Carolyn: Lucky me, about half a dozen of my good friends are getting married in the next three months. I would love to be able to express my happiness for them through a lavish gift, but I’m in my mid-20s and have a limited budget. I have prepared for these costs by setting some money aside throughout the past year, but I’m worried I haven’t saved enough.
Something that many of the brides-to-be and my friends have said is that in giving a gift, the guest should “cover the cost of their plate.” Is this true? I want to follow etiquette, but some of my friends can afford more expensive weddings than others.
My boyfriend and I are giving cash because it seems that most couples prefer this. But now I’m worried I don’t have enough to cover both of our plates. I’m also not sure what goes into the cost of “the plate.” I also can’t help but feel a little insulted that the money I have scrimped and saved isn’t good enough. Help!
LOVE AND MARRIAGE ARE BREAKING THE BANK
Don’t forget the cake, the post-wedding brunch and the little tulle baggies of Jordan almonds. Gotta pitch in for those or you’re not pulling your guestly weight.
I was going to edit your letter to end at “Is this true?” No, it’s not. It’s not a requirement at all, but instead a corrupt little myth. You are under no obligation to reduce your love and support for your friends into a quid-pro-quo with the wedding couple and their caterer.
Carolyn: My fiance and I would prefer to have a smaller, more intimate wedding, and we’re paying for it ourselves. We invited couples who are married, engaged, living together, or have been together for some time. No one, except the wedding party, got an unspecified “and guest.”
I sent an invitation to “Donna Jones,” a friend of 10 years and one of my close-knit group of college girlfriends. She emailed me within a week, saying how excited she was for the wedding and that she “wanted to bring a plus-one if that’s OK,” because she figured everyone there would have dates (an inaccurate assumption) and she would feel “less abandoned” that way.
I thought her email was pushy and manipulative. I emailed back right away saying how excited I was that she was coming — because I am — but also that “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid we can only accommodate you for the wedding.”
Today, my fiance and I received Donna’s RSVP card in the mail, on which she had written “Donna Jones and guest.”
I’m having a really tough time taking this well. And, honestly, I feel disrespected. Is it possible she doesn’t understand what I’m trying to say?
Her write-in guest was pushy and manipulative, but you’re being tough on her for the initial ask. Just a tone-check.
Because: She’s enough of a friend to attend your “smaller, more intimate” wedding, so she’s enough of a friend for you to just call her. Ask her what gives.
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