Mandatory Pot Luck = No Gift?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Em_Catz, May 24, 2014.

  1. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    My friend's family has sent us an invitation to her baby's church dedication (I'm not 100% sure what that is, but they have been at the same church for 30+ years, so I assume it's kind of a ''welcome to our church family'' ceremony).

    Anyway, they're hosting a cookout afterward and I was surprised to read at the bottom of the invitation ''Guests are asked to bring a dish. When you rsvp, please let us know what you're bringing''.

    I've never known people in this area to do that (ie: if you're invited to an event such as a baby shower, or graduation party, or wedding shower, etc the person hosting and/or their family provides the food and the guests bring gifts. i've never been asked to bring a dish unless I'm the one hosting or on the planning committee)

    So this is throwing me off. Is me bringing food a gift or do I bring the food and a separate gift for the baby? We've been trying to be careful with spending lately (saving for a house) so I'm not sure about doing both. Unless we bring something inexpensive as a dish.
     
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  3. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    A. Tacky, tacky, tacky.

    B. If you do decide to bring a dish, I would not also bring a gift. Maybe a card with future wishes for baby.
     
  4. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    A. I completely agree and thought it was just me! If they don't have the money, then perhaps they shouldn't have a cookout.

    B. That's what I was leaning toward unless I bring a cheap ''dish'' that isn't really a dish like chips and dip or a couple 2-liter sodas.
     
  5. cafekarma

    cafekarma Rookie

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    I always thought that food was a nice way for the party planners to reward the people who show up to the event. Let's be honest. Showers, dedications, ceremonies, etc. just aren't everybody's idea of the perfect weekend afternoon. Those who attend deserve to be treated and shouldn't have to stress about what to cook.

    I would agree that bringing food is enough. Unless it is a very close friend, no other gift is necessary.
     
  6. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    That's actually a really good way to put it. I love friend and her baby, but I'd much rather spend my weekends doing stuff I want to do, not going to showers and other events.

    My husband doesn't even want to go to the cook out anymore once he learned we were expected to bring a dish. i don't really want to go either, but she'ss a close friend who has been there for me in the past (like when my g-ma died) so it'd be wrong not to go.

    she's the only one of our inner circle that doesn't have either a career or multiple jobs (she lives w/mom and stays home all day w/the baby) so maybe she thinks everyone else has disposible income.
     
  7. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    super tacky. don't have a cookout if you can't afford things that go hand-in-hand with a cookout (i.e. food).

    having said that, I never go somewhere empty-handed (gift, bottle of wine, dessert, mixture of the above) but I think it is a big no-no to put that on the invite.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Agree it's tacky...but since it's a friend who has been there for you, I'd go and bring something inexpensive:
    Brownies
    Cookies
    Chips and salsa
    Pasta salad

    Have any a scholastic points? You could get the baby a book...:p
     
  9. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Potlucks are pretty common in my area. I've been to potluck showers, birthday parties, retirements, everything! I also bring a gift to these events as well.

    At my church child dedication is simply when the parents commit themselves to raising their child with Christian values and the church agrees to support the parents. This kind of event would not be reason to bring a gift, unless you haven't already given them a baby gift. A nice card would be appropriate.
     
  10. Loveslabs

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    I agree with all of the above, but the teacher in me says buy the baby a book! It doesn't have to be an expensive book, but I always feel a baby can never have enough books.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't believe that potlucks are tacky. Where I come from, they're a pretty typical party format. It's not about not having enough money to host a get-together; it's just how we do things.

    I do think that it's tacky to have a potluck at a party where gifts are expected. Food or gifts, one or the other, but not both.

    Still, I wouldn't be comfortable showing up for an event like this without a gift. I'd probably get a cheap book for the baby.
     
  12. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I married into an Eastern Orthodox family. Often, with baptism, there is an open bar at the reception.

    Just sayin'
     
  13. Ms. I

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    Potlucks are appropriate...for the right occasions. For example, a casual backyard summer party, yes, THIS occasion, hmm not really.

    Do whatever you feel comfortable with. They seem more interested in wanting food than a gift, otherwise, they would have said something like "Gifts gladly welcome" rather than mentioning about bringing a dish, so if you're short on $, do one or the other. They should appreciate it no matter what.

    And regarding the occasion itself, at my church, it's called a baby blessing in which it's not so much about welcoming a new baby to the church/congregation, but a blessing of prayer on his/her life to grow up strong, successful, blessed, etc.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Again I think this is probably regional. Where I come from, church events are the PERFECT time for a potluck. I've never been to a church event that served food when it wasn't a potluck, except maybe weddings. Baptisms, funerals, baby showers...potlucks practically every time.
     
  15. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I think the customs are regional, too. It wouldn't bother me a bit to bring a dish as well as a present and neither of them would have to be cheap. I've never been to a baptism where there weren't presents. It is a big occasion. But, if it was a real difficulty for me to go, I'd simply decline the invitation.
     
  16. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Definitely regional. We don't have a church or school event that isn't a potluck around here. In fact, things are organized to the point where if your last name begins with A-F you bring a vegetable, G-N brings a dessert, etc. The last FFA meeting we went to listed your name in the newsletter and told you what to bring, complete with recipe. It just is how it is.

    However, those are group events that are held at a public location. I think a private party is different. I could see maybe a bring your own drink or something, but otherwise I think it comes off as an attempt to have a party on the cheap.

    I would probably take something cheap, like brownies from a mix, or cookies. I wouldn't take a gift, but that's just me.
     
  17. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    We do a lot of potlucks around here. I'd have have no problems bringing a dish and a gift. There are a lot of dishes you can make for under $5. Then get the baby a book-lots of good prices out there.
     
  18. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Not only regional but it could be specific to the religion. My friend is Quaker and they do a pot luck for weddings. Everyone brings a dish for the reception afterwards
     
  19. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    thank you for explaining a dedication to me! we are religious but we only having christenings and baptisms at my church.

    i think the rules of potluck vary by state/region/even community (by which i mean cultures). the only time similar to this one was when my other friend had a packing party (she was moving) at her apartment, and afterward she bbq'd to thank everyone for helping. i knew she would be tired (plus she is my closest friend) so i offered to bring a couple side dishes.

    i just got back from brunch w/two other freinds and they said they're grabbing a very simple store-bought dessert and no gift. i'll prob do the same, but also include a book :)thumb: to everyone for the advice and book idea)
     
  20. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I agree with all the posted remarks! At this time of year, this teacher would bring something ultra simple (and cheap too). And I'd bring a book for the baby. I like On the day you Were. Born. The part of this that bothers me is that you have to report in advance what you will be contributing. Are they going to respond negatively when you tell them you're bringing brownies? Pot luck should be a surprise IMO. If you want to control the menu, then supply it yourself!
     
  21. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I agree with this. A potluck like this would be odd in my area, though. The northeast tends to be pretty formal, it seems.
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm sure the hosts will appreciate whatever guests bring, but I've NEVER seen an invitation that stated 'gifts gladly welcome'...but maybe it's a regional thing as well?
     
  23. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I think whatever you would have spent on a gift, split that into a dish and a small gift. So if you were going to buy a $20 gift, then spend $5 or so on the food and $15 on the gift.

    It does seem a little tacky but I don't think it's something to get upset about. :)
     
  24. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    We once got a wedding invitation that said "monetary gifts preferred." Now that, I thought, was tacky. :lol:
     
  25. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'd love it if any "gifts-required" occasion would include a note like that... I hate picking out gifts, and I REALLY hate having to pretend that I just love what somebody else got me. I'd rather just get $20 and get what I want for myself. It drives my parents crazy, because every Christmas they ask me what I want, every year I tell them I want money or gift certificates.
     
  26. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    It would be considered very, very tacky here to have a potluck for a baptism.
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Very tacky.
     
  28. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Even though I find it obnoxious b/c it goes against the status quo (and I've had several events at my house and only required a BYOB, but even then DH and I still have sodas, juice and a few beers), I'm going to tell myself that she's from this area too and has to know how tacky this is, but since they're doing it anyway, they must be hard up. I would think if I was in this sort of situation I'd have a very small gathering OR opt for a restaurant, but everyone's different I guess.

    Even still, I'm not making something fancy. It'll be a store bought dessert or some sodas.
     
  29. Missy

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    It doesn't have to be purchased to be cheap and easy. Deviled eggs are easy and very cheap. Follow the recipe on the semi-sweet chocolate chip bag and make the bar cookies (much faster). Take some fresh corn and boil the ears there.

    While I agree it is presumptuous to ask, not everyone knows, or has, the same social expectations. Don't let it ruin what can be a fun time!
     
  30. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    The wedding we're going to next week said "your greatest gift is your presence, we appreciate your showing of love in cash"

    **** you not. I thought it was tacky as hell, but whatever! I'm just happy to be told what I need to give. If it's from a registry or cash or gift card or whatever, as long as I don't have to pick something out I'm good.
     
  31. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Most I've gone to is just for family & cake is provided....
    I just got baby shower invite..says instead of card bring favorite book..I thought it was a little tacky & hubby said rather someone spend money on something that will be used....
     
  32. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I've seen baby shower invites that have a cute phrasing about bringing books instead of other gifts. I thought it was a good idea actually.

    I know we'll get stuff we don't need when we get married. We pretty much have everything we want supply wise now. We'll register for some new everyday dishes, towels, and things like that, but truly money would be best. We have plans of things to do to the house like add a second bath and update the other bath and kitchen. I don't plan to add anything to our invitation though.
     
  33. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Why would it be tacky to ask for books instead of cards for a shower? The purpose of a shower is to buy gifts for the baby and mom-to-be, so mentioning gifts isn't tacky (in my opinion).

    For a wedding, I absolutely think that there should be no mention of gifts or registries anywhere near the invitation. If people want to know where the couple is registered, they can ask a mom or member of the wedding party.

    (To get cash instead of gifts, either don't register anywhere or register for very few items. Most gift-buyers are savvy enough to figure out that if your registry doesn't exist or if it's very small, what you need/want is cash.)
     
  34. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I totally agree! However, apparently NONE of my friends believe this because they all include registries or requests for cash right on the invitation. It spurs me to do the opposite of what they have requested.
     
  35. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :lol:

    My son and DIL got married two years ago. SIL and her family were invited (husband, three grown daughters...plus one daughter was engaged) they RSVPd that all 6 were coming. Only 5 came (no advance notice) and NONE brought a gift or card.

    Fast forward a year...the engaged niece gets married. Registry listed in invite. I bought a set of Ralph Lauren wine glasses at TJ MAXX for not much money...not expensive, not on their registry, but a heck of a lot nicer than the nothing they brought for son and his wife.:rolleyes:
     
  36. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    When my husband and I were engaged, that's EXACTLY what we did because we really didn't need anything. (He moved to this area like 5 years ago and had his own fully furnished apartment, whereas I had tons of furniture and household items from my old apartment, plus I was living with my parents at the time, so Mom had plenty of pots, pans, a vacuum, and other items she gave to me)

    The most unique requests for gifts I ever saw was when my friend and her husband requested on their invitation "There are so many people out there in the world who have less than us. Please take the money you would have used to buy us a gift and donate it to a worthwhile charity.:thumb:

    I thought that was really noble...I consider myself a good person, but not as great as her because I'd think many people request gifts to make up for some of the money lost sponsoring/hosting an event. :2cents:
     
  37. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Hey, i'm all for a good potluck!! I love to try different foods. I love cooking too so of course I would bring something.
    I would certainly not bring a gift (unless it was a card and a book like someone mentioned). It's not like they mentioned a registry so maybe they don't expect a gift.
    Is this something like a Baptism? Not sure what kind of church has welcomings. Seems a bit odd but what's one more party!
    If it was something like a baptism my family would have a catered, sit down party. No exceptions.
     
  38. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I think it's cute to ask for a book...so something like instead of a card we'd love to start our library for baby or something.

    It says bring your favorite book... I can tell you my favorite book is not $3-4. I could pick one up at dollar store no big deal, I generally do not spend much on a card any way. But what if you give a book traditionally... Plus I just feel like if I don't do a book then it will be out of place.

    But back to you how is a wedding gift or where you are registered any different you are supposed to be helping the couple out (just like for baby). I will tell you hubby & I barely had anything. So our registry was for us and our house we bought a few months before wedding. Literally towels, pots & pans, we even asked for weed whacker, grass seeder!!!
     
  39. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I think the difference is that a baby shower (or even a wedding one) is thrown by SOMEONE ELSE for the purpose of showering the new couple or new parents with gifts. Putting your registry information on your wedding invitations can seem like you are asking for gifts yourself, which is never polite to do...
     
  40. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I am sure that whoever asked you to bring your favorite book really just meant that you should bring a book, period. My favorite book is an out-of-print lexicon that runs a few hundred bucks, and I'm certainly not buying that for a wee babe. I'll go pick up a copy of The Pokey Little Puppy instead.

    The thing about weddings vs. baby showers vs. other events is that the rules of etiquette are different. Weddings are meant to be an expression of a couple's love for one another. The purpose of a wedding is so that two people can become legally married in front of their loved ones. Gifts are nice, but they aren't the purpose of a wedding. It's still tacky to mention gifts on a wedding invitation (or insert) because it's presumptuous. The purpose of baby shower, on the other hand, is to actually give gifts, to "shower" the baby and mom-to-be with gifts. Because the only reason for the occasion is to give gifts, it's not tacky to mention gifts in regards to a baby shower.
     
  41. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I get that, but I think calling family is rude as well. They are probably busy with their lives. We put one in (which in our area is accepted) and whether you brought a gift or not up to you. Did we get things not on list were we upset...nope. Still have a cutting board my friend in college (who wouldn't have my mom's number & before facebook (which some of family is not on) got us. Besides weddings usually say they families are asking your presence so how is that different. I know most mom's to be are involved in showers in some ways....

    We will have to agree to disagree because we all have opinions... this is just my view.
     

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