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    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 8th May 18, 5:24 PM
    • 157Posts
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    MSE Sarah
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I give a bigger wedding gift because I can't make the big day?
    • #1
    • 8th May 18, 5:24 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I give a bigger wedding gift because I can't make the big day? 8th May 18 at 5:24 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    A good friend's getting married and I can't go. I feel I should buy a bigger gift than planned because I'm saving on the usual outfit, travel and hotel costs - but some think I should give LESS as another guest's going in my place. What should I do?

    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.

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Page 2
    • Goodetami
    • By Goodetami 9th May 18, 12:29 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Goodetami
    Depends Why
    To anyone saying "of course your shouldn't give a bigger gift" - surely it is not that simple.

    From the perspective of someone getting married abroad soon, I'd say it depends on the reason why the guest can't make it and if they had dropped out.

    I have no issue with people who have said no from the outset but those who have said yes then dropped out - it really depends why. We had a guest who dropped out because of unexpected financial circumstances and of course this is fine. Equally we have a guest who may drop out because they are disorganised to the extent that they have left booking flights until the last minute and have hinted at them now being too expensive, despite having 12 months to book at a far cheaper fare and otherwise having no financial issues.

    We have explicily asked for no wedding gifts because we believe that coming abroad is a big ask and enough of a commitment without a present on top. But in the case of the flimsy drop-out, given the amount of organising we've done and the fact it is too late to get a replacement in, yes I'd expect a present more by way of apology than anything else.
    • LameWolf
    • By LameWolf 9th May 18, 1:09 PM
    • 10,867 Posts
    • 119,540 Thanks
    LameWolf
    Presumably the original gift you'd thought of giving is something the happy couple will find appealing and/or useful - I'd stick with giving that. Surely it's the thought behind the gift, not the monetary value that's important.
    LameWolf
    If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion.
    • blammo
    • By blammo 9th May 18, 1:20 PM
    • 95 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    blammo
    Would you give a smaller gift if you were going?

    You should give a gift not because of whether you're going to the wedding or not, but because of who the couple are and what they mean to you as friends (assuming they are friends)
    • Gavin83
    • By Gavin83 9th May 18, 2:41 PM
    • 5,454 Posts
    • 9,028 Thanks
    Gavin83
    The author of the dilemma says he/she can't go.
    Maybe the wedding was organised at short notice and they are on holiday.
    Or have a prior engagement.

    If I had a holiday booked there's no way I'd go to a wedding instead - regardless of how good a friend it was.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    Yeah fair enough. If it was a wedding of a close friend/relative, but for some reason couldn't go then yes, I'd probably still give a present. It would probably be of similar value to if I was going.

    I've probably turned down as many wedding invites as I've accepted and never given a gift to those we haven't been to. However the majority were evening invites and were either expensive or inconvenient to go to. I'm not prepared to spend hundreds on attending the evening do of someone I don't even really consider a friend, and in one case of someone I'd never even met. One wedding invite for the entire event I turned down I did so because it was abroad.

    I also turned down an invite to a 1st birthday party as they made it clear they expected a cash gift but that's another story entirely.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 9th May 18, 2:42 PM
    • 20,979 Posts
    • 56,556 Thanks
    Pollycat
    To anyone saying "of course your shouldn't give a bigger gift" - surely it is not that simple.

    From the perspective of someone getting married abroad soon, I'd say it depends on the reason why the guest can't make it and if they had dropped out.

    I have no issue with people who have said no from the outset but those who have said yes then dropped out - it really depends why. We had a guest who dropped out because of unexpected financial circumstances and of course this is fine. Equally we have a guest who may drop out because they are disorganised to the extent that they have left booking flights until the last minute and have hinted at them now being too expensive, despite having 12 months to book at a far cheaper fare and otherwise having no financial issues.

    We have explicily asked for no wedding gifts because we believe that coming abroad is a big ask and enough of a commitment without a present on top. But in the case of the flimsy drop-out, given the amount of organising we've done and the fact it is too late to get a replacement in, yes I'd expect a present more by way of apology than anything else.
    Originally posted by Goodetami
    I'm not sure somebody who didn't make the original guest list would want to step in and possibly spend a lot of money on expensive flights because your first choice guest didn't want to pay a lot of money for flights.
    I certainly wouldn't.
    • JayD
    • By JayD 9th May 18, 4:07 PM
    • 516 Posts
    • 326 Thanks
    JayD
    You should give the gift that you chose for them and that you first planned on giving. Not everything as to be a financial quadratic equation!
    • crmism
    • By crmism 10th May 18, 5:54 PM
    • 128 Posts
    • 69 Thanks
    crmism
    Wedding gift
    I can't think why you should need to seek the opinions of others on a matter about which they have absolutely no knowledge beyond the fact that the groom is a good friend of yours.

    Just because you can't attend the wedding yourself is not an adequate reason to help decide what you should spend. Surely, whether or not you save money by not travelling or buying a new suit, it's the strength of your friendship that determines what you spend. Given that your association is close, that alone is surely enough to justify spending more than you might normally.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 10th May 18, 6:15 PM
    • 20,979 Posts
    • 56,556 Thanks
    Pollycat
    I can't think why you should need to seek the opinions of others on a matter about which they have absolutely no knowledge beyond the fact that the groom is a good friend of yours.

    Just because you can't attend the wedding yourself is not an adequate reason to help decide what you should spend. Surely, whether or not you save money by not travelling or buying a new suit, it's the strength of your friendship that determines what you spend. Given that your association is close, that alone is surely enough to justify spending more than you might normally.
    Originally posted by crmism
    Welcome to the wonderful world of MSE money moral dilemmas.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 10th May 18, 7:17 PM
    • 20,434 Posts
    • 33,982 Thanks
    Spendless
    I'm another one who has never heard of the etiquette of buying a present if invited but unable to attend. Who thought that one up - John Lewis Home Furnishings department?

    So, would I buy a bigger present? - No, absolutely not. That weddings these days cost an arm and a leg to attend doesn't mean the happy couple get 'compo' from you if you can't get there and save some cash.

    Would I buy at all? Depends. I'd still put in a work collection for example even if everyone else was invited to the evening do and I wasn't going.

    For anyone else, if it is a close relative or friend and my reasons for not going can't be helped than yes I would still buy.

    If the invite is from 'Cousin Sue' who I haven't been close to since I was 12 and that side of the family are well known for inviting everyone they've ever spoken to to their parties and I'd really rather not bother going so I'm happy I have a prior engagement, then No, I wouldn't buy.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 10th May 18, 7:22 PM
    • 20,979 Posts
    • 56,556 Thanks
    Pollycat
    I'm another one who has never heard of the etiquette of buying a present if invited but unable to attend. Who thought that one up - John Lewis Home Furnishings department?

    So, would I buy a bigger present? - No, absolutely not. That weddings these days cost an arm and a leg to attend doesn't mean the happy couple get 'compo' from you if you can't get there and save some cash.

    Would I buy at all? Depends. I'd still put in a work collection for example even if everyone else was invited to the evening do and I wasn't going.

    For anyone else, if it is a close relative or friend and my reasons for not going can't be helped than yes I would still buy.

    If the invite is from 'Cousin Sue' who I haven't been close to since I was 12 and that side of the family are well known for inviting everyone they've ever spoken to to their parties and I'd really rather not bother going so I'm happy I have a prior engagement, then No, I wouldn't buy.
    Originally posted by Spendless
    Possibly the same person who said you should spend a month's wages on the engagement ring, that you shouldn't take your hat off until the Mother of the bride takes hers off and all the other silly etiquette customs.
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