Monday, June 6, 2011

Am I supposed to send a GIFT?!


I have a question, and I know you will give me a straight answer, and will perhaps let me know if I am just being a cheapskate/jerk. A woman I went to high school with is getting married next month. We were friends, but I wouldn't say we were close. We didn't really do anything together, or ever hang out outside of school. We were just friendly during our school days. We are both 22 now, and I saw her randomly for lunch over Christmas (after not seeing her for maybe 2 years) and she said she would be inviting me to her wedding, and asked me to take part in the Mass. I was shocked, because 1. I never expected to be invited, and 2. Take part in the Mass!? I have since been invited to the bridal shower and the bachelorette party.

The wedding is in the States, and I live in London. I am a grad student and any money I have is in the form of a student loan. I'm broke. The invites are very nice, but I let her know I couldn't make it, due to the distance, etc. Now to get to my question. What do I do about a gift? Am I supposed to send this person a gift for the shower and the wedding? I've looked at her registry, and it is filled with things I can't even afford for myself. I don't even own a chair right now, I just have a mattress and a tray that doubles as a place to eat and use my laptop. Anyways, am I really supposed to send a gift for these things? I feel like an asshole for making such a fuss, but I am still not quite sure why I was invited. What should I do?

Thanks for what I know will be some honest words!


a) The bride knew you would never make it to the shower or the wedding and she only invited you to try and finagle a few extra gifts.


b) She was putting together the guest list and suddenly realized she doesn't have a lot of friends.

Either way, you don't owe her anything. Send a CARD, for fuck's sake.

Merethe Hopland by Billy Kidd via n &n


  1. Maybe we're all so cynical as to think that she's garnering friends and gifts, when really she sees you as a true friend.... Actually HELL no. A pretty card will surely suffice. If she DOES think of you as a true friend, she'll get it. If not, SUMO (shut up, move on). :-)

  2. I don't know if her motives matter one way or the other. Perhaps she considers you more of a friend than you do for her, or perhaps she thought you would be a fun addition to the guest list and would know lots of the other guests. Either way, a card if perfectly acceptable and shows you appreciate the invite and are happy for her. But doing more than that is certainly not required.

  3. I don't think you OWE her a gift, but a small one might be nice. Honestly, your post kinda sounds like you're trying to be cheap and keep your conscience about it. When you say you saw her randomly for lunch, do you mean she invited you to lunch or you ran into her and sat next to her or...? because it sounds to me like it's more than likely that she invited you to lunch specifically because she wanted you to be invited not just via the mail but in person. You don't have to get her a huge gift, or even one off of her registry, honestly. And you certainly don't have to get her a gift for both shower and ceremony. but send her something small and sweet and thoughtful, because it sounds like it would mean A LOT to her. (even handmade if you have a second or two and no money)

  4. Card. There is never a requirement to give a gift. Even if you were close, and attending her wedding, you don't HAVE to get a gift, particularly if you're a grad student. Don't lose any sleep over this.

  5. It seems to me that this girl just considers you to be more of a friend than you consider her to be. And that's nice. She likes you. Be grateful. You don't, however, owe her a gift. A card is a really nice gesture and you should write something more than just signing your how honored you were to be invited and how you wish you could have made it but being the poor grad student that you are...blah blah....thoughts and best wishes...blah blah....

    Be gracious and pleasant....if she doesn't have any friends and considers you to be flattered...and move on.

  6. Seriously. Don't feel bad.

    We had a few old friends that we wanted to include in our wedding because despite our friendship not being as strong as it was in the past, we wanted to put the message out there that we still had a special place in our heart for them (you know the type: childhood friend, no big falling out, just drifted apart, but you don't love them any less than when you were 12).

    We were also 22 at the time and due to financial constraints many of them couldn't make it and had to turn down the invite. I couldn't tell you if they sent us a gift OR a card.

    If you friend is anything like us, this is just her way of acknowledging the impact you might have had in her life leading up to the occasion. Definitely not about the gift and hopefully the offer is extended without any assumptions or guilt implied.

    Some of us are just terribly nostalgic like that.

  7. I'm MOH in two upcoming weddings and I've heard the following phrase too often to count: "well the more people you invite the more presents you'll get." It seems to be one of the deciding factors in the size of the guest list. And the idea to send invitations to people they know won't come...

  8. Oh man, I have to say, this post + some of the comments are kind of making me worry! I am getting married next year and have just put together my guest list. There are a few friends from college I invited even though we haven't hung out much since we graduated. I certainly didn't invite them for the gifts--I just think they're awesome and wanted them to be there! Might they think that's why I'm inviting them??? That's awful...I hope not!!

  9. Nice card and something small, 'quirky','kooky'& cheap from the Buckingham Palace gift shop.
    No guilt!

  10. I invite peeps to stuff who cant come because i love them. i want nothing more than to let them know this. and that i wished they lived closer.