The bride who went ballistic over her $100 gift

In some cultures like Greek, Italian and Croation, giving money as a wedding gift is completely normal and expected.

But it’s now being embraced by many couples looking to recoup some of the cost of their wedding. Instead of setting up gift registries, the bride and groom send details of “honeymoon registries” where guests contribute an amount of money towards the cost of the honeymoon or are requesting on the invitation “cash gifts preferred”.

But how do you know how much to give? And what if your gift is deemed inadequate?

A bride in the US recently sent a Facebook message to a guest asking her to explain why she only gave $100 cash as a wedding gift. The bride complained that she didn’t receive as much cash as she was expecting, leaving her unable to cover the cost of the reception.

Here’s the message:

Hi Tanya, how are you? I just want to know is there any reason or dissatisfaction of Mike’s and I wedding that both you and Phil gave 50$ each? In terms of the amount we got from you both was very unexpected as a result we were very much short on paying off the reception because just for the cocktail + reception alone the plate per person is 200$ (as per a normal wedding range with open bar is about) and Mike and I both have already paid for everything else including decor, photography, attire etc and didn’t expect we had to cover that huge amount for reception as well. As I know you both live together and work, so I did not see any reason for that amount, when it comes to your wedding hopefully you’ll know what I mean. I hope for the best as from what we receive is what we will give back. Anyways, good luck on everything. 

Etiquette expert Anna Mussett told the The Morning Show on Channel Seven that the Facebook post was “100% out of line”. She added, “A wedding is not a cash-grab”.


Anna said the number one thing to remember here is that receiving a gift of any kind at your wedding “is a bonus and we should always be so appreciative of any type of gift. But we shouldn’t be asking for cash from our guests unless it’s part of our custom.”

Anna says couples getting married should:

1.       Avoid asking for cash

2.       Stay within your financial means

3.       Receive all gifts graciously

“Giving cash is optional”, she explained, and ‘no gifts’ requests should be respected. She also recommends choosing gifts with returnable cards that don’t display the cost.

In terms of cash, she says single guests should give $50-$100 and couples $100-$200.

When we asked iVillage Facebook followers what they thought, many were unaware that some brides feel the value of a gift should reflect the cost of their meal at the reception.

Louisa: “My theory is a gift should be the same or more than what it costs the couple to give you a 3-course meal & beverages at the wedding. In Sydney this is rarely less than $100 per head. I’d say no less than $100 gift for a single and $200 a couple.”

Melissa: “I keep reading you should spend about what the meal costs. Is this an unwritten rule I didn’t know about? I’ve never heard of it! I hope I haven’t offended any friends whose weddings I’ve been to.”

Leanne: “I was always told it’s not the price/value of the gift, but the sentiment & thought behind it. People want you at their wedding, to share their day – a gift is something you give to help them start their lives together. Spend what you can comfortably afford.”


Jasmine: “In the end it should be like the saying “we want your presence, not presents”. If people expect to recoup the cost of their wedding then I would question why they were getting married in the first place!”

Meanwhile, over at XoJane, a woman called Helena has confessed: “Send me an invite and I can be in a pew that night with a tear at the ready. But what I won’t have is a gift. Ever. I am strictly a no-wedding-gift guest. This is a controversial stance for some people. So let me explain.

“Every wedding I’ve attended since my friends and family have started getting married has been miles upon miles upon miles away. A few have even earned me new passport stamps.

“Let’s break down the numbers. On average, I spend $300 dollars for a round trip plane ticket. On top of that, I’m staying at least two nights (and sometimes three) in a hotel room, which, even with the nuptial discount, will run you anywhere from $100 to $200 dollars per night. According to those calculations, thus far I’ve spent a minimum of $500 dollars …

“Add to all of that local transportation to and from airports, eating anything besides the reception dinner, and whatever non-wedding-related fun you might want  … and we’re talking a cool G conservatively.

“So if any of my friends tried to come at me on some old “Where’s our $100 gift to pay for all that dry chicken we fed you?” foolishness … then I’d have to bust out a fistful receipts.”

What do you think is the ideal wedding gift? Your presence, a present or cash. If so, how much?