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Merrily Preston
By Merrily Preston
Posted on Oct 14,2008
Filed Under Personal Development , Opinions,

Friends of ours are planning a secluded wedding at the beach.  They have both been married before. They are keeping the wedding low key---so low key that they haven't invited any of their friends.  A mutual friend wants to give them a celebration so we've all been invited to a restaurant, at our own expense.  The couple has specifically stated no gifts.  The organizer wants everyone to chip in some cash for their honeymoon.  All of this is fine, and I certainly wish them well, but since we're not even invited to the ceremony, how much, if any, would be appropriate to give? I usually spend $40-$60 on a wedding gift.  I've never come up against a situation like this before.  
Stumped in the south

Dear Stumped,

Let’s get the facts straight.

You have not been invited to the ceremony.  You are asked to pay your own expenses at a celebration that someone else is “giving”.  You are asked to disregard the couple’s specific request for ‘no gifts’.

You are ‘up against a situation’ only if you choose to be.  

You may opt out of the celebration and send a card, which would be more in line with the wedding couple’s wishes. You could respect the request for no gifts.  How could any amount of money be appropriate if the couple has asked for no gifts?   

Since you have not said one positive word about the celebration, please be clear about your motives if you decide to attend. 

Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator, who lives in Woodbridge. Her column is exclusive to the Alexandria Times. Email questions to

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