Your Presence Is Not A Present
--> Who remembers the IHateWeddings.com "Don't Give A Gift In 2006" campaign? That campaign would still be going on except that gift and eight aren't as close to rhyming. I received a very thoughtful reply to this posting and I wanted to share it.
(Maybe the slogan will be "Give them a gift late in 2008?)
The "Don't Give Wedding Gifts" campaign was created out of need to bring back an appreciation for the gift. Brides and grooms now calculate when planning weddings that people will give them gifts in a value approximate to the value of the guest's "plate" at the reception.
If a gift is EXPECTED it is not a gift. It is payment.
If I am expected to give a gift in return for being invited somewhere, I'm not a guest. I'm essentially buying a ticket to your event.
A gift is something that is given freely. When a gift is expected and you are looked down upon for not giving a gift, the gift is no longer a gift . . . it's a payment. (I will one day tally how much it costs for me to go to a wedding without even giving a gift.)
Anyway, here is a well thought out reply from an angry bride on this Christmas eve.
Best Wishes for a great holiday,
Thomas J. Kelly
Here is the original "Don't Give A Gift In 2006" post
From Jen: firstname.lastname@example.org
You have absolutely no idea what a wedding gift is really for. You obviously have no idea what a wedding guest is, either. If you are invited to someone's wedding, you should feel honored that the bride and groom thought of you as someone they want there to celebrate their special day. The idea that you think you are doing them a favor is so silly, self centered and egotistical.
Sorry, but your presence is not a present.
As far as giving an actual present, it is customary and traditional because, just like a birthday, you are showing your happiness in the recipients' happiness, also, your happiness in their new life and new existence together. It is really not a big deal. It is just one form of being nice to someone who thought of you and who wanted to celebrate a big moment in his or her life with you. Only a truly petty and egotistical person would "protest" giving a simple gift on what is one of, if not the biggest, days of these people's lives. If you are not close enough to these people to want to make them happy and give them a small token of your happiness and your wish to see them make a nice start of their new life together, you probably shouldn't be at their wedding.
As far as registries are concerned, most wedding guests find registries helpful because it is sometimes difficult, if you are a remotely thoughtful person, to find a gift that neither of two people already has and that they will benefit from. This is especially true in this age when couple's live together before marriage and usually have standard gifts like toasters and blenders that help a couple start a home together.
Grow up, stop worrying about every dollar you spend and whether or not it covers your "plate" at the reception (this is the first time I have ever heard of such a ridiculous rule of thumb) and try to focus on other people and doing a little something to make them happy.
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