Wedding buck$

Is there a standard amount of money that a couple should put in a card for a wedding reception? I seem to remember that it should equal the cost of the festivities, for each attendee (food, drink, entertainment) but I’m wondering how you would know that, without actually asking the father of the bride. Would there be a recommended amount for a large fancy wedding as opposed to a lesser amount for a small gathering? What’s the story, recently married people?

Say what? There is no tradition, custom, or rule of etiquette requiring guests to pay for a wedding reception – the bride’s parents pay for the whole thing, or the couple, or maybe grandparents and other close family, but NEVER guests. The very notion is appalling – what’s next, selling tickets? The only money involved should be in lieu of wedding gifts (for those not attending) or in addition to wedding gifts (for those who are particularly close).

*Originally posted by Nametag *
**Say what? There is no tradition, custom, or rule of etiquette requiring guests to pay for a wedding reception – the bride’s parents pay for the whole thing, or the couple, or maybe grandparents and other close family, but NEVER guests. The very notion is appalling – what’s next, selling tickets? The only money involved should be in lieu of wedding gifts (for those not attending) or in addition to wedding gifts (for those who are particularly close). **[/QUOTEI

I think you are misunderstanding my question, or I didn’t ask it correctly. I am talking about a wedding gift, in a card, which would be given or left for the bride and groom at the reception. You seem to be saying that you would go empty handed, and partake of all the things offered at the reception for free.

And he would be exactly right to do so.

To consider that invited guests should pay their way at a wedding reduces it to the level of a ‘rent-party’ or a fraternity ‘cover-charge’ party. And that demeans the bridge, groom and guests IMHO.

One shouldn’t throw a party with the expectation that the guests will pay their way. If that was the case why should they attend the festivities? Because they like the bridge and groom? Evidently the B&G don’t like them enough to pick up the tab.

Now it is the custom to make a gift for the newly married couple at a wedding. But it’s not a requirement. If I were ever to be invited to a wedding and made to feel (by the B&G) that I had to provide a present I simply would figure they didn’t actually care enough to want my company and wouldn’t attend.

But hey, I’m a freak. When Lady Chance and I got married I paid for the tuxedos and bridesmaids dresses, too. I like my friends too much to expect them to be out-of-pocket for my happiness.

Wedding gifts have nothing to do with the reception. The value of a gift should be based on what you want to give, what you can afford to give, and how badly the newlyweds need it. If you are unfamiliar with the bride and groom, or lack the imagination (despite the customary gift registry) to select a gift, or if they would really, really rather have the money, then money will do, but there is no calculation for how much to give, and if there were, it wouldn’t be based on the cost of the reception, since they aren’t (shouldn’t be) paying for it.

Itfire, do you have Asian/Pacific Island roots?
It is what you do in Japan - all guests have to pay for the wedding. If your invite tells you how much, it is usually a cheap wedding. If your invite has no specified amount, you have to give quite a lot (ie $300). You don’t give a gift as well, unless you are a really close friend and sometimes not even then.
Islanders often give money too. But I have certainly never heard of this with people of European decsent.

Well, having just been married, I can give you some approximate figures. Although it is more polite to give a gift, since you have to put thought into it, most younger couples are just as appreciative of money. In the midwest US, I would suggest a range of $25 to $50, depending on how close you are to the people and how much you can afford. We had a few relatives give more than that, but the majority of people who gave money were in that bracket.

When I did my Six Sigma study of cost of wedding at downtown/Michigan Avenue Hotels (Chicago) for 2002 the average cost of a wedding was $33,000.00.

The average size of the wedding was 177 people for the reception.

Wow, that comes to $186 per person! Proper manners aside, I think we can safely throw out the formula equating monetary gift with cost of dinner then! I would never expect wedding guests to shell out over $300 per couple.

Makes me happy about my wedding.

Plane tickets to vegas + 5 nights + ceremony + tuxedo + dress + pictures + entertainment = $2500

Honeymoon and wedding combined! Not bad, since we had to pay for it ourselves. And it was sooo much more fun and low-stress than a “real” wedding woudl have been. Never a second of doubt that it was the right way to go.

And if I had a formal wedding, I wouldn’t ask guests to chip in for their share. That’s tacky.

There is absolutely NO requirement for the wedding gift to match the cost of the reception, and the notion is gauche in the extreme. Not only that, but cash is not the preferred form of gift-giving, although it’s certainly becoming popular nowadays. A wedding reception, in the U.S. at least, is a party thrown by the newlyweds’ families, and you’ll be very unlikely to match the cost of a large formal wedding through gifts.

As stated above, gift-giving is customary but NEVER to be expected, real gifts are far preferable to cash, and you are not expected to pay your own way (if you were, you’d have a legitimate complaint at being asked to cover the cost of an extravagant wedding.) The cost of a reception (or wedding) is up to the bride and groom - you don’t have any control over the cost of it, so how could it be fair for you to have to pay for it?

Um, am I mistaken or is it the groom’s family that pays for the reception?

Just a simple post from a relative lurker:

Could we please try to associate our posts with an ethnicity/religion/tradition/location? It seems the proper manners according to society differ greatly based on any/all of these factors, so a suggestion without mention of them is valueless.

For my part, as a Canadian with no real traditions, I would assume the couple getting married had in some manner paid for my attendance at the wedding and reception. I would attempt to give a gift of reasonable value. I would not look so much to the monetary amount I spent, but to the value to the couple. ie: If I were able to get a coupe who I knew enjoyed their coffee a good quality cappuccino maker for $100, I would. I wouldn’t feel guilty for not spending $200 plus, as I would know they would enjoy and appreciate the gift. If I felt I couldn’t get a gift they would enjoy, I would probably simply give $50 for myself and $50 for my guest; any more and I would feel, well, used.

No, the bride’s family pays for the wedding and reception. The groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner. Quite the booby prize, eh?

I’d like to go on record saying that I don’t like all of these rules, and my wife and I didn’t follow them when we got married. ltfire didn’t ask what I thought, though, so I quoted the rules. (although I still think it’s incredibly tacky to expect guests to pay for your party).

Some people like large fancy weddings, some people go to the courthouse. Some receptions are held in hotel ballrooms, others in church rec halls, some not at all.

I see no reason why these matters should in any way, shape, or form affect the value of the wedding gift. One has nothing to do with the other. (How much money the giver has is quite important, as well as closeness.)

audilover: We beat that big time. Drove to Reno, didn’t even stay there overnight. Camped at Lake Lahotan. Sweet. (Still together. My little sister has had 3 weddings since then, 2 big and 1 medium. What a waste.)

That’s perfectly acceptable. Someone chose, of their own free will, to throw a party and to ask you to come. You’re a guest, and paying for the evening isn’t your responsibility. You don’t cover the cost of your meal when someone invites you to have dinner at their house, do you?

If you choose to give a gift, there are only three criteria. It should be something that a) you can afford, b) you think they will enjoy, and c) you want to give. There is no standard present, or set amount of money that fits those criteria for every situation, so you have to make that decision for yourself.

When we got married last winter, some of our guests gave us nothing beyond making the trip to attend the wedding. Other guests gave us stuff ranging from a $5 souvenir picture frame and a bunch of snapshots from the wedding to a check for $500. It was all peachy with us; we entertained people with what we could afford to offer and cherished spending a special evening with them. The idea that they owed us something would have boggled our minds.

You know, asking what the standard wedding gift is doesn’t at all mean that the bride and groom are expecting it as the price of admission.In myItalian-American family,the standard gift is cash, and the starting amount is the approximate cost of the reception. It doesn’t mean the bride and groom will be upset if I give less, and it doesn’t mean I’m rude if I give less. It’s simply a rule of thumb that keeps me comfortable. Kind of like the standard for Christmas gifts in my family- my siblings and I spend $20-$30 each on our nieces and nephews. Keeps me from feeling feeling uncomfortable because I spent more or less per child than my siblings. I would feel cheap if I spent much less, and like a show-off if I spent much more, regardless of any feelings my siblings did or did not have.

As one doing the dastardly deed next year (the hopefully sub-£10,000 price being split equally between me, the missus, my parents and hers) you should ask them if there is a wedding account for you to pay into. An envelope containing a cheque or something is easy to lose on the day itself.

As someone who is getting married soon, let me put my .02 in.

One, although some say that it isn’t traditional or that real gifts are preferable to cash, that isn’t the case everywhere. I’m a Westerner, and these statements do match up with how weddings are done in the West. My fiance, on the other hand, is from Brooklyn, and she is mystified that people in the West don’t bring “envelopes” to the wedding. She says that in the East it’s common for people to give envelopes full of cash instead of gifts. Think back to the wedding scene in *Goodfellas[/]. I noticed this, too, at a friend’s wedding I recently attended in Pennsylvania. In the receiving line there was someone holding a silk bag in which you were to place your envelopes. I’d never seen that in the West, but there it was par for the course.

Two, as a newlywed, I’d much rather have cash. Call me greedy or whatever, but, frankly, we really don’t need a lot of gifts. I have pretty much all the appliances I could want, and so does she. We need money to help get us started. Add to that the fact we are paying for the wedding pretty much by ourselves. If everyone brought cash, we’d be very happy.

Of course, we’d never expect anyone to cover the per-person cost of the wedding. That’s just tacky. People should give gifts according to how much they like us, not how much it cost us to put on the wedding and reception. In fact, since so many people are going to be traveling long distances to attend the wedding, if they chose not to give us anything, that would be fine with me.

My wife and I usually use the following formula

Distant Friends - 30 bucksish

Distant Family/Close Friends - 50 bucksish

Really Close friends/ Close Family - around 100ish

Siblings/In the wedding party - 150-200ish
Considering what we got for our wedding I think we are little on the high side, but we always prefer to be the ones that give too much instead of the ones who don’t give enough.