Wedding gift etiquette for Niece-in-law

by Deb
(Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Couple is in late 20's. Have bought condo together a few years ago and both working in good jobs financially.

Bride is my sister's step-daughter. I have known her for 10 years but mainly at family functions e.g. Christmas, cottage in summer. They feel closest to our "extended" family than other "extended" family members. Bride's mother diagnosed and died of cancer a few months before wedding.

I am not financially "fit" right now and my sister is saying they are asking for money to cover the plate (approx. $150.00) which is too much for me.

Is this the proper etiquette?

Can one give less without looking cheap?
If I only go to ceremony am I expected to give a gift? My sister says yes (approx. $60.00). I always thought anyone could go to ceremony and not give a gift. What is etiquette?

I have to respond by March 15 so your response is greatly appreciated.


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Wedding Gift
by: Ms P Etiquette

Dear Deb~

What a shame that this joyful event has been reduced to a monetary discussion! However, your thinking is correct; it is poor etiquette to ask invitees to pay their own way unless there are VERY extenuating circumstances, which I do not glean from your question. It is equally inappropriate to expect a gift from everyone.

Gift giving is always voluntary. Worrying about looking "cheap" does not really answer the question, does it? The actual inquiry is "will my sister's step-daughter be happy to see me at her wedding ceremony? Will she be unhappy when she realizes that I did not purchase an expensive gift or a place at the dinner? I would hope that your presence at her wedding is a gift. You simply regret not being able to attend the wedding party following the ceremony. There is no need for an explanation.

The only ones who appears "cheap" in this scenario are the bride and groom. So please relax. Enjoy the ceremony if you decide to go and let the bride and groom sort out their own etiquette dilemma.

Thank you for your most interesting question.

Ms Practical Etiquette

Thank you!
by: Deb

Thank you for so promplty giving a response by the RSVP date! You are awesome. I really appreciated hearing your response. I have decided to go to the ceremony and reception and give what I feel I am able to give $ wise. If they are not happy with it then that is really their issue. I am there to celebrate their love not be a bank.

Again, thanks for a great answer to a complicated situation!

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