Saturday, March 13, 2010

Destination Weddings, Do You Give a Gift Too?

Over the years we have been invited to out of town or destination weddings. When we get those invitations and if the people getting married are close friends or relatives (even our older cousins kids) we try to make every effort to attend. When we get those invitations from some that are on the opposite coast and would be expensive to attend, we laugh and say to each other, I bet they invited us hoping we wouldn't come, we are going to fool them and show up.

You see we like the idea of getting away, joining friends and family at joyous events. We always try to give a nice gift when we attend the affairs and never think that our attendance at their wedding is an appropriate gift. Yet, recently my middle son was married. They decided to keep the wedding small and have it in a beautiful hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

You can see the story with a nice video on my web site.

Now the reason for this posting on my blog...

I have gone out of my way over the years to help family and friends. When my son announced his engagement to the family, we noticed not one person either family or friend sent them a congratulations card, no phone calls and not one gift. We thought that since their wedding would only be months away, that most would make up for it at the wedding.

Now we have a number of friends that go back 30+ years. Some kept asking where they had registered, but even with the information no gifts. Because this son had a destination wedding in Jamaica, we understood that some friends and relatives could not attend. Some did, the ones that could afford to, but a number of them didn't give any wedding gift. OK, we understand that some could barely afford the trip, they are young girls that barely make a living, but still wanted to be their for their friend the bride. But what about our Long Island and New York wealthy family and friends that didn't give gifts? Not one of my brothers children or his wife gave them a wedding gift, even some long time friends no gifts, nada, nothing and remember, these people didn't give any engagement gifts either.

Leona & Her Maid of Honor Lucy
Old friends also let us down, no gifts, excuses like I lost his address, or I have been tied up and forgot. Months later, same stories, I will be getting them a gift. Someone even told me you have up to a year to give a wedding gift...who made up those rules Emily Post? You go to a party, you bring a gift, period. You get invited to someone's home for a party or a dinner, you walk in with something in your hands, bottle of wine, cakes, something for their home or children, but never empty handed. At least that is how we were trained when we were younger.

I am at least happy that a couple of our friends who couldn't attend had the good sense to send them gifts. Doesn't take much to pop a check in the mail with a card, right? We are not talking about big money, just something to say congratulations, we love you, hope you can buy a gift or make good use of the money or gift.

The thing that really hurts is that we have always been generous with our gifts for our friends and relatives children on birthdays, holidays, new baby's and other occasions. My son's are not kids anymore and in their thirties and we finally had an occasion to test the generosity of family and friends and they let us down.

Unfortunately my oldest brother died at an early age, I am sure if he were alive his entire family would have done the right thing. I suppose I have to get into the Me, Me, Me mode now and stop being generous with gifts and favors, since it would only be one sided. I feel especially bad for my son, who said to me,

Dad, I don't know how to put it, I guess the word is disappointed in my family.
Now here is the topper... his cousin who is an extremely wealthy bachelor living in an eight million dollar penthouse apartment he purchased a few years ago in New York, has a successful financial business let him down as well. All three of my son's worked for this cousin when he started his business and this son helped him on a number of occasions with his web site and other situations. We all thought that he would come to the wedding, but unfortunately he was out of the country. This cousins way of congratulating my son on his upcoming nuptials was a note posted on my son's Facebook account, "Way to go Cuz" No cards, no phone calls, no gifts, no show at the wedding.

The kicker on this cousin was that he hosted my other son's bachelor party in his apartment only a few months earlier. He also attended that son's wedding held in New York City and gave a very generous gift as did the rest of the family, but when it came to my other son, who is the most family oriented of all three of them and possibly because he now lives in Florida, none of that side of the family and many of our friends, simply ignored him.

Shame on all of them and a word of advice to anyone reading this blog. If you can afford to attend a destination or out of town wedding, be sure you give a gift too. Your attendance at their wedding is not in place of a gift. Out of town weddings or destination weddings cost as much or much more then local weddings. My son paid almost $400 per person for those that did attend his wedding. The cost of a local wedding would have been much less. The people that did come had a wonderful 3 or 4 day vacation in the Caribbean and it only cost them about $250 per day per couple plus air fare. It was a 5 star hotel and it was all inclusive. They ate as much as they wanted, they drank until they couldn't see straight and they enjoyed all the entertainment in the evenings at the hotel. Yes, they all had a great time and a wonderful vacation and enjoyed the company of their family and friends.

Here is why we are so dissappointed... Aside from the financials, how do you think a wedding couple feels when their friends and relatives don't even acknowledge this happy occasion and come to a wedding without a gift.

I know my son was surprised, disappointed and a bit ashamed when he only wanted to prove to his bride how wonderful and generous his family and friends were. We are getting tired of making excuses for their poor behavior. Being wealthy is no excuse for poor manners.

My list of friends and family keep getting smaller....


I received a call from my sister in law some months later and just asked her the reason no one in the family gave my son a gift. She was shocked and told me that her daughter had told her she would be included in the gift she was giving.  Of course she never gave a gift, so my sister in law was in shock when she heard it.

She called her daughter who confirmed no gift was given with apparently no sane reason other then my son never sent them a gift when their third child was adopted.  My sister in law then called her son, who couldn't attend the wedding and he also thought he was included on a "family gift" and when he found out none was given, sent my son a beautiful set of dishes that was on the bridal registry.

My advice to my sister in law and to anyone that is going to be included on a family gift, is don't unless you know for sure that gift was given and you chipped in for the gift.  People can be very strange and simply taking a free ride on someone else's gift in my mind is not a thoughtful and appreciated as much as the thought and care that goes into you giving your own gift and sending your own card with a personal message inside.

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