Monday, March 5, 2012

Opening up a can of worms

Mmmm.... worms.

So, in Winnipeg Girl's world it is apparently Wedding Season already, having attended two in the last two weeks and at least one more this year. We will save the discussions about why Winnipeg Girl is not planning her own nuptials for another time.

The wedding I attended this past weekend was that of a girl I attended Jr. High with and although we no longer get together for sleepovers or to sneak out and meet up with boys that our parents wouldn't approve of we are still friends, albeit more of the "see each other once a year in person but keep up via facebook" variety. Of course one could argue that even though these sorts of friends no longer are privy to what exactly makes you tick these days, since they knew you as you were getting to know yourself they might just know you better than some of the friends you made later in life. But this post isn't just so you can know what fascinating things I've been up to the last two weekends. Oh no, that would be very safe and boring.

This post is to talk about giving money at weddings, good ol' presentation. Winnipeg O My Heart did a great post on this last summer and I think I read that post before most of the comments went up, was great to get to re-read it with tons of local comments now. What brought on my need to open the can of worms all over again was attending the wedding this past weekend.

I brought my best friend as my "date", but only after checking with the bride. Although my invitation did say +guest, I wasn't sure what size of wedding she was having and if she had gone to the trouble to invite me and a guest meant that she had had to leave someone else off. In fact, in this case it probably worked out better, my best friend and the bride were acquainted from our teenage years so rather than me a stand in male guest that the bride didn't know she was able to have one more person there who was genuinely celebrating her marriage. I asked my friend if she wanted to sign the card to the couple and when she went to open it she was flabbergasted that that I was giving $100 - she thought that was way too much!

I'm not sure where I got the idea in my head that it's about $50pp that you give for presentation, but in my mind that's what it is and has been for quite a few years (also not sure why I've never adjusted for inflation). I think it was once explained to me that you want to be sure to cover the cost of your dinner, drinks and leave a bit left over for the couple. I rightly or wrongly estimate dinner to be around $25 a head, sort of a "they should be able to feed people dinner for that amount, if they want to spend more that's their choice" sort of thing, and with the assumption that people are level headed adults there is probably no need to consume more than 3 drinks or so, so the other $25 should cover that and leave a bit for the couple, voila - $50.

Now, it just so happens I usually don't even have the three drinks - why oh why do people only have beer, rum, vodka, gin and rye to drink?? Where is the Bailey's dammit? Or the signature cocktail that all the damn brides on that Four Weddings* show seem to have??? Of course the bride and groom don't know that I'm not using the open bar as an excuse to get blotto at another persons expense so I do give the "extra" for the sake of social norms. If I know it's a cash bar, personally the way I think it should be, then I would probably give $40 if I attended alone or $60 if it was me and a guest. Mostly because 20's are convenient. As for giving more for close friends and family? I seem to go the other way actually, I figure my close friends and family are more likely to know me and better appreciate a thoughtful gift or donation of my time to the event so I would probably give differently. I might also give a bit less if I knew the bride and groom weren't footing the bill and their parents were well off.

So basically, like most of the online discussions I've read (a post with lots of comments here, although most replies seem to be Eastern US) it depends on a bunch of factors; the "right" answer is whatever is right for you, however, one comment that really stuck out from the above thread was "you wouldn't attend a birthday party for a child without a gift" so I would say that the whole "the couple should just be happy you wanted to attend" thing doesn't really apply. Even with couples who specifically request no gifts making a donation or something in their name to celebrate their marriage seems like a nice idea. Buy a goat! If you too, are desperately searching the internet for how much to give in Manitoba for wedding presentation, you could always use this online calculator.

Of course, you may throw all of my wisdom out the window if they threw a damn social. We ALL know how I feel about socials.

Feel free to throw what you think is appropriate in the comments section - hopefully between this post and Winnipeg O My Heart we can create a bit of a resource for Manitoba folks!

*We shall not discuss that Winnipeg Girl watches such drivel as Four Weddings. I would blame it on the fact that it's on right after Say Yes to the Dress but I fear it would not help. At least with a PVR I am not necessarily watching it on Friday night with take-out.


  1. I give the same amount! $100 if it's a best friend or a free portrait session.

  2. There are some other complexities: destination weddings, or when somebody is getting married a second time. In both cases I've heard some say you don't give anything because you're incurring an expense to be there or you already gave at the first wedding. But what if only one of the two people are getting married the second time? Tough call.

  3. these are all such great and thoughtful gifts! I laughed at your comment about the marriage day gift exchange, I recently mentioned that to my fiance and he refused to believe "it could be a thing.I seriously just love your necklace in those bridal photos. you create me wish i had worn one. it's perfect!!!! Wedding Gifts