Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wedding gifts and questions

I had these very questions not long ago. What do you give when you don't have much? What if the couple's registry only asks for gifts $100 or more? What if they're simply asking for cash? What if you're just plain having a hard time and would like to attend, but feel weird about attending if you can't give a "worthy" gift?

Photo by Flickr's aspence61

Yeah, I know how you feel. I don't know how some of you do it -- going to wedding after wedding, buying gift after gift. Just about nothing is cheap in relationship to weddings, not even simply being a guest. There's travel, there's buying appropriate wear, there's buying a gift. It's not all, party, hearty, I know.

Shruti, whom you might remember from posts about weddings in Maine and St. Louis is contemplating this very topic, since she RSVP'ed to five weddings this fall before getting laid off recently. And I know there has got to be so many people in this boat right now. So, what to do?

I'll share one tip I got from a very knowledgeable friend -- my pastor's wife! She once advised me to take a look at the couple's registry and find out the color of their towels. Purchase the same (or similar) color towels (and comparable quality) at another store, for less. Everyone can always use more towels, right?

That's a tip you can extend to different items, like picture frames, blankets, sheets, etc. Just because you don't care to spend your hard-earned money at Macy's, or Nordstrom's or Pottery Barn doesn't mean you don't like your friend as much as any other wedding guest.

Photo by Flickr's Graham310

Of course, if you know the couple really well, you could always go off the cuff the way this guy did. Heheh. A couple might appreciate the gift of free alcohol at their wedding -- or not!

I also happened to stumble upon this idea, which I absolutely love:

Newlyweds receiving a wedding gift from Stacy Gerlich these days can expect a little disaster when they unwrap her present. The Los Angeles Fire Department captain forsakes the traditional toaster oven or personalized bric-a-brac, instead stuffing backpacks with goggles, bottled water, toilet paper and other earthquake-survival items.

"Ten out of 15 couples said it was the best gift they've ever received," said Gerlich, who heads the department's Community Emergency Response Training, a seven-week disaster-training program for city residents.

This really is a great idea, since couples are quick to buy all sorts of stuff, but always procrastinate when it comes to emergency kits or savings accounts. Yeah, yeah, I'm one of those people. If someone gave me an off-the-registry earthquake kit (or hurricane preparedness kit, or tornado kit, or snowstorm kit...if there is such thing), I think I might be really touched. Like...."Wow, you really care about me and want me to stick around for a while!" Heheh.

Anyway, I do want to emphasize that if you, as a guest, really shouldn't be so worried about what you will give as a gift. That sort of negates the whole idea of gift-giving. The whole idea of a wedding has mutated into a sort of mutually-beneficial racket (we give you party, you give us extravagant gifts we pick out on our registry). If you're really worried the bride or groom won't like your gift, you might be better off just not going.


FlutePrayer said...

We send a gift certificate from one of the stores the couple is registered in with an amount we can afford.

yubyub25 said...

Getting a gift that would stand out from tons of other presents that the bride is getting can sometimes be tricky. If you wish to give her something more personal, that is not on her wedding registry, fun gifts that will give hints of the new life she'll soon lead will do the trick: get some towels or slippers with her new initials on it, just married t-shirts, or fun new wife gag gifts. Personalised spa gift sets is also a good idea to give to a stressed out bride.