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    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 31st Aug 17, 3:29 PM
    • 92Posts
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    MSE Sarah
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I give my younger sister a smaller wedding gift?
    • #1
    • 31st Aug 17, 3:29 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I give my younger sister a smaller wedding gift? 31st Aug 17 at 3:29 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    A few years ago, my older sister got married - my husband and I were doing well so gave her £500 as a wedding gift. My younger sister is getting married later this year and we are not doing as well and also now have children. Have we set a precedent and should we give £500 again as a wedding gift or can we give less based on our circumstances?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply!

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    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 07-09-2017 at 11:48 AM.
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Page 3
    • lulu69
    • By lulu69 7th Sep 17, 6:41 PM
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    lulu69
    quite! when my sister got married she hired a big cottage with a garden and we self catered. i bought a bottle of bubbly for the family meal the day of the very low key civil ceremony. for the celebration bit made a couple of cakes and and helped with the mega shop (6 trollies, 3 of booze!) and preparation and decorating. I did buy some a cheap set of towels as a joke though. £500 is probably the sum I've spent on every wedding present ever. If the family is so concerned about the financial aspect of a present then she has to go with the full £500 - she doesn't say it's completely unaffordable, just hope she hasn't got more sisters...
    • SparksAlive
    • By SparksAlive 9th Sep 17, 7:50 AM
    • 49 Posts
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    SparksAlive
    I think saying 'gosh £500 is a lot, I was happy with £50, just pay what you can afford' is missing the point. If this were the first weddding in the family then sure, OP could give what she wanted. But it's not, and she's set a precedent by giving a certain amount to the other sister. If you splash out when one gets married then cry finances when the other does, it'll cause hurt feelings. Even if it doesn't get talked about, I think the sister who gets less will wonder if she's less well liked, if she's offended OP, if they don't approve of her new husband and are sending a passive aggressive message by giving less.

    OP, have your circumstances genuinely changed so much that you can't put money aside each month till the wedding to make up the gift? As someone else suggested, can you cut back in other areas (and it is temporary after all) to afford it? I think the brief lifestyle sacrifices are worth it for the sake of your family relationships.


    If the answer really is no and you have no choice but to give less, you need to talk to your sister in advance and explain the situation. If you just give less and hope she doesn't notice, there's a good chance it'll cause hurt feelings.


    P.S. And don't let her see you then splashing out on holidays or new clothes if you just gave her a speech about how tight things are!
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 10th Sep 17, 8:36 AM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    It's regrettable that you didnt think ahead at the time you gave out the first wedding gift - ie "What if we aren't doing so well and/or have decided to have children in the meantime?"

    But, unfortunately, you didn't and you do have to treat the two of them equally. I would say that means = hand the second sister £500 as well, plus a little extra to allow for inflation in the intervening period.

    You might still be deemed to be fair if you just hand over £500 without allowing for any inflation. But you will, most definitely, be deemed to be unfair if you give less than £500 to the second sister.

    Sorry. Not the reply you want to hear - but that's the way it is to be fair. There might well be repercussions for the relationships within the family if you treat one less favourably than the other.
    If there's "4 tendencies" type of people (Gretchen Rubin) = yep....Questioner type here
    - Meets an expectation only if they believe it's justified and resists anything arbitrary or ineffective
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 10th Sep 17, 8:45 AM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Give what you can comfortably afford, and first dibs on your baby equipment. That should comfortably equate to £500 - and your sis needs to know that raising children can be expensive.
    Originally posted by tgroom57
    But the sister may have decided not to have children and/or not be able to afford to have children (so can't do so anyway) - so baby equipment would be valueless to her anyway.
    If there's "4 tendencies" type of people (Gretchen Rubin) = yep....Questioner type here
    - Meets an expectation only if they believe it's justified and resists anything arbitrary or ineffective
    • Starrystarrynight1
    • By Starrystarrynight1 10th Sep 17, 10:09 AM
    • 124 Posts
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    Starrystarrynight1
    I'm gobsmacked at some of the answers on here! The 'OP' has not made a mistake in the past with the very generous gift, and is in no way obliged to match it now. Circumstances change. That's just life.

    Give what can be comfortably afforded. It's the sentiment behind the gift that counts. I'd gracefully accept any gifts, and understand if someone couldn't afford it. If the sister moans, then I'd tell her not to be so downright shallow and greedy.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I used to be Starrystarrynight on MSE, before a log in technical glitch!
    • onlyroz
    • By onlyroz 10th Sep 17, 10:10 AM
    • 13,454 Posts
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    onlyroz
    Does the second sister actually know that the first was given £500? Can other savings be made, e.g. not buying a new dress or shoes for the wedding, not attending any hen parties etc?
    • Emor49
    • By Emor49 10th Sep 17, 10:53 AM
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    Emor49
    Whilst I've seen what is perceived to be favouritism tear families apart, if I were in your sister's shoes I would fully understand. I must also admit that the kind of sums you are talking are very generous for your sisters. However, to try and 'equalise' the gift, as well as giving a smaller amount of money, could you do anything creative to help towards the wedding, i.e. Wedding cake, making stationery, table decorations? You would save your younger sister more than the 'missing £250' in what she would pay for these kinds of services. Good luck with everything.
    • Torry Quine
    • By Torry Quine 10th Sep 17, 12:45 PM
    • 16,949 Posts
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    Torry Quine
    I'm gobsmacked at some of the answers on here! The 'OP' has not made a mistake in the past with the very generous gift, and is in no way obliged to match it now. Circumstances change. That's just life.

    Give what can be comfortably afforded. It's the sentiment behind the gift that counts. I'd gracefully accept any gifts, and understand if someone couldn't afford it. If the sister moans, then I'd tell her not to be so downright shallow and greedy.
    Originally posted by Starrystarrynight1
    I'm with you. No way should someone have to give the same amount if they can't afford it.
    Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving . Albert Einstein.

    I can bear pain myself, he said softly, but I couldna bear yours. That would take more strength than I have -
    Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 10th Sep 17, 1:17 PM
    • 28,225 Posts
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    Mojisola
    Whilst I've seen what is perceived to be favouritism tear families apart, if I were in your sister's shoes I would fully understand.
    Originally posted by Emor49
    I'd be quite embarrassed if my sister spent more money than she could afford on my wedding present because she felt she had to match a previous present.

    Our lives go through cycles and sometimes we have more money than at other times.
    • Out, Vile Jelly
    • By Out, Vile Jelly 11th Sep 17, 11:14 AM
    • 3,559 Posts
    • 11,792 Thanks
    Out, Vile Jelly
    I guess I'm hopelessly old-fashioned, but I find so much about modern weddings greedy and vulgar.

    If you give cash or a voucher as a gift you shouldn't expect the recipient to be discussing the amount with others, so how would your sister even know what the other sister got previously?

    Are we all now expected to keep spreadsheets detailing how much we spend on every gift, tracked against increased earnings and inflation?
    They are an EYESORES!!!!
    • Rags2riches
    • By Rags2riches 11th Sep 17, 11:30 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 11 Thanks
    Rags2riches
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    A few years ago, my older sister got married - my husband and I were doing well so gave her £500 as a wedding gift. My younger sister is getting married later this year and we are not doing as well and also now have children. Have we set a precedent and should we give £500 again as a wedding gift or can we give less based on our circumstances?
    Originally posted by MSE Sarah
    I'd give only what I could afford, and explain the reasons why or buy her something as a gift she would really appreciate rather than giving her cash with a monetary value. It will mean far more to her if its personal.
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