You may not be aware, but there’s a new movement underway to do away with wedding gifts. As Matthew Yglesias from Slate wrote today: “Traditional wedding gifts no longer make sense in a contemporary context. Our gifting is based on the outdated (and, needless to say, sexist) assumptions of near-universal marriage, a very young age at first marriage, and extremely low expectations of male housekeeping skills.” He goes on to argue that wedding gifts are inherently unfair: “In a society where a large and growing share of the population never marries, the custom is both unfair and inefficient. Married people already live longer and earn more than single people; we don’t also need to benefit from wealth redistribution.” Finally, he says: “Leave the newlyweds to fend for themselves. Your presence at their celebration should be its own reward. Or if they don’t like you unless you come with a gift attached, they can just not invite you and turn the food and beverage savings into buying themselves a beautiful crockpot.”
As someone who appreciated the gifts she received at her wedding, I am torn on the tradition of giving wedding gifts. On one hand, they are a great way to help offset the expense of throwing a wedding (when cash gifts are given, that is) and can help a couple start married life with some nice household items they may not have purchased for themselves otherwise. But with friends and family so spread out these days and travel expenses so high to attend the out-of-town weddings of loved ones, it does sometimes feel like insult to injury to then be expected to tack on a pricey gift on top of that, especially when the couple has an established household together.
What do you think? Is it time to change the expectation of wedding gifts, if not eliminate them completely? Poll below!