"I don't care how I get money, as long as it isn't illegal" - Did you just say that?

We were having an informal discussion at work about weddings, and this woman regaled us with a story about how, at someone’s wedding that she knew, every guest (or couple, I suppose) donated $300 towards their mortgage, so the were able to pay off $5000 from their mortgage when all was said and done.

I said that I found that sort of thing tacky and commercial. I also said that I would never want to charge people for the privilege of attending a party that I had invited them to. That’s when she said the above statement.

The conversation broke up at that point as people went off to lunch, so I didn’t get a chance to pursue it. But it left me, and still leaves me, breathless with disbelief, that she would say such a thing or believe it.

So how do you feel about collecting either stuff or dollars from your wedding guests?


What other unbelievable statements have you heard uttered lately?

I think it makes perfect sense in response to what was going on. It is never tacky to accept gifts (which is what “donation” implies), especially at a wedding. I’d assume she was just using hyperbole.

If you wanted to call her on that hyperbole, I’m sure you can think of times when she wouldn’t accept money, and convert it into a snarky reply.

My understanding is that wedding gifts are to help the couple found a new household. That’s why toasters, tableware, cookware, etc. are traditional gifts. A chunk of a house is in perfect keeping with this tradition.

It’s not tacky to accept gifts, no- but it is generally frowned upon to request them.

In some cultures (eg Chinese or Korean) it’s perfectly normal for guests to give cash as wedding gifts. The amount is supposed to depend on “degree of closeness” to the couple (ie the close relatives give more than distant ones or the parents’ business associates), but everyone is expected to at at least try and give enough to cover the cost of their meal.

And there’s the Polish custom of the bride putting on a special apron/smock over her dress and dancing will guests stuff money in her pockets.

I don’t find that statement unbelievable at all. If they *requested *that the guests give them money, yes that is tacky. But if the guests just gave them money, there’s nothing wrong with accepting it.

Let’s see $5,000/$300 = 16.67. Who was the 2/3 a peson? I guy in a wheelchair :smiley:

From All In The Family, Archie saves the life of his passenger Beverly who was in his cab. She(He) is a female impersonater but Archie doesn’t know it yet. Beverly comes over to give Archie a reward and pay the fare

Beverly) I don’t know how I can ever thank you
Archie) Well just pay the cab fare and whatever?
Bevery) Oh my of course here you go
[hands Archie a bill]*
Archie) Wait a minute the fair was only three and a quarter, I can’t change this
Bevery) Oh no Mr Bunker the rest is for you
Archie) Do you know this is a fifty
Bevery) Yes
Archie) Well I never was one to say, “no” to a lady
Beverly) Mr Bunker I am no lady
Archie) Well how you earn your money is no business of mine*

I can live with requesting them; at least of the guests you feel closer to. A cousin who got married lately is in the situation where her and her husband have student loans, a brand new house-payment to make, and the wedding was not expensive but it wasn’t free either. She requested or let it be known among our clan that cash was needed and would be greatly appreciated; he did the same with his folks and close friends. They didn’t beg but they were honest that they really were biting a big debt load getting married now. Better a hundred bucks or even ten bucks in an envelope than a sheet set they don’t need or seven nearly identical “wedding cups”.

Handled badly, it could be the definition of tacky. Handled right I am OK with it.

You can live with it, but that doesn’t make it any more socially acceptable. It’s just tacky to ask for any specific gift, even cash.

Two words: Wedding register.

Why is it OK to ask for wedding china, expensive linens, and other useless crap. but not a leg up on your home? All the other stuff you can either do without or but cheaper at Target or Walmart. I always give money at weddings because when it comes down to it, that is what most newly married couples really need.

“Requiring” everyone to give a particular amount in order to attend is without a doubt tacky. But asking nicely like, “The bride and groom would like to begin their lives together in a new home. In order to meet the downpayment requirement, they ask that you help them with a downpayment in lieu of gifts” is totally acceptable in my book.

Don’t forget the broom–she dances with a broom around the dancefloor.

In my experience, people determine what they want to bring for a wedding gift. There is always a table for wrapped gifts, and on it is usually a cardboard wishing well where cards with money go. Usually, no one is pressured to go one way or the other.

One usually employs a “rule of thumb”, to wit, are they setting up housekeeping from square one, or is it a situation where they’ve already been shacked up for a few years already? If the former, traditional wedding gifts are usually logical; if the latter, go with money.

Typically in a situation such as this, I’ll usually put a nice crisp $100 bill in the card, especially since in the traditional reception style, they’re probably feeding me and giving me booze.

Here in Manitoba, they have this stupid tradition of having what they call a “social” – which is basically a party to raise money for the forthcoming wedding. I don’t think much of the whole idea of it, especially since they go and harass businesses to donate prizes for their silent auctions (basically a raffle draw where you buy tickets on arrival which have serial numbered stubs, and you put your ticket into a paper bag in front of the prize you want to win). If you can’t afford to get married, elope for Godsake.

But that’s what wedding registries are designed for. One of my friends even managed to game the system, so to speak. There was something she wanted from a large department store, but it was about $800. Knowing that no one would get a single $800 gift for them. They registered for a bunch of smaller stuff that they didn’t really want (and plenty of items they did want). Then they returned all unwanted items and put the money towards the $800 item (and put up the rest of the money themselves).

Also, regarding cash as a present. Yeah, it would be tacky to ask for it, but it’s a pretty common gift. When I got married we received about $7,000. A friend of ours and her husband received about $16,000.

ETA, just so it’s clear. We didn’t ask anyone for money. We registered at several stores and we got a lot of those gifts. But plenty of people chose to either give us money in lieu of a gift or in addition to it.

It’s my understanding that the main purpose of a wedding is to give friends and family the opportunity to help a couple get established.

What else are they for? Seed scattering and glassware breaking? Plenty of time for that in the duration of the marriage.

We were in our thirties when we got married eight years ago, and we were amalgamating two full households - we didn’t need a damned thing. We still didn’t ask for money, because asking for any gift is tacky. We would have been perfectly happy if we hadn’t received anything from anybody except them showing up and having a good time with us, but we did receive thousands of dollars of money and very nice gifts, too. Danged generous people. :slight_smile:

If I ever happened to be on the receiving end of a cash grab invitation, I would be very surprised and I would think less of the people asking afterwards. I don’t know what I’d give them; I’d be very tempted to give them a gift that was non-returnable just to mess with them.

I don’t see wedding registries that way. I see them as a convenient way for a guest to buy a gift that they know the couple needs and not to end up duplicating other guests’ gifts. Some people just don’t like stuffing cash in an envelope for some reason, but still want to get the couple a gift, so the registry provides a convenient way to do this. I, personally, stick a hundred or hundred fifty bucks per person in an envelope and am done with it that way. If I don’t attend, I’m more likely just to buy off the registry.

I don’t think gifts should be expected, but I don’t feel registries necessarily mean gifts are expected.

I think registries are a compromise concession to the idea that people are going to receive gifts from guests at their wedding, and set up a system for it to prevent too much duplication and such.

Asking for money is tacky.

EXPECTING money is beyond the pale and is when I discover that instead of going to your wedding, welcoming your baby or ever having anything to do with you other than being civil to you when we attend the same social functions is too much effort for me.

Putting a price tag on a wedding contribution moves beyond hosting a party and into hosting a for profit event. I try and keep my business and social lives separate, and in combining them, you’ve just moved to the ‘business’ side. I might call you if I need a plumber - assuming you plumb.

Asking for gifts at all is tacky, and registries in general are something done for the convenience of guests as well as the couple - but there is a dance that is supposed to be done - the engaged couple is never supposed to announce where they are registered (they can say if asked), the engaged couple is supposed to make sure that in addition to expensive crystal and silverware there are $5 washcloths and oven mitts on their registry. Making it known that you expect gifts is no better than expecting money.

Wow you guys are lucky. I got jack for my wedding, and we had two. The first ceremony was in Korea. We got 3k, but the custom there is to give it to the couple’s parents to pay for the wedding. In the US, we got ~3k, not enough even to pay for a rental + deposit.

These are two worlds that will never meet. I will forever think it is tacky to ever request money at a wedding or party and heaven forbid if you have more than two showers (I’ll just about accept two showers, but there better not be an overlap of people invited, so they feel obligated to buy two gifts).
And other people will forever think it’s fine. :slight_smile: So I have learned to just hold my tongue and accept it.