Wedding Party Gift Etiquette for Bride and Groom

Updated on November 22, 2012
☼.S. asks from Chula Vista, CA
12 answers

So a friend of ours got married, a destination wedding 4 hours away in wine country. My husband was a groomsman. Prior to the wedding, there was an out-of country (Mexico) bachelor party weekend that my husband attended (no host) and I also attended the bride's shower with a gift. Of course there is the tux rental, days off work for both the bachelor party and weekend wedding, gas expenditures, hotel accomodations for two nights, meals and drinks and other wedding weekend events to pay for. We ended up also giving the bride and groom a nominal gift certificate at one of their registry sites ($50). Lower than what we would normally gift because this was such a pricey affair.

After the wedding, I hear from my husband that the new bride is bitching that almost all of the wedding party (except us) didn't give them a wedding gift, as well. I am totally floored by this. For one, what bad manners. And two, this whole thing easily cost the wedding party members $1k, all included. I'm just curious ... what exactly is the etiquette for something like this? Is it poor manners to NOT give a wedding gift as a wedding party member when you've already done so much?? What do most people do?

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So What Happened?

The bride lives in a bit of a financial fairyland. They are a couple of modest solidly middle class means, but she has caviar taste. (Just to give you an idea ... the groom told my husband that their wedding cost $65k and that they put it on their HELOC.) The wedding was one of the most beautiful and spectacular weddings that I've ever attended, straight out of a magazine. Well, in fact, she found her florist in a celebrity bridal magazine; the florist handles Hollywood weddings. So there you go. It was a beautiful affair, but no, not a vacation. I am guessing her gift expectation was as high as her taste (you should have seen the dollar figure of much of her registry items), but I am surprised she expected more from the wedding party as I know these people fairly well and also their budgets; so does her husband. She was really saying some unbecoming things about the groom's friends in terms of the lack of gift-giving, but again, I think her overall expectations were much too high and I thought that it was quite rude to hear. Of course I'm pretty sure she has no idea that her husband told mine. Thanks for your thoughts!

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answers from New York on

I think you handled it perfectly. In general, it is in poor taste to attend a wedding as a guest or as part of the bridal party without giving a gift. However... a gift should not be an expectation on the part of the bride and groom. People give what they can and attend what they can. The bride is showing her "true colors" in talking about people's gifts behind their backs... tacky.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Hubby and I got married in July. Neither, his best man or my maid of honor gave us a gift. I know that it is because neither of them could afford a gift and I don't care. My best friend has been my best friend for 8 years and she has never once given me a gift. She simply can't afford to. I get it and have never been upset about it.

My SIL and BIL (Who were both members of the wedding party) also couldn't afford to give us a gift. They are actually the ones who planned most of the wedding (Best man and maid of honor were both too busy), and the bachelor/bachelorette parties. They set up all of the chairs for us (Backyard wedding) and even surprised us the day after the wedding by getting to the wedding site and cleaning up EVERYTHING before we were even awake. In my eyes, that was their gift to us. And even if they hadn't done all of that I still wouldn't be mad because I know they can't afford.

You know what... I can honestly say that even if the richest person in the world came to our wedding and didn't give us a gift, I still wouldn't be mad. Disappointed? Eh, maybe. But mad? No.

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answers from Boca Raton on

I think you handled it correctly - a relatively modest gift in addition to your attendance (which was pricey and not exactly convenient). You did what I would have done. As for the rest of the bridal party, I'm surprised they didn't do the same thing.

THAT BEING SAID, how supremely tacky for the bride to utter one word about it! Wow! Talk about ungrateful and impolite . . .

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answers from Appleton on

To me the bride was being selfish. I think destination weddings are selfish. If you want people to stand up in your wedding and go to the other events leading up to the wedding you need to be considerate of their expenses involved.

A destination wedding is like eloping with friends. I would rather see a couple elope and then have a nice reception later.

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answers from Wichita Falls on

To be honest, I would have bowed out of the wedding party, sent my regrets about attending, and sent them a small gift. If they expect the wedding party to spend that much just to attend, then they should expect people's presence to be their present.

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answers from Boston on

Rude of her and kind of rude of attendants not to even do a $50 gift card or something. I am so glad there aren't many weddings to go to these days. I went to Hawaii for a wedding, which I shouldn't have, cost me a ridiculous fortune. Stupid! Mostly on credit. Still paying.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have never experienced that but if I had and heard the bride was complaining I would be upset. I don't even know if all my attendants gave me gifts between my showers and wedding but who cares it's not about the gifts. That just shows that she's immature.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I'm assuming she's not a jerk and that she was venting to her husband and not to a friend and her husband told your husband who may agree with her?

she has a right to complain to her husband no matter how trivial it is

she also may not realize how much everyone spent and assume they paid for a vacation for themselves. Afterall its not like everyone J. sat there waiting for the wedding i'm sure everyone enjoyed it,.

In my eyes if you have enough money for all of that you can be respectful enough to put 20 in a card. they afterall probably spent tons to provide everyone dinner, drinks, dancing, and so on

should she be mad, or upset NOPE, but each person gets upset by diferent things
now if she was complaining to more than J. her husband i'd think she was very rude!

I personally would be happy people cared enough to come to a destination wedding for M. and never think twice about a gift...but everyone is diferent

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answers from Tampa on

I would be irritated to hear the bride complain like that too. Obviously, it cost a LOT of money for everyone to participate in their wedding. I would have done the exact same thing as you did...and I have for weddings that I was part of....

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answers from Norfolk on

I would have done what you did. I would not go to a wedding without a gift. BUT I would not expect the bride to complain if I didn't have one. As others have stated, very tacky. Did you get a thank you note for your shower gift? Just curious.

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answers from Los Angeles on

When we got married, I bought the wedding party their dresses and my husband paid for all of the tuxedos. Our friends had plenty of money, but we were asking THEM for a favor. We also chose just 3 bridesmaids and 3 groomsmen.

My husband was thrown a bachelor party within driving distance for a 3 days weekend on a houseboat. I didn't want a bachelorette party. My MIL threw me a bridal shower where we were currently living and then my mom threw one where I had grown up and where we would eventually return. I hated those parties....but both of them insisted. They both told me that it was more for them. One was housewares and the other was lingerie. BOTH should have been lingerie. ;)

Our wedding ran $30k. I wanted to go to Vegas and get it over with, but my husband had dreamed up some wedding with family, etc, so we did it. LOL

That being said, I would sit down with the bride like on a double date night, if you are semi-close to her, and just make mention about how gorgeous the wedding was and about how great friends they are to get the entire wedding party to take all that time off work, pay for all of the incidentals AND then give them gifts.

I expected nothing. If I received a card, I was happy. In fact, I'm such a minimalist, an empty card would have been better than some of the stuff I received. LOL The gifts actually showed me who knew me/us best.

I always give at least $ matter what. When you RSVP to a wedding, people have to take all of those expenditures into account before you/they decide to attend. I do the same with baby showers and usually just send a great gift.



answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, if you attend the wedding, you should certainly give a gift, even if you've already spent a small fortune as a member of the bridal party. The wedding party was chosen because they are the people closest to the bride and groom. As their closest friends, you should give them a nice wedding present; no different than what you would give to any other friend. For someone to not give a gift is, in my opinion, pretty rude.

Personally, I hate being a bridesmaid. I spend a ton of money on a dress I hate, plan a shower that I don't enjoy being at (I hate bridal showers!!!) and plan a bachelorette party that I feel a lot of pressure to make awesome. I have been lucky to not have any brides that required me to spend extra money on hair, shoes, makeup, or accessories, though I know many brides do. As much as I may grumble about it all, I always spend as much as I need to make it special for the bride and give a nice gift, since they are my closest friends.

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