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Wedding Wednesday – Having To Beg To Send Wedding Gift

A short bit of background. In 2000 my spouse’s grandmother passed away. At that time my spouse, along with 2 siblings, were sent a box or two each from her estate. Things their father, who had been caring for grandmother, thought should be passed down. There was no arguing, the boxes arrived and that was what you received from the estate. My spouse and I have no children. So we always intended to pass these items down to the siblings’ children, grandmother’s great-grandchildren.

Fast forward to 2017. The first of the great-grandchildren is about to be married. One of the items my spouse inherited was a set of silver with first letter of the family last name engraved on each. There are 2 boys among the great-grandkids and we thought we would send this as a wedding gift to the first of them to marry since they were most likely to be carrying on the family name.

We were not invited to the wedding. No hard feelings, spouse is not close with the sibling whose son is getting married and we live across the country from each other. I found out about the wedding on Facebook. When I found out about the wedding I contacted my SIL via Facebook messenger to congratulate her family and inform her about the silver. I began by asking if she wanted to ask her son if he would be interested in it, because it not, maybe it would be better suited to her other son.

She wrote back immediately saying she didn’t need to ask, she was sure her son would love to receive it as a wedding gift. I immediately replied, “Great! where can I send it?”. No response. At this time it’s about 6 weeks before wedding. I wait a few weeks. It is now less than 1 month before wedding. I write again and say, “Hey, if son is not interested in the silver no hard feelings, but if you could let me know I’d appreciate it”. Again, I get an immediate reply saying yes son is interested and she’ll have to “check” where to send it.

Huh? Check? It’s less than a month before the wedding and the mother of the groom doesn’t know where to send a gift? I know! How about her house? Or my MIL who I assume is going to the wedding since they live close by? Or the son’s new apartment? In the time it took her to type “let me check where to send it” she could have typed her address. True or not, the way this made me feel was that she didn’t want us to have her address. I’m 3000 miles away, it’s not like I’m going to drop by for a visit. I was angry enough to consider not sending the silver at all.

In the end, days later she sent me her address. I wrote her back immediately thanking her and letting her know I would be sending it. I also let her know that she hurt my feelings and that she needn’t worry we won’t be dropping by. (okay I didn’t write the part about dropping by, but I wanted to!) 0226-18

Lesson learned: never beg anyone to please accept your generosity.   Once an offer is made and that offer “ball” is in the recipient’s court,  don’t go running into their side of the court pointing to the ball insisting they return it back to you.

Make the offer of the gift and if the intended recipient cannot be bothered to inform you of an address to send it, wait an appropriate amount of time in silence and then set the gift aside for someone else, sell it, donate it, whatever.   If ever asked what happened to the offered gift, reply, “I’m so sorry.  When I did not hear from you for six months, I assumed you did not prefer to receive it so I gave it to XXXX.”

{ 31 comments }
{ 31 comments… add one }
  • NostalgicGal July 11, 2018, 5:49 am

    Recent repost. This one went past in the last few months.

    • Kat July 11, 2018, 6:19 am

      Yeah I thought it sounded familiar.

      One of my cousins, “Alice,” who lives far away, called her sister “Sarah,” who lives near us, for my mom’s phone number a few years back. Now, sister, due to privacy issues among her own family, doesn’t give out other people’s phone numbers without permission. So she said “Let me call Aunt ‘Sally’ and ask.” My mom gave permission for Sarah to pass along her number, but Alice was so offended by this that it’s been 10 years since she talked to her own sister! Sarah admits what she should have said was “yeah, I think I have it, let me see if I can find her number and call you back” and used that time to call and ask permission. It’s sad the things people let get between them.

    • Ergala July 11, 2018, 8:59 am

      I thought this sounded familiar.

    • JxB July 11, 2018, 10:06 am

      I, too, was thinking Déjà vu – I’ve read this before!

  • Marie July 11, 2018, 6:25 am

    Second lesson: don’t give gifts through a 3rd party, even if said party is a family member.

    To be honest, I wouldn’t have send a gift to a family member whos wedding I had to find out about on Facebook, and of whom I didn’t even have an address!
    But if I would have, I would have asked for the contact details, and contacted them after the honeymoon with congratulations and to tell them about the gift (not before the wedding, this might put them in the awkward position of having to invite you out of courtesy).

  • Katrina July 11, 2018, 7:34 am

    As rude as this was, I suspect I know what happened. Between my parents and my generation there has been a huge shift. I’m 38 and I was the only person I knew who registered for China, etc. People younger than me are very similar. I’ve been reading several articles about us kids of baby boomers who simply do not want all the stuff our parents and grandparents have kept for us. Not only are people becoming more minimalist in life style, people are renting longer and moving more as affordable housing is so hard for young people to find. The newly wedded couple probably did not want the silver and the parent was probably flummoxed by this. I know I got blank stares of confusion when I decided to return the one plate of my China set I got and buy a vacuum.

    • AM July 11, 2018, 1:22 pm

      I think you’ve nailed it.
      I got married two years ago and didn’t register at all; we had already gotten rid of a lot of stuff when we moved in together as we each had fully equipped households, and I don’t know when we’ll be buying a house. It’s not even just about the astronomical cost of housing; we enjoy living in the city with a walkable neighborhood and access to public transit, there are no freestanding houses that fit the bill, and for various reasons we really don’t want a condo. So it doesn’t make sense for us to own a lot of stuff, or fancy stuff like china. When we entertain more than 2 guests at once, we mostly use the apartment complex’s common spaces and disposable plates. I actually use my parents’ wedding china for everyday meals, but it’s nothing fancy–just the remains of a set of basic matching plates they gave me when they got something nicer for themselves. I am grateful no one in my family tried to give me heirloom silver; I wouldn’t have wanted it, but would have felt awkward refusing.

      • DoveNightmare July 11, 2018, 7:50 pm

        I agree with you. It isn’t that I wouldn’t appreciate the thought, I just know I have no space in my teeny weeny apartment for things like silver and china. And when I entertain friends, we’re not really having a sit down meal that would require stuff like that. We’re eating pizza off my plastic Halloween plates and drinking sodas out of my character cups. If I even owned nice things, I’d be terrified of them breaking.

      • jazzgirl205 July 11, 2018, 9:12 pm

        When my dd was 15, we were going through my late MIL’s things. BIL talked about selling the 3 generations worth of china because nobody uses that stuff any more. DD, the only grandchild, said, “Excuse me, but oh, no you’re not. I want it all.” They gave it to her along with the silver.” DD is 20 and says she will use it when she gets her first professional job. I read all these articles about younger people not wanting this stuff, but dd and her friends want fine vintage china.

        • Agania July 12, 2018, 7:14 pm

          When my elderly aunt passes, my cousin is going to get dumped with 3 sets of china, cutlery and goodness knows what else. Aunty had her mother’s set, her MIL’s set and her own set. And she kept them all. Once she catered a lunch for 100 people and she had enough plates, silverware, glasses, tea cups, saucers everything! I know because I counted everything out! Have no idea what cousin is going to do with it.

    • betty hatfield July 15, 2018, 3:34 pm

      I’m a boomer and I didn’t want my mother’s stuff either. My style is minimalist contemporary. I have three sisters that did.

  • LuJessMin July 11, 2018, 8:21 am

    I thought I had read that before.

  • Cat2 July 11, 2018, 8:43 am

    Way to read a lot into very little.

    I don’t think a single followup is “begging” to accept your gift/generosity, I think it’s a sign that maybe the mom didn’t respond because she saw the initial request to provide an address, thought she’d check in with the happy couple shortly and would be replying. And dropped the ball because maybe something else important came up and knocked it out of her head or the plans she had to see them that evening/weekend when she was planning to ask fell through and by the time she did catch up with them, 14 other things came up to talk about and she just missed it.

    Likewise, I don’t think that the mother not knowing where gifts should be sent is a sign of anything other than maybe nobody else is sending gifts (vs bringing them) and they haven’t sorted that out yet. Or everyone else had the address info of either the bride or her mom and just went ahead and sent it with the assumption that it would get to the right place.

    There is so much room for the benefit of the doubt in the circumstances described that the assumption of ill will, and condescension and disapproval of a small lack of organization whiffs strongly of “Look for a dis, find a dis”.

    OP, you need to forgive them for living their lives differently than you do – but in a manner which is not necessarily so out of the norm to be taken as rude or completely unmannered as you seem to consider them.

  • Me July 11, 2018, 10:05 am

    Wait, d idnt i just read this one recently, is this a repeat?

    • admin July 11, 2018, 11:16 am

      Is it? Once I publish a story, I move the email from the In Box to a Published on Blog box. This one was in the In Box.

      • Outdoor Girl July 11, 2018, 12:04 pm

        I think the OP may have submitted the story twice; I don’t remember the silver set being specified the first time around.

      • Cat2 July 11, 2018, 1:42 pm

        It was, but last time it was posted with no reply from you.

  • Lerah99 July 11, 2018, 10:16 am

    I remember this one.
    Even on the second reading I feel the OP is taking all of this in the worst possible way.

    Weddings are full of chaos and a million moving pieces.
    Should the mother of the groom have gotten back to her sooner? Absolutely.

    But thinking the mother of the groom was unreasonable for saying “Hey, let me find out where you should send the gift and get back to you” seems a little ungenerous.

    And to then extrapolate that the reason the mother of the groom didn’t say “Oh, I’m not sure. Go ahead and mail it to me and I’ll make sure the happy couple gets it” was because the MOG was afraid the letter writer would use the address to drop in uninvited from across the country seems borderline paranoid.

    If this was all such a trial, OP, maybe in the future you should have your husband deal with his family. Because it seems like you’re looking for any excuse to be the poor, put-upon, victim nobly trying to do the right thing and getting no help in this.

    When in reality, it seem like this is all that happened:
    You wanted to pass on this silver to the groom.
    The mother of the groom said “He’d love that!” and then failed to get back to you right away with an address.
    After a little time passed, you reached out to the mother of the groom to remind her you were still waiting.
    She said “Oh! Yes! Sorry, let me get the right address to you.”
    And then she got back to you with the right address.

    That seems like an entirely normal chain of events when dealing with other human beings. Yes, you are being generous and yes the MoG should have gotten back to you. But she forgot. She’s human and in the middle of her kid getting married. Things get missed at busy times like that.

    Unless you have a long and ugly history with this woman treating you poorly, I don’t see why you think she was deliberately snubbing you.
    Nor why you think she was unwilling to give you her address because she didn’t want you to fly across the country and appear on her doorstep.

  • lakey July 11, 2018, 10:34 am

    As Lerah99 said, OP is assuming the worst. It’s likely there is some history here that we don’t know about. Maybe OP is justified, maybe not. We have no way of knowing.
    It’s possible MofG is a flake who isn’t good at following through with things. I’ve known people like that.

  • Vonn2012 July 11, 2018, 10:48 am

    As stated in previous comments, it’s more than possible (likely, in fact) that MOG was slightly preoccupied with the upcoming wedding, so something like this slipped her mind as a non-priority. As for the address, OP is grasping at straws. Possibly, instead of just having you send it directly to her house in the first place, she thought it might be nice for bride and groom to receive such a lovely gift directly. But having just moved into a new apartment, MOG maybe wanted to confirm they would be able to receive packages there. Some apartment complexes don’t have a secure office that can receive packages when the recipient is not home. If this is the case, leaving a family heirloom to sit in a box at the door is a HUGE risk. Save the moral outrage for where it is really due.

  • Outdoor Girl July 11, 2018, 12:07 pm

    http://www.etiquettehell.com/?paged=11

    I was wrong; it does seem to be a direct repeat. 🙂

    • admin July 11, 2018, 3:43 pm

      The URL isn’t linking to the same story as today’s.

      • Cat2 July 11, 2018, 5:10 pm

        It’s the 4th story or so down on that link. The direct link is here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/?p=5303

        • admin July 11, 2018, 6:03 pm

          Hmmm…my mistake. Obviously I did not remove this story from the In Box when it was first published in March.

  • Victoria July 11, 2018, 12:38 pm

    Last time this posted, the consensus in the comments was that the OP was overreacting. Reading it again makes me feel like the OP is the kind of person that notices people whispering and automatically assumes they’re whispering about her.

  • Bea July 11, 2018, 1:06 pm

    I never work through 3rd parties. My mom had a box of Stuff from my dad’s mother sitting “in case I wanted it.” I didn’t. So I personally reached out to my cousin who was close to her. She was thrilled with the stuff and stopped by to get it.

    We’ve passed things along all these years and it’s always direct. If you only have a person’s patents contact, I would just offer it to the parents as a “in case Jr wants this” or ask for direct contact with Jr. If they don’t want to offer contact info, no biggie, just sell the stuff, you tried. Way too much effort is going into this!

  • AM July 11, 2018, 4:07 pm

    I think you’ve nailed it.
    I got married two years ago and didn’t register at all; we had already gotten rid of a lot of stuff when we moved in together as we each had fully equipped households, and I don’t know when we’ll be buying a house. It’s not even just about the astronomical cost of housing; we enjoy living in the city with a walkable neighborhood and access to public transit, there are no freestanding houses that fit the bill, and for various reasons we really don’t want a condo. So it doesn’t make sense for us to own a lot of stuff, or fancy stuff like china. When we entertain more than 2 guests at once, we mostly use the apartment complex’s common spaces and disposable plates. I actually use my parents’ wedding china for everyday meals, but it’s nothing fancy–just the remains of a set of basic matching plates they gave me when they got something nicer for themselves. I am grateful no one in my family tried to give me heirloom silver; I wouldn’t have wanted it, but would have felt awkward refusing.

  • RevMaxx July 11, 2018, 4:19 pm

    Harumph. I was more concerned with a different take on this:
    Writer never mentioned her husband in these transactions. It it HIS possession.
    I detest when spouses give away their partners’ goods. It was up to him to decide
    what to do with what he inherited.

    My husband’s great-nephew (aged 20 at the time) eyed my camping gear & fishing poles and asked
    my husband if he could have it all. My husband told him to ask me.
    When I said ‘no’ because everything was still used, the kid got prissy and said I was selfish and had too much ‘stuff’.
    Buh-bye, kid. Don’t come back until you apologize. Haven’t seen him in 12 years.

  • Yuchin Robb July 11, 2018, 5:16 pm

    Of course, shipping across the country is not cheap, however if one looked too eager to give away something inherited, the supposed receiving party might very disrespectfully think that the giver was using their home as a dump to declutter.
    And I agree with everyone on the thread before me, the letter shows how disconnected the OP and the newly weds are. If a lesson can be learned, next time just send a $50 check.

    • admin July 11, 2018, 6:01 pm

      I can understand the desire to distribute family heirlooms. Find each item a proper home, so to speak. I received a lot of stuff from both parents’ estates and I mailed off items to specific people that I thought should have them. What they did with them after receiving them, I don’t know but at least the effort was made to distribute the estate as fairly as possible.

  • Mary Sgree July 12, 2018, 4:50 pm

    That’s sad. The kid needed to grow up, Sure, but don’t ditch people for such petty reasons. Especially family.

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