• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Etiquette

Obligated to send gifts when I barely know the bride and groom?

I have a good friend I'll call Patty. I've known Patty for over a decade, and as we are quite close (I was a bridesmaid in her wedding), I've met her sister, Carrie, on a few occasions as well. However, I haven't seen or spoken to her sister in several years, and we've never had more than a five-minute conversation at any of Patty's parties or events.

Recently, I was invited to Carrie's bridal shower and her wedding. I feel strange about this because although I am close with Patty, I barely know her sister at all. I'm going to decline both invitations, but what's bothering me is the gift situation. I was taught that an invitation is an obligation for a gift, but quite honestly I am having a hard time with the idea of having to send a shower and a wedding gift to someone I've only met a few times in my life. And this seems to be a trend--in the past few years I've been invited to several weddings for brides and grooms I hardly know, but who have tenuous connections to my family. I'm starting to wonder if invitations are just sent out to anyone and everyone in the hopes of receiving more gifts from guests who are sure to decline. (On the few occasions I've met her, Carrie has displayed extremely cheap behavior, so this doesn't seem entirely out of the question as a motive.)

So my question is--do these rules of etiquette still hold? Is an invitation an obligation to send a gift?

(Oh, and as an aside--Carrie had to call her sister to get my address, because she doesn't have my email address or my phone number. That's how little we know each other.)

Re: Obligated to send gifts when I barely know the bride and groom?

  • Sarah - I joined way forever ago and didn't have a post to my name til 2010. It happens, yo.
  • OP, an invite isn't an obligation to a gift - and if it is, I got SKREWED b/c a good number of folks I sent invites to didn't send us jack.

    Don't worry about it =)
  • You're NEVER obligated to send a gift to anyone. Ever. If you don't feel comfortable sending one, or you feel like you were sent an invitation solely as a gift grab, then by all means, don't send a gift.
    image
    Whatever you hatters be hattin. -Tay Prince
  • Word up.  You never have to send anything.
  • You don't have to send a gift.  I know how you feel, as I always feel obligated to send gifts, but if I didn't know this person from Adam, I also wouldn't send a gift.
  • Ladies, thanks so much for your replies. I can't help feeling torn about this--I was raised to believe that you ALWAYS send a gift, even if you don't attend--but the idea of it just irks me in this particular situation. It's good to hear that not everyone believes that invitation = gift! 
  • I don't think you are obligated to send gifts.
  • I definitely wouldn't send a shower gift but I'd probably still send a wedding gift.  That's just how I roll.
  • I would just send a card.

    Planning Bio
    Married 9/15/11

    image
    *This is Not Legal Advice*
  • In this case, since you know the sister so well, I'd send a card. Based on the info in your OP, I wouldn't send a gift. You don't know the couple well at all, so I think it was pretty bad form for them to invite you to the shower, actually. The wedding, I understand - maybe the bride considers you a family friend - but the shower? I think in most situations, it's sorta weird to invite someone to a gift party when you don't even know them well enough to have their email or phone number.
    image
  • Go to the card section in a store, find something appropriate, sign, and mail.  Done and done.
    Anniversary
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_obligated-send-gifts-barely-bride-groom?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:46a3e0c7-ebfa-494d-a025-df511000c276Post:216d4875-b629-4035-900d-b1acef35c8c8">Re: Obligated to send gifts when I barely know the bride and groom?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In this case, since you know the sister so well, I'd send a card. Based on the info in your OP, I wouldn't send a gift. You don't know the couple well at all, so I think it was pretty bad form for them to invite you to the shower, actually. The wedding, I understand - maybe the bride considers you a family friend - but the shower? I think in most situations, it's sorta weird to invite someone to a gift party when you don't even know them well enough to have their email or phone number.
    Posted by GeauxTigers17[/QUOTE]

    I agree with this! A card would be sufficient.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • As far as etiquette goes, yes, you should send a gift when you receive an invite.  That is the proper etiquette.  I do agree that a card would be an appropriate gift/acknowledgement in this situation.  I'm suprised that no one is familiar with this around here??
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_obligated-send-gifts-barely-bride-groom?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:46a3e0c7-ebfa-494d-a025-df511000c276Post:ed1a16de-7171-4b30-9205-aaa58442f888">Re: Obligated to send gifts when I barely know the bride and groom?</a>:
    [QUOTE]As far as etiquette goes, yes, you should send a gift when you receive an invite.  That is the proper etiquette.  I do agree that a card would be an appropriate gift/acknowledgement in this situation.  <strong>I'm suprised that no one is familiar with this around here??</strong>
    Posted by lindsay5432[/QUOTE]

    <div>Was that a question?  No fewer than five people commented before you about giving a card.</div><div>
    </div><div>Proper etiquette doesn't involve guilting mere acquaintances into buying a gift.  A gift is never mandatory, or it wouldn't be a gift.</div>
    image


    "I wish I could have sparkly tits every single day of my life." --MUNI
  • Yeah do a card. I am very surprised she invited you. Maybe Carrie was just considering how close you and Patty are, because I am definitely inviting my MOH's brother (4 years older) since I am inviting everyone else in his family and it seemed weird to me to leave him off, even though we are not close. She may have been looking for more gifts, but maybe she wasn't. Who knows. 
    April Siggy Challenge-Wedding Escape: Reading HG/dreaming about Peeta.... Image and video hosting by TinyPic Wedding Countdown Ticker Bio-Updated 4/22**
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_obligated-send-gifts-barely-bride-groom?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:46a3e0c7-ebfa-494d-a025-df511000c276Post:ed1a16de-7171-4b30-9205-aaa58442f888">Re: Obligated to send gifts when I barely know the bride and groom?</a>:
    [QUOTE]As far as etiquette goes, yes, you should send a gift when you receive an invite.  That is the proper etiquette.  I do agree that a card would be an appropriate gift/acknowledgement in this situation.  I'm suprised that no one is familiar with this around here??
    Posted by lindsay5432[/QUOTE]

    <div>While I agree that it is proper etiquette to send a gift, it's also not proper etiquette to invite someone to a shower when you barely know them. I do think it requires some sort of acknowledgement, and as you agree, a card is sufficient here. </div><div>
    </div><div>It doesn't make sense to apply that rule in a vacuum. If we did, you'd have to send a gift even if the invitation was from a random couple you didn't know who found your address in the phone book, hoping you'd send a present. That's crazy. </div>
    image
  • I'm going to invite all of you to my wedding, and you should all buy me gifts.  Nothing under $100, please.
    image


    "I wish I could have sparkly tits every single day of my life." --MUNI
  • Fun fact: I was looking at my Emily Post book the other day, and apparently there is no obligation to send a gift if you decline a shower invitation! Traditional etiquette does say that wedding invitation = gift (although I think this can be open to interpretation), but the same thing does not hold for showers, not even in the world of Emily Post.
    image image
    Our Story MAJORLY UPDATED 8/6/09
    Wouldn't it be nice to live together in the kind of world where we belong?
  • You are not obligated to send a gift if you receive an invitation.  It's nice to do so, but not necessary.  A card is fine too.
  • My sister has best friends whom I have never met, but my sister wanted me to invite them.  I've learned that a wedding is not just the wedding of a bride and groom.  It's like a wedding of a whole family.  Each family member wants to invite his/her nearest and dearest.  Maybe you were invited to the shower as the sister wants some company.  I know that was the case with my sister and her friends.  I don't think the couple will hold it against you if you don't send a gift, but it doesn't hurt to send something very small in a good gesture.  You shouldn't feel obligated to, but I noticed that if I don't send gifts, I always feel guilty or regretful later whenever I run into the person.
  • I think your instincts are right - don't send a gift to her - she is definitely just fishing for presents. I was UNFORTUNATELY the maid of honor in a wedding last june and I overheard the bride and groom two weeks before the wedding discussing to invite last minute guests so they could "make their money back". Go with your gut - would you care if she never talked to you again if you didn't send her a gift? exactly, save the money and spend it on a good friend or hey, even yourself!
  • This recently happened to me. I was invited to a shower for a girl who I've met once. My FI and I are invited to her and her FIs' wedding, but only because our FIs work together. If it was someone I knew better, I would have no problem withsending a gift. But she didn't even get my name correct (on either invitation!) So,  I am going to send a card, but no gift.
  • My shower was just a couple of weeks ago - two people who couldn't make it sent gift certificates (which I was surprised by and grateful for), the other people who RSVPed "no" did not send anything - which is perfectly fine!! I've also been raised that wedding invitation = gift, but to be honest, the thought of anyone feeling like they have to get me a gift makes me uncomfortable. Now that I'm the one getting married, I do not expect people who RSVP "no" to get me a gift.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    158 image 125 image 33 image 0image RSVP Date: May 27
  • KJ7985KJ7985 member
    10 Comments
    edited April 2011
    So, let's say you don't send a gift for either event and decline. Carrie is pissed off. Is your response a) Ah, gee, I really should have sent a gift, I feel really bad now or b) oh well, don't care? 

    If it was a legitimate friend of yours or someone in your family, I would say send gifts. In terms of sending a gift to this girl (who you are obviously not close with), I don't think I would. If you want to send a little something, maybe send a giftcard to a store where they're registered to help them fill in their registry gaps. I wouldn't give a gift card of more than $50 and I would send it around the time of the wedding (not the shower). 

    From my perspective, if I invited a guest and they came to my wedding, I would be expecting a gift. If a guest declined the invite, I would not expect a gift. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Thank you all so much for your perspectives. I hadn't thought of sending a card--it kind of seemed like an insult, in a way, but most of you think it adequately expresses best wishes without giving into the implied expectation of a gift.

    (To the one poster who asked if she had invited me for her sister, so she'd have a close friend there--that's what I thought at first. But the shower was only one of three, in three different states, and her sister is friends with many people who attended each shower, and all the girls in the wedding party. The wedding invitation was sent to both my fiance and me...which would make my friend a third wheel. So no...I really do believe this is a blatant attempt at getting more gifts. And it's insulting.)

    If she doesn't like that I sent just a card...who cares? I hardly even know her!

    If her sister doesn't like that I just sent a card...then she's not the person I think she is.

    Sincere thanks again for all your advice. This has really been troubling me, but now that I've made the decision to send a card I feel better.
  • I think if you attended the event that is one thing, but just because you received an invitation should not mean you have to send a gift. If that was the case people could send them to hundreds of people. It may be an old custom, but I don't think its the case anymore. Sometimes people do send a gift anyway, but don't feel obligated.
    Anniversary
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards