Friday, April 6, 2012

How much do I have to spend on my BF's best friend's wedding??


Dear ESB,

My BF and I are going to his best friend's wedding in Hawaii this summer. 

Here's my question: what is the trade-off (is there any?) between how much you spend on travel to get to a wedding and how much you spend on a gift? In other words, how much of a B does it make me if I don't get these people a gift?

The background here is that between taking the happy couple to a champagne bar the night of their engagement, a night-on-the-town girls-only engagement party, the official engagement party, BF attending the bachelor party in Mexico and the both of us flying to/staying in Hawaii for the whole wedding week at the couple's request, this wedding is costing us an ungodly amount of money. 

I've also just been informed of what type of gift I should bring to the bridal shower, and that I will be expected to bring a costume hat -- shower to be held in Hawaii the week of the wedding so no getting out of it. All of this adds up to an amount that is well over what I earn in an entire month, and I'm starting to resent it. 

To make things more complicated, I think my judgment is clouded from what happened the last time I got the couple a gift, for their engagement party. BF and I picked out a cool travel-related coffee table book as they hadn't registered for anything yet. Not only did we never get a thank you card (the party was 10 months ago) but the bride-to-be told both BF and I on separate occasions that she thought our gift was "weird." 

I thought her comments were rude and hurtful, so it's entirely possible that I'm too bitter about that experience to see things clearly this time. I feel like I've already spent too much on this wedding, and am really balking at the idea of spending more on a gift for both the shower and the wedding itself. 

Am I being totally unreasonable? Or is ok to say 'enough'?

Thanks,
Broke Wedding Guest

*****

FUCK THAT SHIT.

Your presence at the wedding is gift enough.

I sort of think you should skip the bridal shower and go to the beach! alone! with your boyfriend! But, your call.

Prada Fantasy Lookbook Spring 2012 via Fashion Gone Rogue

66 comments:

  1. Ugggghhhh these fucking people. The expensive dog and pony show their wedding sounds like is insane.

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  2. Yeah, they sound like horrible, selfish assholes. Get them a flaming bag of dogshit and call it a day. ;-)

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  3. If not for the last part about your "weird" gift that never got a thank you, I'd say that your presence is gift enough but that a card with a nice note or a very inexpensive but thoughtful gift is the way to go...
    BUUUT...given that this girl sounds like a princess who demands her wedding be a certain way... you should just try to get her the weirdest gift you can find. Cause your other gift sounds really nice and screw her for not appreciating it.

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    1. ha! yeah, get her one of those "Hawaii" tourist gifts with google-y eyed clam shells, but a chip-clip, clipping a bag o' flaming dogshit.

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  4. And here's your outfit for the shower,complete with
    costume hat.

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  5. Jesus Christ, who are these people? I love reading this stuff because it puts my guilt about my upcoming wedding costing anyone anything at all into perspective. A boltbus ticket and 2 nights at the holiday inn in Philly start to seem more reasonable. I think you should give some (small amount of) money to charity in her name. She'll fucking hate that.

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    1. Oh my god, so this. *This*.

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    2. ohhhh money to charity is a great idea for so many reasons.

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    3. i 4th this comment. probably because i work for a nonprofit though :)

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    4. Definitely. And if you give a large amount to charity in her name, she'll hate it even more because she'll think of the "non-weird" present she could have had for that amount. (I actually do this for people that I like, too.)

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    5. Just to be clear, I think that giving money in someone's name is also a nice thing to do for people who are into that kind of thing, as well as a slightly obnoxious thing to do for selfish rich people who feel they are entitled to many lavish gifts.

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    6. Please please please please PLEASE do this!!!

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    7. Please, oh please do this!!! Make sure you donate to something bizarre and "weird" too.

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    8. LOL ! i left this open on my comp and my mom saw it. she laughed so hard she peed a little. she was wiping tears from her eyes and said, "OOH ! SO TRUE !"

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    9. @17 beats - LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE

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    10. Brilliant! And don't just make it any charity gift...make it one that she'll find really "weird," but that will be so gratefully received by the recipient! Like a goat in a Nepalese village or something.

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  6. After reading the whole thing... this girl sounds like an ungrateful, spoiled brat. Your presence is more than enough after all the money you've spent already and I agree - skip the damn shower and go to the beach with your boyfriend instead.

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  7. Wow. F* that. I'd say, send her a link to APW's WIC articles, but it sounds like its not worth your energy. Spend your time finding a hot bikini instead.

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  8. This bride sounds like bad news.
    My rule is that you get a wedding gift for a couple if you are invited to their wedding. Whether or not you go. Whether or not you like them. It can be weird or inexpensive, IMO, but you and your boyfriend should give them something.
    Just because you chose to go to the wedding and agreed to everything she has asked of you, doesn't mean you skimp on a present because you're resenting her for her bad behavior.
    Besides, do you really want to hear from her that she can't believe you and your boyfriend didn't get them anything?

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    1. i would want to hear about it. then i'd ask where my thank you card for the engagement party gift was since she started the tactless conversation.

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  9. I agree with other commenters to get them *something* that is not expensive. Then you skip the shower (I wld tell her ahead of time you can't make it so she isn't complaining you just didn't show) bc you are feeling sick, have to dial in to work conference call, whatevs. This is not just her wedding but essentially an (potentially) awesome vacay for you and your BF so your first priority is to enjoy yourself!! Also I would feign swimmers ear and completely block her out.

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  10. Ha, ESB's first line of her response is exactly what went through my head. I'd even take it one step farther and bow out of even going (unless tickets have already been purchased, hotel paid for, etc). There is absolutely no reason for you both to cater to that level of entitlement.

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  11. I got married last October and I didn't expect gifts from anyone who did a significant amount of travel. I would go with a thoughtful card. Especially now that she's made her opinion of your taste in gifts QUITE clear. Would it be worthwhile to talk to her about her wedding expectations/personality shift?

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  12. yeah, lady, go to the beach.
    at this point, it's obviously your vacation with a little wedding thrown in.

    and when you're in hawaii, there's never "too much time at the beach."

    it certainly will cure your wedding-related stress. :)

    have fun! a week in hawaii sounds like a dream!

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  13. I think you sound a little bitter about the coffee table book, to be honest.

    I don't disagree that this wedding sounds on the extravagant side, but I am assuming your boy friend will be going with or without you - I don't think you should let any of this affect his time celebrating with his Best Friend...

    I'd get a nice gift, because seriously what are you out, and be the bigger person... Stiffing the bride and groom a gift JUST because his GF may have made a couple stupid comments, doesn't mean you go to the wedding, participate all week and then don't at least give them a card or something.

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  14. Um, or be the ADULT in the situation and call her and say that you feel hesitant to buy her a gift because she received your last one so horribly.

    I am assuming you guys will all continue to be friends after this.... You could just cut the bride a little slack and assume they would do the same for you when you get married?

    Just sayin' - everyone is acting like this girl can cut these people out of her life. It's her BF's best friend - he's not likely to go away anytime soon.

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    1. I don't think calling and say that is "being an adult" - it's just weird and unnecessary drama.

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    2. I agree with skipping the shower. Just send back a regret with the RSVP. You don't need to make an excuse. Think about the witness stand. No more information than necessary. If someone asks, have a simple answer ready. "Robbie and I are spending some alone time together on this beautiful island. We'll see you at the wedding and the reception."

      I wouldn't make the call as Anon says above. I agree with the one above me--makes unnecessary drama. Ignoring the bride's poor manners is more adult. You may have to contend with more of these comments in the future since she is your BF's friend. Give a card with a personal note inside as the gift. And then leave this chapter behind you like a big girl. **SSB

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  15. I agree she sounds like a jerk, but I also don't think there's really a fair "tally" of how much you should spend on celebrating a friend's wedding or that travel really offsets that...

    If the BF is truly the groom's best friend, it would be a little weird/hurtful of him not to get a gift of some sort, no? Even if it's something that's just for the guy like a fancy bottle of whiskey? I think the no gifters are a little odd unless your boyfriend is experiencing serious hardship, in which case, he should do something symbolic instead. It's not nec. your responsibility to chip in on this one. Before we were married, my husband and I sprung for the gifts for our friends solo (even if we put each other on the card.)

    In general I also kind of think that whining about destination weddings is a tad silly. If you really can't afford it, send bf solo. If the groom is truly a best friend, and bf can't swing it, the groom will understand...or help pay for flights. BUT, If you decide to go, don't ruin the experience for yourself by resenting it.

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    1. Agree, skip the shower but get a gift you know he'll like, even if she will think it's wierd.

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  16. Say, "Friend, I have already spent more on your wedding than I make in a month. I love you, but I cannot spend any more; I hope you will understand. I cannot attend your shower."

    If you feel you must continue to give gifts, Lucy's idea is awesome. I suggestDONATING $$$ IN HER NAME TO HELP AN ORPHANED OR POOR BRIDE HAVE A HAPPY WEDDING.

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  17. Anyone saying this lady is obligated to get ANOTHER gift for this couple is insane. Any reasonable couple would understand not receiving a gift from someone who has spent this much time and money on their celebrations. Few couples these days need that set up for their new lives together (these two don't sound like the exception) and we give gifts out of tradition and a show of love and happiness.

    Lady, you've done this. If your BF feels like he needs to get them something, let him figure it out. You're off the hook. I didn't expect gifts from my friends who traveled across the state, let alone to the tropics.

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    1. They clearly aren't a reasonable couple though.

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  18. Donation in their name solves all these problems at once. It's incredibly tacky to mention how much you've donated, whether it's $5 or $5,000, so you just make them a nice little card that says "In Honor of Your Marriage, A Donation Has Been Made in Your Name to (Charity)."

    Which is neat, because it can just be $5! Choose a charity that the groom would like.

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  19. P.S. Skip the shower and the shower gift. These people are graceless.

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  20. A gift is given, not demanded, people. Don't give another gift, don't go to the shower if you'd rather hit the beach. A wedding isn't an excuse to demand others give you a bunch of shit.

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  21. Two things...

    1. Traditionally you have ONE YEAR from the wedding date to get the couple a gift so you could either wait until you've recovered a bit from their pricey wedding or just let it slip your mind completely.

    2. Get them a gift certificate for one of the places they are registered so you don't make any more gift "mistakes".

    I still like the charity in their name idea. Okay I guess that's three things.

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  22. SHENANIGANS! Nobody tells me what to do with my vacation days

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  23. I don't understand why your BF isn't covering the wedding gift, since it is his best friends wedding. And I also don't understand why he isn't telling you NOT to worry about it, and that he has it covered. Especially if you are paying for your own ticket out there. The shower is a different issue - just bring something small and try to enjoy yourself if you already agreed to go. Don't lie to get out of it - that's even more hurtful.

    I also agree that a gift is given because you want to give it...it's not an obligation. And while people can get crazy while planning weddings, they usually do understand if you can't afford a gift. I had my wedding in Rome...I was super happy if people even TRIED to make travel plans. I didn't expect gifts from anyone. Just for people to have fun and not cause any unnecessary drama amongst themselves - at least for the day of.

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  24. So all the ladies attending this shower are packing costume hats in their suitcases? The mind boggles.

    Gifts are not required (nor should they be expected, ESPECIALLY when you are buying pricey airline tickets + a hotel room), but seeing as it is your BF's best friend, let him make the call.

    I would opt out of that shower if you can think of any relatively drama-free way to do so. She isn't even your actual friend!

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  25. You should buy one of shoe creepy horse head things that I've seen around here as your costume hat!

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    1. i like the way you think, miss georgia. and it's on sale.

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    2. i like the way you think, miss georgia. and it's on sale.

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  26. So many comments centre around the crazy bride - but like a few others said - its your bf's BEST FREIND'S wedding! So let your bf call the shots.

    But what kind of gift have you 'been informed' to bring to the bridal shower? i agree, thats sounds a bit much. Could you get a duty free bottle of wine from the airport? ;)

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    1. As far as "being informed" to bring a gift many shower hostesses suggest a gift theme related to the shower. That doesn't make it compulsory to bring a gift. I've been to showers where there were suggested gifts, such as: kitchen gadgets and cook books, pampering to prepare for the wedding, lingerie, etc. Often, the bride has no input on what goes on the shower invite. We didn’t have anything about where we are registered on our wedding invite, as it is not polite to do so, but my showers hostesses did.

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  27. And...maybe she thought it was weird because engagement gifts are not standard, and all she really expects is your support and presence. The writer might be making a mountain out of a mole hill.

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  28. I don't care if someone got me the weirdest gift out there. I would NEVER tell them I thought it was weird. To me, yes, the original writer sounds a bit put out by that, but with good reason. I say gift card, charity, or nothing. Also - don't go to the shower. PLEASE.

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  29. Broke Wedding GuestApril 6, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Hey all! Original question-asker here. Thanks for the input, reassurance and objectivity. Based on all of the above I think I'm going to make a small donation to a charity I know is near & dear to the bride for the shower, let BF handle the wedding gift and enjoy my time on the beach regardless of how I've felt up until now.

    Actually, I think I might make all future wedding gifts to friends in the form of donations to their favorite charity, thanks for that idea!

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    1. you're a good sport...and I hope that this will be the last of bad behavior from the bride so that the men can stay best buddies

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  30. I'm a little confused as to why everyone is so annoyed about spending money to go to a destination wedding. It's in Hawaii. That sounds pretty great. It's a vacation with a bunch of friends, and you don't have to organize it or deal with all the drama of getting everyone in one place at one time. Aside from flights and hotels (which the couple probably arranged a discount on for you), most of your expenses for food and alcohol are covered. If you can't afford to go or don't want to go, it is always acceptable to make an excuse, but honestly, it sounds like a fun event!

    Oh - and also - you get to celebrate a really important and happy event for your boyfriend - his best friend is getting married. Guess what happens when dude's friends get married, it makes it more likely that he will want to get married as well... which is probably good for you (unless you don't want to marry him/spend the rest of your lives together.. in which case, who cares - just skip the wedding). So - bottom line - suck it up, be nice and gracious and the person that your boyfriend loves, cut the stressed out bride some slack, have an awesome vacation, and stop whining about all of the hard work that someone else is putting in for you to have fun.

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    1. Oh, yey, an expensive vacation someone else picked for me! And if I'm real lucky, I might get my very own RING out of it! Life just doesn't get much better. It sure makes me want to bestow the couple who made it all possible with expensive gifts.

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    2. Wow... "an expensive vacation someone picked for you" - guess what - you don't have to go on this expensive vacation. Just grow a pair and decline. If the bride or groom knew that's how you felt, they would prefer that you did NOT attend. In fact, that's one of the big benefits of a destination wedding - it weeds out people just like you.

      Bottom line: if you're going to be ungracious and obnoxious about someone's wedding - if you don't want to go, or you're somehow offended by the party that they're throwing, or you disapprove- then do yourself and the happy couple a favor by staying home.

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    3. "Oh, yey, an expensive vacation someone else picked for me!" - you took the words right out of my mouth. There are LOTS of people in my life that I love, but would not spend a month's salary (!!) and my entire allotment of annual vacation time to see get married. I'm not sure I would use up a year's vacation on my OWN wedding, let alone expect others to make my "special day" the center of their entire year. I can't believe anyone thinks they should have the right to dictate the schedules and finances of others like that - but it seems that I've been proven wrong.

      The fact that these people are holding a destination wedding in Hawaii AND a bachelor party in Mexico just blows my mind. Talk about entitled.

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  31. "Guess what happens when dude's friends get married, it makes it more likely that he will want to get married as well... which is probably good for you"

    Good god woman, this isn't the 1950s!!!

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    1. Dear genius commenter:
      1) Finish reading the sentence before you get all judgmental.
      2) Try to avoid hipster cliches. This blog is better than that.

      Best wishes!

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    2. The rest of that sentence doesn't counter the sexist attitude! (If she WANTS to get married, surely she doesn't have to go to a wedding to "convince" her bf that that would be a good idea?? Sheesh.)

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    3. Wait, what hipster cliche? I missed the hipster cliche. Pls clue me in on the hipster cliche. Thank you!

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    4. I completely missed the hipster cliche too. And yep, still sexist no matter how far along I read into the sentence. Basically, go to the wedding if you wanna get married, blow it off it not? Yikes.

      I also find destination weddings annoying. I'm sure the writer-inner would prefer not to spend a month of income and a week of vacation time to attend, but she feels obligated to go because it's her boyfriend's best friend. Sure, she could decide not to go, but I'm sure she feels that she should, and I don't think we should fault her for not being totally thrilled about it.

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  32. I agree with ESB. Your presence is the present. We were at least kind enough to let folks know on our wedding website that, "your presence is the greatest present and we're happy to receive nothing beyond a smile." And we meant it too. We knew that even though Santa Barbara is now our home, it was a "destination wedding" for all of our family and quite a few of our friends...a large majority coming in from the M States - Montana, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. And while the wedding was a huge milestone in our life, that doesn't mean that our event plays center in everyone else's lives (duh right?). And sh*t gets expensive in SB - we're no fools! The best gifts that we received were thoughtful hand-made and hand-me-down (up!) types of gifts...and of course just straight up labor at helping us put together such a grand celebration! Memories are the best gifts!

    That being said, people are bat-ass crazy, selfish, narcissistic, material, superficial, etc etc for their weddings. I had a coworker (male at that) who bitched that people deviated from their wedding registries (the nerve!). I also was a bridesmaid in a wedding that I shelled out mucho bucks for, how many pre-celebrations does there have to be and why on earth should I bring a gift to each and every one - informal engagement shower, formal engagement shower, lingerie party, bachelorette...??? I've been a bridesmaid many times, but this particular time was so much more costly (it's always costly), and to top it off the bride picked out her own gift from the bridesmaids...at $200/person! That was too much.

    I'd just buy them something experiential, like a bottle of wine, and not think twice about what they'll think of the gift. It's one thing to put a lot of thought into a gift when you know the recipient is a grateful person; it's quite another when it's a self-centered duo trying to stock up on goodies. A gift becomes less of a gift in the true sense, when it's expected.

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