Reflections on Wedding Planning (Part Three): It's Not About the Gifts

Did y'all see that crazy post on Jezebel about the couple who decided to confront one of their guests about how they thought his gift was crappy because it included Marshmallow fluff?

I highly recommend you read it because you will be A) horrified and B) amused. If you don't have the time, I'll say that this line from one of the brides sums it all up: "Weddings are to make money for your future." 

I will go ahead and let that one sink in for all of you. Ready to move on? Good. Weddings, as it turns out, are not actually about making money for your future. And if that's what you're expecting from your family, friends, and other guests, you will be grossly disappointed.

As it turns out, people have all kinds of ideas about what it means to be invited to a wedding and how they should act. If you are a person who thinks, "But that's just what you do when you're a wedding guest!," you will be shocked at how others don't demonstrate the behavior that you expect. I don't really think there's a way to avoid this, but I will just say that my lesson learned is that the people you don't expect to be gracious will often go above and beyond, and those who should be won't always do what you think is appropriate.

If I measured the quality of my friendships based on how my friends went about the whole wedding gift thing, I would think that some of them suck big time. And there were moments when I felt really angry that folks hadn't even thought to give us a card. I mean, a card? It's not that much effort. (Again with the "that's just WHAT YOU DO!" that came to haunt me over and over.)

Probably the hardest to deal with were the guests whose weddings I attended recently and had written nice checks for, and they didn't give us anything in return. Granted, folks have a year to give a wedding gift, so perhaps they'll surprise me. But I'm not holding my breath! And in some ways it was even worse to not get a gift from couples who have weddings coming up--because now what do we do in response? Do the right thing or the commensurate thing? It's tough to know what won't leave me feeling resentful or feeling petty.

Here's the thing. Weddings are about having a community of love and support witness your special day. Not everyone will be on their best behavior. Not everyone will be generous. But enough of them will that you'll know you're loved, and even if they don't, you still married the person you love most. And that was kind of the point anyway.

Also, it should go without saying, but just in case: you should probably plan a wedding that you can afford, so  if the money doesn't come rolling in, you aren't starting your marriage in the red.

I personally think Marshmallow Fluff is delightful.


  1. Marshmallow fluff would be awesome! Put that on a graham cracker and you've got a yummy snack.

    Obviously it's always nice to get presents. But you can't demand gifts from people, that's ridiculous!

  2. "Weddings are to make money for your future.'
    I nearly died, just there. Nearly.

    1. You and me both, sister. And glad to see you commenting on here!

  3. Oh, dear me. That article is awful. Well, the brides are awful. The article was quite enlightening. I couldn’t imagine “taking someone to task” just because you didn’t like their wedding gift. Personally, I thought it was clever and showed a lot of thought! I don’t know how I will feel on my wedding day with the gift process, but I sure hope I don’t become someone like these brides and feel like I “deserve” cash for getting married. UMM?

    1. Getting a wedding gift you don't like is just part of getting married. Most people just complain to their partner, send a thank you note, and drop it. That is the way to handle it--not to confront your guest, explaining how much it cost to have him there! They should've asked what was more important--a gift or the friendship.