Most couples let it be known if they want buste - envelopes (filled with money) or if they prefer gifts. Some people have gift registries like other countries, but I have never seen one for any of the weddings I have attended. The norm is to take a little, gift sized envelope with you and put some cash inside. Now, the amount of cash depends on the wealth of the givers and also their relationship with the married couple. The aim of the cash filled envelopes is that you are paying for your being at the wedding. You are paying for your meal technically, so the bride and groom don't get lumped with a massive bill at the end of the night. Normally you put a little extra in so they also end the night with some money left over for them and their new life together.
Weddings here range from 65euro per head and up, up, up....and up some more. As a guide a guest will put a minimum of 100 euro per head into the envelope. So you can see what I mean with weddings being an expensive affair for the guests! The Italian weddings I have attended normally all follow the same protocol (I will go into detail in another post.)
At the end of the rather massive meal you all go outside, normally by the swimming pool if there is one at the venue. There is always a lavish buffet of dessert set up and the big wedding cake. In Australia we cut the wedding cake half way through the meal, but in Italy they wait right till the end.
Once the dessert is underway, the bride and groom go and stand near a specially prepared table where they have the thank-you gifts set up, and a decorated box. This is the cue for the guests that they can begin to depart should they wish. Once you are ready to go home, you walk up to the couple, kiss them, thank them etc...and put your little envelope into the box which has a small slit in the top just for these. (I however hand make my little envelopes and cards and the other week it was too big to fit into the slit so the bride had to open the box to put it in!)
I think I'll have to get onto making myself a box for our wedding envelopes one of these days.
This is exactly why P and I attend so few weddings...if we *must* make a showing, unless it's a very close friend of his in which case we'll go together, he'll go alone and tell them I'm working (which is probably true anyway). It's just too expensive (plus I hate weddings, so it's no big sacrifice for me)! ;)
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