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“Am I a Selfish Bride?”

I got married exactly one year ago to my now-husband. We decided to get hitched at City Hall and because he’s foreign, the whole thing was organized very quickly, with both our families flying to the west coast on a week’s notice, from different countries. We sent out a last minute email to our very large group of good friends saying that we were getting hitched at the courthouse but we were having a reception that night. The whole thing was very informal (just like we wanted it) and all our friends came and we all had a great time.

The problem is, only two of our friends got us wedding gifts. I don’t care about the gifts/material objects per se but I do feel slighted that only two of our friends got us a gift. We have a very large group of friends who we socialize with on a weekly basis. Other than this, our friends are wonderful people, always there for us and I honestly couldn’t ask for better friends. Maybe it’s because we didn’t have a traditional white wedding? Ours was very thrown together last minute, however everyone was happy and able to make it. Should I feel hurt that no one thought to give us a gift? It sort of makes me feel like they don’t take our marriage seriously. I have never heard of not getting someone a gift who comes to your reception and you see on a weekly basis. Am I just being selfish or is my annoyance legit? — Selfish Bride?

I’ve answered similar questions to yours in the past and my answer remains the same: while it’s certainly appropriate and good etiquette to mark loved ones’ special occasions with a thoughtful gift or generous gesture, gifts are not mandatory and should never be expected. More specifically, when it comes to occasions where guests’ presence is the true gift, then the absence of a material gift really is not something to get your panties in a bunch over. In your case, SB, your guests had to scramble to attend your last-minute wedding. There were probably cancellations of other plans, possibly high travel expenses, and the simple inconvenience of suddenly shuffling schedules around to accommodate you and your husband. And yet, everyone from your very large group of friends made it. Regardless how many of them may have had tickets to other events that night, or already-accepted invitations to other parties, or plans to go out of town, they all made your last-minute wedding a priority to show you love and support. And you feel slighted?

The part of your letter that really gets me is when you write this: “Should I feel hurt that no one thought to give us a gift? It sort of makes me feel like they don’t take our marriage seriously.” First of all, I’ve never understood when people ask me whether they should feel hurt about something. Cultivating feeling takes energy. If you’re going to exert energy on something, wouldn’t it make much more sense to spend it cultivating positive feelings rather than negative feelings? Oh, the energy I could save it I didn’t spend so much of it trying to squash negative emotions, and here you are wondering if you should spend yours creating it! No! You shouldn’t. That goes for everyone. If you’re sitting there on the fence trying to decide if you should be mad or hurt or upset about something, get off the fence and go do something productive and positive. In fact, go do something nice for someone! The world could use more random acts of kindness.

As for the second part of your statement — the part where you question how serious your friends take your marriage if they didn’t give you a gift, I have to wonder how in the world you think a few pots and pans, a set of bath towels, or a new clock radio would add legitimacy to your marriage? I mean, really? I would think people’s attendance at your wedding/reception would say a lot more about their feelings for you and your union than whether they picked you out some kitchen knives. Furthermore, who cares what other people think about your marriage? I mean, unless they are actively trying to sabotage it or they’re giving you the stink eye when you’re all together or what have you, then what they think about your marriage is actually none of your business and doesn’t really matter. It should have no bearing whatsoever on your happiness or the success of your relationship. What counts is how seriously YOU take your marriage. So quit worrying about everyone else and focus on that. Focus on what you share with your husband and how wonderful it is to have a large group of friends you get to see on a weekly basis. You’re so lucky. If I could trade the wedding gifts my friends and family gave me to have them live close enough to see on a weekly — or even monthly! — basis, I’d do it in a nanosecond. To be surrounded by love, support and friendship is such a wonderful thing. That’s the real gift. It beats the hell out of a few potholders and bakers racks, I’ll tell you what.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


Comments on this entry are closed.

avatar Jessica March 31, 2011, 3:26 pm

and.. why feel this way a year later?

.. good points Wendy.

You could also chalk it up to everything being last minute, maybe they already had to cancel plans to attend your one week notice of a wedding anyway and didn’t have time to grab a gift.

avatar maynard March 31, 2011, 3:50 pm

yeah my first thought was ‘why do you give a shit a year later?’

have you been wondering if you should be pissed this whole time?

avatar Jess March 31, 2011, 5:47 pm

i think because traditionally people give gifts up until a year after the wedding. i think?

avatar jottino March 31, 2011, 3:27 pm

I agree!!

I don’t think it’s “selfish” so much as it is “greedy.” How can you not be concerned with the gifts or material objects when you’re concerned that you didn’t get any gifts or material objects? I agree with Wendy; in a last-minute situation, attendance at the wedding was as big a gift as anything. It was probably costly for many of the guests, in both time and money. I think it’s terrible that you suspect your friends might not take the marriage seriously, especially considering that you socialize with them on a regular weekly basis (I assume your husband is also included – otherwise you might be onto something). It sounds like you have a large group of friends that will practically drop everything to support you. Because they didn’t bring a toaster as a carry-on makes you doubt them? A group of friends like that sounds fantastic.

If it was that big a deal, and you really wanted presents, why not throw a housewarming party? Or hold out for a baby shower, if that’s in your future plans.

avatar MissDre March 31, 2011, 3:43 pm

“How can you not be concerned with the gifts or material objects when you’re concerned that you didn’t get any gifts or material objects?”

She’s NOT concerned about the lack of material objects. I totally understand where she’s coming from. It’s like if your boyfriend doesn’t get you something on Valentine’s day. We don’t really care what he gets us, but we still want something, because it shows he thought about us. That’s probably what she’s thinking here.

But Wendy is right that the gesture she should be focusing on is everyone attending last minute to support her.

becboo84 BecBoo84 March 31, 2011, 4:44 pm

I’m with you on this one. I do understand what Wendy’s trying to say, but I also understand where the LW is coming from.

avatar SpaceySteph March 31, 2011, 6:23 pm

Agree to an extent… but imagine you and your boyfriend got together a week before Valentines Day. Would his lack of a gift signify he didn’t think of you, or that he didn’t have time between the time you became his gf and the day to get you a gift?
The parallel is admittedly not perfect, but its there. Her friends scrambled to attend her short notice wedding; their lack of gifts does not mean the same as if her friends had received Save The Date cards a year in advance, just as your boyfriend not getting you a Valentines day present does not mean the same thing if you’ve been “official” a week as it would if you’d been together for awhile.

There’s only so much that can be pulled off in a limited timeframe.

avatar MissDre March 31, 2011, 6:35 pm

I see what you mean. I’m not saying that everybody should have instantly rushed out to buy her some big expensive gift. I was just trying to say, I understand why her feelings were a little hurt, and I definitely do not think she is materialistic or greedy.

avatar elisabeth April 1, 2011, 10:14 am

I think it’s also worthwhile to note that the LW’s friends made the scramble to *travel* to the west coast for the wedding – presumeably they were not there all ready. Those travel expenses could (and perhaps should) be counted as the gift! Isn’t it standard to not anticipate gifts at destination weddings? No, this wasn’t overseas (for the LW’s family, though it sounds like it was for her husband’s?), but certainly the travel expense works the same way here.

avatar jottino April 1, 2011, 9:32 am

When i said “How can you not be concerned with the gifts or material objects when you’re concerned that you didn’t get any gifts or material objects?” I meant more along the lines of not seeing attendance as a gift, or a gesture which showed her friends’ appreciation and support. She did say that “only two of our friends got us wedding gifts,” which shows that she’s still kind of looking for the actual physical object. She didn’t see the people attending the wedding as the guesture that shows they thought about and wanted to support her.

If it were me, I would be overjoyed that anyone even showed up to a last minute reception via email invitation. And if I saw these people regularly, and was so close to them, it could always work itself into the conversation, like “Oh, look at what X gave me for the wedding! Isn’t it beautiful?”

Eh. Maybe I just don’t understand because I’ve never been in that situation. Or maybe it’s not the whole story. I’m bothered by the “not taking the marriage seriously” comment.

avatar cat-i-z March 31, 2011, 3:28 pm

“I have to wonder how in the world you think a few pots and pans, a set of bath towels, or a new clock radio would add legitimacy to your marriage? I mean, really?” ~~~~~~ LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

avatar Candice March 31, 2011, 3:32 pm

ha! I would take the presents over the lousy friends any day. Friends grow apart and move on but the presents last!

avatar nikki March 31, 2011, 5:26 pm

To the people who “thumbs-downed” this, I think the post was tongue in cheek.

avatar LTC039 April 1, 2011, 11:49 am

That is a very true statement. Friends come & go very easily…

avatar Green_Blessings_Goddess March 31, 2011, 3:33 pm

Never underestimate the power of greed.

avatar ReginaRey March 31, 2011, 3:34 pm

I don’t understand this part: ” because he’s foreign, the whole thing was organized very quickly, with both our families flying to the west coast on a week’s notice, from different countries.” Why does him being foreign mean the whole thing was organized very quickly? It leads me to wonder if perhaps THAT is the root of the LW’s suspicions that her friends don’t take her marriage seriously. Did she get married very quickly? Did she get married so her boyfriend could stay in the U.S? These might be reasons for your friends to not take your marriage seriously. But as Wendy said, as is right now, not getting gifts at a last-minute wedding certainly doesn’t mean that no one takes you seriously.

avatar cdj0815 March 31, 2011, 3:39 pm

“Why does him being foreign mean the whole thing was organized very quickly? It leads me to wonder if perhaps THAT is the root of the LW’s suspicions that her friends don’t take her marriage seriously. Did she get married very quickly? Did she get married so her boyfriend could stay in the U.S?”
ReginaRey, I was thinking the exact same thing.

avatar honeybeenicki March 31, 2011, 3:39 pm

I had that same thought about why the wedding was organized so quickly. It struck me as a little weird and I’ve wondered if maybe her friends have approached her before or after the quicky wedding about that.

Dear Wendy Wendy March 31, 2011, 3:51 pm

I don’t think it’s that strange that the couple had to plan a fast wedding. Usually, when a couple applies for a marriage visa, there’s a long wait, during which time they are interviewed, etc. When they get the news that the visa has been approved, there’s a very short time-frame they have to get married. Don’t quote me, but it might some something like 30 days or something. Does anyone have personal experience with this? Definitely, when one member of the couple is foreign, there are restraints that couples of the same nationality don’t have.

avatar callmehobo March 31, 2011, 4:10 pm

I’ve heard that it’s 90 days to get married after obtaining the visa.

avatar LennyBee March 31, 2011, 4:18 pm

It is 90 days, a couple of my friends recently had to get married before their actual planned big white wedding because of marriage visas and deadlines. But besides the deadline, couples typically also have to consider that the foreign spouse can’t apply for a work permit until after the wedding, and that permit takes awhile as well. So even if a couple wants to wait the 90 days to give wedding guests more notice, or to have a bigger, more planned celebration, it may not be feasible for one person to be unemployed and not even able to apply for jobs for at least 3 months.

avatar SpaceySteph March 31, 2011, 6:40 pm

I have plenty of coworkers (3 different couples, in the past 3 months) who got engaged and then married within about a month. One couple got married quick at a church with the ceremony in the auditorium of the church and sent evites. Another couple got married at a courthouse and then had an afterparty at a bar for which they sent an outlook invite, and another couple just happened to find a last minute cancellation at a reception hall 5 weeks from their engagement that they scooped up and planned the rushed wedding to fit it in.

In each case, the couples are both US citizens of mid-twenties to mid-thirties ages… they just wanted to do it quick. And I don’t think it lends less credibility to their weddings. As one groom said “Weddings expand to fill the space they’re given.” They wanted inexpensive, not overblown affairs, and thats what they got. Plenty of reasons to do it quick and dirty, marriage visas being just one of them.

avatar Quakergirl March 31, 2011, 6:58 pm

It’s 90 days– or at least it was last year–which is still not a lot of time at all. My uncle’s now-wife is Ukranian and he is a U.S. citizen (yes, I know that sounds weird…especially because he’s like 25 years older than her, but I swear they met legitimately and are ridiculously perfect for each other). Once she was issued her fiancee visa (which took about a year and was a grueling process, even though they had been dating for over two years before they got engaged), they had only 90 days to get married. It was actually fairly hellish because they didn’t have an exact date to plan a wedding around without knowing precisely when she’d get her visa approved, so everything was last-minute.

They got married in CA near where he went to college and a friend officiated. It was a really small wedding, and because of all the chaos with the date, very few family members ended up being able to go. Pictures looked beautiful though, and of course it’s great to have a new member of the family and see my uncle so happy now, even though I couldn’t be there to share their day.

avatar Jess March 31, 2011, 5:49 pm


avatar honeybeenicki March 31, 2011, 3:38 pm

I had a traditional wedding with a large group of my family and friends (2 years ago Monday =) ) Sure, most people brought us gifts; however, none of that mattered to us as much as sharing our special day with everyone. I don’t know that you’re necessarily being greedy or selfish to expect gifts, since it is the general etiquette, but you really do need to take into consideration that it was very short notice for everyone, so a lot of preparation wasn’t really possible.

I don’t think that your friends don’t take your marriage seriously just because they didn’t bring you a gift. I think the fact that they showed up to celebrate with you and continue to support you shows that they take it seriously. I know its easy to get hurt feelings over weddings and gifts and everything, but this is really something you shouldn’t dwell on.

On a side note, when we sent out our Save the Date cards, we included an insert honoring the best man who was on his second tour of duty in the middle east for the military (due back only 3 weeks before our wedding – thankfully he made it home!) by indicating that we were having a care package drive at our wedding (outside in the lobby near the bar) for anyone who was interested in donating items to send to Marines overseas. It was just our little way to give back. I actually received a few calls asking if they could donate cash or a large amount of items in lieu of a gift (which I was more than happy about – my husband and I lived together for 3 years before getting married so we really didn’t “need” anything).

avatar MissDre March 31, 2011, 3:39 pm

Sometimes people just need someone else to give them a bit of a push to put things in a more positive perspective. I think it’s perfectly normal to want wedding gifts. Often times we internalize things, so it’s not unheard of for her to wonder if maybe her friends don’t care about her, or something along those lines. We all do it in different situations.

So I’m sure the LW will feel better now that Wendy has given her a new outlook on the situation.

avatar spot March 31, 2011, 7:19 pm

Props to MissDre for sticking up for the LW. I agree that the LW wasn’t completely out of line, but I also agree with Wendy about appropriate expectations, especially in a last-minute wedding,

avatar spaceboy761 March 31, 2011, 3:40 pm

Eh. If a wedding reception was had, I think it was a little tacky to not bring a gift. If I’m going to a party for anything at all (let alone a wedding), I’ll always bring a gift even if it’s just a 12-pack of beer or a $10 flower bouquet from 7-11 or something. I was raised to think that it’s rude to show up empty-handed.

If the guests sprung for last-minute flights, they could have at least dropped the whopping $15 to pick up a nice bottle of wine at the duty-free. Or at least a card…. that’s what separates us from monkeys.

Feel free to pepper with little purple thumbs.

avatar MissDre March 31, 2011, 3:45 pm

I agree with you! Turquoise thumb it is!

avatar anna728 March 31, 2011, 4:52 pm

I think the kind of gift you’d bring to a dinner party is kind of weird as a wedding gift. I wouldn’t bring wine to a wedding reception. Not that wine isn’t a nice thing to give someone, I just wouldn’t think to for that occasion.

avatar spot March 31, 2011, 7:23 pm

I agree. A nice serving dish from crate&barrel for $40 would be appropriate and easy to get on a whim.

avatar TheOtherMe March 31, 2011, 5:54 pm

… ” Or at least a card…. that’s what separates us from monkeys.” ..

LOL I adore you !

avatar twiglet April 2, 2011, 5:26 am

it’s part of my culture too- you don’t turn up with nothing in your hand-BUT I actually think its time to challenge this , as we are no longer talking about a home-made cake, jar of jam, etc, but a huge amount of the world’s resources being wasted on “gifts”, which we are now programmed to expect, or feel obliged to provide.

avatar Desiree March 31, 2011, 3:45 pm

Weddings are becoming altogether too materialistic anyway. A mound of presents does not legitimize a marriage anymore than a huge engagement ring guarantees true love.

avatar spaceboy761 March 31, 2011, 3:49 pm

Whitney Cummings: “A marriage is not just a piece of paper. It’s a piece of paper AND A DIAMOND, goddammit.”

avatar LTC039 March 31, 2011, 3:51 pm

I’m wondering why she is bringing this up a year later? & yeah, it is courtesy to bring a gift, but not mandatory.

avatar cmarie March 31, 2011, 4:17 pm

I agree with the advice but I just have to say that I don’t think she’s “cultivating” negative emotions, she already has them. I think what she was asking is if her negative emotions warranted. Weddings are a time to celebrate the couple and I do understand her nervousness that her friends maybe aren’t taking the marraige seriously, the worry about lack of gifts is probably just a symptom of underlying insecurity. Did they at least give you a card? Gifts are nice but not required, especially since it was last minute and informal (which might be why they didn’t give a gift as well, they didn’t think you wanted one since you pretty much just threw the wedding together) but a card is mandatory.

avatar ape escape March 31, 2011, 4:22 pm

it was A YEAR(!!!) AGO? Geez Louise.

I’d probably feel a little slighted, too, but damn. If you’re still this upset a year later…that sounds like a bigger issue than your friends’ faux pas…and holding on to a grudge like that sounds kind of exhausting.

avatar _jsw_ March 31, 2011, 4:39 pm

I might have interpreted this differently than others, but I don’t think the LW wants gifts for the selfish reason of getting things… I think she’s wondering if the lack of them indicates a lack of support for her marriage by their friends. So, yeah, she wishes they’d given gifts, but more because of what she feels that gift would imply, not because of the need for a particular material item.

To that, I’d say what Wendy and others have already said: the sign of their approval (and their gift) was the attendance of the no-advance-notive wedding and their continued friendship. Not all gifts come in boxes.

avatar _jsw_ March 31, 2011, 4:52 pm

Wow. I wrote this earlier, walked away, came back and posted it, and now I see a lot of others said it before me. Apologies for not re-reading before posting!

avatar MissDre March 31, 2011, 6:19 pm

I said the same thing, but you said it better than I did!

avatar plasticepoxy April 1, 2011, 10:23 am

“Not all gifts come in boxes.”

So true, and unfortunately, easy for us to forget.

avatar LeahW. March 31, 2011, 4:50 pm

I normally don’t own up to my more judgmental thoughts, but when I read this letter my first thought was, “well, they didn’t buy gifts because it wasn’t a real wedding!”

Of course, as soon as I thought this I caught it and reminded myself that all it takes for a real wedding is for two people to get married, and all you need for a wedding reception is for loved ones to help celebrate the marriage. But by getting rid of all the common wedding conventions your guests may have simply forgotten about getting a gift, which is a bit of a convention in and of itself. Plus, although we can all agree that a gift is SUPPOSED to be freely given, many people do consider it a quid pro quo for the bride and groom (or their parents) footing the bill for an expensive meal and party, both of which you didn’t do.

Worst case scenario, even if your guests agree with my judgmental thought and don’t think you had a “real” wedding that warranted getting a gift, that doesn’t mean they don’t consider it a very real marriage. They prove that by calling you husband and wife and treating you as they do any other married couple. You might be out some gifts but you didn’t have to pay for a fancy wedding either, which sounds like it was more your style!

avatar anna728 March 31, 2011, 5:00 pm

I think that as a guest to this wedding, I would have probably assumed a gift wasn’t expected. Yes, it is traditional to bring gifts to a wedding, but this wedding was not only last-minute, but informal and not traditional. So the informality probably made guests feel that it wasn’t expected, and the short notice meant guests who might have given one anyway didn’t have time to get a gift together.

For my dad’s second wedding (also the bride’s second), it was very casual. Ceremony and reception at a friend’s cabin, by a judge. Her three kids and I were the bridesmaids and groomsmen and we didn’t even buy outfits for it- I just picked a dress I already had. It was very casual, and they were older, too, so less need for gifts, but I don’t think anyone at all gave them one. I didn’t.

I wouldn’t take the absence of gifts to mean they don’t see your marriage as legitimate, but rather as a reflection on the last-minute and casual nature of your wedding.

avatar Kerrycontrary March 31, 2011, 8:49 pm

I agree. When people have an informal celebration of their union, such as a picnic, I wouldn’t assume that formal wedding gifts are required. In this case I think its especially true since none of the guests attended the ceremony.

avatar anna728 April 1, 2011, 5:51 pm

yeah only reception and not ceremony definitely makes a difference too

avatar demoiselle March 31, 2011, 5:13 pm

I had a non-traditional wedding–courthouse with family and small dinner afterwards, followed a week later by a get-together with friends at a beer garden. Aside from a few gifts from family and a bottle of wine, we didn’t get presents either–not even from my half-siblings.

Anytime you do something untraditional, people get confused about what is expected of them. That’s one factor. Perhaps another thing is that by doing something laid back you seem to signal that you aren’t hung up on traditional trappings.

I wouldn’t worry about it. Gifts do not mean much in the long run. Enjoy your relationship–I wish you both happiness.

avatar princesspetticoat March 31, 2011, 11:46 pm

“Anytime you do something untraditional, people get confused about what is expected of them. ”

I like that. I think it sums up what happened in this situation perfectly.

avatar AKchic March 31, 2011, 5:19 pm

Did you really want 7 electric can openers, 4 coffee makers, 2 blenders, 2 hideous paintings of cats, an orange pillow with some weird bug on it, matching his and hers Shrek slippers and a set of Barbie dishes? Maybe a box of wine?

Do you remember the economy last year? The job problems? The energy bills? The high price of groceries? The taxes? Sweetie – you were lucky to have all of your friends and family attend your reception on such short notice. My first wedding had all of 2 people attend (the witnesses), neither of which were my friends or family. I went to work right afterwards. My second marriage had a few friends and my grandmother (my own mother skipped it to put in overtime at her office two blocks away). Nobody from my 2nd husband’s side could make it because of the cost of airfare from NJ to AK.

Be thankful you have a husband who loves you, a family that would spend so much money to see you on short notice, and friends that would be there at the drop of a hat. Money and material possessions aren’t worth near as much.

Jess Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com March 31, 2011, 5:23 pm

Well I think the main issue here is that more formal weddings include a gift registry. And that is the thing that clues everyone in to the fact that you WANT gifts (and exactly which kind).

It’s unclear if the friends are local or were also flying in. I don’t have an etiquette guide to point to but in my own case (and I DO feel a bit guilty), I have not given gifts to friends that had a destination wedding that required me to lay out close to a grand in travel costs. To be fair, it really WAS a huge financial effort on my part to make that happen. I couldn’t spare anymore and I hope they understood. I did give them a card though :-)

avatar Jess March 31, 2011, 5:54 pm

thats exactly what I was goign to mention- the registry. My friend isn’t having one with the hope that people will give her cash/gift cards. I think in reality she’s just not going to get very many gifts. I still think giving money is tacky… I don’t know if that will ever feel “right” to me.

avatar MissDre March 31, 2011, 6:26 pm

Why is it tacky? I think the traditional point of gifts back in the day was to help new couples set up their home together. In this day and age, most people live together before marriage. So they already have the things they need. Money goes a long way in offsetting the cost of a wedding, or helping a couple put a down payment on a house.

That’s why at a lot of weddings they will have an ornate birdcage or a wishing well with envelopes next to it. And you can anonymously leave cash for the couple. Like AKChick said above, who the fuck wants 4 electric can openers when you’re drowning in debt from feeding all the guests that your mother said you HAD to invite so they wouldn’t be offended….

avatar Jess April 1, 2011, 3:55 am

I know, it just seems like gifts should be thoughtful, not just paying them. It sort of feels like paying for going to the wedding. I don’t really know how to describe how I feel about it. Growing up getting money for my birthday was always designated as for my “College Fund”, so it didn’t feel like just getting money. It just seems impersonal… and they know *exactly* how much you spent. If you give them china at least you can imagine that every time they look at their wedding china they will think of you.

I was thinking of getting her a gift from the foreign country I live in in lieu of cash. But I guess she won’t want it? Ugh, I’m a poor graduate student, it seems weird just forking over $50 to a friend because shes getting married. I cant attend the wedding, btw.

avatar MissDre April 1, 2011, 11:25 am

China can cost thousands of dollars. But that’s not the point LoL. I guess the way I feel is, if I get money, I can spend it the way I want. Like my mother, she got married 2 years ago. And she and her husband used the money to build a deck in their backyard. My brother and his wife got married, and they put the money toward the business they are starting. Money can accomplish things. Stuff is just stuff, and it accumulates dust.

But you know what? Everybody is entitled to want what they want. If one person wants presents? Then they should get presents. If another person wants money? Then they should get money. It doesn’t really matter. The point is to give something to show the couple you care, and to help them on their way.

avatar TheGirl April 1, 2011, 11:39 am

If your friend did not register, she should expect a lot less gifts, and a lot of gifts she doesn’t want. NOT CASH. Trust me. My in-laws are all serious WASPS and apparently I did not register for anything that was fancy enough, so I got a lot of things I didn’t want – and I had a registry! Apparently my practicality was not appreciated… so instead of the ceramic teapot that was dishwasher safe, I got a super expensive silver tea set that I will never use, and now have to clean every month for the rest of my life… and can’t even ebay because they’ll ASK about it when they come over!

Anyway, the point of that is, registry or no, the people that want to give cash and were always planning on giving cash will give it, but anyone that wants to buy a gift will just get them something they don’t want. The rest of the people will think – no registry? Sweet! They must not need anything.

avatar MissDre April 1, 2011, 12:33 pm

My brother and his wife included a poem in their invites to tell people they wanted money.

If you were thinking of giving a gift,
To help us on our way.
A gift of cash towards our house,
Would really make our day.
However, if you prefer to purchase a gift,
Feel free to surprise us in your own special way.

avatar MissDre April 1, 2011, 12:41 pm

Another poem to include in your invite if you want money… in regards to my comment about the wishing well:

Because at first we lived in sin
We’ve got the sheets and a rubbish bin
A gift from you, would be swell
But we’d prefer a donation to our Wishing Well

More than just kisses so far we’ve shared,
Our home has been made with Love and Care,
Most things we need we’ve already got,
And in our home we can’t fit a lot!

A wishing well we thought would be great,
(But only if you wish to participate),
A gift of money is placed in the well,
Then make a wish …. but shhh don’t tell!

Once we’ve replaced the old with the new,
We can look back and say it was thanks to you!
And in return for your kindness, we’re sure
That one day soon you will get what you wished for.

avatar fallonthecity April 1, 2011, 3:26 pm

Oh man, do people actually put these kinds of things in their invitations? That’s… I’m sorry to say I find it sort of rude. I hope I never get a wedding invitation like that — I would definitely decline that one.

avatar MissDre April 2, 2011, 11:13 am

Well, 200 people showed up to my brother’s wedding so I guess they didn’t mind :)

avatar Natasha Kingston April 1, 2011, 12:02 pm

When I got married, my favorite gifts were checks.

avatar _jsw_ April 1, 2011, 12:13 pm

Not to rain on your parade, but you can usually get those for free at your bank.

avatar HmC April 2, 2011, 12:17 pm

To add to the money discussion… some cultures pretty much only give money and/or nice alcohol as wedding gifts. Some Asian cultures, specifically, that I’ve noticed. It makes sense because it’s totally practical, particularly for a young couple. I think once you get used to the idea, especially if you grow up around it, it isn’t inherently tacky at all.

avatar SpaceySteph March 31, 2011, 6:57 pm

SO AGREE about the flying. A very good friend of mine got married in her home state (NJ). She had a big bachelorette weekend in FL. I live in Texas. I went to the bachelorette weekend (flew, helped pay for a hotel suite we stayed in, and paid more than my fair share to cover some things to ensure the bride didn’t have to pay for meals/fun that weekend because some of the other girls were still in school). And for the wedding, I flew to Philadelphia, rented a car, drove to their hometown in NJ, got a hotel room … all to be there for their special day.
And I had a great time, and I’m glad I did it… but after all of that I felt I had spent enough and couldn’t a gift. I also gave them a card, though.
I felt guilty for a little bit, but then I decided that if they didn’t think all my travel was a gift itself, they weren’t very good friends. (For the record, I think they do understand and are good friends.)

avatar Kat March 31, 2011, 6:53 pm

You know, last minute wedding reception = last minute change of plans to get to wedding. After you’ve gone through with the reception, eating your cake and toasting the couple, it seems silly to buy a gift. The wedding has already happened – so giving a gift late is still giving a gift late, which is awkward! I’m not surprised your last minute wedding didn’t get many gifts. It’s been a year to boot! Is someone in this circle getting married and you’re jealous because they’re going to get a lot of gifts and you didn’t? Maybe it shows a lot about your friends – they weren’t going to swing by Target en route to your reception and buy you something for the sake of buying it.