A wedding gift for eternity

bouquetBeen to a wedding recently? My husband and received an invitation to a wedding this summer, our first in several years. Our friends are either long-married or confirmed singles. Given the infrequency of the invitations, we don’t know what’s in and what’s out for weddings, or more precisely, wedding gifts.  Actually, we never did know.  We were married by a judge in the county courthouse. We didn’t know about gift registries then, and even if we had, we never considered owning china, silverware or crystal. (Years later we inherited all these things.)  It was the seventies. We had little money and our lifestyle was simple.

Thankfully, the recent invitation directed us to a couple of wedding registries, so we knew choosing  a gift would be easy. A few days before the wedding date, we visited Macy’s and typed the bride’s name in the store’s wedding registry computer. We tapped our toes and checked our watches as we watched the gift list grow to the point it reached the floor. As it got longer and longer and began making its way toward the housewares department, we expected to see the message, “This machine is experiencing technical difficulties.” But the message never arrived. Eight feet and three inches of paper later, it ground to a halt.

Reading the 93 items on the list reminded us of two wedding gifts we received (the only ones we could remember): three stainless steel serving trays, which we still have, and a hideous bouquet of plastic flowers which we didn’t keep for more than a few minutes. We only received about seven gifts.  Imagine trying to remember 93.

Despite the length and depth of the gift wish list, it still signified that not much has changed from the past. When I mentioned this to a friend, she updated me on something that has: the addition of honeymoon registries. She knows two attorneys who are getting married and have added honeymoon options to their gift list. I’m imagining the choices:  hotel room upgrade: $300 a day; room service —  three dinners, $450;  private surfing lessons, $300; and new warm-weather wardrobe, $4,000.

Wedding customs vary from culture to culture. In many cultures, money is the preferred gift. This saves a trip to the registry and the time required to pour over the list. But even this practice has its drawbacks.  A Romanian friend said that guests put their cash donations in envelopes, which they set in front of them on their tables during the reception.  They then hold their breath as the emcee moves around the room, chooses some envelopes to open, and reports their contents to the larger audience. The stingy donor is soon exposed, much to the pleasure — and relief — of others who have given more.

The more I think about these changes, the better our wedding sounds.  We’re still married after 44 years and only have one bad memory of gifts. We still laugh about the plastic flowers. In a charitable moment, my husband said, “Plastic lasts for eternity. Maybe the sentiment behind this gift was, ‘May your marriage last as long as these flowers.'” Nice try.





About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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3 Responses to A wedding gift for eternity

  1. It’s years since I went to a wedding as well. The good thing about a wedding registry is that you at least have some of the work done for you—you don’t have to guess what they like. But it does take the fun out of it for the bride and groom, don’t you think? No surprises, be they wonderful or dreadful!

  2. Shirley Shimada says:

    Weddings and wedding gifts were so much simpler in the 1970’s. And all of our guests fit into our studio apartment after a simple Buddhist wedding. We only got 3 fondue pots plus many other lovely gifts.

  3. dkzody says:

    Married in 1975, we received our final wedding gift in June 1976. Yes, one year later, the gift from the next door neighbor of Terry’s parents arrived. She told us, flat out, “I wait at least a year before sending a gift now because too many marriages don’t even last one year. I don’t want my gift to end up in a divorce settlement.” We laughed hysterically at her comment. 41 years later, I think I under stand her philosophy. I have given lots of wedding gifts to couples who didn’t stay married very long.

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