Sex & Relationships

When did the gift registry get bigger than the wedding?

When did the gift registry become more important than the wedding?

When did weddings become more about the gift registry and less about the coming together of two people who love each other, asks Zoe Arnold.

I had a panicked call from a friend of mine, a few months out from her wedding.

“What colour are the towels?” she yelled desperately down the phone.

“What?” I asked. I had no idea what she was talking about.

“The towels you’re getting me for my wedding! What colour are they? I need to know so I can match them to another set I’ll put on the registry.”

It clicked: I had told said friend that I would buy her a decent set of towels (you know; bath sheets, towels, matching face cloths, bath mat) for her upcoming nuptials, so I could bypass the whole registry situation.

My friend’s a classic kinda girl. The kind of person who wears pearls and always looks elegant, no matter the occasion. There was no way I was going out of the beige bracket while selecting her linen.

She sighed with relief, and tittered that she had to dash as the rest of her day would be spent finalising the gift list.

But a panic over shades of beige is nothing compared to the following story.

A bride in the US was told by her friend that finances were tight, and she couldn’t afford a gift for their wedding day, but one would be forthcoming as soon as she found employment again.

She added that she had a card that she would like to give now, apologising for her lack of material gift.

Turns out the bride wasn’t cool with a belated present.

A chain of text messages show the bride’s true colours: she explains her friend is “getting something for nothing,” and courteously offers to uninvite her friend to her upcoming baby shower.

It’s a galling read.

Said friend did something most of us wouldn’t do: writing back a page long letter pointing out her selfishness and stupidity.

What is it about weddings that make people think it’s time to cash in on presents?

Let’s be honest: in 2013 most of us live with our partners before we charge down the aisle.

On average, it costs a whopping $40,000 to say “I do” … just think of how many towels you could buy with that!

Personally, I reckon registries are overrated.

Gift giving is nice, but if you’re attending the nuptials of a friend or family member, you should know them well enough to pick them something out off your own bat, without having to follow some impersonal list.

If you’re late choosing you always have some terrible choice to make, like between a tagine (that they will never use), or an alarm clock (which is just so boring!)

How about letting your guests choose what they want to get you, or accepting your guest’s attendance as a gift in itself?

Just attending a wedding is a costly affair: most involve travel, accommodation, new outfits, hair, make up … it’s a lot to ask people to pay for.

Weddings are ostensibly about the formal union of two people. A celebration of love, and family.

What linen set you end up with shouldn’t really factor into it.

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