A year or two ago, my husband and I were invited to our neighbor’s son’s wedding. This neighbor also happened to be one of my husband’s work supervisors. We bought a nice gift from their registry and brought it with us to the reception. Yes, I know it’s proper ettiquette to ship it before the wedding, but in our area, all the gift are brought to the reception.
During the wedding, I notice a message from the bride and groom on the back of the program. Basically it said, “We have many friends and family whose lives have been touched by cancer. In honor of those friends and family, we will be foregoing sending thank you notes and donating the cost of thank you notes and postage to the American Cancer Society.” We saw a sign with this same message on the gift table.
So basically, for approximately 250 people at the wedding, they are donating less than $100 to the American Cancer Society and using it as a way to get out of writing thank you notes! Of course, if anybody had not been able to come to the wedding and shipped their gifts, they would not have received any acknowledgement and would not have known the lame excuse that the couple was using to not write thank you notes.
If the groom had not been the son of my husband’s supervisor, we probably would have left the gift in the car and written in the card, “We are so happy that you support such a wonderful organization. In honor of your support and your nuptials, we have made a donation in your name to the American Cancer Society.” 0221-11
Scuttling out of the obligation to write thank you notes by attaching the deed to some charitable cause is a clever use of alleged altruism to replace appropriate expressions of gratitude to giftgivers.
Weddings are not fundraisers for yourself or any other charitable associations. Why?
1) Because it’s crass to link the solemnity and serious of a lifelong commitment ceremony to the acquisition of money, material assets, etc. Yes, we all know weddings generate lots of gifts but the newlyweds in the above story committed the etiquette faux pas of assuming guests will give them gifts and that by doing so, their guests will happily desire to donate to newlywed’s pet charity by means of foregoing a written thank you note.
2) Your charity may not be my charity. In this story, there was no way the giftbearing guests could opt out of the plan to substitute thank you notes for charitable donation to the American Cancer Society. And before anyone reads too much into this and declares me to be a cancer hater, I’ve had cancer, my father and SIL recently died of cancer. But I may have reasons why I would choose to not donate to a particular charity or organization. Switch “American Cancer Society” with “Carry Nation’s Association For The Prohibition of Alcohol” or “Ku Klux Klan Senior Citizens Home” and you can start to see that maybe not everyone shares your same charitable convictions.
If the newlyweds were that concerned about honoring those in their family and friends who have been touched by cancer, a short note in the ceremony program such as, “In honor of those friends and family whose lives have been touched by cancer, Bride and Groom have made a donation to the American Cancer Society.” And then written a thank note for every generous wedding gift they received.