Dear Margo: No Need To Hide from the Neighbors

Margo Howard’s advice

No Need To Hide from the Neighbors

Dear Margo: I really need help. I’m 25, single, no kids, and I moved to a new apartment complex a few months ago. I’ve never been one to make friends with neighbors, because normally I don’t have time because of work, etc. Since getting laid off last month, I’ve been home a lot more and have begun developing friendships with a few of the ladies around here. I met “Sue” first, and through her I met “Anna.” Anna is the problem.

Anna is a few years older than me and engaged to a nice man with whom she has a young child. Whenever I see Anna, she wants to drink. She says she has a right to go a little crazy like her fiance gets to do all the time. She won’t just have a glass of wine or a couple of beers, though. She indeed goes crazy and is soon riding the “roller coaster.”

She starts out fine and then gets angry with her fiance or her Dad or her old friends, etc. From there, she moves on to some truly painful accidents and deaths and sobs and sobs. Then she’s back to OK, and we have a laugh or two — and then it starts all over again. These past evenings have been particularly stressful. The first night, she brought over a bottle of tequila, and although I didn’t want to drink, I did let her in. I couldn’t get her out till 3 a.m. I walked her home, and her fiance was waiting up for her and was very upset.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve been hiding in my apartment all day. I just cannot face these people. How do I deal with this? I talked to my mom, and she said to not talk to them and ignore them both from now on. Is she right? — Trapped

Dear Trap: Your mom is not entirely right, but she’s on the right track. I don’t think you can just not speak, given the history. You can, however, tell Anna that you believe she has an alcohol problem, along with painful issues she has not dealt with in any constructive way. She is self-medicating and trying to drown her sorrows. The problem is that sorrows know how to swim.

If I were you, I would highly recommend AA and/or a counselor (and maybe take her fiance with her). Tell her you will not be available for any more tequila evenings. If necessary, don’t answer your door. And I hope you get a job soon. — Margo, resolutely

RSVP — and Send Money

Dear Margo: It’s been some time since I’ve written. So, how have you been? Here is my query: I just received an invitation to a bridal shower dinner. 1) Should we (males) have been invited? 2) Since it is a dinner, are we expected to pay for our own meal? The invite said, “Join us for dinner…” 3) Is it cheesy to say, “In lieu of a bridal registry, the bride and groom kindly request the favor of a monetary gift toward their honeymoon in Italy”? At 69, I may be old-fashioned, but I think that’s really tacky. — George

Dear George: I’ve been well, thanks. Here’s what I think. 1) Some showers do include men. 2) I’m not sure how you got the idea that people pay for their own dinners. Usually, a shower has one or more hostesses; it is like a gift to the bride. I’d be surprised if there were multiple checks, but if there are, grin and bear it. 3) The request for money is happening more often, and some people do find it tacky. I’ll bet you didn’t know there are now registries just for cash. Remember that a request is not a command, and if you’d feel better, send a wedding gift of your choice. All of this, of course, is predicated on how you feel about the couple. — Margo, selectively

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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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50 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Constance Plank says:


    When you’re dealing with a drug addict, an alcoholic or whatever, you need to be really clear, and say it over, and over, and over again. It’s a hard thing to have to do out of the blue, but you aren’t this woman’s bestest friend, and you don’t have to enable her. And, yes, it won’t be a pleasant interchange. (Trust me on that.)

    Cut her off now. She won’t stop drinking until she is faced with the consequences. It’s not your problem, and you don’t have to fix her. (Trust me on that, too.)

    Find your friends elsewhere. Consider volunteering for something that you care about, and might help you find a job. Networking rules.


    Never heard of paying for a wedding shower. Send a card. I don’t believe in helping to pay for someone’s “dream wedding or honeymoon.” If invited to spend money to attend someone’s either, I’d send pleasant card wishing them a happy marriage.

    I was married 23 years ago. The ex and I had a lovely wedding for 90 in his parent’s backyard. The inlaws paid for the decent catering from their friend, who was just starting in business: $1,200. I paid for my wedding dress, my veil and a friend made the really pretty bouquets, the ex and I bought good inexpensive champagne & all the glass ware, his dad paid for the excellent wine. Friends of the ex were the band. Another friend, a professional photographer, took great photos. Etc. etc.

    Was it a perfect wedding? No. Was it a great wedding? Yes! Absolutely. A lot of people we cared about were involved. It cost us, maybe a month of our then income.

    Did we ask for a single penny from our guests? No. Our family and friends? Yes, but only what they were willing to do. My mother gave $100 towards flowers. My dear friend Debbie sewed up a dress she purchased for $3 from a ruined truck shipment, which became my ex’s 4 year old niece and our flower girl’s very favorite dress for two years. (Debbie’d shown me one she’d done for her niece.)

    It was a pretty wedding. Pity the marriage didn’t last more than 18 years!


    who is still aghast.

    • avatar D says:

      If you are willing to travel to someone’s wedding or send them any sort of gift, then you are okay with spending money to attend someone’s wedding. The invitation and the registry are ways of asking you to spend money to attend their wedding.

      You are criticizing this couple for asking for cash to go on their honeymoon, but you were okay with asking for/accepting money and/or time from your family and friends to help pay for your wedding. What is the difference?

      • avatar mayma says:

        Come on. Huge difference. You don’t solicit cash from ALL of your guests. Parents putting up money for certain expenses, friends playing in a band, everything done on a shoestring…. there is no comparison to “fund our expensive vacation, everybody.”

      • avatar dcarpend says:

        Because it is always — ALWAYS — rude to attempt to manipulate the generosity of others. If they *ask* what you want, that’s one thing. But it’s rude even to assume they will give you a gift, much less to tell them what that gift should be.

        Lest anyone bring up registries — which I feel have gotten out of hand — registries are available for those who choose to consult them. But I have heard/read brides moaning about how awful people were to give them something that wasn’t on their registry. Those girls are greedy little hustlers, and I wish them no marital happiness.

    • avatar John Lee says:

      “Did we ask for a single penny from our guests? No. Our family and friends? Yes, but only what they were willing to do. My mother gave $100 towards flowers. ”

      Wow, so you have had plenty of guests who were neither family NOR friends? Jeez, did you invite all your co-workers who were not your friends and college classmates who were also only acquaintances?

      You took $100 from your mother who raised you for 18 years and probably didn’t have a big income (just a guess, I could be wrong)?

      I’m being facetious, but it’s all perspective. My wife’s family is very poor and we wouldn’t think of taking a single dollar from them. I have plenty of friends who were single and have good jobs. I put it clearly on our website that no gifts please, we’re blessed to have all we need, but if you really want to, you can donate to charity or fund our honeymoon.

      If people demand money (or gifts or favors), yeah, of course that’s tacky. But if having a registry for honeymoon or house funds offends you, you’re stuck in 1960s (and probably happy with it).

  2. avatar D says:

    I disagree on one aspect of Margo’s answer. He can very easily not speak to her. It is not that hard. The last thing he should say to her is that she needs to talk to her husband and/or a counselor about her problems, she needs help with her drinking problem, and she should not be coming over to his place. After that, do not speak unless it is simple pleasantries in passing.

    Why is giving money considered tacky? Is it considered better to give stuff than to give the cash value for what that stuff is worth? In any case, the bride and groom may have all of the stuff they need and sending more stuff would not be helpful. It would be better if no gift is given than to give something that is not asked for.

    • avatar Sita says:

      D, giving money at a wedding is not tacky; but blatantly asking for money as a wedding gift is tacky.

      • avatar D says:

        I have heard this many times and I do not understand why people seem to think this is tacky. It is okay to ask people to spend their money for a wedding in terms of travel costs, non-cash gifts, catering, flowers, clothes, etc., but it is not okay to straight up ask for the cash that would be spent on these items, even in situations where the cash would be more helpful.

        Just out of curiosity, how would you or anyone else feel if the invitation said something to the effect of “In lieu of a gift, please make a donation to charity blah blah blah…”?

        • avatar Carrie A says:

          The purpose of gifts for a wedding is giving two people just starting out things they really need: dishes, towels, pans, etc. It’s not to fund a lavish honeymoon. And if they already have everything they need then they shouldn’t ask for anything. If they do say to donate to charity that is very different: a charity has a real need for it. No one really has a need for an expensive honeymoon.

          • avatar ostatekitty says:

            i put nothing whatsoever about gifts in my wedding invitation.  if people asked myself or family or bridesmaids where i was registered, we told them.  had we wanted cash, i would have done the same thing.  it’s tacky to request either cash or gifts IN the invitation.  if people want to get you a gift, they’ll ask.

        • avatar dcarpend says:

          It is rude to assume people will give you a gift, or worse, that they owe you a gift. It is rude to tell them what they should give you. Period. If your mother didn’t teach you to smile and thank the giver, she missed an important lesson.

    • avatar dcarpend says:

      1) It is not rude to give cash. It is rude to *ask for cash*. It is rude A) to assume people will give you a gift, and B) to attempt to dictate what that gift should be. The notion that no gift is better than a gift that was not asked for is a perversion of every rule of gift giving I have ever known. You don’t ask for gifts — well, you can hint to your husband, but with anyone else it’s rude and grabby — and gifts are supposed to be sweet surprises that indicate that the giver has thought about what might please you, not that he or she has done you the favor of taking your list and doing your shopping for you.

      2) Many people like to give gifts with the thought that the recipient will look at that item and think of them. I do exactly that when I use the things I was given for my wedding, most of which were total surprises. When money is demanded for the honeymoon, do you really think the bride and groom will think, in years to come, “Oh, here’s that photo of us at that little restaurant on the beach. We spent Cousin Bill’s $100 there, didn’t we?”

  3. avatar Ariana says:

    I disagree about telling LW#1 that she has an alcohol problem. She’s not going to want to stage an intervention here. Just try phasing off the contact with Anna by saying you don’t have time, and you’re not interested in sitting around drinking because you are busy doing home-study for some job skills while you’re laid off. Keep contact to exchanging a few pleasantries in the hallways. Don’t tell her she has a drinking problem or anything else, which will accomplish nothing but make the entire family misplace their anger at you. Just give firm apologies that you don’t have time.

    Unfortunately, I will predict that Anna will be angry with you anyways once you stop being the enabler. That’s what you have become when you let her drink herself into a crying/laughing stupor in your apartment until 3 am when you don’t even want her there. There’s not much you can do about this, it comes with the territory for people with drug addictions. If you choose, drop off an AAA business card to the fiance and urge him to help her.

  4. avatar Ariana says:

    LW#2: I don’t get why the bridal shower invite would include the information about the wedding registry. I guess they don’t want gifts for the bride at the bridal shower either? Asking for money is always tacky, but people are always willing to disregard that when they really want something. It always leaves me with the impression: “You and your wallet are invited to our celebration!”

    • avatar asm says:

      I’ll preface by saying that gift and registry information on invites ARE TACKY! With that said however, everyone registers for gifts because it’s an easy way to let friends and family get you a gift that many insist on buying. The point of bridal registry is to give the couple things to start their life together, and most couples these days are already have their homes set up. I see with nothing wrong with getting something you want and will use (like funds for a honeymoon) instead of household items you have no use for. I wish I had thought of a honeymoon registry when I got married because I would have enjoyed an awesome honeymoon much more instead of a china set and 3 crock pots we never used.

  5. avatar toni says:

    I agree w some of the posters. It is not LW1’s job to shed enlightenment on her fairly new acquaintance. And I would ABSOLUTELY not apologize. Firmly say no. Do NOT open your door if she comes over anyway. If she asks why tell her you are making different choices about how you want to spend the evening. You don’t owe her apologies or excuses any more than you owe her a place to drink.

  6. avatar Michelles11 says:

    It’s tacky to ask for money for a shower or wedding gift.  I feel that gifts toward a shower or wedding should be intended to help the couple organize their home, and or buy needed items, not fund a honeymoon, downpayment on a house, or a fancy reception.  But since people are marrying later and living together I suppose they don’t need “household” items to get started, which I understand.  So okay, don’t register anywhere or state anywhere that money is preferred, I would think people would get the hint if you don’t have a registry.  If not, you should not begrudge them any gift they give you, you should be grateful for the presence of family and friends that wish you well.  I love a great wedding!  Big or small, but what I don’t love is being told to give money, it rubs me the wrong way. 

  7. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Letter #1 – I disagree with Margo. I don’t think this letter writer should tell Anna she has a drinking problem and suggest she seek help….it’s not her place to do so. It’s not as if they have become close friends, they are what is known as “associates” (those that associate with one another).

    What this letter writer needs to do is practice her communication skills and be direct. The next time Anna comes around looking for a drinking buddy, be kind but direct and say “I know you enjoy drinking but I don’t, so I am going to have to pass this evening….or I know you might want to stay up late talking, but I am going to have to take a pass….or It was my mistake, I am not a social person and I should not have led you to believe I am interested in becoming friends…..”

    You should be able to move freely through life and not feel captive in your own home. Everything that happens in life is a potential lesson. This one is a perfect opportunity to find that inner voice and self esteem and speak up for what you want and don’t want.  The reality is there are a lot of people in this world that live in a perpectual state of “woe is me” and they look for those that will wallow in that with them. By not setting boundaries, this letter writer is allowing herself to be controlled unnecessarily.

    Letter #2 – Have you ever heard the term “Make it rain”

    I could be wrong, but this is a term that was started by men in strip clubs. It is essentially when a man or men take handfull of bills and shower it on a stripper….hence, making it rain.  Now people do the same thing as weddings all the time on the happy couples. Throw bills at them making it rain.  In some cultures it is customary to pin bills to the dress of the bride.  I think we have entered into a new  era of wedding etiquette. Now, not only is it perfectly normal and okay to ask for cash instead of a gift, for a lot of people, it’s expected.

    My thought is it is better to give cash instead of a gift because intentions mean everything. And if your “intent” was to give the happy couple a gift they would enjoy, this way you know they would use the funds to truly buy for themselves something they really want. You may think they will go crazy for the gravy boat you got them, but chances are it will simply end up regifted. Better to give them cash and let them decide. Intentions mean everything. So instead of finding it tacky to give cash, ask yourself “What is my intention in giving this couple a gift?”

    • avatar Ariana says:

      My intention is to give them something they enjoy within my limited budget. I find asking for cash outright is tacky in the extreme, in addition to the following problems it brings:

      1. It’s all on the table which person gave how much.
      I’ve even heard people after their wedding bragging: “So-and-so gave us xyz amount, they were so generous!” Well that’s kind of embarassing when you’re standing there and know you gave less.

      2. Money is just too emotionally charged.
      People can be financially strapped without others knowing. Then you can sit back and wait for the snide comments: Those cheap skates only gave us xyz, and they’re rolling in it! 
      When I used to be cash-challenged, I would go shopping well in advance for a good deal. Then I was able to give the couple something worth more by spending time shopping wisely. 
      3. It’s feels impersonal
      I just don’t get a warm fuzzy feeling when I know I paid for 3% of the couple’s wedding costs by giving cash. However, generic gifts like gravy boats and crystal vases are also a no-go for me. You should know the people good enough to know their taste, or more commonly they have mentioned something in the past that they wanted. If not, that’s what the families of the couple is for – ask them for gift advice.

      4. What about when the cash is gone?
      I have several cherished items that were given at my wedding. Everytime I use them, I think kindly of the friend that gave it to me. By giving cash, you’re just one of a bunch. While they might have loved their honeymoon that the guests financed, there’s no lasting memories of “this was given to us by our friend XYZ on our wedding!”

      • avatar mac13 says:

        Ariana, you hit the nail on the head with #3. To me cash comes across as. “here, I didn’t have the time or want to bother getting you an actual meaningful gift”. Which crosses over to #4 as regards a meaningful gift. Also as an aside, I must have missed the memo that relegated gravy boats to the “useless wedding gift” list.

        • avatar butterfly55 says:

          If it were up to me you could put gravy boats on the last boat out, don’t cook, don’t eat anything with gravy!

          • avatar Ariana says:

            @mac13 – The term I used was generic, not useless 🙂 I don’t know many personalized gravy boats, but by all means, if you know a potter and you get someone a really unique gravy boat you they have been wanting, then that’s a good gift! Otherwise a standard silver gravy boat with ladle is pretty generic.

          • avatar mac13 says:

            Actually in my book, anything that is silver is a sketchy gift. To keep it looking like anything takes way too much effort.  My life is busy enough without thinking about using something that will require polishing it. But I do have a nice china one that I use when I have dinner guests and I serve gravy.

          • avatar dcarpend says:

            My father, who had a strong sense of dynasty, gave my husband and me a silver platter — the sort that the butler might have proffered to take your card 100 years ago — with our names and date engraved on it. It’s a family-heirloom-to-be. It’s also as good as money in the bank should something awful happen. Have you looked at the price of silver lately?

          • avatar dcarpend says:

            I actually registered for a gravy boat. Still use it. And I’ve been making gravy since I had to stand on a step-stool to reach the stove.

      • avatar Belinda Joy says:

        Ariana, if your intention is truly to give the couple something they would enjoy within your budget, then why are you concerned about other people? That is incredibly immature (IMO).

        1. Wrong. If your concern is that the couple would brag about other’s gift and discount yours, that doesn’t speak well to their morals and values, so what do you care?

        2. Again, it has everything to do with intentions. Sounds to me as if you are surrounded by shallow people. In life we should give what we can afford to give AND what we want to give. No more. No less.  You need a better circle of friends.

        3. Impersonal? How about adopting a new perspective. How about saying you are contributing to help create a memory for a new couple. Would you have the same feeling if a charity asked for funds? “How dare they ask me for money…I’ll donate my time but not my money!” That donated money will be combined with others to help benefit people. The same rings true for a married couple. The financial generosity of friends and family will benefit the couple with a wonderful honeymoon or toward a new home or furnishings.

        4. See response to # 3.

        Your opinions on this topic as you can see are shared by many. However IMO this opinion is an outdated one and incredibly childish.

  8. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: Oh wow, bad situation. 🙁 You can’t go on allowing yourself to be held hostage to Anna. The nicest thing you can do for her is to tell her to seek counseling; to tell a counselor what she’s told you. I’m worried her fiancee will think YOU are encouraging her, and get mad at YOU. It’s YOUR apartment. Next time Anna shows up, with or without bottle, tell her *nicely* that she has issues you can’t deal with; that she must take those issues to someone who can help her sort out and heal. And yes, like Margo I hope you are soon busily employed.

    L #2: It’s amazing “how complicated” weddings have become. When I was a kid (1970s) people were realistic about it, at least in my area. The bride AND GROOM (lately it’s ALL ABOUT *HER* isn’t it?!) and their families appreciated whoever showed up. Giving a gift was, yes, expected; received and thank-you notes sent. Just go with your gut/heart…or skip the drama.

  9. avatar martina says:

    LW1- Next time she comes round tell her she can visit but there won’t be any drinking. Then if she asks why not, either tell her you don’t want to or the truth. That you think she has a drinking problem. Either way, you probably won’t be seeing her again because if the only reason she comes over is to drink, she won’t want be able to so she won’t want to visit. If you tell her she has a drinking problem, she won’t want anything to do with you anymore. A couple of years ago I told my friend that she was an alcoholic and she needed to do something about it and I haven’t heard from her since.
    LW2 – Showers were meant to shower a bride with gifts they needed to set up a household. If you don’t need anything, you shouldn’t be having a party. I often wonder if the only reason people get married is to go through the ceremony and the parties and the attention of it all. Then it’s all over and you’ve got this person living with you and you’re wondering what you were thinking of marrying them.

    • avatar Michelles11 says:

      LW2…I agree…it’s as if people are expected to get married, so they do it, without really considering the commitment it’s meant to be.  Oh well….

  10. avatar butterfly55 says:

    LW2, Gift cards have become a normal way of handling birthdays, where is the difference?  I would much rather the receiver have the money to get what they want than to be given mulitple toasters and waffle irons.  And look at the time it saves you in shopping in the boring areas of the stores and wrapping a present that just gets torn open. 

    • avatar mayma says:

      It’s fine if someone wants to give cash. But for the couple to solicit cash — to put their hands in another’s wallet — is very tacky.

  11. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW#1:  I tend to agree with those who think telling Anna she has a drinking problem is not a good idea simply because you are not that close to her.    On the other hand, doing so will probably ensure that she never speaks to you again and that would not be a bad thing.   One thing you do need to do is stop entertaining her.  Be *busy* when she comes to call and refuse any invitations to get together.  If she asks why you are cooling off…that might be the time to suggest that she may have an alcohol problem.  (She clearly does have an alcohol problem). 

    LW#2:  *Couples* showers are very common these days and there really is no reason men cannot be included in celebrations.    I concur that asking for money is rude.  And, given that the couple and organizers are ignoring etiquette in that regard I would expect that you will be paying for your own dinner at this shower as well.  But, you are not obligated to attend the shower…sending your regrets and a card is perfectly fine.     

  12. avatar casino la fantastique says:

    MUAHAHAHA, dudes, now it’s your turn to experience the boring black hole of gift-grabby horror that is the modern shower! Finally showers aren’t just a lady tax anymore!

  13. avatar mac13 says:

    LW#1, your problem is best when nipped in the bud, so to speak. Aftrer the first night of roller coaster drinking, you should have been cool to her when you next saw her.  She would get the message. But, you have moved right past that into the person that will listen and not offer judgements. So, where to go now.  I would try to decline when she drops by with the the booze. If she presses at all, say to her that last time she revealed some shocking personal information. Tell her you have have been bothered by it.  That will leave her wondering what she said when she was blitzed. That will cool her heels.

    • avatar Ariana says:

      When trying to decline, don’t get sucked into the cycle of giving specific reasons why you don’t want to hang around with her. This will only lead to them arguing with you about how that’s not a real reason not to party. Addicts become persistent when they realize that they’re not going to get what they want. Their brains actually work differently and their behavior is guided by their desire (which is to drink at your house). Whether or not it’s convenient for you, or you were shocked by personal information is irrelevant to them. They’ll still try to change your mind.

      Keep her at bay with “I have some personal things to do tonight”, “Another time perhaps”, or “I need some alone time”. Any attemps of Anna to try to change your mind should be met with another vague saying “You know how it is, I want to get some stuff done.” If she ask what you’re doing (you know she will), just keep up with “You know, this and that. Say hi to your fiance!” and then just shut the door.

  14. avatar Kathy says:

    LW1 – Unfortunately, it’s very easy to “break up” with an alcoholic.  Simply say, “I’d love to see you, but no drinking.  It’s just not as fun.”  You won’t see her again.  Alcoholism is a vortex – there’s no reason you should allow yourself to get sucked into it.  Casual acquaintances cannot “fix” alcoholics.

  15. avatar mayma says:

    Normally, I would say “don’t bother telling an acquaintance about her drinking problem,” however Anna has a child. For the kid’s sake, and if she ever drives while drunk, I would at the very least give the fiance the local numbers for both AA and Al-Anon.

  16. avatar Allaroundtheworld says:

    Regarding the weddings and money I have a unique perspecitve. I use to be a florist and prepare wedding arrangements for many differnt wedding parties of different cultures. I also have lived in many different countries (Cuba, Greece, Germany England, Japan, China and the Phillipines to name a few). As Americans we have a pretty ridgid belief of how weddings are suppose to be, but in many different cultures there are quite a few major differences. In many Asian weddings, it is pretty manditory for the wedding couple to recieve red envolpes that contain money to start off their new life. To put a down payment on a house, finish school, etc..
     In some middle Eastern Europe Countries, the bride has money pinned on the wedding dress for the same reason. Even in the Hispanic culture, the money tree concept was developed for the same reason. As our country has become more culturally diveresed, these ideas have started to become part of many of all wedding ceromonies, but many people who don’t know of these long standing cultural customes find them rude. And they are rude when blantently put in the inventation, where as in the other cultures do it automatically without putting any names on the envelopes so no one is singled out as being better then another person.
    When I married my husband in San Francisco while it was legal for same sex marriage to wed, I recieved many Red Envolopes from many of my Asian friends containing money, and money pinned to my tux from my friends from Eastern Europe. My SIL who is from Cuba even brough a money tree. I did not ask for anything but to have my friends and family to be there when we got married because we had already be together for 20 years so we had a house full of stuff, but the generousity still brings a tear to my eyes.  So I guess it’s just where people come from and the culture they are from also. But you should never ever ask for money it’s just rude.   

  17. avatar KL says:

    Money and Weddings — I think asking for any gift is rude and why it should never be in an invitation. If people want to give you a gift, they’ll ask you or someone in the bridal party/family about preferences, registries, etc. Then, the preference for cash can be stated. In some cultures, this is completely normal and has been for a long time (think even of the wedding scene in the Godfather I — very common in Italian heritage and in many south east asian cultures).

    And frankly, it’s just a reflection of the changing nature of marriage in the US these days. It’s time that etiquette change too. People are marrying later, oftentimes after having already set up households. Getting started is simply in a very different form than it was 50 years ago. Generally, people don’t need another blender or some kitchen item like they did in the 1950s. What they need are help buying a house (the house down payment is my personal favorite) or other big ticket like items.

    Why wouldn’t you want to help a couple buy their first house (houses are waaaay more expensive than they used to be), finance a honeymoon or help with fertility stuff (sadly, becoming far more common with that later age of marriage and starting a family)? Sure, they won’t remember your $100 specifically, but who cares? If you’re more interested in them remembering your gift in particular, I’d say that your gift-giving is waaay off. When you care more about the recognition of your gift than how it will be received by the recipient, then you’re not giving freely and missing the spirit of gift giving.

  18. avatar BeanCounter says:

    I gave a close friend a check for $500 for her wedding.   she called me from her honeymoon, left me a message, and asked me if I could wire them the $500, and they would return the check because APPARENTLY…..they didn’t plan the honeymoon in advance and needed cash immediately.   Seriously?   *sigh*

    Asking for cash is tacky.  ’nuff said. 

  19. avatar BeanCounter says:

    One more thing.   Re: LW#1….I’m reading quite a few “officious” remarks people are suggesting using in lieu of telling her she has a drinking problem, but I think any way one manages this situation, someone’s car is going to get keyed in a drunken rage.  Best to do as he/she is doing and avoid the alcoholic altogether….become “unavailable”…..

  20. avatar Gemgal2000 says:

    LW#1:  Nobody likes to be told she has a drinking problem.  That said, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to let “Anna” know that her drinking is what’s making you not want to spend time with her.  In this case, the relative newness of your acquaintance could be a plus.  You can say you have a problem with her drinking and would prefer not to get together with her.  You’re not telling her she needs to change, only that YOU have an issue and need to do something about it (not see her).  She won’t be happy no matter what you say, but it’s harder to argue with you if you present the issue as your own and are firm about dealing with it.  You have no obligation to her, certainly not to solve her problems, but every right to deal with your own in the best way you can.

  21. avatar CanGal says:

    I know some people who expect a gift AND money in the envelope!!!!

  22. avatar Claire Saenz says:

    Regarding LW#1: I would certainly tell “Anna” that I am concerned she has an issue with alcohol, but I would not presume to tell her how she must address that problem or make a recommendation as to what support group she should attend. Instead, I might gather a list of potential resources, including various support group options (including science-based support groups such as SMART Recovery in addition to faith-based ones like AA). After that it is up to Anna to decide what, if anything, she wants to do; and it is up to LW#1 to decide if she wants to spend further time with Anna.

  23. avatar sdpooh says:

    When my ex and I married, it was at a park in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Our reception was in the picnic grounds.  Our friends all brought a pot luck dish.  We provided the liquid refreshment and burgers.  We already had all the household stuff we needed as it was a second marriage for both, so we requested cash to finance a train trip to see family in the midwest.  Everyone was great with the idea.  In fact, one person gave a “sock full of coins”  he said he found in the couch (LOL).  We all had a wonderful day, no angst, no bridezilla or groomzilla moments.  In fact, one of the funniest pictures was when it was time to do the champagne toast and my ex would not put down his beer mug.  He tried to hide it behind me, but the picture looks like I have a handle on my dress that he is holding.  As far as I am concerned,  whatever the people who are getting married want to do is ok.  If you don’t like it, don’t go.  It’s not your day, it’s theirs.      

  24. avatar Miss Macy says:

    Last year my husband and I received a wedding invitation from his brother’s step-daughter and her wealthy fiance asking for no gifts except money towards their honeymoon — a luxurious four-week trip to Italy at a private villa — and their wedding invitation included an insert with their honeymoon registry information. Both of us were appalled, but it got even worse. The couple also included a little flyer indicating the URL of their wedding website, which provided five jam-packed photo galleries of their recent travels to Australia, the Swiss Alps, Hawaii and Fiji, Scandinavia, the Canadian Rockies and Japan. We didn’t attend their wedding (it was 1,500 miles away) and instead of helping to fund their travels we donated money to the ASPCA. I’m still irritated.

    • avatar KL says:

      Miss Macy — That sounds like sour grapes more than anything. Asking for gifts in an invite, whether money, registry or otherwise, is tacky. But being upset about others taking trips and sharing photos of with loved ones, yeah, that’s pretty standard behavior for those that care for one another. Unless, of course, you’re bitter and jealous. I’m sure they didn’t miss you at the wedding.