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Wedding etiquette/tradition in the USA?
Old 05-20-2009, 07:24 AM   #1
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Wedding etiquette/tradition in the USA?

How much for daughter's wedding

Not wanting to hijack the above thread, I'm starting this one.

My daughter is 21 yo, my son is 20. So, I have been visualizing them getting they own family in the not-too-distant future. 2 "issues" came to mind.

1) Is it still the tradition for the bride family to pay for the wedding? I don't like that tradition at all. Ideally, I think the cost should be split among the involved parties: 1/3 bride & groom, 1/3 bride parents, 1/3 groom parents. I intend to tell my two kids this summer that I will contribute 1/3 of the wedding cost, up to 10K. Bad or good idea?

2) What is the proper wedding gift nowadays? The common practice in the Vietnamese community in the USA is CASH in an envelope. The actual amount is whatever necessary to cover the cost of the reception. So if you are invited to a super fancy reception, then figure about $100/person. $75 for fancy and $50 for normal reception. The idea is to come and share the joy with the newly married couple without creating a financial burden to them. Is this something practiced in this country? If not, what is it?

Sam
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:15 AM   #2
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Not claiming any expertise at all here. Just find it interesting to see what you can Google up these days. Take comfort here PBS Kids - FamilyEducation.com

edit: many more here http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...oq=wedding+who

Also learned that I must have a traditional DD (since we paid the traditional way)who always reminds me that her wedding cost less than the average, and if I even look like I'm going to say anything, also reminds me that it was ZIP-code adjusted for the higher cost LA region where she lives(she Googles too).

If you Google for low cost weddings or something similar, you'll find all kinds of interesting things such as: buy a fake tiered cake where only the top tier is edible
(for bride/groom). Buy a large (I don't know the proper name) plain rectangular cake for the masses who will never know once it's cut up into pieces.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:27 AM   #3
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1) Is it still the tradition for the bride family to pay for the wedding? I don't like that tradition at all. Ideally, I think the cost should be split among the involved parties: 1/3 bride & groom, 1/3 bride parents, 1/3 groom parents. I intend to tell my two kids this summer that I will contribute 1/3 of the wedding cost, up to 10K. Bad or good idea?
IMO many wedding traditions are overblown and becoming more of a thing of the past. I think it should have more to do with what each family can and wants to contribute. I think 10k for each wedding is very generous. Just be prepared for your son to ask the question "Can I elope and use that 10K on an amazing honeymoon?"

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2) What is the proper wedding gift nowadays? The common practice in the Vietnamese community in the USA is CASH in an envelope. The actual amount is whatever necessary to cover the cost of the reception. So if you are invited to a super fancy reception, then figure about $100/person. $75 for fancy and $50 for normal reception. The idea is to come and share the joy with the newly married couple without creating a financial burden to them. Is this something practiced in this country? If not, what is it?
I think that's proper but again a lot has to do with what people can afford. For my own wedding, I was even more appreciative receiving cash from people that I knew were struggling a bit financially. Even if it was $50 or less, I didn't care about the value but thought wow that was pretty generous for them to do that.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:27 AM   #4
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1) Is it still the tradition for the bride family to pay for the wedding?
Yes. And this can be a LOT, $10K or more. So suck it up and start saving.

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2) What is the proper wedding gift nowadays? The common practice in the Vietnamese community in the USA is CASH in an envelope.
Usually the bride registers at a store, listing gifts that she especially wants. Of course, other gifts or cash are always welcome, too.

Like the Vietnamese, certain other ethnic groups within the US tend more towards cash gifts, often large cash gifts. Some working class New Orleans Sicilians that I know paid over $50K for their daughter's wedding, and my guess is that the bride received some large cash gifts from relatives.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:32 AM   #5
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Buy a large (I don't know the proper name) plain rectangular cake for the masses who will never know once it's cut up into pieces.
Also, most grocery stores also sell wedding cakes for a fraction of the price of designer cakes. Cake is cake, the guests won't know the difference.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
1) Is it still the tradition for the bride family to pay for the wedding? I don't like that tradition at all. Ideally, I think the cost should be split among the involved parties: 1/3 bride & groom, 1/3 bride parents, 1/3 groom parents. I intend to tell my two kids this summer that I will contribute 1/3 of the wedding cost, up to 10K. Bad or good idea?
We also went the 1/3 each route, and made sure the kids knew this very early - beginning in high school but well reinforced during college. When they got engaged they knew exactly what to expect from us. I also offered to give them the cash if they chose a more economical alternative.

I'm not sure there is a tradition, but there are some very pushy parents and a industry that has highly refined the business of marketing fantasy and celebrating weddings.

Quote:
2) What is the proper wedding gift nowadays? The common practice in the Vietnamese community in the USA is CASH in an envelope. The actual amount is whatever necessary to cover the cost of the reception. So if you are invited to a super fancy reception, then figure about $100/person. $75 for fancy and $50 for normal reception. The idea is to come and share the joy with the newly married couple without creating a financial burden to them. Is this something practiced in this country? If not, what is it?
Money is quite common and indicated on the invitation. Many couples sign up for a bridal registry - a store that maintains a list of preferred items the couple has selected. (Bed Bath & Beyond and such do this). As to the amount - can't help. The only weddings I've been to here in the US were 20 years ago and my daughter, and her's was attended by mostly non-US guests.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:42 AM   #7
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"...it is a custom more honor'd in the breach than the observance." In many families wedding traditions are often modified to suit the circumstances , not to mention your traditions are being melded into another's. I've been to Chinese-American wedding receptions where it is most proper for the bride to wear a red embroidered dress while combining many of the American customs. We kids were still in grade school when my parents made it clear they could not afford wedding expenses. Sam, when the time comes, it might happen that your kids are as sensible as you are. I think you have a lot of options.
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:41 AM   #8
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Money is quite common and indicated on the invitation.
I have never seen that indicated on an invitation before. How is it worded?

Sam
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:59 AM   #9
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I have never seen that indicated on an invitation before. How is it worded?

Sam
This may be a cultural thing, but certainly among the Latino community putting "$$" dollar signs on one corner of the invitation is the way to say cash gifts are preferred.

When my daughter got married she spent a long time looking into wedding etiquette and concluded 1) it is entirely acceptable and 2) the "polite" way was to inform the wedding party and let them inform guests that the couple was saving to buy a home and appreciated money. They chose to open a registry in Bed Bath and Beyond, as it let them maximize the "usefulness ratio" of the gifts.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:21 AM   #10
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I think my sister had the right idea . She told both her daughters that she would pay for either a wedding or a graduate degree before they were thirty after that they were on their own . Most of the weddings I've attended most people give cash usually $100 a person .
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:27 AM   #11
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Please for the love of God and all that is Southern do not put $$ on your wedding invitations. ACK! My great aunts just rolled over in their graves! ACK!

A lot will depend on the traditions your children want to incorporate into their weddings. The bride does generally dictate this. It is perfectly acceptable for you to give her a budget that you can afford to provide towards the celebration in whatever way she sees fit. And for your son, it is traditional for the groom's family to pay for (and dictate) the rehearsal dinner.

Some of the Northern folks at my wedding gave us cash gifts at the reception, but none of my Southern folks did, except a couple of uncles who pressed a few $50s in DHs hand while shaking it in congratulations.

It is always considered poor form to solicit gifts to any kind of celebration. If the bride is registered somewhere, it should be volunteered to guests only when they ask. Ditto for baby showers. Ugh! The times I have seen this done. Tacky, tacky, tacky.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:38 AM   #12
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It is always considered poor form to solicit gifts to any kind of celebration.
I agree.

But I also consider it poor form to give useless/worthless/impractical gifts to a young couple starting out in life.

Sam
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:33 PM   #13
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That which is tacky in one culture is often appropriate in another. There is no simple or easy response to these questions. As Sarah points out, it depends on the traditions and values the participants - parents, family and couple - wish to include.

Sam, making your intentions clear - how much you intend to set aside for this - is the way to help the most right now, because it sets expectations. If they marry and how they choose to celebrate is another thing, and I suspect it will follow it's own course, and you will have a say. Your desire to be practical while helping them begin a new life together is wise, although others may /will see it differently.
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:59 PM   #14
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Please for the love of God and all that is Southern do not put $$ on your wedding invitations. ACK! My great aunts just rolled over in their graves! ACK!...
Some of the Northern folks at my wedding gave us cash gifts at the reception, but none of my Southern folks did, except a couple of uncles who pressed a few $50s in DHs hand while shaking it in congratulations.
It is always considered poor form to solicit gifts to any kind of celebration. If the bride is registered somewhere, it should be volunteered to guests only when they ask. Ditto for baby showers. Ugh! The times I have seen this done. Tacky, tacky, tacky.
Point, match, World Cup - do not put "money" on the invitations UNLESS both of the cultures of the bride and groom dictate cash over gifts. And then it would be redundant, so skip it altogether.
A different idea...the bride's registry can be a smaller and customized list so the gift option is limited to only what they need.
Guests will give gifts or money as they themselves decide or depending on their cultural background.
If the bride's registry does not contain a gift selection that is affordable to a guest, they will either do a smaller gift or give cash.
I got some really wild gifts from close friends - a world atlas in hardcopy, some camping gear, a real metal wok, for instance.
Very creative. We used all of the items over the years.
A tip that was given to me before my wedding...this came from the lady who made my cake...put a trusted person in charge of the card receptacle. Yes, wedding crashers will enter a reception room and help themselves. Awful, but it does happen.
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:19 PM   #15
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Where I grew up, no man is coerced to spend 3 months worth of salary on a diamond ring for his fiancee. The engagement is quite informal, usually just a declaration of intent to the family.

Weddings are usually not as grand as in the US and nowadays the couple often pays for its own wedding. Parent can help financially if they want to but are under no obligation to do so. When sticking to traditions, though, the groom's family often pays for the rings, groom's suit, bride's bouquet, and officiant while the bride's family pays for the bride's dress, invitations, flowers and party favors.

But wedding gifts can quite substantial. Some parents gift large sums of money or even houses to their children. Items on wedding gift registries can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. I have seen honeymoon trips for $5,000, china place settings priced at $300-$400 a piece, crystal glasses going for $200+ a piece, etc...

When we got married (in the US), we did not solicit money from our families. But they generously contributed nonetheless. My wife's family gave us $10,000 and mine gave us $5,000 to be used towards the wedding costs. We paid for everything else.
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:29 PM   #16
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My son got married in February. The custom is still for the bride's parents to pay. But my son's bride took a cash gift from her father "in lieu of wedding" some years back and bought a condo. So she and my son paid for the wedding. I thought I would get out cheap until I learned that the new custom for rehearsal dinners is to feed all out of towners. She has family/friends in NY, we have family/friends in Chicago, plus they both have miscellaneous friends all over. Once all of them were involved I added in my local brother and some nephews/nieces so they could hook up with other family members. The "rehearsal" dinner ended up with 60 people and cost a bundle.
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:38 PM   #17
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Don, that is not a new custom, actually. It has been a part of wedding celebrations from back in the time when people came far distances by horseback or other slow conveyance to attend. The bride and groom considered it a part of letting their families get to know each other better in advance of the wedding itself. Although I don't think place cards are used as much nowadays, I used them in order to put people together I thought would enjoy the experience. $60 a head is a very nice dinner indeed, I think ours was far, far less. You must have seemed a most gracious host to all assembled. Very nice to do for the young couple.

Full disclosure: I am a voice crying in the wilderness on this kind of stuff. I had engraved invitations printed, refused to include those tacky RSVP return envelopes, and all sorts of stuff that is probably out of fashion these days. But I sent out every single thank you note within 2 weeks of showers and 4 weeks of the wedding itself. A paragon of bridely virtue, I was.

Sam, invitees to a wedding should be close enough to the couple to know what sort of things would not be useless to them, or they should ask the family of the bride and groom for suggestions. This is how the gift registry business got a foothold. Now there are registries for all sorts of godforsaken events, even graduations. Egad!
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Old 05-20-2009, 03:20 PM   #18
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Sarah, has anyone called you a Southern Belle today?

Sam, does Vietnamese wedding tradition call for days and days of gambling and drinking after the main ceremony is over? Or was that a peculiarity of my wife's particular SE Asian country of origin?
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Old 05-20-2009, 03:50 PM   #19
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It's my opinion that a couple shouldn't get married unless they can afford to pay for it themselves. I certainly would never ask my bride-to-be's parents to pay for everything for me. I would accept it if it was offered but i'd never ask for it.
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:16 PM   #20
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Please for the love of God and all that is Southern do not put $$ on your wedding invitations. ACK! My great aunts just rolled over in their graves! ACK!

A lot will depend on the traditions your children want to incorporate into their weddings. The bride does generally dictate this. It is perfectly acceptable for you to give her a budget that you can afford to provide towards the celebration in whatever way she sees fit. And for your son, it is traditional for the groom's family to pay for (and dictate) the rehearsal dinner.

Some of the Northern folks at my wedding gave us cash gifts at the reception, but none of my Southern folks did, except a couple of uncles who pressed a few $50s in DHs hand while shaking it in congratulations.

It is always considered poor form to solicit gifts to any kind of celebration. If the bride is registered somewhere, it should be volunteered to guests only when they ask. Ditto for baby showers. Ugh! The times I have seen this done. Tacky, tacky, tacky.
Why Mizz Sarah, how you do go on!

Ha
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