<p>DS's friend is going to get married. How much wedding gifts should he give? Should he buy a gift to bring it there on the wedding day? They do not have a listing on Dillard's or anything like that, so should he buy any gift by himself? How much is the norm, if there is a norm here?</p>
<p>Forgive my naiveness on this, but I really do not know. And if I let DS figure it out all by himself, I am not sure whether he would do it properly either. Last time, he and all of his suitmates were invited to a birthday party of one of his suitmates (a very fancy party held in an exclusive room in nyc, including the free transportation to/from there), several of these college kids ended up giving their birthday gifts like 6 months after the birthday party -- totally inexcusable! They are still good friends after this improper social behavior. A complication is some of them are very well-off -- like being able to fly first-class on their vacations, but some others are not.</p>
<p>If there's anything I've learned about questions like this on these boards is what is standard varies a lot by region and by the financial means of the posters. Not knowing whether your son has any income, I have no idea what to suggest. For poor college students something in the $35 to $75 range is probably fine. When we were grad students our friends gave us things like - two Dansk bowls, sets of four placemats (maybe with matching napkins) or a tray. That's what they could afford and that was fine. </p>
<p>Miss Manners says you should send the gift ahead and not bring it to the party, but my experience is that at least a third of the guests bring gifts to the wedding, so if that's easier that's fine.</p>
A complication is some of them are very well-off -- like being able to fly first-class on their vacations, but some others are not.
<p>That's not a complication at all. The son should give the kind of give that he is able to and would like to do regardless of the financial status of the bride and groom (or bride and groom's family).</p>
<p>And honestly, while it's considerate to buy a gift for a birthday party, I don't think it's inexuseable not to. For most college students, spending time with friends means a lot more than the particular item that might be given.</p>
They do not have a listing on Dillard's or anything like that, so should he buy any gift by himself?
<p>He should ask his friend "Where are you registered?" and if they say we're not, he should ask "are you thinking about getting registered?" It's normal today and makes a lot of sense. But they may not have chosen to tell everyone where they got registered or they may think it improper. But it's not.</p>
<p>If the friend is not registered, it often means that high priced stuff is not on the agenda. If he truly has no idea what to get, he can wait until after the wedding, find out what was given and then get a gift that fits in the groove. It's not as though the gifts are all sorted out before the wedding. </p>
<p>I just went to a wedding and when I was helping the mom and bride sort out the gifts received, I came up with some wonderful,personal ideas that were very inexpensive but hit the spot. The bride was ecstatic with the gifts. More so than with the more expensive registry item I had selected for her, which she did not even mention.</p>
<p>DS is better than many college students financially speaking. This is because he has taken a research job at a university since graduation. He does not have a car but his other friend (who has a car and who is very close to the groom as they were roommates for two years) will take him to the wedding on the wedding day. It is about 3-hour drive away.</p>
<p>BTW, I am not sure whether this is a norm or not. A quite high percentage of his college friends still do not have their own cars, and some even have not learned how to drive. They are like 22 yo! Do "children" grow up at an older age than our generations or what?! (It is understandable if you are from NYC, where the public transportation system is very good.)</p>
<p>May not be able to afford the insurance these days. I kept mine from driving for a while for that reason. Really my oldest caused a lot of problems that way, and the second one sealed the coffin on that one. It's expensive owning a car. I told my current college student that he could have a car and commute to a local school or go away to school and have no car. </p>
<p>Many parents are tapped out financially after their kids finish college. With jobs in such short supply, many kids are working for next to nothing. To buy a decent car, maintain it, insure it, pay for gas and parking is a huge chunk of change. My oldest lives with us and that is the only reason he can afford his car. He has a used car, is paying $200/month on the loan, the same for the insurance and the same again for maintenance, repairs, gas, parking,etc. That doesn't leave him much money left over. He really cannot afford a car.</p>
<p>In my day, a lot of guys had junkers that cost very little. These days, kids just don't work on cars. They have to pay to have it repaired which is a big cost line item. Maintenance is problematic. A car that is not a junker costs a lot of money. A good, dependable car even more. So I am not surprised that a lot of kids don't have cars.</p>
<p>My 21 year old son still only has a learner's permit. We are grateful we don't have to pay car insurance for him. He hasn't driven since the year he took lessons, so while he could drive then (barely) I wouldn't trust him to drive now. We aren't in NYC, but so far he's been able to figure out how to manage - even out in CA. (Last summer he walked to work, this summer his internship has a shuttle he takes.)</p>
<p>^ Very good analysis! I kept mine from driving at his college also but I did not think clearly why I did so. Money is a big concern for sure. Many of my friends only allow their child to have his/her own car after he/she gets a job, e.g., by helping with the down payment.</p>
<p>On the other hand, we are concerned that my child has no chance to build up his driving experiences. So, during any school break when he is back home,he is encouraged to drive our car as much as possible. Fortunately, many of his friends at his college do not own a car, likely due to the fact that the city is not large (you can walk to most places you have to go to) and it snows a lot during winter.</p>
<p>Frankly, we will have a heart attack if he needs to drive on the freeway, like LA or nyc, today.</p>
<p>FYI: It is possible to drive in Los Angeles without driving on a freeway. I don't drive freeways, never have. I can tell you the back routes to everything...well, almost.</p>
<p>The kids are probably registered at Crate and Barrel, William Sonoma, and/or Pottery Barn. Target is also a possibility. And if they are not registered: not a great thing. People want to give you stuff. It might as well be something that the kids like.</p>
<p>Whenever I get a gift, wedding or otherwise, for someone I don't know well (if not registered), I usually pick a very nice store that fits the occasion (like William's Sonoma for a wedding), choose a gift in my price range that I think someone their age and at their stage of life would enjoy, and then I always make sure to include a gift receipt in the package. This way, they can always return it for something they could use or want more.
This week at William's Sonoma I saw a beautiful wooden salad bowl made in Vermont that would make a wonderful wedding gift ( around $65.00, I think). They also have some beautiful wine glasses, cookware and bakeware, all of which would make great gifts. And the store wraps your purchase beautifully.
We have many stores that would fit the bill, W.S. is just one example. But be sure to ask for a gift receipt. Then you know that the recipient will be able to use your gift.</p>