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    London's Avatar
    London Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Aug 8, 2008, 02:24 PM
    Gift Giving for a Destination Wedding
    My husband and I are attending a destination wedding that is going to cost the two of us a total of $1100 just to be in attendance for our friends nuptials. That amount includes only airfare, hotel and a rental car. We will still have further expenses throughout our 4 day stay.

    Is it inappropriate to view our being there in support of their marriage as our gift to them or should we still give them an actual wedding gift?
    jillianleab's Avatar
    jillianleab Posts: 1,194, Reputation: 279
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    #2

    Aug 8, 2008, 06:34 PM
    Destination weddings are notoriously expensive for the guests; it's my understanding a lot of brides and grooms try to mitigate the costs by providing group meals, or reduced hotel bookings. Some don't expect gifts.

    But in my opinion, despite spending the large amount of money on attending, you should still buy a gift. Attending the wedding was still optional, and you decided to go, despite the cost. It's not really "fair" to the couple to not get a gift because you think you spent too much on getting to the wedding.

    I would still buy a gift, but in this case I think it's OK to spend less than you usually would. We give gifts at weddings to help new couples out, and as a way of saying congrats; so perhaps you can find something that is less money than you would usually spend on a gift. For example, don't buy the $100 Waterford Crystal wine glasses, buy the $50 silver platter.

    One more thing; you should also consider how close of a friend this is, and how strapped for cash you are. If this is someone you've known for 30 years and buying a gift would break the bank, maybe you can speak to the bride (or groom) about your situation. Maybe you can offer your help with something else. Like moving them into their new place, or painting their living room.

    Enjoy the wedding, and try to make it a mini-vacation, if you can!
    linnealand's Avatar
    linnealand Posts: 1,088, Reputation: 216
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    #3

    Sep 8, 2008, 01:09 PM
    Okay, I'm fascinated by this question. I never considered the possibility that anyone might think of giving a lesser or no gift because they are spending money to attend the wedding.

    Why is the couple holding the wedding at another destination? Will this be a large wedding or a small gathering?

    I imagine that this couple will be spending a fortune on the event, including extra expenses for guests that don't live in the area.

    I am from New York, but I live in florence, italy. My boyfriend of 6 years is italian. In the near future we will probably be engaged, and we are most likely to get married here in tuscany. Any of my family and friends that want to come will have to fly in from the states - New York, d.c. Florida, California... his family and many of his friends are from the south of italy, so they would have to fly in or take night trains, too. Most people would probably be staying here for a week. We would make arrangements for the accommodations, trips into florence and diverse evening barbeques, but we wouldn't be able to afford plane tickets or hotels, etc. too. If they can afford it and they want to come, we will be thrilled. But I would feel very weird if all of them gave little gifts, gifts worth half of what they would have given us, or no gifts. We will be spending a fortune. If the friends or family can't afford the trip, they will be missed, but of course we would understand. We just don't have another option on location. This is where we have been living together for 5 years.

    I think that one thing to remember if you're deciding to go to a wedding that is held in a fantastic vacation destination is that although you are spending money on the actual trip, you are also getting an incredible trip out of it. You're benefiting from the experience, too. If you can't afford the trip and a proper gift, I think that you should either decline the invite and send the gift, or you can get creative (as jillian was suggesting at the end of her post) and offer something that you can give them that is just as valuable in another way. We have a handmade iron furniture and lighting design company. When we've been strapped for cash in the past, we have given handmade pieces that we knew they would like and use instead. That's okay, but a little gift or no gift could create friendship issues later on.
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    cozyk Posts: 802, Reputation: 125
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    #4

    Oct 17, 2008, 10:49 PM

    I think having destination weddings is a little "diva-ish" of a couple. You must think you are pretty important to ask people to go to that much effort and expense just to attend your wedding. Sure it may work out that you make that your vacation of the year, but how many can afford that or want their vacation dictated by a wedding.

    I think weddings in general are over the top, and this romantic "I'M THE CENTER OF ATTENTION" fairy tale bologna is so silly. I was married in 1980. I had a small church wedding with 4 attendants. It would have even been much smaller if it was up to me because I did not know half the people there. Distant relatives and friends of my parents, etc. I was 22 yrs old and basically just going along with the flow of what my mother and mother in law wanted. My attendants were my 2 sisters and 2 best friends. Even then, I knew that asking people to buy a dress to wear one time was asking a lot, so they better be people that really love you.

    Frankly, I wished people spent half the time, money, and effort they put into having a wedding into learning how to have a successful MARRIAGE.

    BTW, I personally would not want to get a gift, but I bet my husband would want me to. You know, "keeping up appearances."

    My niece got married 2 years ago, and our gift was never acknowledged. I would never bring this up to my sister because she would be horrified. She is cut out of the same cloth as me that no one OWES you anything so if they do something for you then you sure better thank them. This makes me wonder if the bride even notices if you gave her a gift or not. I know I did not check my gifts against every guest to make sure they gave me something.
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    wtbear Posts: 3, Reputation: 2
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    #5

    Apr 4, 2009, 12:09 PM

    I take some offense to the comment that couples who have destination weddings are "diva-ish".

    As someone who had a destination wedding, and as someone who has been a guest at a few, I can hopefully shed some light on why people have them.

    There are a number of reasons. For one, if the bride and groom are from different parts of the country, destination weddings give both families a neutral site. Additionally, certain destinations can have special meaning for a couple. My husband and I vacationed for many years on the beach that we ultimately got married on. Finally, many couples have weddings that are away because they want the event to be small and intimate. Weddings in a couples' home city can often end up becoming large unmanageable events that the couple feels obligated to invite everyone they -- are their parents -- know to. If you are being invited to a destination wedding, odds are the couple considers you to be a close friend. Additionally, everyone I know who has had a destination wedding has marveled at how they actually were able to spend time and truly celebrate with their guests. It's a completely different experience than having a big hometown affair.

    I agree with the comment above that if the trip will be a stretch for you, it shouldn't be a question of whether you get a gift, You just shouldn't go. The couple will understand. When couples make the decision to have a destination wedding, they do so knowing that not everyone they'd ideally like to be there will be able to attend because of cost.

    On the topic of gift giving, I'd say that some gesture should be made at the very least. If you do not spend the usual amount of money that you would on the gift, that's fine and the couple will probably expect that. But at the very least give a card, send some flowers to welcome the couple back from their honeymoon, or as the previous poster mentioned, give a gift that's small in price but has some meaning to illustrate that you wanted to express your congratulations. At my own destination wedding,
    There was only one guest who did not give us a gift. It is something we will never forget. Not because we cared so much about the gift itself, but simply because she was the only one to do it. If you are asking the question of whether you should give a gift at a destination wedding, keep in mind that you will probably be one of very few people who chooses to go that route and ask yourself if that is how you'd like your friend to remember you. Bottom line, if you are struggling over whether you are supposed to spend an extra $50 for a gift, you probably shouldn't be going to the wedding in the first place because you really can't afford it or because you aren't that close to the bride/groom.

    One other tip for people going to destination weddings -- unless there is a very special circumstance, you should stay at the hotels that the couple has secured a special rate at, not at an offsite property. Couples negotiate special rates to help their guests keep the costs down, but they also get on the hook for making sure a certain number of rooms are booked. If too many people stay offsite, the bride/groom will end up paying for the room anyway. It's a bit rude to to the couple to go looking for a hotel room offsite, assuming of course that the event hotel still has availability.
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    jjwoodhull Posts: 1,378, Reputation: 239
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    #6

    Apr 5, 2009, 09:31 PM
    Destination weddings are a lot of fun. They are usually more intimate - no friends of parents whom you barely know, or second cousins that you haven't seen in years. When everyone stays at the same hotel, it offers a great opportunity for the two families to spend quality time together and really get to know one another.

    I couldn't agree less about this being "diva-ish". I have friends and family all over the country. If I am invited to a wedding that requires travel, I'd prefer that it be a desirable destination. I know that anyone who invites me hopes that I can attend, but would understand if I couldn't due to either scheduling or related costs.

    As for the original question about the gift... Absolutely you should give a gift. If you can't afford a $100 gift, then you can't afford a $1,500 vacation. And besides, if you love someone enough to share in their most important day you should WANT to give them a gift. Gifts are about celebration and love - not about keeping up with appearances (as suggested in an earlier response). If giving someone a gift is a burden then maybe you need to rethink the relationship.

    As already mentioned by others, a gift does not have to be money. It can also be a gift of your time and talent.

    If you can afford it... go to the wedding, have fun with family/friends, get to know the in-laws, relax and celebrate the occasion.
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    jakeroberts Posts: 2, Reputation: 2
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    #7

    Jul 24, 2009, 10:24 AM
    If you have a destination wedding you should be grateful people are spending the money to fly/stay etc. to share your special day. If the couple getting married can't afford to put your guests up, how can they expect their guests to pay for airfare and accommodations (discounted or not, its expensive) and give a gift? That's selfish and unappreciative in my book. I'm going to a destination wedding that is costing over 2k in arrangements so you bet I won't be giving a gift. The gift is me being there.
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    Monkey_123 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #8

    Aug 7, 2009, 11:49 AM
    I am attending a destination wedding that is costing me and my husband close to $4000. In a typical wedding, the bride and groom pay for the food consumed by their guests at the reception (hence, guests buy a gift which costs about the same amount as what your meal will cost at the wedding). However, the bride and groom for this wedding will not be paying for the food at the reception since the cost paid for by the guests includes the meal that will be served at the reception. While I feel that the couple is getting a lot of help from their guests to make their wedding happen, I will still likely give them a small inexpensive gift.

    In my opinion, couples opting for a destination wedding should explicitly let their guests know that they should not give gifts. While previous postings argue that if you can afford the wedding, you should be able to afford a gift. However, my argument is, what is more important to the couple? Gifts they receive or having their loved ones celebrate their day with them? Furthermore, other posts have also argued that by attending the wedding, you will be getting a vacation out of it. However, what if this is not the type of vacation the guests really want? Perhaps some guests had a specific destiation in mind for their vacation but have opted instead to attend the wedding?
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    Monkey_123 Posts: 1, Reputation: 2
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    #9

    Aug 7, 2009, 11:49 AM
    I am attending a destination wedding that is costing me and my husband close to $4000. In a typical wedding, the bride and groom pay for the food consumed by their guests at the reception (hence, guests buy a gift which costs about the same amount as what your meal will cost at the wedding). However, the bride and groom for this wedding will not be paying for the food at the reception since the cost paid for by the guests includes the meal that will be served at the reception. While I feel that the couple is getting a lot of help from their guests to make their wedding happen, I will still likely give them a small inexpensive gift.

    In my opinion, couples opting for a destination wedding should explicitly let their guests know that they should not give gifts. While previous postings argue that if you can afford the wedding, you should be able to afford a gift. However, my argument is, what is more important to the couple? Gifts they receive or having their loved ones celebrate their day with them? Furthermore, other posts have also argued that by attending the wedding, you will be getting a vacation out of it. However, what if this is not the type of vacation the guests really want? Perhaps some guests had a specific destiation in mind for their vacation but have opted instead to attend the wedding?
    Fyah's Avatar
    Fyah Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    Aug 13, 2009, 02:34 AM

    I think that it is downright selfish for anyone to expect "friends" to trek across to anywhere they decide to tie the knot and furthermore, expect them to have gift in tow.

    Are they kidding? The whole gift-giving thing has completely gotten out of hand and if any of my friends feel that they should define, qualify or base our friendship on whether I could afford to travel to their wedding AND bring a gift then they have just lost a "friend".

    That is not what friendship, weddings or marriage should be about. Material things should not define that and people who base their relationships on what others can do for them, are heading for disaster.

    Some of the selfish responses here just validates the level of degradation of our society, our standarda and our morals.

    For the poster who said that if a person cannot afford a $100 gift then they can't afford a £1,500 trip, well, my response to that is - Couples should not have a wedding they cannot afford, and if a couple cannot afford their own wedding, then how in the world could they afford their marriage?

    No wonder the divorce rate is so high.
    filthyfeet's Avatar
    filthyfeet Posts: 1, Reputation: 2
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    #11

    Aug 18, 2009, 11:46 PM
    I'm conflicted about this topic. I agree that an extra $100 isn't going to make or break someone already spending $2,000 on a vacation, but in the same token, gifts should never be expected.

    What if you are a part of the wedding party? There was never an option to decline going to the wedding and the bride and groom aren't paying for any portion of the stay or airfare. Do you still feel the same?
    laurendell's Avatar
    laurendell Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #12

    Sep 26, 2009, 11:11 AM
    "Couples should not have a wedding they cannot afford, and if a couple cannot afford their own wedding, then how in the world could they afford their marriage?"

    I'm not really sure I see the logic here or what that has to do with the question. What does whether the couple can afford the wedding have to do with whether a guest should give a gift? The gifts aren't meant as "payback" so that the wedding becomes free, they are meant as a token of love and well wishes for the couple's future. No? The gift and the cost of the wedding are two separate things, in my opinion. What if the couple is extremely wealthy and throws a $500 a head wedding (which they can easily afford)? No one expects the value of the gift to reflect that, nor for a guest to not bring a gift at all because "the couple obviously doesn't need it". And what if 80% of a couple's family lives on the other side of the country and has to travel to the couple's new location for the wedding? Would the expectation be that all of those people wouldn't give a gift?

    I agree that if the bride and groom "expect" everyone they invite to their destination wedding to come, regardless of whether they can afford it, that is selfish. But I do not think most couples having a destination wedding feel this way. Most are aware that many of their invites will not be able to attend for financial or schedule reasons. But for those who can and do attend, destination weddings are a blast! I don't think the bride and groom should not receive wedding gifts because they chose to have their wedding in a place the guests had to travel to. They still put in all the effort and stress of putting the wedding together so the day would be special and you would have a good time. If you don't want to pay to travel there on top of giving a wedding gift, then just don't attend, it's that simple! Furthermore, if you think destination weddings are selfish and "diva-ish", I also think it would be better not to attend, because no bride wants guests there that wishes they weren't. Weddings are about the joining of two families, the creation of a new one, and the love between the bride and groom. If the bride and groom want to get married on a beach or mountaintop, and you think it's stupid, then don't go! It's their day, not yours. I'm sure they'd only want people there who truly want to be.

    That being said, this is just my own philosophy for attending weddings. My wedding will be in the Florida Keys (all of my fiance's family are traveling from Europe and my own family lives all around the country) and I do expect that some guests won't give gifts because of this very reason, and I am not going to drop them as friends or think less of them (well, I'm planning to really really try anyway :-) ). I just personally would never attend any wedding, no matter what I had to spend to get there, and not give the bride and groom a gift. As someone above said, I CHOSE to attend, the family still put together an event (probably putting in significantly MORE effort for a destination wedding as it usually involves several days of events), and I personally would feel really cheap, rude, and ungrateful to all of that effort spent to not to give a gift. If I was that bitter about the whole thing and the expenses associated, I really shouldn't be going.

    In short, I'd only attend a destination wedding for 2 reasons. 1) I'm close with the bride or groom and it's really important to me to be there to witness their marriage. In this case, I WANT to give them a wedding gift no matter what. Or 2) It's in a great location, I could make a great vacation out of it, and also attend the wedding while doing it. In that case, it seems pretty rude not to give a gift since I WANT to be there anyway. If it was somewhere I didn't want to go, and I didn't know the couple that well, I just wouldn't go. (And just send a gift)
    twinsmum's Avatar
    twinsmum Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #13

    Oct 9, 2009, 10:47 PM
    I agree with #'s5,7,8,9,10 & 11. I am in the predicament #11 points out--My husband is in the wedding party and thus we have no option of whether to attend. We HAVE to go because it is his brother's wedding. However, we are not close to them. I'm sure some destination weddings are more convenient for those involved when bride & groom are from two different places etc... but in this case it is purely for selfish reasons. Neither of them have any concept of what money is or what it takes to make it--they are spoiled and have had everything handed to them. They could care a less what other people's circumstances and finances are. Personally we recently spent a large amount of $ on IVF to have a family of our own. We are now blessed with newborn twins and thus we would NOT currently be spending money on what some of you are calling a vacation! (We also have to pay for infant childcare while we are gone) This is NOT the idea of a vacation to us--we want it over as quickly as possible! There are other relatives forced to attend this ridiculous event who are even more strapped for cash. Some trying to send kids to college and others with health problems--yet all of these people including us are also expected to rent a tux in addition to everything else.

    Therefore, it makes giving them a gift challenging because they do not care about the $1k plus you spent to go to the wedding so how can you feel good about spending one more dime on them. I did however get them a nice gift because it is my husband's brother and I am all about keeping the peace--I do know though it will be appreciated about as much as the $1k we will spend to go--not at all. This is not a small destination wedding--(there are supposed to be like 9 or 10 bridesmaids and 9 or 10 groomsmen each) which I don't get. If you want a lot of people there, why would you do a destination? It will be interesting to see just how many actually show up in this economy.

    Mostly what I don't get is from reading these posts it seems destination people want gifts. If you want gifts so much then stay home and you could get some really big ones. I could write them a big fat check for what I am paying to go to this wedding. (And I would rather do that and stay home with my babies! ) It seems that when you plan a destination you know you are asking people to shell out big bucks for YOU--not a vacation for THEMSELVES!! And so asking for or expecting anything more just seems greedy and self-centered. In my wildest dreams I would NEVER be able to ask relatives and friends to spend this kind of $ on me. But then again I am not under the illusion that the world revolves around me and only things concerning me like this couple is.
    Catsmine's Avatar
    Catsmine Posts: 3,827, Reputation: 739
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    #14

    Oct 10, 2009, 03:06 AM
    twinsmum,

    First, congratulations on your babies. I'm certain they are your entire world right now.

    Secondly, you have a perfectly good reason to RSVP that you cannot take the trip at this time. Send the gift since you've already gotten it and explain new parenthood precludes an extended trip. This is perfectly acceptable in polite society.
    bigmirsh's Avatar
    bigmirsh Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #15

    Feb 4, 2010, 11:40 PM
    My wife and I had a destination wedding that was unreal. We chose to do this because we wanted to share a special city in Mexico (Oaxaca) we had been to with our friends and family. We threw an amazing event and treated our guests to 3 days of 5 star events, including two amazing dinners w/open bars (steak and lobster, traditional Mole), a fireworks show, a cocktail party(again open bar), a parade with a marching band/dancers/mescal pouring in the street/fireworks, and a live mariachi band,midnight meal, the list goes on and on. Our event would have been impossible to recreate in the United States and easily was worth $1000 per guest (about what it cost for our guests to attend) in terms of what it would have costs us to have the same wedding in California.

    We were pretty pissed that some of our guests did not give us wedding presents (it is not about the $$$ rather the thought that counts), we thought it was tacky and disrespecful and now we find ourselves not wanting to give some of them presents for their upcoming weddngs. Even a nice letter or card would have been nice (fyi this costs nothing to give) .We felt that our destination wedding was as much a gift to our guests as it was to ourselves. We were able to share an extremely intimate affair with our friends and family and we had almost every person tell us it was the best wedding they had ever been to and that they never would have discovered this amazing city had we not had our wedding there. Again we felt like we put a ton of effort into creating this experience for our guests and even gave our guests gifts at the wedding, to not show us back a gesture to wish us well with our message is rude and tacky. Gifts do not have to cost money, sadly people confuse giving with money spending. Gestures can come in many forms. Just going to a wedding shows your friends that you sharing their most intimate day with them is important. The gift is a way to personalize your appreciation of their new life. If you do not want to spend money then give them a gift from the heart.
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    Catsmine Posts: 3,827, Reputation: 739
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    #16

    Feb 5, 2010, 03:52 AM

    Well said, Bigmirsh, and an interesting view from the other side of the question. Thank you also for not answering a four month old question.
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    dontknownuthin Posts: 2,910, Reputation: 751
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    #17

    Feb 25, 2010, 09:52 AM

    If it were my wedding, I would be embarrassed to accept a gift from someone who'd gone to so much expense to attend. Times are terribly difficult for nearly everyone. However, it seems weddings for many couples are now about greed - how much can we rake in? Give what you can afford and nothing more. If they are the greedy type, you needn't indulge it. If they are more mature and gracious, they would be embarrassed by an extravagant gift on top of your travel expenses.

    I do think that in today's times, destination weddings are a lot to ask of guests. Even on a bride and grooms "day", I feel they should consider others and not make their celebration and hardship for others who wish to be there to offer love and support without losing their home in the process.
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    Leena1 Posts: 2, Reputation: 2
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    #18

    Mar 10, 2010, 10:48 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyah View Post
    I think that it is downright selfish for anyone to expect "friends" to trek across to anywhere they decide to tie the knot and furthermore, expect them to have gift in tow.

    Are they kidding? The whole gift-giving thing has completely gotten out of hand and if any of my friends feel that they should define, qualify or base our friendship on whether or not I could afford to travel to their wedding AND bring a gift then they have just lost a "friend".

    That is not what friendship, weddings or marriage should be about. Material things should not define that and people who base their relationships on what others can do for them, are heading for disaster.

    Some of the selfish responses here just validates the level of degradation of our society, our standarda and our morals.

    For the poster who said that if a person cannot afford a $100 gift then they can't afford a £1,500 trip, well, my response to that is - Couples should not have a wedding they cannot afford, and if a couple cannot afford their own wedding, then how in the world could they afford their marriage?

    No wonder the divorce rate is so high.
    I completely agree!!!!

    This is nuts ! Im reading these posts from people who were disgruntled that one person didn't bring them a gift. Isnt it gift enough that your lucky enough to be getting married??? You should be happy she turned up, not keeping track of the gifts your getting.

    Im going to a destination wedding... my sisters in fact and because I live over seas my partner and I are forking out 5,000 in total.
    She is happy enough to be getting married and that I'm saving my knickers off trying to get the money in time... she doesn't give a flying monkey about presents, thank god.

    These brides who want presents for falling in love are beyond me. Shows what kind of marriage your going to have if you ask me!
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    dontknownuthin Posts: 2,910, Reputation: 751
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    #19

    Mar 10, 2010, 11:14 PM

    I was reminded of this question while watching one of those "bridezilla" shows and was thinking of some weddings I've been in when the brides were domineering, demanding, bossy and expected to be waited on like a "princess". My former sister in law sent her mother out to buy her donuts on the morning of the wedding - though her mother was trying to get her own hair and makeup done and there was plenty of other food to eat around. It was rediculously rude. Though these brides might look perfect in a still photograph, their ugly personalities are truly more memorable - there's no Vera Wang gown or fancy hairdo or manicure that can make a bride beautiful if she's swearing and yelling like a teamster and treating friends and family like they owe her something.
    User1963's Avatar
    User1963 Posts: 1, Reputation: 4
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    #20

    Mar 30, 2010, 07:31 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by wtbear View Post

    I agree with the comment above that if the trip will be a stretch for you, it shouldn't be a question of whether you get a gift, You just shouldn't go. .
    So, basically, you are saying you would prefer to have a gift than the company of your friends? Do you hear how materialistic you sound? The person you invite is choosing to take vacation time from work (and who has a lot of that) spend time and money traveling to join you - why isn't that gift enough for you? Isn't the important thing the memory you will have of the time to spend with them at your wedding more important that a food processor from Williams-Sonoma?

    That's why you are called a diva!

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