Wednesday, August 7, 2013

To all brides everywhere: Wedding gift registries and things to keep in mind.

Our wedding day. 

Today I had a customer come in to purchase a gift certificate.  She had me gift wrap it and while she was waiting for me to get it all wrapped up, she told me about the shower.  She said that the invite to the shower mentioned something to the effect of, "To save you time shopping, we'll be having a money tree at the shower instead."
Oh, I wish that someone took a picture of my face.

I waited for the customer to come back with a response and it was that the mother said she was purchasing a gift, too.  When I got her gift all finished, I wished her a good day and referred to her as "you rebel you."  She snickered.

What I did discuss with her was about the fact that I consider a gift registry to be a suggestion and not a list of demands.


I said it.
To all of the gift registrants out there, I will repeat--               a wedding registry is NOT a list of demands.
When you are getting married, you register because that is what is expected of you.  (Most people, though there are always exceptions.)  You go around.  You get starry-eyed.  You are in control of the scan gun.  You are wielding the gift registry power!  You think of how awesome this, that or the other will be.  You cringe at things that won't perfectly match.  I understand that you will get wonky gifts that were not on the registry.  Oddballs that we received were:

1.  Beautiful Victoria's Secret lingerie and silk robe from people who knew my parents well but didn't know me that well at all.  Despite that, I (er, hmm-- we) still have both.  They are delightful.
2.  A cheese hatchet.  I swear that's what it was called.  Even more, it was old and used.  We still have it.  We found it hilarious.
3.  A telephone.  A wall phone.  With a cord.  Honestly, that was in and very usable then.  We still returned it since we didn't need it.

Still, I shared with her the shower invite and following wedding invitation of many years ago.  When we went to the first Baptist church that we attended-- my childhood church-- there was a family that attended.  The children weren't my age and the family was a bit different than us.  We were cordial, but not buddy-buddy.  I was invited to the shower.  At the time, I had lost my job so a friend and I went together and made a gift basket.  I admit that my friend carried most of the financial weight, but we were very low cost.  She knew our financial state at the time.  Soon after, the wedding invitation came. Now, up until the shower, I hadn't see this girl in years.  She was living in Virginia and all.  When I opened the invitation, a slip of paper flew out that stated, "Because everyone was so very generous with our shower, we're set for everything we need, so we're requesting cash gifts to start our marriage out."  (I should add that the wedding was in Virginia and obviously she knew that all of the folks from the years of church directories were not going to be in attendance.)

I sent a card giving our congratulations.  I sent no money, no cash, no check.

This is where I'm very tacky in suggesting that people have:

1.  A wedding that you can afford.
2.  It is not a fundraiser.
3.  It is not the guest's responsibility to give you cash enough to cover your expenses of inviting them.  Not all guests are able to give a gift.  Especially in these financial times, some people bring a card.  I received a few with no money and I appreciated the card.  We loved that the people who attended came.  Their being with us was present enough.  We knew that they couldn't afford anything and that was fine with us.  Have a wedding that you can afford so that the marriage doesn't start eyeball deep in debt for the great party that you threw.  Then you don't have to race to open the envelopes and lose sleep over whether you raised enough cash.
4.  It is not up to the guests to pay for your honeymoon.  (See number 1.)  There was a bride who was telling me (while attending her shower) that if people didn't give enough cash, they wouldn't be able to go on a honeymoon.  This was a bride who, with the groom, scheduled to have a rather grand affair and one that was -- we'll be polite -- a lot more than they could given their financial state and was more of a "keeping up with the Jones'" type of event.  She and the groom did go on a honeymoon-- to Grand Cayman.  She must have spoken to enough people in attendance of her shower.  (I gave a gift and no cash.)  It was very awkward. However, I can understand the flip side that sometimes a couple has everything.  How do you handle that request tactfully?  I just have never seen someone do that successfully.

While I'm on a bit of a bridal tangent, could y'all please address your own envelopes and write thank yous?  Yes, a handwritten thank you is necessary.  I know it takes time that you might not have but please keep the following in mind:
-  The guest probably attended a shower for you.
-  The guest attended your wedding and took time out of their life to celebrate with you.
-  You obviously have their address to send them an invite, so you have it for the envelope.  I admit that I went to a "write your own envelope" party and I didn't fill out an envelope as a bit of a test.  (I know, people are busy and I probably shouldn't have done it, but I wondered.)  As I suspected, all who wrote an envelope received a thank you.  Those who didn't write out an envelope did not.
-  They gave you gifts that, most of the time, they carefully chose and spent their hard earned money on.
-  If a photo thank you is something you want to do, super.  Please feel free to write a handwritten thank you and include that in the envelope.  It is necessary to recognize those gifts from your wedding with more than a photo or an e-mail or -- worse-- nothing.  A pre-printed thank you only for your wedding is tacky.  Don't go there.  Personalize the darned thing!

I was the assistant manager of a wedding boutique for a few years.  Stories of brides and finances were enough to curl my already curly hair.

Be nice.

Be appreciative.

Be affording the affair that you throw.   It is the marriage that is the ultimate gift of this party that you are throwing.  Please keep that in mind.

*  Our photographer gave us proofs then took off, so this is a copy of a copy.  I do have the original of this photo, but I didn't feel like digging it out of the closet.  I took the copy off of the refrigerator.  Most important thing?  We both said I DO and have stayed married for 16 1/2 years-- and counting!


Anonymous said...

I agree with all of this but...what about wedding crashers? Yes. We had wedding crashers. My horrible Sil's horrible sister came to my wedding uninvited, brought her two kids, ate our food ( a delicious brunch)heck, they even went home with a party favor. And they did not bother to bring us so much as a card! It's been 13 years and yes, I am still holding a bit of a grudge. I mean, I tell the story with a smile on my face but that woman is lucky we live on opposite sides of the country. Last time I saw her was 12 years ago at another family wedding where her husband insulted my weight (I was 8 months pregnant). And the two of them spent their night loudly insulting the wedding party as they were introduced. Recently, I was diagnosed with a serious illness and I told my husband that I have half a nerve to write her a letter letting her know that after she crashed my wedding and ate my food, it is still not too late to give us a gift. Especially since we don't know how much longer I will be around to enjoy it. Heck, I would even settle for a nice card at this point. Of course, I won't do it but it sure would be nice to see the look on that tacky woman's face.

Bailey's Leaf said...

Wedding crashers? I didn't exactly have that, but I did-- on the morning of my wedding-- have neighbors who called and said that they knew that I was getting married and they hadn't received their invitation. Actually, it was someone I used to babysit for who lived 6 houses down. I didn't invite them because they always came with an entourage who-- much in your experience-- crashed, ate and were all over rude. I didn't want that, but had to think quick on my feet. I told my sister (who was doing my hair at the time and had me hung over the top of the table to do it, to tell her that we knew that they would come so we marked them down for two. She and her daughter came and it was nice to have JUST THEM!

I had the girlfriend (now wife) of one of our best men cold cock her man because he was paired with my sister and she was jealous. I believe she has grown up a bit since then.

Rudeness and nastiness (weight comments and all that) are inexcusable. I'm sorry for that. Still, writing a letter to someone about an offense a decade and a fifth ago is probably not going to illicit an apologetic response. Their behavior was inexcusable then, but if -- after this long -- they haven't mentioned their apologies, they aren't going to.

I have a suggestion. Write that letter. Pour everything out that you have to. Use whatever language you feel most effective. After you've written that letter where you've included every morsel that you need to say, burn it. Release yourself from it. You need that.

I'm very sorry for the health issues you are having. Prayers to you.

Rach said...

Amen, amen, and again I say, AMEN!! Oh, the tacky. Oh, the out of control. Oh, the planning that goes into the wedding, but not into the actual marriage. Eesh!

We had what we could afford and no honeymoon. And, you know what? It was lovely! It was truly lovely and we've done 14 years together and I don't see that changing anytime soon. ;o)

The gall, nerve and in general tackiness of some folks is enough to drop my jaw. SMH

Anonymous said...

Oh, I would never actually do it! I literally have not seen them in years and don't plan to.
I agree that it is all about the marriage anyway and not the wedding. My husband actually had a fever of 101 on our wedding day and he still showed up, you know? He's been showing up ever since.
With that said, we did have a registry and we received many lovely gifts that we still use frequently. We also received strange gifts which have since been lost in the ether. it's all good.
Personally, I agree that it is extremely tacky to expect or demand a wedding gift. We did not receive a gift from every one of our guests but we still sent thank you cards to everyone who attended (except the crasher) because we really appreciated them attending our special day.

ChupieandJ'smama (Janeen) said...

Someone (pointing at you) got me a lovely piece of pottery for my wedding. It's one of my favorite cooking pieces. I didn't register for it because I didn't know it existed.
I still love it! Thank you :)

Bailey's Leaf said...

I forgot about that! See? I don't follow the list, but I try to buy something thoughtful that I would love!