To feel a bit unsure about how much to give?

(64 Posts)
spangledboots Thu 27-Jun-13 21:23:00

Two of my best friends are getting married (to each other) in six weeks or so. It's the first wedding in my group of close friends for me (I'm 24) and I'm starting to worry a bit about the amount it's going to cost! I'm going to try not to spend too much on the outfit etc. but the venue is in the middle of nowhere so the taxi there and back will be pricey (although I'm hoping to find a few friends to share that with) and the price of drinks is also fairly high.

However, my biggest concern is the fact that they've said on the invites that they don't want gifts but rather a 'contribution towards their savings' as they're hoping to buy a house.

I've been invited by myself because I'm single at the moment - none of our single friends have been allowed to bring a plus one.

How do I decide how much to give? :/ I don't know where to start! I'm worried about looking tight if my contribution is too small but I'm not earning an awful lot at the moment. The whole thing is making me feel a bit uncomfortable!

missgrainger Thu 27-Jun-13 21:24:27

50 pounds?

HollyBerryBush Thu 27-Jun-13 21:29:59

You give what you can afford - if you would spend £20 on a gift, you give that. If you would have spent £50, give that.

Patchouli Thu 27-Jun-13 21:32:26

Or could you go in with a few of those friends and all sign a card with £100 in between several of you - might help keep it down.

spangledboots Thu 27-Jun-13 21:35:09

Patchouli - that's a good idea, I'd not thought of that!

If I'm honest I'd have probably spent £30-£40 on a gift if they'd had a list.

hermioneweasley Thu 27-Jun-13 21:36:54

Aaargh, feeling your pain. Why don't they just have a cheap wedding Ian registry office and then drinks in A room above a pub and then they would have the £ towards their house? Instead of spending house £ on a wedding and then asking guests to pay their deposit? It's so.....inefficient. (unhelpful)

Yonihadtoask Thu 27-Jun-13 21:38:45

I think you should give what you can comfortably afford .

What would you usually spend on a gift - for a birthday?

Truly, don't worry about it. A lot of people aren't flush with money.

£20 is probably sufficient.

They want a contribution towards their savings? hmm

money grabbing quite literally

BoysRule Thu 27-Jun-13 21:43:03

I think asking for money towards savings is pretty awful tbh.

I think it is a great idea to club together with friends and say it is from all of you as it will sound like more.

I really think anything from £20 is reasonable.

I would give £50 if we were going as a couple. Since you don't have a plus one I'd give £25

I have this dilemma too. For a close friend who was getting married I gave $100 for her honeymoon in the USA... for others it has mostly been £25 either in cash or vouchers. I feel stingy giving less than £50 though really but can't justify that amount on top of hen dos, travel, accommodation, outfit, drinks etc.

spangledboots Thu 27-Jun-13 21:44:20

I know what you mean hermioneweasley - I'm trying to save as much as possible for a deposit for a flat (it's a slow, painful process, eh?!) They're the same age as me and in the last year have spent all their savings on a car and wedding. I guess some people have different priorities.

Yonihadtoask - they normally only spend about £10 on a birthday present for me. I'd typically spend £15ish each on a present for their birthdays. We're not a massively generous bunch but that's probably because our student mentality is lingering! In fact...I think we were better off when we were students!

If they haven't got a house yet then towels and toasters and the like are not useful presents. Totally understand their request for cash rather than things. I'd give £20.

justmyview Thu 27-Jun-13 21:53:31

I suggest you sound out your friends, to see how much they're planning to spend. Not that you need to follow suit, but that may help you to work out what might be reasonable

FWIW, I would normally spend about £50 on my own, or £80 from DH and me

sunshinesue Thu 27-Jun-13 21:56:03

Give what you can genuinely afford, no more. If you feel it's not enough buy a cheap photo frame and put a pic of them in it to bulk out the present a bit (they then won't know exactly how much you've spent on them). My best friend (single) gave us 30 quid when we married (we didn't ask for money) and I thought that was just fine.

happygirl87 Thu 27-Jun-13 23:32:49

MelanieCheeks most of my friends and I who are saving for deposits are renting, and trying to pay lowest rent possible in order to save- so OH and I have way too much clutter in our shoebox flat already, and towels or similar would be a pain! Although we would of course be very polite and grateful (and hope we could regift them) blush

OP, I really think you should only give what you can afford- I think there's no shame in giving £10 if that's what you have, and I for one would be much more concerned that my friends were happy and not worried about money than abou what I received!

WhiteBirdBlueSky Thu 27-Jun-13 23:56:56

Thing is, with a £20 gift what you get in addition to the gift are...

A pleasant social ritual with a sense of surprise.
Mutual pleasantries about good taste.
Discussion of said object and it's meaning within the relationship.

And that all adds value.

When you're giving cash normally as a gift then it's often to buy something specific. So the cash is enough for the gift.

When asked to contribute to savings then £20 seems insignificant in relation to what's needed, so you're tempted to up what you would spend.

Definitely best therefore to contribute as a small group. That's very reasonable in the circumstances.

Presumably you like these people?

Elquota Fri 28-Jun-13 02:35:53

It's rude to mention gifts at all with the invitation. Also rude to dictate to guests what they're meant to give, if they haven't even asked for suggestions. And greedy to blatantly ask for money.

The group contribution idea is a good one. Otherwise just give them a gift as you would have done anyway.

Panzee Fri 28-Jun-13 02:48:23

If they are your friends it really doesn't matter, they will be happy with any amount. Better this way than something collecting dust somewhere.

ratbagcatbag Fri 28-Jun-13 03:26:50

If its a mega expensive drinks place and your a vodka and coke drinker rather than wine etcetc you wouldn't be the first person in the world to take some of your own in your bag and top up you coke with it ;)

Re present, we suggested money from guests if they wanted to do anything at all, we got between nothing and £50, £20 was definitely the most common amount by far, any amount (including nothing) genuinely was fine by us.

Lavenderhoney Fri 28-Jun-13 04:59:33

Even if it was next door, its still only appropriate to give what you can afford- you wouldn't think " oh, I've saved 100 pounds as its local, so that's for them" would you?

So give 20 as that's what you can afford, or then work out how much the whole wedding will cost you. If its too expensive for you, you can decline and send the 25 with apologies, or think " I've put aside 150 for this wedding, the cost is 140 so that's 10 for them"

FadBook Fri 28-Jun-13 06:27:56

I don't like giving cash as a wedding present and agree with previous posters that asking for money for a deposit for a house, when spending money on a wedding, is a little odd.

I've started to give a Cinema vouchers (like Vue or Odeon), you can normally get them as a gift card from sainsburys. I then make a note in the card that its something they can "do" after the wedding, to go out and have a night out (knowing normally that you're skint after a wedding but wouldn't necessarily spend wedding money on going out). It went down well with both weddings this year.

Even if I clubbed together, I still wouldn't want to give cash - a Debenhams or John Lewis gift card would be my choice. It might be me, but I just hate giving cash.

Yonihadtoask Fri 28-Jun-13 08:38:40

fadbook that's a good idea.

I also hate giving cash anyway. luckily have only been asked once.

Emilythornesbff Fri 28-Jun-13 08:48:15

Give what you can afford to "lose" as it were.
Good idea about clubbing together.
I truly, honestly was grateful for every gift (cash, vouchers, glasses....etc...) and felt no twinge whatsoever about ppl not giving anything at all.
I appreciated that guests had given their time and spent their money on attending our wedding.
Mind you, we specifically had no kind of gift list or requests for money. (had to field calls for weeks from ppl asking what we wanted.)I'm sure your friends will be delighted with whatever you give them.

Pennyacrossthehall Fri 28-Jun-13 10:16:49

Give what you want to/can afford.

(Back when I still had single friends) I told people getting married to make sure that their wedding list had both very cheap things on it (for skint friends) and some pricey things (because you never know).

When I got married, I only invited people who I wanted to be there. Whether they bought a present, or how much it was, wasn't important.

jendot Fri 28-Jun-13 11:32:08

I NEVER give cash. I will buy from a gift list. But if cash is requested I choose a small sentimental gift, something handmade with wedding date, or a beautiful frame for a wedding pic. Depends on the couple. but always Something small that I know they will like.
It's rude IMHO to ask for money!

ShabbyButNotChic Fri 28-Jun-13 11:45:31

My friends got married last year and asked for vouchers for b&q, homebase etc as they has moved into their first house the month before. Me and 4 others all chipped in together and got them a £200 voucher. It looked much more impressive and was about what we would have all spent anyway smile i prefer vouchers to cash as you know they will actually have something to show for it rather than just getting a big shop/filling the car etc

WeAreEternal Fri 28-Jun-13 11:56:38

In your situation I think £50 is a reasonable amount.

Tiredmumno1 Fri 28-Jun-13 12:04:50

All you can do really is give as much as you can afford, I am sure your friends wouldn't want to see you struggling in any way smile

I think the chipping in with friends idea is maybe something to think about.

Just out of curiosity, the invite wasn't in poem form was it?

spangledboots Sat 29-Jun-13 19:59:44

Thanks for the advice smile I really like the idea of clubbing together with a few of my friends and then getting them a small sentimental gift too. When they got engaged I got them a handmade wedding count down board which they loved.

They're both lovely people and (hopefully) don't mean to sound 'money-grabbing' in their invites. I can't help imagining the two of them sitting the day after their wedding and counting up all the cash they've collected. It feels a bit odd to me but I do understand the fact they want to get on the property ladder.

At least I'll know for again!

spangledboots Sat 29-Jun-13 20:00:56

PS - no, invite wasn't in poem form. Exact wording was:

'Since we've already been living together for a while we have accumulated plenty of bits and bobs so are not registering a gift list. Instead, we are hoping to buy a house and ask for contributions towards our savings.'

WhoBU Sat 29-Jun-13 20:14:54

I'm about the same age as you OP and recently had my first wedding. They asked for cash too, towards their honeymoon, and I sent £100. When I get married, I won't have a gift list either - most couples now already co-habit and cash is better. Just send what you can afford.

CloudsAndTrees Sat 29-Jun-13 20:37:26

They are choosing to ask for money, which unless they have been living under a rock all their lives, they know is going to be controversial at best, and offensive at worst.

The most I have ever given in cash was £30, but I would be likely to spend more on a present, unless I saw something particularly appropriate in the sale.

Elquota Sat 29-Jun-13 20:56:28

If people have already got "plenty of bits and bobs" then it's fine to say "no presents thank you". But just leave it at that, don't ask for cash! Or suggest a favourite charity for donations.

spangledboots Sat 29-Jun-13 21:11:15

I think I would just not mention gifts/cash etc. on the invites. If guests wanted to get us something I'd leave it up to them. From my experience with family weddings, guests tend to ask if there's a gift list or anything in particular the couple want.

Oh well, I'm sure it'll be a lovely day smile any suggestions as to where I can look for a nice (but fairly cheap) dress?!

Nottalotta Sat 29-Jun-13 21:16:33

I think asking for cash for their savings is very rude indeed. Honeymoon maybe. I got married last month. We bought our house 3 yrs ago. We really didn't want gifts but it has to be said, people don't like that either! We specified a charity for donations but again it wasn't a popular idea! We ended up saying we don't expect gifts, we'd like donations to this charity but as some people have expressed a preference to buy us something, vouchers for this department store will be greatfully received. Most of our house stuff is second hand so we can buy some nice replacements. My best friend gave us 30quid cash. Which i was grateful for.

TidyDancer Sat 29-Jun-13 21:19:44

Gosh they are coming off as quite rude. You can bet that many others going to the wedding will be thinking the same thing as well.

I would give a small gift only. I wouldn't give cash.

I have been invited to several weddings where the B&G have unfortunately done similar and it was whispered about which was a shame.

spangledboots Sat 29-Jun-13 21:20:48

Their honeymoon is a weekend away so they wouldn't be asking for money for that.

A colleague of mine got a lot of John Lewis vouchers for their wedding and used them to buy furniture for their new house - including furniture for their nursery. I thought it was kind of nice that they were able to use something from their wedding for their new baby. Maybe I'm just a sap!

MajesticWhine Sat 29-Jun-13 22:42:23

I think given your own limited earning power at the moment, then £20 or £25 would be an appropriate amount.

TotesAmazeGoats Sat 29-Jun-13 23:03:16

I am in the same situation, however myself and OH are both involved in the Stag and Hen parties (weekends away) plus room at the hotel that night (middle of nowhere) not to mention clothes etc. We will have spent the best part of £500 quid!! The invite is also requesting money towards honeymoon. I can't afford a holiday this year, so we've decided we're not going to give at all, with all our other contributions.
I don't think £20 in your situation is tight. I would never ask for money, and I certainly think if you do, your guests have the option not to contribute!

Floggingmolly Sat 29-Jun-13 23:04:20

They spent their savings on the wedding, and are now asking guests to contribute to their savings? hmm why don't they just sell tickets and be done with it?

cece Sat 29-Jun-13 23:11:42

I'm another one who doesn't give cash for a wedding gift. I much prefer a gift voucher or something small and personal. I like the idea of a cinema pass or how about something like an annual pass for them both? National Trust?

I've given anywhere between £10 and £80 for a wedding present, depending on who it is for, how much money they have and whether I have been invited to the main event or the evening party. I've never given more than I can comfortably afford to either. I remember writing our wedding list, a few years ago now. We had everything on it, from a deepfat fryer (at £50, it was the most expensive item) down to radiator airers at £2.50 for a pair!! grin We were honestly just thrilled that people came to see us on our big day, we couldn't have cared less whether they spent loads of money or not. Although I have to admit that opening a huge pile of pressies was great fun. We spent what we could afford on the wedding itself, and would have been most upset if people thought they had to "pay for their seat".

WhoBU Sat 29-Jun-13 23:48:49

Hmm, I think that asking for cash is the future and will only get more common. I don't mind it, being new to the attending-weddings-game.

Elquota Sat 29-Jun-13 23:50:46

Surely asking for anything isn't polite?

Elquota Sat 29-Jun-13 23:51:17

(in terms of presents that is!)

formicadinosaur Sun 30-Jun-13 00:03:20

About 25, the cost of one wedding meal. I'd probably give 50 if hubby was going also

WhoBU Sun 30-Jun-13 00:23:25

No I guess not, but wedding gift lists used to be customary, I think cash will become customary in time.

raisah Sun 30-Jun-13 03:01:02

Club together as people have suggested.
They will probably spend the money on the honeymoon anyway.

Is it possible to book a b&b nearby? Hotel in nearest town?Does the venue have accommodation?

lozster Sun 30-Jun-13 03:03:36

You are young and single . I'm with Formica - give no more than £25 - £20 would be acceptable. I went to a wedding recently and the request was for donations to the honeymoon. Couples who were well off only gave £50. I googled a bit and found the going rate (!) was about £25 per person. Definitely don't feel bad about giving £20-25. The expenses are always relatively more if you are single. When I was your age I had less disposable income too so don't over stretch yourself.

EmmelineGoulden Sun 30-Jun-13 10:26:42

£25 is fine. More if you want to and can afford it. Going in with friends and getting something sentimental is also fine - I expect they'll love it.

I agree wwith WhoBU that cash is probably the future for weddings.

The old tradition was based on the idea of people setting up a household together for the first time and that just doesnt fit in with reality anymore. Cash towards a house deposit in many ways is much more in keeping with the intent of the old tradition, but adjusted to the more likely needs of a newly married couple today.

I'm a bit meh about the idea that mentioning it is rude too. Expecting gifts is rude, but the custom to not mention gifts in the invite but still have a huge registry list at John Lewis or where ever is all just a bit of a performance. I think they could have been a bit more "if you wish to give a gift" about it, but mentioning it in the invites just makes things easier for guests really. The vast majority of gusts do want to give something.

Floggingmolly Sun 30-Jun-13 12:06:10

The vast majority of guests do want to give something
Exactly. So let them get on with it. It doesn't actually need mentioning at all really, does it?
Reminders, gentle or otherwise, are completely unnecessary and rude.

EmmelineGoulden Sun 30-Jun-13 14:22:03

I don't find pointers to registries with invitations as reminders at all Flogging. I find information on what the couple would like as a gift, should I choose to give one, to be really useful. I think of them as cheat sheets for the guest. I have been invited to a couple of weddings where I had to go through three people before I found someone with the contact details for the mother of the bride who had the registry details - what a faff!

spangledboots Sun 30-Jun-13 17:06:28

Met my friend (the bride) earlier today and she's getting super excited about their big day now smile

We were both complaining about money woes: her soon-to-be husband is studying for a PhD and is entering the writing up period where he won't be receiving any funding so their income will be halved for the next six months to a year. She earns a little bit less than me and their monthly outgoings are a little bit more than mine so she was asking how I manage to pay the bills. I explained that after I've paid for necessities, I have to sacrifice things like holidays in favour of saving up for a flat. She turned round and said that they're hoping to get an entire house deposit from the 'contributions' given at the wedding...I know for a fact that neither her family or the groom's are especially well off (not in a position to contribute four figure sums anyway!) and there are going to be around 80 at the whole wedding with a further 40 coming to the evening do. I think she's expecting more than £25 from me confused

spangledboots Sun 30-Jun-13 17:08:47

PS - I hope she was joking!

jacks365 Sun 30-Jun-13 17:31:42

She may not be joking but I think she's in for a shock. Don't let her unreasonable expectations get to you, do what you can afford and no more.

Her expectations are ridiculous, unless houses are very cheap where she lives.

Wrap up a brick and a £20 note!

LondonInHighHeeledBoots Sun 30-Jun-13 18:36:39

Her expectations may be coming from somewhere else - I know in the parts of Ireland where much of my family live, the minimum polite cash gift for a wedding is roughly 200 Euro for a work colleague, 500 for a friend or cousin and 800 odd for a sibling. And they are not in wealthy circles, they are fishermen.

I think give what you can afford - if you were getting married how much would she be expecting to spend on your wedding? Would she be financing your house move? Cos I think that is unlikely. It might not be a bad idea to mention that to her as gently as possible though.

Although I personally see nothing whatsoever asking for cash - surely the point of a present is to give someone what they want? Otherwise one winds up with a house full of engraved photo frames and 'Love, Laugh, Live' signs that you can't even get rid of that honestly, no one really wants? I don't find guestlists or requests rude at all, merely helpful if I think about it.

Also, a wedding meal does not in any way cost £25 formicadinosaur, a person's attendance at a wedding costs a minimum of about 60 odd quid. Not in any way suggesting you should be covering your 'cost' OP, just noting.

Also, BHS have quite a good sale on nice dresses for weddings, picked up a nice one for ascot for about a tenner last week.

hermioneweasley Sun 30-Jun-13 18:39:54

Sounds like she's got a bit carried away/wishful thnking. A car, wedding and buying a house is a bit unrealistic if one of you isn't going to be earnings for 6 months!

Are either of them Mediterranean? There is a tradition of giving significant money at Greek/Turkish/Italian weddings.

pudcat Sun 30-Jun-13 18:48:47

Why doesn't your friend have a small wedding and use the money saved for a deposit on a house. Asking for cash - especially if she thinks she will be given enough for a deposit - is greedy.

cece Sun 30-Jun-13 19:05:42


£20,000 (say for a deposit of sorts) divided between 80 guests is £250 pp...

She is bvu

spangledboots Sun 30-Jun-13 20:12:08

They're looking to buy just outside of Glasgow, I believe. I'm not totally sure of house prices in those areas as I'd be keen to buy a flat in the city instead.

I honestly don't think me making any comment to her at this stage would do much good at all! Wouldn't want anything to overshadow their big day smile

I think she's just realising that a lot of the rest of us in our friend group are saving up and she likes to 'keep up' so to speak. One of our male friends has just bought his flat and I think she might be a tad jealous that they won't be able to do that right away. I know I'm a tiny bit jealous of him owning his own place but he's been saving hard for five years so I know I'll get there one day.

wafflingworrier Sun 30-Jun-13 20:18:21

just give what u can, we asked 4 money and some guests gave £10 as they were still students at the time so we were glad they could come at all, and in the end all the gifts put together was still a really good amount of money and a real help

if she gets annoyed then that's her fault

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