Jan-Jun 2000 Archive
Jul-Dec 2000 Archive 1
Jul-Dec 2000 Archive 2
Jan-Dec 2001 Archive
Jan-Jul 2003 Archive
Jul-Dec 2003 Archive
Jan - Jun 2004 Archive
Here's a short story about bizarre combinations of items
on a gift registry. An acquaintance of mine, renowned for his poor taste, as
well as for being just plain weird, met a girl on a dating website. Three months
later they were engaged, much the surprise and chagrin of our friends.
I am not close enough to this fellow to be invited to the
wedding, but another friend discovered that the gift registry for this happy
couple contains both white cotton briefs (for HIM!) and a 30-inch plasma
flat-screen television. I suppose it could be worse. He could have requested
Someone I went to college with, let's call her Kay, got
engaged to the guy she'd been dating for four months or so. They decided to get
married in Vegas, because it was cheaper that way. Their parents were not
invited, even though they planned the wedding in advance. Two months after the
wedding, I received an invitation to a reception given by her parents. The
"reception" took place in a very swanky restaurant in downtown
Chicago, and included with the invitation was a note telling the recipient where
the couple was registered for gifts. I went to the (exceedingly high-class)
stores to check out the registries and was appalled. There was nothing on either
registry that could be purchased for under $50 - and a great deal of things for
$300 and above. My boyfriend and I were both in graduate school at the time, and
didn't have a lot of money. I poked around the registry and finally discovered
that I could purchase four glass tumblers and stay within my budget.
The reception was quite large, with about 100 people there. I
felt very sorry for both of her parents, who I'd met before, as they hadn't been
invited to their own daughter's wedding but were still expected to pay something
like $35 per plate for a sit-down dinner. The "bride" spoke to several
of us after dinner and mentioned how disappointed she was about the fact that
people had only purchased things from the cheaper end of the gift registry, and
that she'd really been counting on some expensive gifts to make the reception
"worth the trouble." She also talked a lot about how expensive her 1.5
carat diamond and platinum engagement ring had been, and how she wouldn't have
bothered with an engagement ring that cost less than $10,000. Needless to say,
when I got married, I kept her behavior in mind as a cautionary example!
Thank you so much for your site. It is both very
educational and extremely amusing. I witnessed something at a recent
wedding and wondered if you’ve ever heard of anything close to it.
My husband and I were at his sister’s wedding. It was
hosted by the bride’s mother and step-father, with her father as a guest.
The wedding was nice – pretty standard other than both “dads” walking the
bride down the aisle. The reception was held at a lovely country club and,
but for some minor seating inconveniences, was pretty standard as well until the
After the couple’s first dance, the bride danced with her
father then the DJ announced that the bride would dance with her “other
father” and she danced with her step-father. I don’t think this, or
the sharing of walking-down-the-aisle duties, would have been an etiquette
breach if she had discussed it with her father first; but she did not and he was
extremely hurt by these actions.
Then after a brief bit of general dancing, the DJ announced a
dollar dance. I don’t believe that dollar dances are ever appropriate
but I’ve seen some that were done more tastefully than others – this one
takes the cake. The bride and groom each took a spot on the dance floor
and began dancing with the paying guests. The bride’s mother stood on
the dance about 3 feet away from the bride and was calling out the denominations
of the dance fees (i.e. “a 100 DOLLAR BILL!!!!”). The dollar dance
went on for about 20-30 minutes so several songs were played. But the best
part, at the end of the dance both the bride and groom were wearing crowns and
necklaces made from the folded dollar dance bills. They have lovely
professional pictures in their wedding album of the two of them wearing their
cash gifts – Nice!
The Washington Post is having a series on online discussions
on wedding planning this week. This is from today's discussion at
Scarsdale, N.Y.: One terrific idea is to set up a
registry with your photographer, caterer or musicians -- but be sure to print
the info on your invitation! Guests can purchase services from each that go to
your wedding -- in the process they get an education on what really goes into a
quality wedding. After all, you don't get acceptable canapés for Ruby Tuesday's
or Applebee's prices. In fact, our caterer provided a list price on the registry
but gave us a 10% discount for running a registry with him! This was great for
guests because they were able to make sure they didn't embarrass themselves with
a $25 set of salt and pepper shakers.
I am in a wedding in 2 weeks. Basically every detail of this
extravaganza has been overpriced overrated and over the top. The bride calls me
and asks me if I can find (aka PURCHASE) "TEARS OF JOY" wedding
tissues. So I do a web search and lo and behold there are a plethora of these
worthless pieces of crap to choose from. They range from 1.50-2.20 per pack.
Times 200 people she's asking me to spend upwards of $400 so the people at this
wedding have something extra special to blow their snot into. Are you KIDDING
ME????? And she still expects a gift?????
So I sent her the links and told her "here they are I
found some" basically my way of saying "order them yourself" WTF
does she think I am? I spent hundreds on her bridal shower, hundreds on her
bachelorette party, hundreds on the dress/alterations/shoes and she's asking me
to spend hundreds more on TISSUES?!
I love your site. I've been stopping in for a couple of years
now, and the stories never cease to amaze me. I'm submitting one on behalf of a
coworker of mine, who is also an avid fan. "Jane" and
I work for a very large medical institution, and so does "Julie".
Julie and Jane were once best friends, but had a very dramatic falling out. They
no longer speak, and they will occasionally pass in the hallways, but nothing
further. Julie and Jane share a mutual friend, "Anna". Anna works in
Julie's office, and Jane has been known to stop in and say hi to Anna if she's
over that way. Now that you're thoroughly confused, let's get to the faux
One day Jane stops in to see Anna briefly, and notices that
there is a piggy bank on her desk. The pig is dressed up like a bride and it
says, "Wedding Fund" on it. Jane ignores it, and Anna doesn't mention
it. One of the other assistants walks by and asks Jane, "Are you going to
contribute to the wedding fund?" Jane sees Anna frantically shaking her
head and making gestures behind her back, so she asks whose wedding she would be
funding. Turns out it would be none other than Julie. What was so
tacky about that?
Let's take a look: 1) This particular assistant
knew very well of the falling out Jane and Julie had. She knew they were no
longer speaking. I, personally, thought that was tacky, even though Julie just
said it was par for the course. (Since I don't know that girl, I have to take
her word for it.) 2) Julie was fund-raising for her wedding! From
what Jane has told me, Julie and her fiancé are planning to have a beach
wedding, with no one in attendance. Basically, they want everyone to pay for a
trip to the beach for them. Granted, since Jane doesn't keep up with
Julie's comings and goings, she could have changed her mind. I still think that
is the epitome of classless. I was also wondering, though, is this common? The
piggy bank was store-bought. It wasn't handmade...it was clearly meant to be a
"Wedding Fund" piggy bank. Do other people do this? I would appreciate
your input, if you aren't swamped. Keep the fabulous stories
While in college, I attended the wedding for a fraternity
brother of the guy I was casually dating at the time. The ceremony was a
simple and tasteful Baptist ceremony. Afterwards, the minister announced
that the bride and groom preferred that the guests wait outside until they
finished taking pictures before proceeding to the reception. Now, keep in mind,
this was August, in Texas with no shade in sight. Everyday that week the
thermometer had hit triple digits. So, about an hour later, when the bride and
groom emerged from the church, we were all drenched in sweat, dehydrated and
We went on to the reception at a Doubletree hotel. In
general, I think cash bars at a wedding are terribly tacky, but to make matters
worse, the Best Man or father of the bride, I can’t remember, actually got on
the microphone and asked that everyone go buy a glass of champagne for the
toast! My date, being the dud that he was, did not have any cash on him
and didn’t own an ATM card, so I went down to the ATM myself and bought our
drinks for the rest of the night.
After the toast, they passed out envelopes for the “money
tree” (envelopes tied to a paper tree with messages of congratulations along
with checks or cash.) Then, the DJ announced that they would soon begin the
“money dance.” Ah, yes, the money dance. For those of you who have not
had the “pleasure” of seeing a money dance, a jar is left out for guests to
make donations in exchange for a dance with either the bride or groom. This is
bad in and of itself, but particularly awkward when you are the date of the
guest and you don’t really know either the bride or groom but are being
solicited by the attendants to contribute. Needless to say I did not
participate. I went to the ladies room and waited it out while vowing that
my own wedding would never be so distasteful.
Several years ago, before our divorce, my husband's
sister had a "small" wedding (about 75 people) & reception at a
facility about an hour away from home. It wasn't a church, or a reception
hall or a community center--it was a "historic" home that had been
turned into a rental facility for weddings and such, and was completely
bare, although they did provide round tables and folding chairs. My
SIL announced her engagement in the fall and had set a date for the
following spring. My husband and in-laws farm for a living, so mind you, the
spring is an extremely busy time of year for everyone. Why
she picked that time of year is beyond me. The reason she chose a location
so far away (an hour might not seem like a big deal but for us it was) was
because she didn't want a "religious" ceremony and therefore, didn't
want to get married in a church.
Anyway, sometime over the winter I learned that my
in-laws were cooking for the reception, as my SIL and her fiancé were trying to
keep costs down because they were paying for the wedding themselves. This
of course, added stress to an already stressful time of year. My SIL asked
me if I would use my video camera to tape the wedding (in lieu of a wedding
gift) so they wouldn't have to pay for a videographer. I hesitantly
agreed--I had only used the camera a few times at birthday parties and
get-togethers, but she assured me that it was fine.
About a month or so before the wedding, I was talking to my
MIL and learned that the entire event was to be set up, catered, decorated, and
cleaned up by the family--meaning my FIL, MIL, husband and me. Four people
to handle the ENTIRE thing from start to finish! I was never formally
asked if I would/could help and had no idea the extent of the duties that were laid
upon my shoulders until the day of the wedding. Here's how it
went...the meat was prepared over night and removed from the heat that morning,
then we all piled supplies into our vehicles and drove to the site.
We spent the day getting the food ready, setting up the buffet tables, setting
up chairs in the ceremony room and taking pictures. Then, after the
ceremony (I did videotape), the guests were asked to step outside while we put
out tables, linens, decorations, food and helped the DJ get set up....and
of course we minded the food and drinks keeping the pans and bowls full.
By the time the guests had finished, there was a small pile of
dried out meat and some room temperature side dishes left for us to eat--which,
if I remember correctly, didn't happen until much later that night. Once
the guests were done and had started to mill around, we moved tables around to
make room for a dance floor. In between all the chaos, I would grab my
video camera and get some footage of the reception, including going around and
asking guests to make a video toast to the B&G.
The reception lasted well past midnight and once everyone was
gone, we had to clear out the building, clean it, do dishes and pack up.
Fortunately, my in-laws had gotten us rooms at a hotel that was within walking
distance....I don't even know if I got completely ready for bed before
collapsing into a deep, and very short sleep--my in-laws hosted a buffet
breakfast early the next morning. Come to think of it now, I don't think
the groom's parents did a blessed thing?! I did this all with no
complaint and I did in fact enjoy myself during the reception; however it really
burned me that I never got a thank you (verbal or written) from my SIL, her
husband or my in-laws....not even for the video. I must admit that I
wasn't completely shocked that I didn't--believe me, there are plenty of ISSUES
in that family, some of the many reasons I am no longer a part of it--but I
still feel that it was very inappropriate to just assume that I would help
instead of asking (of course I would've said yes) and then to never say thank
you was like a kick in the teeth. It never ceases to amaze me just
how ungrateful people can be. It's one thing to want to save money and have
a do-it-yourself event, but don't treat family (or anybody for that matter) like
unappreciated slave labor. Especially when you CAN afford to hire
help, as was my SIL's and her fiancé's case....tightwads!
Luckily this idea was nixed before it took place. Years
ago a guy I dated was in a band. A band mate of his had finally gotten
engaged. Because they were not-so-good at managing their money, they
thought it'd be a good idea if the band played at a benefit for them.
The band would play all night, for free, and they would charge
$20 at the door. All the proceeds would go to the newly engaged couple!
I'm not sure who talked them out of the idea. But I sure
am glad it didn't take place. Benefits should be reserved for truly needy
Just this past Dec. '04 I was invited to a new co-workers
wedding (actually she was a temp at the time and had been working w/our company
for about 4 months). Anyway, this was on the back of her Xeroxed invite since
the 'good ones' were for family and close friends! LOL Here goes the poem:
They have their dishes and towel for two
They have pots and pans and oven mitts too
So what do you get for the Bride and Groom
Whose house is setup in every room
A tree that grows wishes is the way to go
So let's make it easy for all that know
An envelope will be provided for those who have room
To give a monetary desire to the Bride and Groom
For those who desire a gift to get
We have registered at a local Target
And to top that off her fiancé called a guy she works with
here to ask if we were going to throw her a shower here at work! LOL! Her poem I
decided was too tacky for me to attend the wedding, on top of the fact I barely
know this girl. And if she thinks her guests are too dumb to figure out that
they have most everything already (she's 38) and that maybe a cash gift would be
best then that is sad. Oh well!
This is in response to the post about gift registries in the
I have never liked the idea of gift registries. I find them to
be offensive, and these are some of the reasons why: 1) I find it insulting that
the person inviting me doesn't trust me to choose a suitable gift for them. Do
they think I have such terrible taste they have to TELL me what to bring? (and
where do they get off feeling entitled to a gift anyhow? Of course, I ALWAYS
bring a gift...but I do so because I LOVE them, not because they are entitled to
it!) ********A gift registry is not a way of telling you what to bring, but
rather an idea of what the couple do like and want. It is not a way of
saying you have terrible taste, they just want to offer up ideas. And no
one says just cause you register you are entitled to a gift. It is
customary to bring a gift to a shower and the wedding, but unless they say BRING
A GIFT, they are not making it like they are entitled by registering.
2) Gift registries deprive the gift GIVER the pleasure of
choosing a gift for their loved one. I enjoy selecting gifts that are unique ...
creative, and special! ( I also enjoy giving gifts that I have made myself...or
are personalized.) ********It may deprive you of getting the gift of your
choice, but maybe the couple are wanting to get a certain china pattern or
something to fix up their house and they have an idea of what they would like
better then you do. A registry is made as a list of what the couple would
like, it is not carved in stone that you have to select from the list
ONLY!!!!!!! Get over it.
3) Gift registries deprive the gift RECEIVER the pleasure of
being surprised.......(It never ceases to amaze me that people even bother
WRAPPING the gifts .......since the receiver and the guests already know exactly
what the person is getting) ********This does not deprive the receiver the
pleasure, remember the receiver registered these items knowing if the items were
bought they would not be surprised. Wrapping, well that's just a nice way
to give the present and the receiver does not know what you got unless they are
constantly checking the registry buyer list, which in this case they are a gimme
and do not want to be surprised.
4) Gift registries are unnecessary because close friends and
family usually know what you need and what sort of things you like ... If they
DON'T know....they can always call you and ask. ********Not everyone that gets
an invite is close family and friends and not all family lives in the same town
and knows what you need or what the other person is bringing into the
relationship. If you have to call and ask then why not just be able to
pull a registry? Where's the surprise in calling and asking the person
what they want, and what is the difference in asking what they want in a phone
call or just getting a copy of a registry?
5) Many people are greedy and list expensive items on their
registries, and guests feel pressured to spend more money then they can afford.
********Most people register their china, which is usually pricey but hey its
china and you do not have to get the pricey stuff. A registry is not a
mandatory list you have to go by, but rather a list of items wanted, and a lot
of time you can read it to get an idea and find the same items at other stores
for a cheaper price or get them something similar to their desires.
6) I don't feel a gift shouldn't be demanded. A gift should be
given willingly, from the heart......and accepted graciously. Otherwise, it
isn't a gift at all. It's like being charged admission! A gift should be
appreciated by the receiver regardless of the price tag. ********Again since
when is a registry a demand you shop from it? Many people register dishes
and linen. Most people do appreciate gifts and most mature people know
that not all gifts are from the registry and that gifts are given willingly.
A demand would be again "come with a gift" or something of that
nature. Most registry cards are sent in a shower invite, which is thrown
for the couple and it is customary and traditional to give a gift. Most of
the time the couple do not throw their own shower so in fact it is the person
throwing the shower that is asking for a gift for the couple, but again it goes
with tradition not demand.
7) I truly believe the stores provide the "service"
of gift registries to lock in peoples business.....not for their customers
convenience. ********Where do you live that you can't get the same items at
another store? I mean friends of mine registered cook ware at a department
store and I found the same items at a retail store for 1/2 the price.
I just used the registry for an idea. And for the couples wanting china,
well they use the store to register this item in a manner to get a set of the
same china. Would you rather the couple send a letter saying we want this
china pattern it is available at _____. That would sound more gimme and
demanding. I love giving and receiving gifts. I don't care how much money
someone spends.....I care how much thought and effort they put into it. I take
great pleasure in choosing gifts for people, and I never expect anything in
return, other then to see them enjoy the gift. ********Obviously a registry is
intended for those people who choose to shop from it. Not all people have
time to make or shop for gifts. Some people have really hectic lives, or
they want to see the enjoyment from the couple by getting them something they
are 100% sure the couple want or need. When I receive an invitation from a close
friend or relative with a gift registry number...... I ignore the registry and
bring a gift of my own choosing. ********And no one says you have to buy from
the registry, but really in the end you may be passing up something practical on
the list that the couple want and desire to start their new lives together, so
that you can give what pleases you! When you give a gift isn't it for the
other person? So by buying a gift of your own choosing you are
ignoring the wants and desires of the receiver. If this offends anyone, they
never told me to my face. (In fact.....my gifts usually get a lot of oooohs and
ahhhhs!) ********Not to be mean or offensive but I have received gifts on
occasion of things that got oooh's and ahhh's from myself and others, but it
does not mean that the gift is practical or of my taste and liking. And
anyone with class is not going to tell you that you offend them by not buying
from the registry. And again, a registry is not a mandatory buy list but a
wish list. If I receive an invitation with a gift registry number from someone I
am NOT close with, I politely decline their invitation, and do NOT send a gift.
********This is in poor taste on your part. The person thought enough to
send you an invite and probably didn't mean offense or demand of a gift just
cause they included a registry number. It sounds like you are more
interested in getting what you want and what you would want to receive rather
then thinking of the couple and what their "wish list" states.
It is almost impossible to meet a person who does not want something.
Sound like in your case you want the attention of standing out in an order to
get ooooh's and ahhhh's rather then the practicality of the registry. And
many people who buy gifts that are not a registry end up giving repeat gifts as
well as those that shop off of a registry, so either way the couple usually have
things to return and I know people who have returned items not on a registry in
an order to get an item not received from the registry, so in a weird kind of
way you are purchasing from the registry if you buy a gift and it is returned.
I am not trying to be rude or mean to you, but you asked for comments!
My husband's cousin was getting married for the first time.
His wife to be had 2 children from a past boyfriend. Neither of them were very
rich, and a wedding would be a wonderful thing to "elicit" gifts they
would need. They didn't register for usual wedding gifts (China, towels, etc.)
but had 4 pages on their registry including a big screen TV, VCR, computer
games and worse: TOYS for the bride-to-be's kids, and candy! Then,
after the wedding, she used the money they received to take her kids on
vacation. Needless to say they were divorced less than a year later!
Dear Miss Jeanne, Now even wedding etiquette sites
are telling the greedy to-weds to go out and grab!
About halfway down, it discusses the sticky question of gift
registries, and says, "Traditionally it was considered impolite to send out
gift lists without a request, so if one does not arrive with the invitation, it
is up to you to request the information from the person hosting the wedding,
usually the bride's mother. Nowadays however, it is perfectly acceptable for the
whereabouts of the gift registry to be included with the invite."
Perfectly acceptable? How about, perfectly disgusting?
Love your site so much!
Luxembourg, Europe: I hate this trend, but it's
getting so widespread, I am afraid it is here to stay.
Wedding announcements in the newspaper, together with a bank
account number and a request for "donations" or "gifts" to
be made on it.
As you can see in the example (it's a page of wedding
announcements from the 7th of May) - all of them have the bank account numbers.
The first one says: We are getting married on 28th May 2005 at
3:30 PM in the church in Mersch. (Name and address) If you want to make us
happy, you can put a donation on this acct. number with the note "Wedding
Michèle and Luc".
The second one: The people who really want to make us happy,
can instead of flowers make a donation to our account with note "Honeymoon
Sandy & Clyde".
The third one: If you want to make us happy, we have
everything double, so we would be happy if you would add something to our bank
account with note "Dani and Primo".
And the fourth one: If you want to make us happy, you can make
a donation to our account with note "Wedding Sharon and Dan".
When my friend E. became engaged, she didn't bother to tell
anyone. At a gathering of mutual friends I spied her ring and offered
excited, genuine congrats - she was the first of our little group from college
to settle down - and was met with a frosty, "Yeah, thanks." So I
did a little snooping - turns out E. was in a scuffle with her mother over
planning the wedding and was really downplaying the event. Fair enough.
So many months pass with no mention of the wedding. Then, secondhand, I
hear E. and her groom eloped to some tropical isle and got married. Then,
again secondhand, I hear I'm invited to the reception. No actual invite,
no call, no e-mail. Okay, whatever. Finally, in yet another
secondhand message, I find I am uninvited to the reception but may come to the
bridal shower, the location of which (no joke, folks) was changed three times
the week of the shower. I called E.'s mother (as E. was not returning
calls or e-mails) to find out where the final location was and she wasn't sure,
either. Then an e-mail comes. No gifts for the shower, just donate
to the couple's hot tub fund at such-n-such store.
If she wanted a quiet, non-traditional wedding, her friends
would have respected that. But was is really necessary to be incommunicado
for months on end, then resurface with a request for money?
I am reading the "Gimme 1211/03" entry, where
a woman expounds at length on how gift registries offend her and how perfect her
taste in wedding gifts is. The thing is, she's about half wrong in several of
her comments. She says, "If I receive an invitation with a gift
registry number from someone I am NOT close with, I politely decline their
invitation, and do NOT send a gift. Do you think I belong in etiquette
hell for behaving this way?"
Well, actually, yes. This attitude is wrong enough that it
caused me to write in to comment on her entire entry. First of all,
the etiquette for invitations and responses to them is pretty clear. You must
invite relatives up to at least first cousins. Everyone else (second cousins, removed
cousins, friends, co-workers) comes after that, according to what you can
afford. If you are invited, no matter how close you are to the couple, you go.
Excusable reasons for declining the invitation are things like your acceptance
to a previous invitation to a conflicting similar event, or your
fantastically poor health and inability to travel, or (if an out of state
wedding) your inability to afford the travel. You should always make every
effort to attend, if you have been invited. If you cannot attend, and have been
invited, you should make every effort to send a gift. "I didn't
like the style of your invitation," is not an excusable or polite reason to
decline an invitation. Go to the wedding if you can. Not doing so is a major
faux pas; including a registry number for interested parties is a minor
one. Earlier in her letter, she says, "I find it
insulting that the person inviting me doesn't trust me to choose a suitable gift
for them. Do they think I have such terrible taste they have to TELL me what to
bring? (and where do they get off feeling entitled to a gift anyhow? Of course,
I ALWAYS bring a gift...but I do so because I LOVE them, not because they are
entitled to it!)" But the couple is, in fact, "entitled" to a
gift - if only in these terms: failure to bring a gift is a breach of etiquette.
It's a reasonable expectation that anyone coming will bring a gift. By the same
token, though, any conscientious engaged couple will probably have an idea of
the financial circumstances of close relatives and friends, and completely
understand if they can't bring anything. (They will also know full well if a
relative is just being cheap.) Later in her diatribe, this writer contradicts
herself by saying that, in fact, rather than having a narrowed-down list to
choose from, she thinks that people who call and ask should just be told what to
bring. "Gift registries deprive the gift GIVER the pleasure of choosing a
gift for their loved one. I enjoy selecting gifts that are unique ... creative,
and special! (I also enjoy giving gifts that I have made myself...or are
personalized.)" This is not true. Gift registries simply narrow the field
of potential gift items to things that the receivers truly know they
want/need/love. It is perfectly within the bounds of all good etiquette to
ignore a store registry and give whatever you wish to give; some couples choose
not to have a registry, because doing so usually means they will receive more
cash gifts. However, it's riskier and might be a little disappointing to the
engaged couple, assuming they actually *really needed* the things on their
registry (plenty do, especially if they are young and devout enough that they
won't be living together until after the wedding). The whole point of giving
them a gift is to help them out in their new married life, getting them started
with things they need. Homemade gifts *should* always be welcome, in terms of
good etiquette, but in my opinion they might not be a great idea if you aren't
skilled or aren't at least really going to put a good chunk of time into them.
Then, it should be something that suits the recipients' tastes, not just yours.
If you make traditional quilts, they're a great gift for your niece who likes
things like that, but not so great for your other niece who is a punk rocker. If
you're a painter, better make sure that the couple likes your style or that you
can paint something in theirs. It's possible to appreciate the time, thought,
and effort that went into something, and still not know what the heck to do with
it. Ultimately, the giving of a wedding gift (or any other) is not
about the giver and what they do or do not feel "deprived" of. Gifts
are about the receiver, not the giver. Being invited to a wedding is an honor, especially
if you are not one of the closer relatives who must be invited for reasons of
politeness. I'm not saying this to justify greed... just commenting that the
original writer's attitude struck me as very arrogant in this spot. If you
choose to give a type of gift because it gratifies YOU, you are not giving that
type of gift for the right reasons. "Gift registries deprive the gift
RECEIVER the pleasure of being surprised." Once again, we come back to the
purpose of wedding gifts. They are not like birthday or winter holiday presents.
Surprise is not necessarily a virtue. If the receiver wants to be surprised,
they won't create a registry. That said, most engaged couples should expect at
least a few surprises; it is not gracious to be upset by them. "Gift
registries are unnecessary because close friends and family usually know what
you need and what sort of things you like ... If they DON'T know....they can
always call you and ask." Ha. Ha ha ha ha ha.First of all, the current
etiquette concerning gift registries - which has been ignored by the couples at
each wedding I've attended in the last few years, but all these couples were
young and not financially well-off at all - is that no registry information is
to be included with the invitation to the wedding. Although it is poor etiquette
not to bring or send a gift, it is also poor etiquette to actually ASK for them
quite that obviously. So the current etiquette, according to everything I've
read, is actually that it's quite all right to register for gifts, but not at
more than two or three places. The "word of mouth" factor comes in
with guests calling the couple and their parents to find out where their
registries are. Without a registry, the "they can always call you and
ask" factor becomes a nightmare, because then, instead of simply giving
guests a set of ideas, the bride and groom have to tell the guest exactly what
to get them (going back to one of the original writer's earlier complaints). I
personally frown on registry cards, but they can be understandable if, for
example, the engaged couple both have very common names and live in a major
metropolitan area. John Jones and Sarah Smith, marrying on June 5 in NYC?
(My fiancé and I - who will probably NOT be including registry cards with our
announcements or invitations - do not have names quite that common, but
our registry is still not easy to find at the website of the large national
retailer we've chosen. We initially planned to keep it as a shopping list for
ourselves; it currently holds half a dozen household items that we need prior to
moving in together this summer. But we will not be getting married for another
18 months and, just in the first few months of wedding planning, we have already
been asked half a dozen times where we'll be registered.) The ha ha ha is
really about "relatives knowing what you like." In terms of past
holidays, my relatives know that I like gift cards or certificates, because
they know that they do not know what I like. In any situation where the
couple has a significantly different situation from that of their relatives, the
likelihood of relatives knowing what they like is actually pretty small. Using
my own situation as an example, my fiancé has hip postmodern tastes, but almost
all of his relatives live in very conservative rural areas and just wouldn't
think that the stuff he likes is even "nice." I grew up a thousand
miles away from almost all of my relatives, and they are kind enough to give me
the luxury of choice as a gift. And it isn't a matter of relatives having
"bad taste" - it's just a matter of relatives and the couple not
having *the same taste.*
"Many people are greedy and list expensive items on their
registries, and guests feel pressured to spend more money then they can
afford." Many brides and grooms have been advised to shoot for
the moon on their registries. Most will list several expensive "dream"
items in case anyone wants to buy them, but that doesn't mean they're expected,
or that the couple in question is "greedy." I would love a Kitchen Aid
stand mixer as a wedding gift - and my mom does keep threatening to buy it - but
I don't expect to receive it even if it is on the registry. Ditto the Dyson
vacuum. Many weddings have 100 or more guests, some of whom are friends or
co-workers of the couple's parents. Can the couple be expected to know what
these people can afford or want to give? Registries should have lots of small
items - plenty $25 and under, some around $50, a handful around $100 - but
nobody should be made to feel guilty for noting that there are a few bigger
things they want and need. This also comes down to different people having
different ideas of what is "expensive." The items I've mentioned here
as the higher-end things my fiancé and I would really like might be low-end or
mid-range for many couples.
"When I receive an invitation from a close friend or
relative with a gift registry number...... I ignore the registry and bring a
gift of my own choosing. If this offends anyone, they never told me to my face.
(In fact.....my gifts usually get a lot of oooohs and ahhhhs!)" Oh, my.
This doesn't mean they actually like the gifts - though it's just as possible
that they do as that they don't. All it means is that they are being very polite
and gracious either way. In short - I think the writer I'm quoting was
completely missing the point, thinking selfishly, and putting the most negative
possible cast on the situation. She is absolutely correct that overt
advertisement of a couple's registry is in poor taste, but her response is far
worse. A lot of stuff about registries beyond the simple fact that they
shouldn't be mentioned in the invitation is a matter of opinion. Another writer
had a better argument against them when she mentioned that a relative got much
of her registry in triplicate because older guests did not know that they needed
to report the item's purchase to the store. However, most stores will allow the
couple to return registry gifts for store credit; a few even allow cash
returns. Another way to handle this - if the couple is basically set up in terms
of household goods - is to request donations to a charity in lieu of gifts. I
think it is acceptable to include this one type of "registry"
information in an invitation, since it is certainly not greedy. Most registries
are a good thing, if handled well. They can cut down on returns, they do make
shopping easier for most wedding guests, and they do insure that the couple gets
the things they really need and want. Furthermore, the majority of guests
appreciate registries, precisely because they want to give something
useful, rather than waste their money on something that won't ever see the
light of day unless they visit, because the bride and groom don't like it
and know they can't graciously say so. If bringing a gift, I ALWAYS
buy from my friends' and relatives' registries, out of respect for them and
their individual taste, even though etiquette does not demand it. Otherwise, I
give them cash. People who choose to do otherwise should do so with the full
knowledge that, no matter how polite they want to be, the bride and groom should
not be expected to live with useless clutter (defined as things they do not
want, use, and/or love - while you may not think this definition is gracious,
there is little less gracious than a cluttered home). Therefore anyone giving a
non-cash, non-registry gift without at least including a gift receipt should
understand that they may, in fact, be giving a donation to Goodwill in the bride
and groom's name, regardless of whether or not it looks like a pair of
heart-shaped wooden candlesticks at the time. Tackier, but also possible, is the
potential it will end up on Ebay. Appreciated but unliked wedding gifts should
not be expected to be allowed to sit around the house like little lumps of
guilt. It is OK to sincerely thank the person who gave the item for thinking of
you... and then to dispose of the item itself. That's about that. Now, back to
reading the site, and figuring out all the many ways to screw up a wedding. :)
Page Last Updated May 15, 2007