Brides and Grooms Publicly Shame Wedding Guests Over Gift Registries and Dress Codes

Thanks to social media, the bar for big life events like getting married or welcoming a baby is higher than ever.

Wishes for dream weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, or baby showers have led to skyrocketing costs and increased stress around planning for new parents or engaged couples. But now the guests are also feeling the pressure.

Recently, brides, grooms and parents-to-be have become more discerning about what they would like their guests to wear and the gifts they would be happy to receive, and they are increasingly particular about their expectations on their special day. .

Going a step further, some are also publicly shaming their guests on forums like TikTok and Reddit.

Returning ‘disrespectful’ $100 Venmo

A bride chastised a guest for sending her $100 on Venmo a few days after the wedding, saying it felt “a little disrespectful,” according to a Reddit thread, which also said the guest was late to the wedding. Disappointed, the bride returned the money, saying she expected more. Similarly, another bride took to Reddit after emailing eight of her wedding guests, who had given the couple just a combined $50 gift.

Guests are also pushing back against higher expectations, creating tensions. A bride asked her guests to dress in fantasy and renaissance-themed clothing for her wedding, and she took to Reddit to ask users if she was wrong to do so. She and her partner had met at a Renaissance fair and wanted that to be part of her wedding, so they included an addendum to her invitation detailing the types of clothing they wanted people to wear. This included “photos, descriptions (and) budget categories,” which upset many of her guests.

“I approached them after they mentioned their names and they told me I was ruining what is supposed to be a happy day by requiring people to dress like idiots,” the bride wrote in the post. “They said everyone should be allowed to wear whatever makes them feel comfortable and I’m being very controlling.”

Another couple came under fire for including a QR code on the groom’s Venmo account on their wedding invitations, while other brides and grooms came under fire on social media for including a 14-point list of rules for their wedding day with their invitations. Additionally, expectant mothers have also started publicly shaming their friends and family for not purchasing gifts from their baby shower lists.

“When people don’t purchase from your registry, you can’t give them credit back for other things you need from your registry,” one TikTok user complained. “If you’re going to a baby shower in the future, just shop at a registry.” Several newlywed couples have also taken to social media with similar complaints about guests purchasing gifts that were not on their list.

All of these events (and many more) have sparked a debate about proper event etiquette. Fortune I spoke to wedding planners and etiquette experts to find out if their requests are justified and the appropriate way for guests to react to seemingly controlling requests.

The registration rules.

Wedding registries have evolved, particularly in the last 10 years, says Bryce Carson, event director at Roberts & Co. Events. Fortune. Gone are the days of the traditional gift list where couples asked for fine china and cookware at random; Cash gifts are included, such as honeymoon funds and first home funds. In fact, cash is the most popular gift that soon-to-be-weds register for, and 74% of registry makers include cash on their wish list, according to The Knot’s 2023 Registry Study.

“This is definitely because couples are getting married a little later in life. They are already combining their houses,” Carson says. “They don’t need two sets of everything, so we see it less as a cash grab and more as an opportunity for couples to make their transition into married life as easy as possible.”

Now that wedding registries are largely online, it’s also easier to split big-ticket items among multiple guests rather than relying on a rich aunt or uncle to purchase the high-end cookware or outdoor grill you need. the couple wanted. And although wedding registries have changed, it’s no excuse for buying dishonest gifts that aren’t on the requested list, Carson says.

“The etiquette has been and always will be that you should purchase off the register as a guest,” he says. “You don’t know what they have in their house or in combined houses. The registry is there to guide you and avoid duplicates or prevent them from getting something they don’t need.”

If the registry is left with few options when a guest decides to purchase a gift, one thing guests can do to stay within their budget is to include a nice card and a gift card to the store where the couple, Lisa Lafferty, is registered. says a luxury wedding planner Fortune.

“This way, the couple can choose something they really need or want,” says Lafferty.

At the end of the day, experts agree that brides and grooms should be grateful and express gratitude for any gifts they receive, even if they weren’t on their registry.

“A gift is a gift that is given without payment,” says Lisa Mirza Grotts, a certified etiquette expert with 25 years of experience. Fortune. “If brides and grooms are taking this thoughtless approach to friends and family, the change is in stark contrast to the reason for having a wedding: love, community (and) commitment.”

Wedding guests also sometimes have difficulty knowing proper gift-giving etiquette if they are invited to multiple events, such as a bridal shower or bachelor or bachelorette party. This may hurt your wallet, but those in the wedding party or people invited to multiple pre-wedding events are expected to purchase gifts for each other.

“While some couples may take into account the expenses incurred by members of the wedding party for dresses, grooming, and other preparations, it can still be considered thoughtful and courteous to give a small gift for both occasions,” Lafferty says. “This gesture recognizes the couple’s generosity and contributes to the spirit of the events.”

In terms of the average cost guests incur to attend a wedding, including travel expenses, clothing, gifts and other expenses like childcare, Carson says to expect to spend at least four figures and spend at least the value of the wedding. food in a gift. Nowadays, most wedding meals cost three figures per guest, Carson says.

What not to wear

While it has long been customary for brides and grooms to request formal or cocktail attire at a wedding, more and more couples have begun asking guests to dress according to a theme or color scheme. This trend has sparked negative reactions from both wedding attendees who think the requests are unreasonable and couples who are unhappy with guests who don’t abide by their rules.

“This is definitely a trend that the internet is pushing more and more toward as couples try to view their event as a fashion event and as something they want to photograph” for social media, Carson says.

However, brides and grooms should recognize that guests “will go rogue” and wear things outside the guidelines “because it’s already a considerable cost to attend a wedding these days,” she adds. “Asking for an extra suit is definitely a big ask,” says Carson.

On the other hand, some couples argue that a dress code can be helpful for wedding guests.

“By creating guidelines for registry and dress codes, the couple is attempting to ease this burden, allowing guests to focus more on having fun and less on pre-wedding stress,” said Hannah Nowack, senior editor at The Knot, a wedding supplier marketplace. she says Fortune. He’s seen everything from asking attendees to dress in cool hues like blue and green to a “cheesy, ostentatious, Las Vegas, ‘camp'” wardrobe request where flowy sundresses and suits were encouraged. of linen”.

“These types of changes allow the couple to show off their personalities and priorities while guests have fun breaking out of the traditional wedding mold,” says Nowack.

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