September 4, 2008

Wedding Ettiquette

As someone who has gotten married, has friends and family who have gotten married, and a former wedding professional there are several things that I just hate to see future brides and grooms do. One of the BIGGEST things that I HATE to see is when people include registry information in with their invitations. I was reading Dear Prudence via MSN when I stumbled across an interesting letter/response about wedding registries.

Dear Prudence,

I was recently invited to a friend's wedding. Enclosed with the invitation was a slip of paper listing the stores where the couple is registered along with the message: "Please include a gift receipt." Am I right to find this message a bit rude? I feel like my friend is announcing, "We have picked out exactly what we want you to buy but still think you'll screw up the job, so we want to make sure it's returnable." Or maybe they already know that they don't want the crap they registered for and are just looking for a way to get cash? Frankly, I'd rather skip the middle man (and the shipping fees) if they don't trust me enough to buy what they have already indicated they want. Am I out of line? (And isn't there a better way for them to ask for cash if that's what they need most?)
—Presumptively Incompetent Giver

Dear Presumptively,

I always enjoy hearing about the ever-escalating ways engaged couples seek to chisel the goods out of their friends and loved ones. The innovation here is that the couple clearly doesn't want the stuff they've designated, but they feel they're too classy to come right out and say, "Just give us cash." Here's a tip for engaged couples: The invitation should announce the where and when of the wedding and say nothing about the "What I want." For that, you wait until your guests start inquiring, and then, as Peggy Post (heir to Emily's mantle) advises, you graciously say anything they feel like getting you would be delightful and that you've also registered at Crate and Barrel if they want some guidance. If what you want is cash, Ms. Post advises saying you're saving for a big purchase and a check would be most appreciated. (Miss Manners demurs that there is no polite way to say, "Show me the money.") What couples like your friends don't realize is that people who care about them actually enjoy the act of getting them something meaningful to mark the occasion of their starting their lives together. But these couples are killing that pleasure by acting as if they are collection agencies calling in their friends' debts. So, sure, go ahead and write this couple a check—maybe they'll even surprise you and send a thank-you note.

My advice to couples planning to wed: invite those that you love because you love them, not because you'd love the toaster.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo! I, too, find this new habit not only plain tacky, but also outright offensive. I thought gift-giving was supposed to be thoughtful, personal, and heartfelt. The mass-market style of gift registries has depersonalized the entire process.