A feud between two Hamilton, Ont. brides and their wedding guest over a humble gift has gone viral.
The Hamilton Spectator published a letter sent by one of its readers who had recently attended the wedding of two women in Stoney Creek. As a gift, he and his girlfriend created a basket of treats including pasta, salsa, olive oil "and a few 'fun' items like marshmallow fluff, Sour Patch Kids and butterscotch sauce," the reader said.
But the brides felt the gift didn't cut it and they didn't hesitate to let their guest know. They first asked their guest for a receipt, claiming one of the women is gluten-intolerant. Then, on Father's Day, the guest received a text from one of the brides, who the guest identified as "bride no. 1" and "Laura."
"Hey [guest] it's [bride no. 1]'s wife, Laura. I want to thank you for coming to the wedding Friday. 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 date's plate... And got fluffy whip and sour patch kids in return. Just a heads up for the future :)"
The guest said he was infuriated by the note and responded via Facebook to let them know how insulted he felt and suggesting they purchase an etiquette guide. This launched a back-and-forth, cringe-worthy exchange of escalating insults.
"Weddings are to make money for your future.. Not to pay for peoples meals. Do more research. People haven't gave gifts since like 50 years ago!" the bride wrote.
"It's obvious you have the etiquette of a twig," the guest launched back. "You wanna [sic] have a party, you pay for it, DON'T expect me to."
Now the story has launched an online debate about wedding etiquette. Some say the gift wasn't up to par with what's expected. One commenter said "my first reaction was 'wow, that was one cheapo gift to bring to a wedding.'" Others say it's the thought that counts, but nearly everyone agrees the brides' reactions were inappropriate and rude.
Toronto etiquette expert Louise Fox said it's clear the brides were wrong in this case.
"A person should always be a grateful receiver," she said. "When you invite someone to your wedding, they're a guest. If you want them to pay for your wedding, maybe you should charge admission rather than calling them a guest."
She said the gift was entirely appropriate given the guests' relationship with the couple — they were business acquaintances— but even if it wasn't, it's up to the receiver to be gracious and accept the gift with gratitude.
But nobody wants to be the guest who brings the crummy gift to the party. How can you be sure what kind of gift is appropriate when it's considered rude to include such information on the invitation? Fox recommends speaking to the parents of the couple.
"If in doubt, always ask."