Of the dozens of wedding gifts I received, I’ll never forget the absolutely butt-ugly clock. It was garishly lime green and peach, with a hand-painted cactus and lightning bolts and in the shape of what I’d best describe as an amoeba.
I kept it for years, not because it added any aesthetically pleasing touch, but because it was a wedding gift from my one of my parents’ close friends. I even hung it up for a while not long after we bought our home; if I am being honest, I have to admit that I did it because the woman was coming over for a visit and I knew she’d be looking for it.
As anyone who’s been married can attest, you get a slew of gifts on your big day, some which you appreciate (table settings, wine glasses on your registry that you couldn’t otherwise afford), some of which are meaningful (a vase imported from your family’s native Ireland, a hand-made quilt) and some of which are practical yet needed (i.e., cash).
My husband and I didn’t exchange many gifts after our honeymoon and we tried to bank as much cash as possible for our slush fund. I’m pretty sure I could never find the store where the clock came from, but even if I could return it, I’d feel badly, because a longtime family friend gave it to me for such an important milestone.
The whole point about accepting a wedding gift – heck, the whole point about accepting any gift – is graciousness. If you give me a snowman-festooned, electric green sweater for Christmas, I am going to maintain my best poker face when I open it. Likewise, when I open something that I know was a re-gift or something that was sitting on a 70%-off table at the same store in our neighborhood where I shop, I’m doing to just be discreet and thank you anyway. And when I open a card for a major occasion and see that it’s just a card, even if I’m hoping for a check or some cash from a family member, I’m going to stifle my feelings of “Whaaaaahhh?”
You know, because that’s just what you do.
That’s why I can’t get my head around this Bridezilla who's been getting her five minutes of infamy in the past week or so, calling out a wedding guest on Facebook about how she didn’t feel her $100 cash gift was generous enough. This bride apparently expected cash gifts in a certain numerical amount to pay off the cost of her reception, which is akin to asking guests at Thanksgiving dinner to fork over twenty bucks to cover the Butterball.
I know we’re not living in an Emily Post or Miss Manners kind of world anymore, -- that’s painfully obvious -- but I’m pretty sure most of us recognize that this bride’s anti-thank you note was absolutely awful etiquette. It was plain rude to express something like in such a public way, notwithstanding the fact that the slighted wedding guest said that she works hard for her money and that her gift was generous for her, given her just-out-of-college budget.
So, brides and grooms who are or will be opening shower and wedding gifts in the future, hold the insults. Be gracious. Say thank you. Write an actual thank you note (paper and pen and everything) while you’re at it.
And be grateful that no one gave you an amoeba-shaped green and peach clock.