Author Topic: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?  (Read 3482 times)

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Livia

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How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« on: January 02, 2013, 03:34:04 PM »
Hello all. Could use some input on a topic that my DH and I are debating. We are finally getting around to having a wedding ceremony (just did the legal/courthouse route before, and did not have a reception or anything), and we do not need or want gifts. We are actually doing a small religious ceremony where we live, primarily for (mostly DH's) family and friends that live in the area. We are also having a reception in my home state for my family, many of whom are too old to travel. Both receptions are going to be small and intimate, with the primary goal being to spend time with loved ones and give people an excuse to get together. My DH does not want to register anywhere and does not want to cash any checks that we may receive. I am of the opinion that even if we encourage people not to bring gifts, they are going to do so anyway and would prefer to know what to bring. In addition, some might consider not cashing a check to be rude (not to mention annoying when it comes time to balance the checkbook). Any suggestions about how to deal with this? Like I said, both of us feel that a guest's presence is the best gift, but I'm thinking that people are going to bring stuff regardless, so what is the most polite way to deal with that? Any input is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Dorrie78

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2013, 03:38:25 PM »
Just to confirm - it sounds like you are already married? In that case, call it a vow renewal - which is what it would be - and then spread the word discreetly, to those who ask, that since it is a vow renewal, there needn't be any gifts.

On a side note, if you were to get a check, please either cash it or give it back to the giver. An uncashed check will ultimately cause great hassle and commotion for the person who wrote it.

artk2002

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2013, 03:40:14 PM »
You're right, people will give gifts because they want to and no matter what you do to discourage them, they will continue to do so. Trying to discourage them is simply leading you down the path to rudeness. Failing to cash checks given as gifts is extremely rude as it messes up the giver's accounts. The best that you can do is to not register and when people ask you, tell them "all we want is to have you there to celebrate with us -- there's nothing physical or monetary that you could give us that we would treasure more than having you there." They'll push and still give gifts, but you will have done the maximum that you're allowed to do. Under no circumstances can you put "no gifts" or any similar phrasing on an invitation -- you can only respond when asked.

Why is your DH so adamant about not accepting any gifts?

Edit: Part of the point here is that people want to give gifts. Denying them that is very ungracious.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

sparksals

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 03:44:42 PM »
There is no polite way to mention gifts or not to give them.   When people ask, tell them none are needed.  Since you are already married, calling it a wedding would incite people to bring gifts.  Just call it a renewal.  You had your wedding already at the courthouse. 
 

Katana_Geldar

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2013, 04:43:44 PM »
You could ask them to donate to a charity instead.

Hmmmmm

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2013, 04:53:09 PM »
Have close family and friends get the word out that you guys prefer no gifts if they are asked.  If you receive a gift any way, you accept it graciously just as you would any other gift you receive.

And not cashing checks is the same to me as handing a gift back to someone and saying "No Thanks."  If you really don't want the money, you can contact the giver and explain that you and your DH are uncomfortable accepting the gift as a wedding present since you were really having a vow renewal ceremony and that you'd like to either return it or donate to charity.

peaches

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2013, 05:01:51 PM »
I agree that the ceremony you're planning is best described as a renewal of vows.

People will understand that a gift isn't required (especially if they gave a gift at the time of your marriage). Your family can spread the word about your preference for no gifts, if asked. But that's as far as you or they can politely go.

If you receive gifts, the best thing to do is to accept them graciously.

It wouldn't be appropriate to register in this situation IMO.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 05:09:41 PM by peaches »

artk2002

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2013, 05:04:38 PM »
You could ask them to donate to a charity instead.

No, you could not. Telling anyone, up front how to give a gift is wrong. Directing people to charities is very problematic, unless you know of specific charities that both the guest and the HC support -- without that, you either have the guest being coerced into donating to something that they don't support, or the HC having donations made in their name to something that they don't support. You might be surprised how controversial even the most popular charities can be.

BTW, OP, were you aware that there is an entirely separate forum for wedding discussions?
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

artk2002

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2013, 05:07:20 PM »
I disagree, by the way, that this is a vow renewal. This is the same as in many European countries where the civil wedding and the religious one are separate. The fact that the reception is delayed in time from the civil wedding doesn't absolve the guests of providing wedding gifts. If the OP had had just one ceremony, but a later reception in her home state, would that let the guests off of the gift hook?
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

peaches

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2013, 05:15:50 PM »
I disagree, by the way, that this is a vow renewal. This is the same as in many European countries where the civil wedding and the religious one are separate. The fact that the reception is delayed in time from the civil wedding doesn't absolve the guests of providing wedding gifts. If the OP had had just one ceremony, but a later reception in her home state, would that let the guests off of the gift hook?

In countries where civil and religious ceremonies are separate, there is usually a day or a few days between the two ceremonies. Friends and relatives would give a gift at that time.

It's my impression, from previous posts by OP, that her marriage took place a year or more ago.That makes the present ceremony a renewal, in my book at least.

My only point about gifts is that if friends and relatives gave wedding gifts at the time of her marriage, they wouldn't be expected to give a second gift at this time. (I think OP understands this; she and her DH neither want or expect them.)

Nevertheless, I wouldn't be surprised if there were some gifts. Some people might not have given a gift at the time they married, and may take this opportunity. Or, they may have some new friends for whom this is the first opportunity.

Dorrie78

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2013, 05:20:02 PM »
I disagree, by the way, that this is a vow renewal. This is the same as in many European countries where the civil wedding and the religious one are separate. The fact that the reception is delayed in time from the civil wedding doesn't absolve the guests of providing wedding gifts. If the OP had had just one ceremony, but a later reception in her home state, would that let the guests off of the gift hook?
Personally, I think it depends on the length of time between the civil ceremony and church ceremony. I'm under the impression that in Europe where the two separate ceremonies are common, they are both done with a couple of days of each other. The way I read the OP, I thought that there has been considerable amount of time between the original wedding and this plan, but that is an assumption on my part. I hope the OP can come back and clear that up. In addition, this thread is not so much about letting the guests off the gift hook (it sounds like their guests may want to give gifts), but rather giving the OP a graceful way to decline gifts by stating that it is a vow renewal.

Livia

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2013, 05:25:44 PM »
Hi all,
Thank you so much for the responses. With regard to the question of whether this is a wedding or not: We have not had a religious ceremony yet, which is what his family (and us) consider to be a wedding, so we view this as our wedding. We did the courthouse ceremony with minimal fanfare (i.e. just us and the JoP, no reception, no gifts) for very practical reasons. Some may not agree with this approach, but it is what it is. Plus, apparently European folks do that, so it can't be that wrong  :) .

I agree that mentioning gifts before the topic is brought up by others could be considered presumptuous, so I think we will use artk2002's wording to discourage gifts, if the topic comes up (unfortunately, in DH's culture, everything offered is expected to be rebuffed several times before being accepted, so that adds another layer of confusion). I also agree that failing to cash a check can be very rude and also mess with a person's finances, which was part of the discussion between DH and I.

To answer a question: DH's primary concern is about family members' financial situations. Several family members are coming from across the country and will incur significant cost to be a part of our ceremony. In addition, several may have some new financial problems, so we do not want to add additional burden.

Thank you all very much for your input.

-Livia

Livia

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2013, 05:33:17 PM »
To answer a question: Yes a fair amount of time (3 years) has passed since the original ceremony and now. We intended to have a religious ceremony earlier, but between the two of us (two busy overscheduled people who hate planning things like weddings), it just never happened. Nope, not exactly a traditional approach.

PS If there is a more appropriate place for this thread, can the mods please move it? Sorry to post it in the wrong area.

Horace

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2013, 05:57:31 PM »
I'm from the UK and it's certainly not common here to have two wedding ceremonies.  A religious ceremony here is considered legal, there is no need for a civil ceremony as well.  You either have a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony, not both.  It is possible to have a civil ceremony and then have someone give you a religious blessing straight afterwards which is what my uncle did but I know of no-one among my friends, family and colleagues who has had two wedding ceremonies.  That only really happens when people renew their vows and that is always described as a renewal of vows, not a wedding ceremony.

Kiwichick

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Re: How to have a wedding while discouraging gifts?
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2013, 06:02:36 PM »
With three years between ceremonies you can't call this your wedding, it's a vow renewal.  People may still bring a small gift of they want to and it's rude to tell them not to. 

Calling this a wedding is deceptive and will look like a gift grab, calling it a vow renewal will bring you the result you want - a big celebration without too many gifts.