It's not just about etiquette - approaches to finances and money are typically ingrained at a pretty young age, and they are very fundamental to a relationship.  This means that you need to support her decision to keep these matters private, even if you yourself would have no problem being open about it.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • In my circle it is still somewhat customary to do the dreaded "gift opening" party the day after the wedding. Perhaps OPs mom is of that time when all the gifts were opened/displayed in front of family.


    DH & I refused to open cards in front of anyone, but it was met with some resistance. People are so nosy!


    OP, definitely respect your wife on this one and keep the gift totals between you!

  • Great responses, especially the one on writing a long thank you letter and gesture to my mom - so obvious, but so overlooked. We so take our parents for granted.

    My main goal is to not create a rift between my mom and my wife. There's also individual psychological history, as hoffse described so well.

    Anyway, as a compromise, I just told my mom what her sisters and niece gave, since she talks to them on a regular basis anyway, and that's all she really wanted to know. It's not about us at all, it's about weddings and babies and funerals associated with them, and ensuring respect. Again, this is more the case when family is very, very close and there's a lot of giving going all the way around - the culture with many families in Hawaii is that no one ever 'splits a check', someone always pays for the whole thing, and so it's somewhat more instinctive to keep track of what people have contributed more so than in other circles.
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    It's none of her business.  A gift is between the person that gives and the one that receives.  Telling her was not just a betrayal to your wife, it was a betrayal to the family that gave the gift.  
  • I can understand where you mom is coming from. In my family nothing is a secret and you know everyone's business. I know more about my aunt and uncle's finances that I ever wanted to, thanks to the nature of my family. So for us, if general practice to share what you are given as wedding presents. It's a very tit-for-tat town my family lives, so if you got a placesetting from so-and-so then it is expected to that you will give something of equal value. 

    I would talk to your mom and tell her that you do not feel comfortable sharing all the information she has asked for, but maybe you could reach a compromise. You could ask your wife if it would be ok to inform your mom about certain gifts. ie "Uncle bob gave us a blender" but not "cousin fran gave us $50" That way she might have an idea of the gifts you have received. 
    ~Emily~
  • I'm a little confused by the reasoning here for the full disclosure.  The wedding gifts were not given to your mother, they were given to you and your wife.  Why would it be up to her to make you look good with HER gifting in the future?  Why would anyone even link the two?

    If I was in your family, and I got a large gift from your mother, but a small gift from you, after I had made a large wedding donation, I would think poorly of you, and highly of your mother.  You arn't some sort of siamese twin, you don't share a 'generosity badge' when you gift.

    If anything, you share your 'generosity badge' with your wife now.  Your mother has zip to do with any of this.  Everything about this is strange.
    Don't make me mobilize OffensiveKitten

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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_registering-gifts_is-it-ok-to-tell-parents-what-their-family-members-give-to-a-wedding-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:34Discussion:bfca508d-b3d1-431a-b0bb-a89287da2869Post:ae9a7d43-7593-4ded-965f-f09bc5c07925">Re: Is it OK to tell parents what their family members give to a wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Is it OK to tell parents what their family members give to a wedding : So your compromise was to do what your mother wanted even though it made your wife uncomfortable?  I think you do not quite grasp the concept, my friend.
    Posted by StageManager14[/QUOTE]

    Seriously, x2.  Your wife just got a big old 'My mother's opinion matters more than yours" message.
    Don't make me mobilize OffensiveKitten

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  • Oh honey, I feel your pain.  They don't need to know who gave what.  I agree with the poster who said to tell her so and so was very generous.

    Ha.  I can top of all of that.  My dad literally made an excel spread sheet with every guests name, and made my brother and his new wife open everything in front of him so he could write it down.  In his mercy, he even gave them a copy of it for thank yous.  

    A family of unmarried female cousins also felt the need to explain the discrepancy between what they gave my brother (more) and my cousin (less), because they know our entire family is nosey as can be.  Apparently, my brother invited all three of the women, while my cousin invited two, so my brother got I suppose a $150 gift instead of a $100 gift.  

    Now that I'm getting married, my dad is totally looking over that list to see who is worth it in his mind to invite.
    image

    Previously Alaynajuliana


  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_registering-gifts_is-it-ok-to-tell-parents-what-their-family-members-give-to-a-wedding-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:34Discussion:bfca508d-b3d1-431a-b0bb-a89287da2869Post:a0f52189-0d11-4911-8135-73553fecd0d5">Re: Is it OK to tell parents what their family members give to a wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]Oh honey, I feel your pain.  They don't need to know who gave what.  I agree with the poster who said to tell her so and so was very generous. Ha.  I can top of all of that.  My dad literally made an excel spread sheet with every guests name, and made my brother and his new wife open everything in front of him so he could write it down.  In his mercy, he even gave them a copy of it for thank yous.   A family of unmarried female cousins also felt the need to explain the discrepancy between what they gave my brother (more) and my cousin (less), because they know our entire family is nosey as can be.  Apparently, my brother invited all three of the women, while my cousin invited two, so my brother got I suppose a $150 gift instead of a $100 gift.   Now that I'm getting married, my dad is totally looking over that list to see who is worth it in his mind to invite.
    Posted by Alaynajuliana[/QUOTE]

    I hope you politely tell your dad to go eff himself.
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I don't think you should have told your mother anything if your wife didn't want you to.  Those gifts were given to her too, even if they were from your relatives.

    As far as your mother wanting to "match" generosity goes, nobody is supposed to ever know the cost of a gift.  All gifts are supposed to be accepted and acknowledged graciously, and then the subject is considered closed.

    I would have told your mother, "Mom, I'm sorry, but what Wife and I got as wedding gifts is a closed subject.  If you want to know what to give others as gifts, ask them or check their registries.  I'm sure they'll be happy with what you give them-or they should at least be gracious.  If they're complaining that your gifts are too low in value, that's rude.  You don't owe them expensive gifts just because of what they give you, me, or anyone else.  Please don't ask us about it again." 
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