We can all agree that gifts can be incredibly expensive, especially when they are related to important occasions like weddings.
When that important event gets called off, it can be hard to decide whether to go through with the gift-giving or not, stressed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor ElevenRecompense had already spent multiple thousands of dollars on a gift for her friend who loved it.
But when the bride called off the wedding because of her partner’s infidelity, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if it would be reasonable to ask for that expensive gift to be returned.
She asked the sub:
“WIBTA (Would I Be the A**hole) for asking my friend to return the expensive gift I gave her after she and her fiancé broke up?”
The OP’s good friend recently called off her wedding.
“About three weeks ago, my friend broke up with her fiancé a month before their wedding (would have been this weekend).”
“She found him fooling around with another girl and called off the wedding.”
“It’s a huge mess and I feel awful for her. It truly is a devastating time for her and I’ve been as supportive as possible through it all.”
But not before receiving a very expensive gift from the OP.
“She has been one of my closest friends for the past 15ish years and she is basically a sister to me.”
“Because of this, when I found out they were engaged at the beginning of the year, I wanted to give her a truly special wedding gift.”
“She has always been into interior designing and has wanted an Eames lounge chair for a long time.”
“I found one for $4500, which was a good deal, so I got it for her. I’m fortunate to be able to afford this, but it’s still quite a lot.”
“She was ugly crying when I told her about it and she was extremely grateful for it.”
The OP wondered what wedding etiquette would say about this kind of situation.
“However, now that the wedding is called off, I’m not sure what to do. I could still use that money if I were to get it back…”
“Is it rude to ask for her to return it or at least pay me back for the chair?”
“I feel like I would be such an a**hole for doing so, but some other friends (who aren’t close to her) said she absolutely should at least return it so I can get my money back.”
“She’s going through a lot now, so I don’t want to press her too much, and honestly, if I never see the money again, that’s fine.”
“But still, $4500 is a good amount of change that I would be happy to have if possible.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some understood the OP’s thought process but confirmed it would be a YTA situation.
“She should return it, but you would be an a-hole to ask.”
“It’s a YTA/NTA catch-22.” – thrownededawayed
“There is no way for you to do this without coming across as a monster. I’m not sure why, even for her wedding, you were willing to spend that much on the gift, but you weren’t gonna get that back if she did get married, right? The only difference is now your friend is totally crushed.”
“I can understand why you’d want to, a lot of people would think it, your NTA for thinking it, but YTA if you actually do it.” – AttorneyQuick5609
“I agree that looking at the simple wedding etiquette rules, this is the correct answer, but the NTA aspect ignores all parts that touch on the social, friendship dynamic.”
“You have given a gift in a way that is not just a simple wedding gift (before the wedding, a significant amount, hugely targeted just at your friend), so the simple etiquette rules are at least partly muddied. And now you have a friend in a huge amount of pain, and this gift is adding to that pain.”
“She probably knows, deep down, that she should give the chair back, but she loves that chair, and wasn’t it really a friendship/engagement gift anyway? So, she either comes back to you in due time and offers to return it after weeks/months of additional pain from all this uncertainty and unwillingness, or she never offers to return it, and this becomes a thorn in your relationship which will likely fester and fester, never spoken about.”
“You have the opportunity here to be a good friend and a bigger person by preemptively telling her that you are there for her and, of course, she can keep the chair; just know that she won’t get a big gift for the next wedding, where she finds the really right one for her. Anything else makes you a bad friend, and I would argue YWBTA.” – russetazure
“She’s supposed to return the wedding gifts unless she’s selfish. Of course, not within a week or two, but it’s expected. Lots of brokenhearted brides have done it.”
“I understand that you don’t need the money, and letting her keep it is awesome because she’s your friend, and she loves it. But you would have the right to get it back if you wanted to. That’s a huge gift when they didn’t even get married.”
“NTA, especially if you let her keep it.” – babcock27
“I’m sure a lot of people would say you’re justified, but if you asked, you’d be a bad friend, in my opinion. The correct solution is to consider this her ‘once in a lifetime wedding related all-out present from your best friend forever,’ and plan to get her a heartfelt but much cheaper gift if/when she gets married in the future.”
“This is a defining moment in her life, and more than anything, she’ll need support. Her whole world blew up; she lost her life partner, her wedding, and likely her whole pride since her fiancé humiliated her in such a public way. In these kinds of wedding blow-ups, I consider any gifts that were given in advance a sort of consolation to the person wronged.”
“If she’s been the one who cheated, then by all means, take it back, but it’s not her fault there’s no wedding. Don’t give gifts under any circumstances that you’d ever consider taking back.” – MelodicCarpenter7
Others encouraged the OP to think of her friend and move beyond the gift.
“YTA. Just because her relationship didn’t work out doesn’t mean she can’t use the gift herself.”
“She wasn’t at fault and just had her heart stomped on. For you to then rescind a fantastic gift that you were comfortable giving beforehand seems cruel.”
“Like, if I were her, I’d play it cool, but I’d be so hurt: my entire world is falling apart because who I thought I would be married to for the rest of my life cheated on me and my best friend at this time just asked for the chair back. I’d be quite salty about it, probably for a long while.”
“I don’t think it’s worth it, OP. You were willing to give up the money beforehand.”
“I know it’s wedding etiquette to return gifts, but her mind is probably all over the place, and every returned gift means another phone call, text, or message from ANOTHER person she has to call and relive the trauma with… eek.”
“I empathize with you both, but I really think you should just write it off as a loss for your friend, especially since you’re very close.” – UltraCandid
“Asking for anything right now is a quick way to end a 15-year friendship. You should not have spent $4500 if you expected to get it back in any circumstances.”
“If the friend gives back the chair, then that’s something, but if the relationship is worth more than the money you get back, I would let it go. I honestly can’t imagine even thinking about this kind of thing when a friend is in crisis so maybe slight YTA for that.”
“I have never bought a gift for a friend that was $4500, but I’ve spent that to be in weddings that ended in divorce shortly after. I have learned more on those friends in other areas of my life than that money could ever repay.” – EndlessSummer00
“YTA. You shouldn’t have spent the money in the first place if you were going to want it back. It’s a gift. It would have been one thing if you hadn’t told her about it or even if she had been the one having an affair and the cause of cancellation.”
“If you take it back now when she’s going through this, not only are you a bad friend, but she will remember that forever and probably never feel the same way about you.” – Rich-Bee-2343
“YTA, you got the gift for her without expectations of getting it back, so you already agreed entirely by yourself to part with the money. It’s such a bad situation, and she will already have a long list of things to cancel and return, lost deposits, etc., not to mention a broken heart.”
“Asking for the couch to be returned is like taking another valuable/ important thing she truly cherished away from her, and it also seems like throughout all this, you’re thinking about the couch rather than emotional support (even if this isn’t the case).”
“If and when she decides to start returning the gifts, you can probably bring it up then if it still mattered.” – jeszmhna
“YTA. You chose a gift that your best friend practically dreamed of owning, and you want to take it back after she found her fiancé cheating on her? Big a**hole energy. I understand if you were about to go bankrupt, but you clearly can afford to splurge and still live comfortably, so yes, you are the a**hole.” – No_Understanding444
Given the amount of money involved, everyone could understand why this had crossed the OP’s mind, and some even admitted that it would have crossed their mind, too.
But given the reasons behind the wedding cancelation and the fact that the bride is her good, long-term friend, the sub cautioned the OP against doing anything that would harm that friendship, especially in the bride’s moment of need.
If the bride wanted to discuss it at a later date when she was feeling better, that would be different, and otherwise, the OP could plan on offering a much smaller gift at a later wedding to help balance the expenses out.
But the truth of the matter was the OP’s friend probably needed that chair and the reminder that the OP was there for her more than the OP would ever know.