Wedding Gift Etiquette: Bride, Guests Clash Over Gift Basket And Bride's Unhappy Response

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What's the proper wedding gift etiquette? One couple attended a Hamilton wedding and gave a food gift basket. Then all hell broke loose.
What's the proper wedding gift etiquette? One couple attended a Hamilton wedding and gave a food gift basket. Then all hell broke loose.

Navigating the land mines of wedding etiquette is a delicate dance, and the most confounding of all has got to be the rules around gift giving. Do you give money? If so how much? Are registry gifts really preferred? Or should you opt for an original gift you've chosen yourself?

One couple recently opted for the latter, with disastrous results. Kathy Mason and her boyfriend recently attended a wedding in Hamilton, Ont. and gifted the newlyweds a food basket with assorted items like salsa, olive oils, baking goods and few fun treats — none of which were well-received, according to a story in the Hamilton Spectator.

After the wedding, Mason's boyfriend, received a text from one of the brides (it was a same-sex wedding), his former employee, requesting a receipt, claiming she was gluten-intolerant. Then, he received another from Laura, the other bride. As per the Spec:

"I'm not sure if it's the first wedding you have been to, but for your next wedding … people give envelopes. I lost out on $200 covering you and your dates plate . … and got fluffy whip and sour patch kids in return. Just a heads-up for the future."

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Things spiralled from there, so much so that Mason's boyfriend, who is unnamed, wrote to the Spectator with his tale, and asking for readers' advice.

"At this point I am PISSED OFF to say the least. After mulling over it for a few hours I decided to send them both an email via Facebook (I would have sent it to their personal e-mail address, but I don't have either. That is how close we all are) This is the message I sent:

"Hi , I want to tell you how incredibly insulted I am in both of the messages you have sent me over the last two days. (Bride 1), I am sorry that you have intolerance to Gluten, I am sure that makes life difficult at times. However, to ask for a receipt is unfathomable. In fact it was incredibly disrespectful. It was the rudest gesture I have encountered, or even heard of."

You can read the full text of his letter here, which includes a long and searing text exchange between him and Laura.

So who's right? Is a gift basket with food items the wrong thing to give? Should the brides have requested a receipt or sent the scathing texts they did? Should the guest have taken his case to the Spectator?

According to wedding site The Knot.com, it's never acceptable to call a guest out for their gift, regardless of how little they spent or how inappropriate you think it may be.

"You don't necessarily know what their circumstances are; maybe they simply couldn't afford something more expensive. But even if they could, just let it go and send a gracious thank-you note," the site advises.

However, the wedding site was also quoted by ABC News, which said $75-$100 is the acceptable amount to spend on a co-worker. So does this maligned food basket fit the bill? Hey, at least it's not an ashtray, or one of these other "worst gifts" that were posted on Reddit.

It's your turn to weigh in: Who's in the wrong? The unhappy brides or the food-basket bearing guest? Let us know in the comments below.

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