After 20 years of living together, my partner has finally asked me to marry him. In fact, from the beginning, it was he who wanted this traditional sealing of the knot. The big day will be this fall.
The wife of his best friend suggested (actually, strongly insisted) that we demand a monetary contribution from our guests. My spouse and I disagree. I find this insulting, while he is hell-bent on it!
We are expecting a hundred adult guests or so, and a few little ones. The meal costs $125 per person, including wine. My fiancé wants to ask a payment of $75 per guest. It goes without saying that the decorations, the music, the late night buffet and everything else, including the open bar, are 100 per cent at our expense!
Honestly, we don't care about the gifts. And for me, it is out of the question to add "No boxed gifts, please" on our invitations.
We expect that some of our guests will be VERY generous. While others, like our 20-something nieces and nephews, will come celebrate with their boyfriends or girlfriends, and will not offer us anything.
Help! Can we ask without insulting?
Oh, la la la la! This etiquette expert needs to stop this trend, now! I am fighting to catch my breath as I rhythmically type on my keyboard...
But first, congratulations on your upcoming wedding! I wish you much happiness.
You are right. It's now my turn, just like the wife of your future husband's friend, to be firm.
"Asking guests to pay is insulting, tacky and rude!"
Inviting equals paying. If you cannot afford the wedding of your dreams, adjust your vision.
"If you do not have the means to invite at the Ritz Carlton serve Ritz crackers at the sugar shack."
You can change the location, the menu, reduce the service of alcohol, find another music option or make your own decorations. Be creative.
As for not writing, "No boxed gifts please" on the invitation, here too you are right. That statement is a full faux-pas. It transfers the request for someone's presence to a request for cash.
The ideal way to inform guests of your gift wishes, including the gift of money, is the good old "word of mouth" method. It is up to the relatives of the couple, as well as their attendants, to inform guests when they ask.
The script might sound like this:
Guest: "What should we offer them as a gift?"
Parent or member of the bridal party: "As you may know, they have been living together for a while now. In fact, they really have everything they need. They are dreaming of a Caribbean cruise (or whatever you are hoping for). I'm sure they would appreciate a contribution towards that trip. However, if you have another idea, I am sure they will appreciate it."
Alternatively, less expensively, you could host in your home.
Or another option could be to ask guests and loved ones "join you" at your favourite restaurant. By using the words, "We would like you to join us as we celebrate our wedding" guests will know that they will have to pay for their meals.
No matter what you decide, make sure to decide united with your future husband. It would be a shame to have a quarrel and ill feelings when leading up to what should be one of the happiest days of your lives as a couple.