Is it 'rude' not to spend £220 on a wedding present?

Former Real Housewives of Jersey star Tessa Hartmann branded ‘greedy’ by GMB viewers for insisting it’s ‘rude’ to come empty-handed to a wedding – and says guests should ‘save up’

  • Former Real Housewives of Jersey star, 53, spoke about a new wedding survey
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Former Real Housewives of Jersey star Tessa Hartmann has sparked fierce debate after insisting it’s ‘rude’ to turn up to a wedding empty-handed and urged people to just ‘save up’ instead.

The reality star, 53, appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss a new study which found that the average UK wedding guest spends £1,045 on their friends’ big days.

According to research by American Express, the cost of attending a wedding this summer has risen by a fifth in the past year.

The study found that guests spend over £400 on accommodation and childcare and a further £218 on presents for the happy couple.

Off the back of this, Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley spoke to Tessa Hartmann and bride-to-be Kristina Rihanoff about their differing stances on the issue this morning.

When asked if wedding expenses have ‘got out of hand’, Tessa said: ‘Oh no – the gift of giving is as old as the institution of marriage itself!’

The entrepreneur – who has been married to her artist husband Sascha for over 25 years – says guests will likely have been given plenty of notice about the nuptials.  

She continued: ‘Most couples give you such an extraordinary amount of time to prepare for your wedding. It’s not to much to ask to give a little gift.’ 

Although Tessa believes wedding presents are a non-negotiable, she says guests don’t need to spend a small fortune on them. 

She added: ‘It doesn’t have to be a high monetary value – it could be sentimental, it could be emotional. It could be a poem.

‘But for goodness sake, if we’re going to get to the stage where we think that is crass then I just think that’s ridiculous.’

However, Susanna then cut in with: ‘I have never seen a poem on a John Lewis wedding [registry].’ 

Tessa then hit back with: ‘Well you’re right but if I don’t have any money then I’m going to be looking for something that’s emotional or sentimental to give to you.

Tessa Hartmann (pictured) appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss a new American Express study which found guests are spending an average of £220 on wedding presents in 2023

After Tessa argued it was ‘rude’ to turn up to a wedding empty-handed, one furious Twitter user branded her ‘greedy’

Tessa argued that a poem would also suffice as a wedding present. However, Susanna Reid (pictured) said she’s never seen one on a John Lewis registry

Bride-to-be Kristina Rihanoff – who got engaged to Ben Cohen last November – said she would not be having a wedding registry as it’s ‘inappropriate’ during the cost of living crisis

‘Because the reality is […] the average cost of a UK wedding is £19,000.

‘So if you’re important enough to come to my special day, I would like to think that you can give me a little gift and to come without it is just rude.’

Off the back of this statement, Richard then asked how guests attending multiple weddings this summer should approach the issue – especially when couples are asking for gifts worth hundreds of pounds.

Tessa added: ‘The average price of a football ticket is £125 and people go there every week and they don’t think anything about it.

‘So if these people are in your close friendship group and they’re getting married, you save up for it – you put something away.

‘Or you buy them something that’s maybe a bit out of the box that maybe doesn’t cost hundreds of pounds but you know will make them feel special and they’ll remember forever.’

The debate continued over on Twitter – where viewers believed a small present was the most appropriate course of action 

In contrast, Kristina – who got engaged to her former Strictly partner Ben Cohen last November –  said wedding registries are ‘inappropriate’ amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Following this, viewers voiced their opinions on the divisive topic on Twitter.

Unimpressed with Tessa’s argument, one viewer branded her ‘greedy’.

Another added: ‘I always say that if people had to pay out what they spend on a wedding without the big day, party, etc then very few would get married just for love.’

However, others took Tessa’s side in the debate and agreed that a ‘small’ present was the best course of action.

A third said: ‘It’s always been tradition to have a wedding present list. Choose something small. Greek tradition is small.’

Meanwhile, Tessa’s daughter Tallia said: ‘Couldn’t agree more with Tessa Hartmann on GMB. I’m in the mood to start planning my wedding now (bring gifts though).’

In March, Tessa revealed she has decided not to return for the The Real Housewives of Jersey’s third season

The statement came after Tessa revealed she ‘cried like a baby’ while filming scenes for series two after her allegedly ‘anti-vax’ co-stars left her feeling ‘isolated’ and ‘uncomfortable’. 

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