Money Moral Dilemma: Can you go giftless to a wedding?



  • Astroman67
    Astroman67 Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    We are getting married in September, and everyone we tell asks what we want as a wedding gift. I f we tell them nothing, then they tell us that they must buy us something. So rather than being inundated with toasters or photoframes we are considering vouchers from a department store, or a fund for our honeymoon.
    We really don't mind not having presents, we just want to enjoy our day with friends.
  • Ophelia
    Ophelia Forumite Posts: 10 Forumite
    When I got married years ago I would have been horrified if I thought anyone wouldn't come purely because they were unable to buy a gift. We originally asked people who wanted to give something for vouchers as we were setting up home from scratch and didn't expect anyone to gift us with the large items we needed, i.e. bed, fridge freezer, cooker, etc. Some people were uncomfortable with the idea of effectively giving cash rather than something specific so we ended up having a gift list too which went across the range of prices. But we invited the people because we wanted them there to share our day with us and not because of what they might or might not give us as a gift.

    I love the idea of donating time/expertise as has been mentioned in other posts but if someone lives far away that may not be possible. Just attending a wedding can be a huge cost in itself. People have to travel, usually buy something new to wear and if you have to add accommodation too it all adds up!

    One of my most valued and remembered gifts was given by a friend a few weeks after the wedding. She'd had some copies made of photos she'd taken and sent them through because she thought I'd like some informal shots of the day in addition to those taken by the wedding photographer. To be honest, I don't even remember what gift she brought to the wedding or if she even did. But the memory of that gesture has stayed with me and probably lasted longer than any gift she did bring and certainly longer than the marriage which ended 9 years ago now!
  • Rachel85
    Rachel85 Forumite Posts: 370 Forumite
    I'm getting married next year and would much rather that people arrived empty handed than didn't come at all.
    There is no such thing as a free lunch. Its only free because you've paid for it.

    Noone can have everything they want and the sooner you learn that the better.

    MSE Aim: To have more "thanks" than "posts"! :T
  • kater_185
    kater_185 Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    I'm getting married in September and we've been living together for a few years so we decided to set up an Oxfam Unwrapped wedding list so that others could benefit. There's then no obligation to buy a gift on the guests and the gifts start from £5 so it's very affordable. It also negates the bringing gifts to the wedding issue!
  • WhyIsSavingSoHard
    WhyIsSavingSoHard Forumite Posts: 60
    Home Insurance Hacker! Cashback Cashier
    I've got a wedding list for a reason - i don't want random handmade tat as a gift cluttering up my shed (all unwanted presents have ended up there)
    I can't believe you have the nerve to call it tat :shocked: Whoever brought you the gifts did so in good faith and probably because they couldn't afford what was on your present list.
    AMH999 wrote: »
    I am getting married in 8 weeks and I'ev asked people on the invites not to bring presents as we've been living together for 8 years. However the wedding/honeymoon costs lots of money so I've asked people to donate cash ONLY if they really want to give something.
    We did that and said they could donate anonymously by putting the money in sealed blank envelopes and popping them in a box which would be available on the night. Only 1 couple put their names on theirs and there definately wasn't an envelope from each party that came. They contained everything from £5 - £100 and they all know that we have no way of knowing who gave what. We sent the usual thank you letters to everyone afterwards and said "Thank you for coming and sharing our wedding day with us. Here's what we bought with the money gifts" and listed everything. one of our guests had a polaroid camera onthe day and gave us a whole film of piccies just before the end of the reception which was so lovely. Another gave us copies of the ones she'd taken. My youngest bridesmaid gave us a photo frame (would've cost about £5) that her mum knew was the same wood as the rest of our furniture. We put a wedding photo in it and loved it :D

    As for the original dilema, if they really are good friends they will know your situation and would love to have you there present or not. No good friend will want to know you've had sleepless nights over it and considered not going or putting yourself in debt. I would say no to offering to save to buy something off their list in the near future too as that means doing something you can't afford to still. If you really want to do something nice for them, you could always invite them to yours for a meal when it's over and they're settling back to normal life.

    NEVER put yourself in debt at if you can help it, let alone for things/situations that can be avoided.
    :j I'm not supposed to be normal, I'm supposed to be me:j
    :dance: Quidco cash back since May 2010 ~ more than £83.13 :dance:
    Must remember to use it more, but every little helps
  • NattyBimmel
    NattyBimmel Forumite Posts: 4
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    I've just been to a wedding in London and was too skint to buy a gift. I felt guilty about it for weeks in advance, but knew it was either buy a gift or buy tickets on the train. In the end, they were delighted to see me and I wasn't the only one who didn't bring a gift.
  • halia
    halia Forumite Posts: 450 Forumite
    Alison1604 wrote: »
    When I got married (both times!) I'd have been horrified if I'd thought people felt they couldn't come just because they couldn't buy a gift. I invited folks because I wanted them to share our day, not because of what they would bring. Have a quiet word with the couple beforehand, explain your situation, perhaps with the promise of a gift when your situation improves or maybe just buy a small gift or as someone else has suggested something that is homemade.

    You could offer to do something practical towards the wedding arrangements or in helping the couple set up home.

    The list is could help with decorating, diy, gardening. For the actual wedding you could offer to arrange flowers for church or reception, help with making wedding "favours", help with transport, accomodate a guest overnight, make invitations, service sheets, placecards etc. I embroidered a ring pillow for a couple when I found myself in a similar situation.

    Same here, actually I'd far rather people 'gave' promises of time or help. I don't need another white photo album or some china!

    what about......

    Help in organising part of wedding, remember the bride-to-be may enjoy doing alot of it herself (I loved picking flowers etc) but there's the less fun parts like helping Auntie Mary find a B&B, helping out on the day with getting people in the right place at the right time, offering to babysit any kids

    Watering plants/walking dogs whilst couple are on honeymoon

    Doing a 'post wedding' spring clean in their house

    Stocking fridge/ turning on heating etc the day before they get back from honeymoon

    Redecorating a room for them

    Helping with the garden

    Drop off/Pick up from airport

    Taking wedding dress home and arranging for it to be cleaned and boxed and picking it up again. (not paying for it but to get mine cleaned would have involved a 30 mile round trip to drop it off at a specialist cleaner and I don't drive)

    pressing/drying flowers as a keepsake

    writing and posting out thank yous afterwards

    offer of babysitting if they either have kids or are definitly planning them

    offer a 'minimoon' on their first wedding anniversary where you babysit/pet sit/ offer your house for free if you live somewhere nice

    Do however remember to follow through on your promises, I have had family 'give' me promises for time/ services and in several cases they have let me down. Sounds petty? well we didn't book either a photographer or a video for our wedding as a close friend (photographer) offered to do the video and some nice shots for us. It never arrived, if we had known I would have made sure we got some better photo's on the day.
    DEBT: £500 credit card £800 Bank overdraft
    £14 Weekly food budget

  • dahlsim
    dahlsim Forumite Posts: 6 Forumite
    I recently got married and a close friend of mine was made redundant a few weeks before the wedding. When i found out that he was talking about not coming as he was unable to afford a gift i was gutted. I gave him a ring and told him that i had invited him to share in our special day, not for an additional gift. He attended the wedding, he didn't bring a gift and he had a good day without feeling guilty or feeling like a cheapskate.

    I would have been devastated if he had not been there for the sake of 20-30 pounds.

    My wedding day was absolutely brilliant BECAUSE all the important people in our lives were there not because of the gifts they brought!!!!
  • Dianne_2
    Dianne_2 Forumite Posts: 8 Forumite
    Absolutely. I don't know if Scottish weddings are different because very few people actually physically bring a present to the wedding - most gift lists I know of deliver direct to the bride and groom, so there isn't the awkwardness of whether you arrive empty-handed or not. The only reason I knew some people hadn't bought gifts was when I was writing the thank you cards and I'd ordered the same number of thank you cards as invites. But I didn't check back and see who hadn't given me a gift!!! People have the outlay of transport, outfits, drinks and possibly accommodation for your wedding - I think the fact they've had to make that financial commitment already to come and share your day means it would be pretty churlish to object to them not getting you a pressie!! My pal was working in France at the time and had to pay for a flight over and back and two nights in the hotel and confessed that she hadn't been able to afford a gift too - I was mortified that she felt she needed to. Our wedding list was intended to save folk the hassle of thinking what we might need, not as a list of demands!
  • brightonman123
    brightonman123 Forumite Posts: 8,532 Forumite
    go and give them a 'IOU' or a fun gift- true friends would understand your position, and just be glad you are there, right (or why else would they inite you? i wouldnt invite anyone to a party, hoping they declined..)
    Long time away from MSE, been dealing real life stuff..
    Sometimes seen lurking on the compers forum :-)
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