You may have seen a the story circulating in the media recently about a UK couple who contacted guests from their wedding because they weren’t satisfied with their gift. According to the story, a couple wasn’t happy with the value of a gift they received from one of their wedding guests, and they sent them a note telling them so. Mr. & Mrs. Rude even went so far as to suggest they send an additional amount, and said they expected more based on the guest’s “circumstances.” According to the guest’s account of the story, she had recently come into some money from an inheritance. As I was reading the story, I was thinking how little the gift could have possibly been — maybe they gave $25 at a black tie soiree.
But here’s the kicker; they gave the US equivalent of $145! That’s nothing to sneeze at, and dare I say, a pretty decent sum for a wedding guest. Not to mention, the guest was a former co-worker. Not a family member, not a best friend. A former co-worker. I can’t think of any circumstance where the couple’s actions would be acceptable. I’ve known plenty of people who received only an empty card from a guest, or in some cases, not even that! Sure, rant about it to your new spouse while writing them a “thank you” note and gritting your teeth. Maybe you even write a snarky note commenting on their gift, or lack thereof, to give yourself a laugh, but then you promptly tear it up and toss it. Beyond being uncouth, this totally misses the point of a wedding.
The whole idea is that people you care about celebrate your marriage with you. Your guests take time out of their lives, often traveling, arranging childcare and making other accommodations to participate in your celebration. It’s not a venture to get gifts and earn money. If you can’t afford your wedding and you need to recoup your losses that badly, that is no one’s fault but your own. Inexpensive gifts are one thing, but I do think it would be very frustrating to receive absolutely nothing from a guest. I don’t think you should ever attend a wedding empty-handed; a small gift card is easy and accessible, or something homemade like a collection of your favorite recipes or a nice frame are nice and affordable ideas. If your circumstances make you unable to give a gift, you should be up front with the bride and groom. At least give a card, and include a nice note with well wishes. No matter what, though, I don’t see any scenario where it’s okay for the bride and groom to confront the offending guest.