Going to a wedding reception. What do I bring?
April 19, 2014 2:52 PM   Subscribe

So, I was invited to a wedding reception, but not the wedding itself. Do I bring a card? A gift? Do I put money in the card? There's no registry that I'm aware of. Thanks!
posted by Fister Roboto to Human Relations (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Where are you? Are you in the UK? If so, you either bring a card with cash, or send a gift beforehand. If there is no registry, they would likely prefer cash.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:00 PM on April 19, 2014

I'm in the US. Thanks!
posted by Fister Roboto at 3:01 PM on April 19, 2014

These customs will vary by country and culture/ethnicity. That you've only been invited to the reception suggests this may be the UK or Canada?
posted by Jahaza at 3:01 PM on April 19, 2014

Were you invited verbally? You should bring a gift; generally speaking, at least $75-100 for a coworker or someone you don't know all that well, $100-$150 for a friend or family member, more based on how close you are, but I'm assuming from your question it's not someone close to you.
posted by axiom at 3:02 PM on April 19, 2014

US? Interesting. I'd still go with either a card with cash/check or a gift of your choice sent in advance.

And there is no financial rule of thumb, though there may be in specific groups of friends or families. You give or spend what you can generously afford, end of story.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:04 PM on April 19, 2014

Well, it's for my favorite bartender, but we meet up outside of her work occasionally, so I'd say an acquaintance/friend as far as our relationship goes, if that matters. She did invite me in person.
posted by Fister Roboto at 3:09 PM on April 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, you should give a gift. You can ask about a registry, or just pick out something you think the couple would like or find useful, or give them cash. Axiom's price guide, although very generous, is not universal in the US.

It's considered thoughtful to send your gift directly to the couple rather than to bring it to the wedding, because then someone else has to make sure it gets to the couple after the wedding. But a lot of people will bring a gift with them, so that's okay too.
posted by donajo at 3:10 PM on April 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

OK, was this a "you should stop by $LOCATION for my reception party" type of an invite, or something more formal? Basically, if you are going to be given an assigned seat and fed, you are generally expected to at least spend enough on a gift (or cash) to cover the cost of feeding you. If it's a more informal sort of deal, the expectations are probably less, and she will be thrilled to see you and quite happy with any reasonable gift (by which, I mean just a card and cash that you feel comfortable giving, up to about $100, but obviously not so little that it seems silly to give as a gift).
posted by axiom at 3:15 PM on April 19, 2014

A gift is traditional and usual for a wedding but you're not going to that, you're going to the fete afterwards. I'd bring a nice card, myself, but I imagine you'll get as many answers as the day is long.
posted by ftm at 3:16 PM on April 19, 2014

It was an invitation (given to me by the bride) asking me to come and celebrate their wedding at a specific time and date. So, sort of formal but not totally, I guess, which is why I'm uncertain about the attached social expectations.
posted by Fister Roboto at 3:19 PM on April 19, 2014

Did she hand you a printed invitation, or was it totally verbal?
posted by EvaDestruction at 3:36 PM on April 19, 2014

It was printed. Quite nicely, I might add! There's an outlaw theme.
posted by Fister Roboto at 3:43 PM on April 19, 2014

You should bring a gift. It's not uncommon for couples to have a small wedding ceremony and larger reception.
posted by payoto at 4:17 PM on April 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yes, a gift. but within your budget. I disagree with the rules about how much.
posted by michellenoel at 4:41 PM on April 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

Under the circumstances, I'd bring a thoughtful gift (and nice card), not a substantial gift, and definitely not money.

If it's being held at an expensive place, I'd increase the value of the gift.
posted by Quisp Lover at 5:23 PM on April 19, 2014

Send a gift. Gifts at receptions are subject to theft and are hassles.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:21 PM on April 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think it is nice to give a gift. You can ask about a registry the next time you see them, otherwise I think money is fine.
For what it is worth, I am under 30 and about to get married myself. I personally prefer cash but I am having a registry just because it is expected and people do not always want to give cash. I have heard that many people expect the gift to be worth as much as the cost having you there, but I think that is out-dated, because if I chose to have an expensive $100/plate wedding, then a.) you might not know and b.) if I invite a friend who cannot afford that, then I am really just happy to have them there and celebrate with me.

So with that said, it is nice to give a gift, but only give what you can afford.
posted by Jaelma24 at 6:34 PM on April 19, 2014

Seconding Jaelma. Personally, I'd take (or send, if you know the address) a card with money, whatever you can reasonably afford.
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:41 PM on April 19, 2014

Thanks for the advice everyone. I got a nice card and put an Andrew Jackson in it. The reception was tonight and it was pretty fun.
posted by Fister Roboto at 9:10 PM on April 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Wedding etiquette is not my area, but I have heard of guidelines saying the value of the gift should be more than what its costing the happy couple to have you at the reception.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:20 AM on April 20, 2014

Glad you had a good time. For just being invited to a reception for an acquaintance, I think your gift was plenty generous- good choice on giving cash.
posted by Old Man McKay at 7:35 AM on April 20, 2014

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