Brides and grooms publicly shame wedding guests over gift lists and dress codes

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

The desire for perfect weddings, bachelorette parties or baby showers has led to skyrocketing costs and increased planning stress for new parents or engaged couples. But now the guests are also feeling the pressure.

Recently, brides, grooms and parents-to-be have become increasingly precise about what they want their guests to wear and what gifts they would like to receive, and they are setting higher standards for their expectations on their special day. .

To take it a step further, some also publicly shame their guests on forums like TikTok and Reddit.

‘Disrespectful’ $100 Venmo return

One bride berated 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 had been late to the wedding. Out of disappointment, the bride sent the money back and said she expected more. Similarly, another bride took to Reddit after sending an email to eight of her wedding guests, who together gave the couple just one $50 gift.

Guests are also pushing back on higher expectations, which leads to tensions. A bride asked her guests to dress in fantasy and Renaissance clothing for her wedding and took to Reddit to ask users if she was wrong. She and her partner had met at a Renaissance fair and wanted this to be part of their wedding. So they included an addendum to their 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 contacted them after their names were called and they said I was ruining what was supposed to be a happy day by demanding people dress up as idiots,” the bride wrote in the post. “They said everyone should be able to dress in what they feel comfortable with, and I’m very controlling.”

Another couple was criticized for including a QR code on the groom’s Venmo account in their wedding invitations, while another bride and groom were bullied on social media for including a 14-point list of rules for their wedding day. invitations had been added. Additionally, expectant mothers have also started publicly shaming their friends and family for not purchasing gifts from their baby shower registries.

“If people don’t buy through your registry, you can’t return them for credit for other things you need on your registry,” one TikTok user complained. “If you attend a baby shower in the future, just buy from a registry.” Several recently married couples have also taken to social media with similar complaints about guests purchasing gifts that were not on their registry.

All of these events – and many more – have sparked debate about proper event etiquette. Fortune spoke to wedding planners and etiquette experts to find out if their requests are justified and how guests can properly respond to seemingly controlling requests.

The rules of the registry

Wedding registries have evolved, especially in the past decade, says Bryce Carson, events director at Roberts & Co. Events. Fortune. Gone are the days of the traditional gift registry where couples ask for fine china and random kitchen utensils; This includes money-oriented gifts, such as honeymoon funds and funds for a first home. According to The Knot’s 2023 Registry Study, cash is the most popular gift brides-to-be register for. According to 74% of registrars, cash is on their wish list.

“This is certainly because couples marry at a later age. They are already combining their homes,” Carson said. “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 the transition to married life as easy as possible.”

With wedding registries now largely online, it has also become easier to split big-ticket items among multiple guests, rather than relying on a wealthy aunt or uncle to purchase the fancy cookware or outdoor grill the couple covets. . And while wedding registries have changed, it’s no excuse to buy fake gifts that aren’t on the requested list, Carson says.

“The etiquette was and always will be that as a guest you have to buy at the cash register,” he says. “You don’t know what they have in their home or combined homes. The registry is there to help you and prevent any duplicates or prevent them from getting something they don’t need.”

If the registry is running out of options by the time a guest goes to buy a gift, one thing guests can do to stay within their budget is send a nice card and gift certificate to the store where the couple is registered, Lisa Lafferty , a luxury wedding planner, says Fortune.

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

Ultimately, experts agree that the bride and groom should be grateful and express gratitude for any gifts they receive, even if they are not on their registry.

“A gift is a gift given without payment,” says Lisa Mirza Grotts, a certified etiquette expert with 25 years of experience. Fortune. “When brides and grooms take this inconsiderate approach to friends and family, the shift is in stark contrast to the reason for a wedding celebration: love, community, (and) commitment.”

Wedding guests also sometimes struggle with knowing proper gift-giving etiquette when they are invited to multiple events, such as a bridal shower or bachelorette party. This may be detrimental to your wallet, but wedding party attendees or people invited to multiple pre-wedding events are expected to purchase a gift for each event.

“Although some couples take into account the costs incurred by members of the wedding party for dresses, grooming and other preparations, it can still be seen as thoughtful and courteous to provide a small gift for both occasions,” says Lafferty. “This gesture recognizes the couple’s generosity and adds to the spirit of the events.”

In terms of the average costs guests incur to attend a wedding, including travel expenses, clothing, gifts and other expenses such as childcare, Carson says to expect to spend at least four figures – and spend at least the value of the wedding to give. meal on a gift. These days, most wedding meals cost three figures per guest, Carson says.

What not to wear

While it has long been common for brides and grooms to request cocktail or formal attire at a wedding, more and more couples are asking their guests to dress according to a theme or color scheme. This trend has sparked backlash from both wedding-goers who feel the requests are unreasonable and from couples who are unhappy with guests who don’t follow their rules.

“This is definitely a trend that the internet is increasingly embracing as couples try to think of their event as a fashion event and as something they want photographed” for social media, Carson says.

However, brides and grooms should recognize that guests will be “disloyal” and wear things outside the guidelines “because it’s already a high price to attend a wedding these days,” he adds. “Asking for an extra outfit is definitely a big ask,” says Carson.

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

“By creating guidelines for registries and dress codes, the couple aims to alleviate this burden, allowing guests to focus more on having fun and less on pre-wedding stress,” said Hannah Nowack, editor-in-chief at The Knot, a marketplace for wedding vendors. tells Fortune. She’s seen everything from asking attendees to dress in cool tones like blue and green to a wardrobe request for “kitschy, glitzy, Vegas, ‘camp’ clothes,” “where flowy sundresses and linen suits were encouraged .’

“These types of shifts allow the couple to showcase their personalities and priorities, while allowing guests to have fun while breaking away from the traditional wedding mold,” says Nowack.