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You Asked: Do I Have a Right to Feel Cheated?

Dear Sugar,

My husband and I had a decent size wedding of about 120 people. Each guest cost my parents about $130. One family we invited sticks out in particular. Eight people in their party showed up (all adults) and when it came time to open gifts after the wedding, theirs was $100 — $100 from eight grown, working adults!! My husband and I were both shocked initially because the family is pretty well-off, but my husband decided we should let it go.

We've been married for over a year now and I can't seem to completely get over this. They are family friends of my husband so I hate to mention it to him, but it still hurts me to this day. I know I'm being selfish, but do I have a right to feel kind of cheated? I would never dare approach the family about it, but I've lost a lot of respect for them. In fact, their daughter (who attended our wedding) is getting married at the end of the month and I'm tempted to skimp out on her gift just in spite. Are my feelings justified? And when it comes to wedding gifts, what are the general rules anyway? — Holding a Grudge Gretta

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Holding a Grudge Gretta,

Giving a gift of $100 from eight people is definitely a little cheap, but you might not know what their financial situation is — while they appear to have a lot of money, times are tough right now for pretty much everyone. With that said, you have a right to be a little annoyed, sure, but since a year has past, I'd say it's time to just let it go. If you're tempted to be stingy with this woman's wedding gift, go ahead, but I think the better option would be to rise above your anger, be the bigger person, and give them a moderate wedding gift as if nothing happened.

When it comes to wedding etiquette, there are no black and white rules. I prefer to think of each wedding on a case-by-case basis. Factor in what you've already done for the couple: if you've given the couple a shower and engagement gift, bought a bridesmaid dress, or traveled far just to attend their wedding, I think it's perfectly acceptable to give a less expensive gift. If the wedding is the only event you've attended, I suggest purchasing something off their registry in a price range that fits your financial situation — anywhere from $50 to $100 is adequate. Consider how close you are to the couple as well, but like I said before, there are no real rules so do whatever feels right. I hope I was of some help!


Join The Conversation
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
I don't think you have any right to feel cheated, people are not obligated to buy you a gift for anything, that is their choice. They may be having a harder time financially than you know or they could just feel like that is what you were worth. Be happy you got anything. Also, you chose a meal that cost that much and HELLO! You didn't pay for it your family did. If I were you I'd be ashamed that after a year I hadn't let this go completely. You got $100 and you know how cheap these people are for future reference.
k8-rckstr k8-rckstr 8 years
skigurl - agreed.
Mina-Xue Mina-Xue 8 years
I have to completely agree with your feels, I'm not sure if they're right though. 12.50 per person is way cheap, not that anyone should break the bank, but thats the cost of a CD! I think it was inconsiderate.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
Mykie7 - i just wanted to jump back in here and comment that it's totally cheap of all of you to buy that gift together, if we're getting down to the nitty gritty of dollars and cents frankly, i dont think that anyone should calculate out what is appropriate and who is owed what, but since that's what everyone seems to be doing here, in the grand scheme of things, that's too many people to go in on that one present, considering you're a close family member
emososays17 emososays17 8 years
First off I'd like to say I'm completely shocked at the amount of name calling here. Come on guys, loosen up. Secondly, I'd hardly call a $15,000 wedding "lavish". Wedding's are expensive and I know someone who recently did it on the cheap and it STILL cost $12,000. How do you people not know this girl comes from a traditional family? Calling her a spoiled brat because her parents paid for her wedding is unfair, the bride's parents footing the bill is typically the traditional way to do it. And where I'm from (someone mentioned this being an East Coast thing, perhaps thats possible) people always gift to help pitch in to cover the cost of the wedding. I haven't known anyone to broadcast the price but most guests make a fair estimation and give a fair gift and no one sees it any other way because yes, weddings are about love so why not help out someone on their special day? Gifts are traditionally given at weddings in order to help the new couple start their new life, so maybe it's me being traditional but I don't see it as tacky one bit. All that aside, I think it's time to let it go. What matters now is that you're happily married. Give the girl a nice gift, have fun at her wedding and get on with it.
lanamia lanamia 8 years
Are you people seriously saying that a gift of $12.50 is acceptable?! At the very least don't delude yourself into thinking that going to a wedding and giving a cheap gift is acceptable. When you go to someone's house for a nice dinner party, do you bring a nice bottle of wine and a bouquet of flowers? A nice hostess gift perhaps? When you go to a house party, do you bring a bottle of hard alcohol thank the host of the party or even to help offset the massive amount of alcohol that will be consumed that night? Yes, and if you don't you should be ashamed of yourself. I'm not speaking from the host's perspective, I'm talking from a guest's perspective. That being said, as the host, you can't EXPECT a gift. If you don't get one to hold a grudge, though it may be easy, it's equally rude. Come on people, society works on a specific level of etiquette. Acting like both parties in this situation isn't wrong is doing everyone who might be taking their manner queues from this topic a disservice. For the record, I believe current wedding etiquette is to give $50 or cover the cost of the plates for your party, whichever is greater if you're going to actually give cash depending on the level of relationship you have with the couple getting married. But if your guests don't happen to fully up to speed on the nuances of social grace, you can't hold it against them! And actually, giving a typically generous gift (that I'm assuming you give normally since you seem so offended by getting a less than generous gift) and the Cheap family in turn seeing your generosity will feel quite bad about themselves to begin with, I'm sure. Anyway, I'm currently in the middle of wedding planning (fiance and I are paying for ALL of it) and to be quite honest, I can understand the frustration you're having by not receiving the out pour of generosity from everyone but these guests, they weren't from your side of the guest list. You have no real comprehension of the relationship that the Cheap family has had with your Husband's family. It feels almost like an insult to you and your Husband or that they came to be moochy. It might not be that AT ALL. Maybe your Husband's family has been super cheap with them in regards to other events. Who knows? I do know that I have a friend that has come to every single one of my wedding events (bridal shower, BP, etc.) and not brought a gift. I know that she can't afford it but who cares? I'd want her there anyway and I understand her situation. Let it go and just believe the best you can about the circumstances of the family and stop letting it eat you inside. You're not going to get everyone to act or feel the way you want them to just because you think they SHOULD feel or act that way. Just be act and feel the way that you can be happy!
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
Here's a prime example that I just thought of, don't know why I didn't remember it before. My cousin just got married this past May. It was a HUGE wedding. They spent 150 per plate for the meals. My Mom went and purchase their full set of silver from their registry. 500 bucks. WOW right? Only then the rest of the family chipped in so it wasn't just from her. There were, My Mom & Dad My husband and I My brother and his wife The GROOMS parents (This is important, but I'll get to that) The Grooms grandmother The grooms Aunts and Uncles (3 sets) Okay, so that's 15 people right? It cost us each 35 bucks for the gift. COULD we have given a bigger gift? Probably. The Grooms Parents also gave them a LOT more than just this silver set. Were we cheap to do it? Nope. We got them what they wanted, and THEY APPRECIATED IT! OMG, they actually said "THANK YOU everyone for such a BEAUTIFUL gift!" Now, by everyone's calculations if we were all going to go in on a gift we should have spend FIFTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS????? How ridiculous would THAT have been? Instead we gave them something they really wanted they were happy and we didn't break the bank. I should ALSO note that they paid for the wedding entirely by themselves, and it was NOT an inexpensive wedding by any means (In fact I thought it was a little TOO much).
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i've been away, so i haven't gotten into this debate the way i normally would, but i have to say i agree with both perspectives yah, it's cheap. sure. but what the hell are you doing dwelling on it? and your husband had to tell you to "let it go"? as opposed to what? calling them on it? you shouldn't be expecting a gift to begin with, frankly, but since you did recieve one, you have to think about what may have happened behind the scenes i doubt everyone threw in a 10, two 2's, and two quarters...rather, probably the matriarch and patriarch of the family contributed $100 and then got their children to sign the card. it was in bad taste not to have the others also contribute, but i bet it wasn't much of a discussion. i bet the parents normally dealt with that kind of thing, and the children never thought twice to contribute. the parents should have suggested it, but if these are young people starting out, they probably didn't even realize....most likely they just thought, oh wedding, cool, and went there to party.... anyway you need to LET IT GO. don't overextend your gift to them, but give them what you feel comfortable and then try to get over this because you're really dwelling on something insane here.
gossipqueen gossipqueen 8 years
I still think $100 for 8 grown ups is CHEAP...a thoughtful gift would've been better. A $20 thoughtful gift would have been better...but to each their own!
k8-rckstr k8-rckstr 8 years
"you're a dumb spoiled brat... " I think that comment was a little abrasive... theres no need for insulting the OP...IMO... Everyone is entitled to their opinion, I think we can leave the insults out of it...
k8-rckstr k8-rckstr 8 years
RockAndRepublic - you're too good to me ;) haha
Witchy-Ways Witchy-Ways 8 years
I agree with most commenters, there's absolutely no right here to feel cheated at all. When you invite people to come to your wedding you do so because you want them to be there and not to give you presents that have cost them as much as you wedding did. That would be blackmail in my opinion, because you're forcing people to spend an enormous amount of money on your very own marriage? That just doesn't make sense to me.
shayela shayela 8 years
Er...why are you not over this yet? I'm in high school and even I know money isn't everything. Chill. What a stupid thing to hold a grudge over. And aren't wedding supposed to be about your happiness and love for another person? They're not excuses to restock your inventory and be petty. I mean, yes, it's weird and kind of cheap, but it's weird of you to be so judgmental, I think.
aylee aylee 8 years
I thought you invite people coz you want to celebrate with them, not so you can have someone help you pay for your wedding. I thought that you should be grateful when the people you invited, the people you want in your wedding show up and celebrate with you. I didn't know that a wedding invitation is an invitation to send gifts. I share the same questions as nonny mouse about giving cash to cover price-per-plate. How are guests expected to know the cost? How do guests ask without being too nosy? How can a couple inform guests of the cost without being tacky?
curlikues curlikues 8 years
It is a little cheap to bring a $100 gift among 8 guests, but I think it's important to think about why they were there to begin with. Isn't a wedding a celebration of your love? It's not a gift drive or something. For my own wedding, I am inviting only the people we love the most...people who I know genuinely want to be present at my wedding. I think that will make it a more meaningful event. I am sure they will select thoughtful and sweet gifts, just like I would for them because those would be the people I would share my last penny with or save up for 3 months for. And if they don't show up with anything, well, I'll just be glad they were present to share such a joyous moment in my life. And I'll know that they probably are going through some sort of hardship, etc., no big deal. Plus, don't forget to take into account the trouble it takes for people to get to your wedding. That's a lot to ask with the hotel costs, airfare, clothing, time off work, etc. Maybe you burdened these people and they were being nice by showing up. Of course I don't know the situation, but I don't think I would invite people to my wedding just for the gifts, or burden people who are more like acquaintances with the trouble and expense of my wedding. Nor would I want to shift that burden onto my parents and ask them to pay more money for the sake of a few more gifts for me. I would rather save the money and buy the things I want for myself. If you didn't want them to be there, then why did you invite them? How would they have known how expensive your dinner was going to be? I had no idea how expensive weddings were before I started planning my own. I guess what I'm saying is that I would have been annoyed in this situation, but it's not worth a year of resentment and making it worse by a cheap gift of your own will only make you feel bad all over again, especially when it was your choice to extend the invite anyways.
punjabibyotch punjabibyotch 8 years
you're a dumb spoiled brat... your PARENTS paid for your wedding, you aren't owed sh*t. You expect each person give you $100? YOU decided to make your parents spend $130 per guest. It doesn't matter if they're rich, they can give you whatever they feel like. Why are you complaining, you didnt pay for your wedding. Grow the f**k up
porkypocky porkypocky 8 years
Yeah, they were being cheap, but why take it out on her daughter if she wasn't the one who was being stingy? Read what everyone else wrote and just let it go. It's a petty thing to be bitter over.
a-nonny-mouse a-nonny-mouse 8 years
"in my family and my realm of friends the general rule of thumb when it comes to. . . giving cash {is to cover} the cost of your plate." What sort of couple publicizes the cost of a guest's meal? Is this a common practice, letting guests know how much will be spent on their meal (ostensibly in an attempt to recover the costs)? How on Earth would a person spread that sort of information? How are guests expected to know?
angelbaby2 angelbaby2 8 years
oh poor you-greta! your parents give you a grand wedding and you spend a year crying to yourself that someone gave you a cheap gift! boo hoo! wake up! nobody owes you a thing. were u a spoiled, coddled princess? My mother in law is like that! Be thankful, that your parents gave you a nice wedding and no one has cancer or is dying. grow up.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
Wow, just... Wow. I can't believe that people are actually CALCULATING what someone should spend on a gift. So if they've got a tight budget, but you spend 140 per plate on their dinners, they shouldn't come celebrate your union with you because they can't afford a $280 gift? Because that's exactly what some of you are saying. GROW UP. It's not up to society to furnish your new life together. Originally, a bride wore white because she was a virgin. Gifts were given to celebrate the union between two people. Nowadays, 87% of all couples live together before getting married and have already set up house. Because their stuff isn't "nice" enough people should bring really expensive gifts to them to improve their already lived in home? It's absolutely ridiculous, selfish and VERY MUCH sounds like self entitlement.
0danielle0 0danielle0 8 years
a nonny mouse, VERY well put. :)
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
RockandRepublic, I'm with you... City Hall all the way!
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
I agree that people come off a little entitled when it comes to weddings. who are we to make judgments about what people can afford? a gift, at the end of the day, is a nice gesture. I guess I'm nontraditional because I can see your point, but honestly, how lucky are you to have met and married the man of your dreams, and had a gorgeous wedding? do you really need to be upset over the dollar value of a gift?
geebers geebers 8 years
I am glad to read how people agree that while these guests are cheap- there is NO value or sense in an eye for an eye here. Why would you "punish" someone for their relative's bad sense? Get over it.
jkat jkat 8 years
One exception: If you are very close to the bride and groom and they would know/understand your situation. Although, everyone I have ever been very close to, I have managed to save and give a very nice gift to reflect my affection for them as a couple -- even when I was broke in law school. It IS insulting for people to give bad presents. It is like saying that even though we have known about your wedding for months, we haven't made any effort to save for or put thought into a token to show we love you. It says "I don't really care about you, and I am here for the booze and food." Let's face it, there are plenty of people who are invited to weddings out of family and business obligations that the bride and groom would just as soon not have there. Those are the people who usually end up insulting the couple with a crappy gift, while drinking their weight at the open bar.
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