Wedding trends change with the times. It wasn’t that long ago that sea foam green and pink organza was the bridesmaids’ dress of choice. Fortunately that’s in the past! But dresses, floral arrangements and appetizers aren’t the only things that have changed. So have the gifts that are given, and sometimes asked for.
Wedding Gifts – Why do Something Different?
In the recent past, most people didn’t move out of their parent’s house until they got married. A wedding (and shower) gift was meant to help the happy couple launch their new life together. A blender, place setting or crystal vase was welcomed because the newlyweds had a new home to fill and usually didn’t have the items, and often the means, to do so.
According to infoplease.com, in 1950 the average age of a first marriage in the USA was almost 23 for a man and 20 years old for a woman. In 2010 those numbers changed to 28 years old for men and 26 years of age for women. By that point, most people are living on their own and have been for a few years. With two households to combine, often the newlyweds have almost everything they need to set up their combined household. And that’s not even taking second (or third…or fourth!) marriages into consideration.
Wedding Gifts – Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
Bridal couples can be hesitant to try something different at their wedding. They’re unsure of how things may be perceived by their guests and the last thing anyone wants is their wedding to be viewed as money grab. It’s awkward (and possibly tacky) to ask for money. So what are the other options?
Wedding Gifts – A Few Suggestions
Register for a large item – One of the new trends in wedding gifts is to register for a few larger items that generally will not come from one guest. A wedding guest can go to the registry and contribute whatever amount they choose to go toward the purchase of a large ticket item. This allows the couple to pick things that they want and need without their guests feeling like they have to break the bank to get something relevant.
Honeymoon – It’s sort of the same idea as above. Honeymoons can be the trip of a lifetime but they often come with a bill to match! Once you’ve planned your honeymoon, register with a travel agency. Guests can contribute towards the honeymoon and the happy couple can fly off to Bora Boar without a care in the world.
Charity – Often, with second or third marriages, many of the same guests have been invited to more than one of your weddings. This is a great opportunity to support the charity of your choice. Not only will your guests be thrilled to share your special day, but also feel good about supporting a worthy cause that is close to your heart.
Best Wishes – Never happens. Although you generally see that particular request at birthday parties (and not weddings) it’s not an unusual request for older (or less young) couples to make. But guests always say they don’t feel right about not giving some kind of gift.
I recently went to a small wedding (about 40 people) that was a second marriage for both the bride and groom. They are in their fifties and both are well established in their careers. They knew they didn’t want any gifts but when they mentioned that to their guests they were met with objections and even indignation. People really wanted to buy them something!
Since they met at a wine tasting, they asked each guest to bring a bottle of wine that they could cellar. This way, when each bottle was open, they could toast the guest that brought it and remember their wedding day.
It was a win-win solution. The guests loved this option and had a lot of fun with it. They researched and looked for something that might be different and would excite the happy couple. And the bride and groom walked away with several good vintages and nary a blender in sight!
As wedding customs change, so do expectations. Don’t be afraid to shake things up and do what works best for you and your wedding. The most important thing to remember is it’s not about the gift, but rather the fact that the guests are there to share your day with you.