Money Moral Dilemma: Do I give a gift when it's a 'pretend' wedding?



  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Forumite Posts: 34,018
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Savvy Shopper!
    Sadie73 said:

    Pollycat said:

    ‘I really don't like anyone asking for wedding presents.

    It was different many years ago when couples got engaged, set a date for the wedding and lived at home until after the wedding, then set up home together.

    Towels, irons, kettles were welcome gifts.

    A lot of people nowadays seem to want money so they can spend it on a honeymoon.’

    As a parent involved in two weddings at the moment whereby my children both own houses with their partners, it seems very reasonable to me when they are spending upwards of £200 per guest to have them share their special days to prefer money to another iron or toaster. People may wish to buy something cheap or not disclose by a monetary amount how much they spend on a gift, but please bear in mind that if you are one of the favoured few deemed worthy of spending a great deal of money on to be a guest at a wedding, then please think more kindly of the happy couple. If you’d rather keep your money in your pocket then my suggestion would be to politely decline the invitation rather than giving a pointless gift. I very much hope that the wonderful guests at my children’s long awaited weddings will feel after the delays they’ve experienced, a honeymoon is the very least they deserve.

    You are coming at this from a parent perspective.
    I'm not.
    And I don't subscribe to the 'it will cost the bride & groom (or their parents) £x to feed and (maybe) water me at their wedding so I will give a monetary gift to a similar value' viewpoint.
    When did weddings get so cynical?
  • Smaddon90
    Smaddon90 Forumite Posts: 1
    First Post
    I find this an interesting one, the concept of ‘real’ and ‘pretend’ weddings. My partner and I are not bothered about the legalities of an official wedding (we own a house together and have a will, for us that is enough), so instead we legally changed our surnames to merge them this year ready for when we eventually have children and are having a big party to celebrate. I’d say 90% of people are treating it like a wedding, we are providing food & drink and are both dressing formally, but we didn’t put anything about gifts on the invite as honestly, that’s not something we’re bothered about. It’s not cost anywhere near as much as a ‘normal’ wedding and I think a lot of the time the gifts that people bring for a wedding are more of a Thankyou for the bride and groom paying £100 a head for food and drinks for the day! 

    Regarding this dilemma, I’d say it’s similar practise, if they are not intending having an ‘official’ ceremony at a later date then for me it’s exactly the same as anyone else getting married and I would gift as such. I too am not a fan of giving money but then similarly buying someone a present they will likely never use is also a bit pointless. I’d usually ask the couple if there is anything in particular they would like, that seems to be what the majority of our guests who are giving gifts have done, and I’ve provided a few options at different price points for each. 

    With covid delaying and changing a lot of the weddings I had been invited to, I think the whole concept of marriage is one that is gradually becoming more tailored to each individual couple, and I love that everything is not so set in stone now, it’s good to mix things up instead of going to 10 cookie cutter weddings!
  • Indigo_and_Violet
    Indigo_and_Violet Forumite Posts: 209
    100 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    I find the antipathy towards cash gifts weird. For me, the point of gift giving is to give something you know the recipient wants. If what the couple wants is money, then money is what they'll get. I've been to a few weddings where the gift list was honeymoon 'experiences' which was nice because afterwards you got a thank you card with a photo of the couple doing 'your thing' but equally I know for most friends having a wedding has cleared out their savings and replenishing them was their top household priority. I'd rather give wanted and needed cash than a £70 butter dish. 

    In terms of whether I'd give a gift at this wedding then I'd go with the crowd - providing this is the one and only celebration of this nuptial that you'll be invited to I'd given whatever you had intended to give regardless of whether or not the divorce had gone through. If you're really not happy going to a 'pretend' wedding and think you might end up spending the day slightly sulking or making knowing comments about it not being their real wedding day I'd politely decline - you've been invited to celebrate their union on a day that's important to them and if you don't want to do that then don't go. 
  • Mela322
    Mela322 Forumite Posts: 148
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    I'm just wondering if the wedding date was set well in advanced knowing the divorce would be finalised before then.  It could be that due to all the covid delays, his divorce was delayed.  I can imagine it wouldn't be easy or cheap to cancel the wedding.  At this point, this wedding is their official wedding to celebrate with family and they will then go to their local registry office to make it legally official.   They may share this at the wedding or they are hoping the divorce comes through before then.   I would buy a gift and be happy to celebrate with them in such awful times.
  • Spiizzi
    Spiizzi Forumite Posts: 1
    First Anniversary First Post
    This made me feel uncomfortable on a number of levels! There seems to be an element of deceit and I’m really not sure about asking for money especially for a second wedding. I would not have dreamed of doing that when I got married a second time. Unless they are genuinely impoverished.....?
  • TonyMMM
    TonyMMM Forumite Posts: 3,335
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    VAM1973 said:
    I wouldn't go it's against the law to get married before you are divorced 
    As they aren't getting legally married, that isn't an issue
  • ParsleyTheLioness
    ParsleyTheLioness Forumite Posts: 1
    First Post
    I'd be a little naffed off that this wasn't actually a wedding. Doesn't seem like they have been transparent with that. Up to you, if you do decide to give a gift, then I wouldn't be inclined to do the same for the 'real' wedding, unless they are embarassed, and just intend to quietly get married when they are in a position to? In which case, I'd gift, to give the benefit of the doubt, and in the spirit of harmony.
  • Cimscate
    Cimscate Forumite Posts: 145
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    If it's family ask yourself what you normally give at a family wedding and do the same thing here.......
  • ginger_chocolate
    ginger_chocolate Forumite Posts: 284
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Posts
    Do you want to give them a gift?

    If you do wnat to give a gift, why does it matter in this context whether the "marriage" is legally binding or not?

    If you don't want to give a gift, just don't. Plenty of people don't give wedding presents at all, and that's fine.

     I don't really understand why the legality of the process has anything to do with the gift. If someone celebrates their birthday a week before the actual day that doesn't mean I don't give them a present because it's not their "real" birthday. 
  • Ringo90
    Ringo90 Forumite Posts: 51
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts Name Dropper
    I see a lot of people here judging without knowing. First, do we know for sure he has lied about the divorce? The OP isn't clear about how reliable is their source.
    Second, if indeed the divorce hasn't gone through, could it be that it had a set date, but it was postponed due to COVID (as someone here has already said).
    If the possibility of the guy lying is bothering you, I would suggest speaking to him frankly about it.
    After that, even if for whatever reason he's not divorced but they'd still like to have a celebration party, well, it's their union they're celebrating. If you believe in this union regardless of the bureaucracy, then attend the party and bring a gift as it was any other wedding.
    Instead, if you're bothered by the possible lie/by the fact the union is not (yet) recognised by the law, then just don't attend the party.
    But attending the party and not bringing the gift just because of what you're believing in doesn't make sense and it just looks like you don't want to open the wallet. Be coherent with yourself and excuse yourself for the party.
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