Playing Many Parts

Graduation and Wedding Season Gift Giving

I have to admit, this time of year brings out the worst in me. A girlfriend just asked me how much money she should send to her nephew who is graduating high school. This put me through the roof and now I am on a bit of a tirade.

My friend says that she heard on the radio that she should give between $50-100. Who says I have to give the grocery money for this week to a distant relative? Or worse, an aquaintance? Are we all nuts? Where does this come from? Is this really what is expected? And furthermore, I have a couple of friends who recently suggested to me that when I attend a wedding it is expected that I will give at least as much money as I think my meals cost the bride and groom. Again. . .I tend to start to get hot under the collar at this point and ready to go to war.

So this morning, I started looking around the internet to see what was really expected, and do you know what I found? I found MANY etiquette sites stating that not only is there no expected amount for weddings or graduations, but that it is completely inappropriate for the graduate or bride and groom to expect gifts. Certainly they should not expect guests to pay for or help defer party costs. Wow. . .was my friend ever wrong. Here is a quote from Emily Post:

There is no rule, so it is entirely up to you. Let your affection for the bride and groom and your budget be your guide.

So it seems we have invented these expectations of one another. Each site I visit says that gifts should not be expected (although we should take something). What do you think?


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