Here Come the Brides! The Awkward Thing No One Wants to Talk About
The “Here Come the Brides!” series follows my adventures with Casey to the aisle. Here’s what’s happened so far:
Today’s post is about the awkward thing no one wants to talk about.
I feel like if I’m going to write an engagement series, I owe it to my fellow brides and to the lovely grooms to broach this sensitive subject. I know it’s super weird, especially coming from a stranger, but if we don’t discuss it, how will we ever get over our emotional gawkiness and enjoy marital bliss? We all know it’s going to happen—and if we’re honest, we all want it to happen—but actually making it happen can just be so awkwardly… awkward.
I’m sorry, but it really has to be done: We need to talk about gift registries.
Casey and I weren’t really sure about doing one for our wedding. If the point of wedding gifts is to help a young couple get started out in their new life together, then as 30-somethings with our very own mortgage and five whole children, we’ve kind of aged out of that tradition. Plus, as 30-SWOVOMAFWC, we understand that traveling to a wedding in the first place can be prohibitively expensive, never mind springing for another couple to get conjugal on brand new 700-thread-count sheets.
So I consulted my wedding-etiquette guru, my fabulous sister-in-law; I asked a friend getting married at 30 to the man she’s lived with for years; I ran it by my buddy who is remarried. They all had different advice, but the sentiment was unanimous: It is just really fucking weird to ask for gifts. So Casey and I made up our minds to not do anything of the sort. We would not make a gift registry, we would not make a honeymoon registry, we would not go door-to-door soliciting for cash donations.
But then I thought about it. When I go to a wedding, it’s to celebrate—I want to bring a gift.
Many years ago, a friend of mine got married to the father of her child. They already had a home and a family together, so she said they didn’t need anything when I asked about a registry. She said they’d just prefer monetary gifts. But that felt weird to me. I wanted to celebrate their marriage, not fund it. Besides, I was young and poor—a monetary gift of mine would go as far as treating them to one meal at McDonald’s on their honeymoon. And then what? They’d have nothing to catch a glimpse of in 20 years to remind them of their special day and the friend who supported them in it. But with no registry to guide me, I had to just pick something out of all the gazillion things in the world to gift them. I think I went with something like colored glass votive holders. I have no idea if they even liked them.
Their marriage didn’t last, probably because he turned out to be a wretched person, but who knows—maybe those little votive holders were a source of irreconcilable marital strife. “Hey, jerk—why do you keep moving the votive holders off the mantle?!” “Because they don’t match our decor, obviously!” “Well then why do we even have the stupid things in the first place?!” “I don’t know, you bastard! Someone just randomly gave them to us because we didn’t say what the hell we really wanted!!!!”
Now I realize that may just be me—I prefer to give physical gifts, and I’d like to know what you really want. My sister-in-law comes from a long and noble tradition of check-writing. But the moral of the story is, whether they feel better about writing a check, browsing for inspiration, or picking something safe off a list, people want to give you a wedding gift as a tangible way to say, “I celebrate your marriage.” And I felt bad, because Casey and I were going to leave our wedding guests in the awkward position of not knowing what to do.
So Casey and I don’t need a lot, but we thought about what we love. We love time spent over drinks and conversation with good friends; we love big family dinners; we love relaxing in our beautiful home, mortgage and five kids and all. So we made a list of the things that would help us do more of that, a list of things that would not only help us out in our daily life together, but help us celebrate it. I hope no one will feel obligated to give us anything, but if they want to, at least now they’ll know what we’d love to have to enjoy our life together.
And, if it’s not too awkward, I may just go back and add a 700-thread-count set of sheets.