Can people please stop getting married and graduating

polygamy ninja

Not only did I commit my life to Girl Ninja on August 8th 2010, but I apparently committed it to about 20 of her best friends and a bunch of high school students too. I seriously can’t believe how many parties we have on our calendar. It seems like every week there is a birthday, wedding, or graduation party to attend. Three parties, back-to-back-to-back, yesterday.

To help ease my “party overload anxiety” I made, what I thought was, a reasonable proposal. I ever so politely asked Girl Ninja to reduce the number of friends she has. I thought we could make this reduction process fun by inviting all of her friends over to the Ninja house and host some type of NFL style friend draft. Just imagine, “…and in the first round of this years NFL (Ninja’s Friends List) Draft, Mr and Mrs. Ninja would like to befriend…enter dramatic pause here… Will and Whitney!”

I think it is a stellar idea, unfortunately, I couldn’t get Girl Ninja to go for it. This means we will probably be attending 436 different functions over the next year.

Being that I like to make things as simple as possible, I’ve thrown out the idea of a a “one size fits most” (yes, I stole the idea from the tag on my fruit of the loom underwear) gift giving policy.

Essentially we would operate on a cash or no gift policy for all parties we attend. Weddings and birthdays get cash, high school graduations get a “Congrats” card.

I’d love to say we’d give each of our high school students $20.14 (their graduation year) with the card we give, but that’s just not practical when you are attending a dozen of so grad parties in a two week time span. Hence the reason I vote “no cash” for graduation.

For weddings, obviously there is not much thought behind a $50 cash gift. But who doesn’t love getting cash? I can’t speak for Girl Ninja, but my favorite wedding gifts weren’t the kitchen gadgets, it was the cards with green pieces of paper inside them 😉

spatula gift

Now obviously if we have a specific gift in mind for someone, we would get it for them. The cash option simply takes the burden off our shoulders when no one present seems any better than another. ex: Should we get them two C&B plates or two C&B bowls.

Something tells me Girl Ninja will be resistant to this system as she is all about the sentiment and creativity when giving a gift, and let’s face it, cash isn’t creative. We’ll see if I can force her convince her to come to my side.

Do any of you operate under a similar system? Do you have a set dollar amount you give for friends’ weddings, birthdays, etc? For weddings, do you typically get things off the registry or stick to cash/gift cards?

20 thoughts on “Can people please stop getting married and graduating

  1. We have no friends and have limited contact with family. Sounds pretty bad but it does alleviate the problem you have right now. In regards to weddings, I always felt that the gift should equal the cost of how much the wedding cost per person liken that to how much a caterer charges per person at a catered event.

  2. My husband and I give $200 a couple for weddings, either in gift or check form. Someone told me that was the standard a few years ago, and my jaw dropped, but it really is, at least on the coasts.

  3. I guess I should be pretty honored because I was chosen to be Godmother by 4 of my friends for 4 beautiful babies.
    We’re Catholic over here in the boot of the Old Continent and it’s kinda of a big deal, in fact I am pretty damn happy about! (not sure why my friends thinks I’m an example to follow, but still…)
    The problem is…man!four? in less than 12 months? ceremonies + special birthday gift + Christmas gift….there goes my bonus I worked so hard for!

  4. Prior to getting married, I always picked something off the registry. Then I got married and realized that cash is king. It makes leading up to the wedding so easy! No shopping, no wrapping, no lugging the gift around. Bonus: Cash goes with everything. I’ll never go back.
    For weddings, I struggle to give more than $50 right now. When I’m out of debt and making more money, I may be more generous. We’ll see.
    I’ve always disliked the “cover your cost” mentality for wedding gifts. 1) Its difficult to guess how much it costs 2) I’m there for the couple, not the party. If the couple chose to spend a ton on their wedding, that’s their concern, not mine. Just because a couple goes crazy with their budget doesn’t mean I have to bust mine.

  5. I’m in the Midwest and we’re younger, so for weddings we usually do $75 to $100 for friends and $150-$200 for family. We tend to go on the higher side if the wedding is more expensive. For graduation, I think $25 to $50 is fine.

  6. I live in Japan as a military dependent, but have immersed myself in the culture. The traditional (and only acceptable) gift at a wedding is cash. I am pretty sure the same is true for graduations.

    • Even in the States, I’m confused as to why people get the bride/groom anything but cash. It’s the easiest thing for the married couple and the gift giver, and helps the couple out more than a new CrockPot or whatever. I think buying an item instead of giving cash is a way that people can be cheap but disguise it.

  7. I keep a list in my address book of gifts given – high school grad, college grad, wedding, etc…..helps keep track of the different cash levels for family vs. friends. It’s fun to look back on 30 years of gift giving and remembering all the fun occasions.

    Except for immediate family – we gave our siblings personal wedding gifts – we almost always give cash.

  8. I really think different regions, cultures, friends and family are different all over. We give $30-$50 for grad gifts and $250 from the two of us for weddings. I think that would be pretty standard around here in my family/friend circle! I do like the 20.14 idea or some play on they year they graduate – very creative.

  9. I work on a college campus, and at the rates ya’ll are talking, I’d go broke! I tend to get graduation and wedding announcements up the wazoo. I generally do a congratulatory card for graduations–if it’s a college graduation for my place of employment, I figure I’ve already helped make their education possible. For weddings, just given the sheer number of them that I get invited to (I’ve had 20 within a month. Yes, TWENTY), I go with movie gift cards or a $10 gift card for ice cream or something like that, with a little note about remembering to take each other out on dates after the wedding. I long ago stopped caring what was normal or acceptable for wedding/graduation gifts, and just went with what fit my budget & personality.

  10. Last I checked, there isn’t an obligation to give a gift at any time, it’s just good form.
    Instead of a no-gift/cash policy, you could let Girl Ninja do the gift shopping then have her hand you the card when it’s time to sign it. In fact, you could even be the responsible party for the sentimental handwritten thought at the bottom of the card.
    I usually stick to $20 spent on a gift, never cash. Depending on the relationship (how close I am to the person), it may range from something like flower/balloon bouquet (less personal) to a blanket embroidered with name/date (more personal).

  11. If you’re going to a party, you need to bring a gift. Be a good guest. For all of the grad parties, you could do something simple like movie tickets, home baked goods, or college school supplies (beer? Ha). But you can’t go to a party empty handed.

    • Great ideas! Or how about a roll of quarters (they’ll need it for the laundry machines in the dorm!!) and a book about how to survive college (aka life)… Or a gas card is ALWAYS appreciated.

  12. Not buying anything seems rude when you attend a birthday or wedding, I guess that’s thanks to the consumerist culture we’ve grown accustomed to. I’ve never heard of buying graduation gifts though unless it’s a parent buying something for their child. Getting something for friends seems a little bit over the top and unnecessary especially when you have a large circle of friends. Being there to celebrate with them should suffice.

    As for weddings I usually give $100 for friends and $200+ for family depending on how close they are. I think gifts are a bit useless these days given that a lot of people already live together prior to getting hitched so they usually have everything they need. Cash is easy and much more appreciated.

  13. I feel ya, Ninja. First it was the bridal showers, then the weddings, and now the babies. And all my cousins (and husband’s) are beginning to graduate, too. Our average gift budget each month is somewhere around $200. In our area in Southeastern, CT – a gift (usually off the registry) is expected at bridal showers. Then cash (between $100 and $200 depending on how close we are to the couple) for the wedding. For baby showers, I always purchase off the registry (between $40-75). And then when visiting the baby, I usually bring a small gift for the mother (chocolates, cupcakes, or a bottle of wine and breast milk test strips….ha!). Then the kids’ birthdays are inevitable…at least for the first five years. I usually budget about $20-25 a kid and go to my local toy store or ask the mother what the kid needs for clothing. This month is actually pretty light for us in the gift department – just one grad party and a baptism. Some months, I was attending a baby shower every week. Being popular can definitely be an inconvenience in the $$ department, for sure. It’s the one part of our budget that hurts most, but we love to give and be generous to our friends and family.

  14. Hubby and I have very small families and a small group of friends; we don’t have any weddings/babies/graduations to attend in the forseeable future. If I’m invited to a bridal shower, I bring a gift from the registry; if we’re invited to the wedding, we give a card and a cheque for $150-$200.

  15. We only did graduation gifts for family and godchildren and it was for high school graduation only. Standard was $100. I have six siblings and my husband has 5 so there were many $100 bills going out for many years in a row. For college, we send a card.
    Re weddings: we usually buy something off the registry for the bridal shower gift. For a wedding gift, I like to give them something that will stand the test of time. Something special. We have several glass blowing artists in our town so I usually buy a pretty, glass blown vase. They can be pricey depending on the size–$150 and up. I try to go to the sale every May so that I have one “on hand”. From the tone of the thank yous we receive, I believe that the couple really love receiving the beautiful vase.

  16. We’ve stopped buying ‘gifts’ for kids birthdays or Christmas: We give them a card that lets them know we will be going out for a day instead: Science Centres, wave pools, amusement parks, ski hills. Kids really don’t need more ‘stuff’, and they’re more likely to remember a fabulous day 5 years from now than another present on the pile.

    We do similar things with weddings, but get a gift certificate for somewhere the couple can go out together (rather than more stuff for the pile). A pair of lift tickets (if they’re into it & we’re very close), or a smaller restaurant gift certificate if we don’t know them as well. My brother was doing extensive renos shortly after his wedding, so we got them gc’s for the home improvement store. I feel strongly about not adding ‘stuff’ to people’s lives that they may not need in the end.

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