Tuesday, 24 August 2010
Is it the thought that counts?
The last wedding I'll attend as a fiance (unless any of my friends are planning any rather sudden nuptials this winter) is fast approaching and with it the thorny issue of the gift list has raised its head.
Of course, we all expect to get the bride and groom something when we attend a wedding and buying them something is all part of the excitement of attending, but personally I really would rather buy them something (ie an actual present) rather than donate towards their honeymoon, loft extension or, worst of all, their actual wedding. Am I the only person who still likes to turn up to a wedding with a lovingly gift-wrapped box?!
Is it just me or is asking for money to be paid into your account just plain rude? I should hasten to add that it is not this wedding that is asking this of us but it does appear to be a growing trend and it's one that I (and I suspect many others) am really not comfortable with. A gift list at Trailfinders is one thing, it's quite another to just include your account number and sort code with the invitation, surely?
Having given this much thought for our own wedding, we have decided to have an actual gift list. This way, we will have numerous things in our home which will not only remind us of our wedding but also of the people who bought them for us. My mum still has a (slightly hideous admittedly) ornament which she remembers being given by her mother-in-law for her wedding and lots of people of my parents' generation have wedding china that is still treated with reverence to this day.
Of course, a honeymoon is essential and if you can't afford it yourselves it's a lovely gift to have it paid for by family and friends. But what if those friends can barely afford their own holiday this year? How are they going to feel about paying for your five-star sojourn? I'd wager far worse than they'll feel about contributing a tenner towards my John Lewis bath towels.
The gift list, I'm discovering, is every bit as personal as the wedding itself. We all have our own views on money and what it should be spent on – and shouldn't we have some right to choose what our contribution pays for? I would be much happier buying a specific experience for the couple to have on honeymoon (a scuba diving lesson or romantic dinner, for example) than I would be handing over a cheque to Kuoni and I'd much rather put money towards the deposit on the couple's first home than refund them the cost of my own dinner.
But perhaps I'm looking at this all wrong? Maybe it isn't for the guests to say what the money is spent on, but for the couple to decide for themselves? Money given as a gift should always be given without conditions, after all, and if the bride and groom want to spend my dosh on the chocolate fountain for their big day maybe that's ok. I'd still rather turn up with a lovingly giftwrapped box but if an envelope would be better received then who am I to argue?