Saturday, August 18, 2007

Shopping Day

My mother and I are starting to really dislike Saturdays. It's the only day we can really get out to do our shopping for all the essentials; food, cat litter, and anything else we might need. Today's shopping day also included finding a couple wedding presents. Let us pause while I jump for joy.

Yeah, that was a joke.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy to give people things. I am happy to give people things that they need or things that they want. And I am happy to do this to celebrate any number of occasions: weddings or new babies or birthdays or Tuesdays. But shopping for weddings is hard because I'm not only considering the one of the pair that I know, but I must also consider the one that I don't know. If they have a registry, that's great, because then I can pick an item that I know they want that is in my price range.

I'm seeing two ends of one particular issue and it's kind of ironic. Etiquette says that gifts are never obligatory, and I believe that whole-heartedly. This same rule of etiquette also says it's tacky beyond measure to include gift requests (ie notices of registry) in invitations. I've been invited to three weddings during this years Renn-Faire season. Yes, I'm going to all three despite weddings being right up there with root canals on my list of favorite things to do.

Two of the three invitations included a registry notice of some kind. While I'm happy to have it, I did notice that I thought it was incredibly rude to have included it. After all, a wedding is not an excuse to get something for free. The third invitation included nothing of the kind, as it should be. But I'm learning that the happy couple is being flooded with questions on where they are registered or what kind of things they would need, even though they specifically said what they want is the presence of their friends at the celebration of their union. I guess this means that their friends love them very much and want to help them out with their new together life the best why they know how. Good for you, happy couple, for not being gift-grubbers (and that's not to say the other two happy couples are), and good for you, friends of the happy couple who want to come armed with gifts anyway.

I still think option three is the best way to go. The invitation is a request of a person's presence, not a request of a person's money or gift, and should remain strictly as a "come celebrate with us" notification. While the fielding of constant questions may be annoying (I asked them too, but I had something in mind, my parents and friends who are also invited wanted to know), I think that's the best way to go that doesn't breach any of those unspoken and little practiced etiquette rules. I'm not looking down on the other couples for including their registry notices, because if we didn't have them, we'd be asking, but I do want to congratulate couple number three for keeping those things separate as it should be. Bravo!

Even with a list, shopping for a wedding gift is not particularly fun to me. And I'm a little bitter because all three of these people are getting married during a time where I've come to count on being able to make extra money (which, of course, I'm not making because I choose to go to their weddings). I brought it upon myself, I know. I could have refused to go. But they are special people, and even though I'm terrible company at weddings, they've still expressed that they want me there. So, there I go. I've only got a couple unmarried friends left. Let this be a notice to you all right now: do not get married during the Maryland Renaissance Festival unless you plan to be married AT the festival where I can go on my lunch break!

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