Thursday, March 1, 2012

Prudent Gifts

I've recently become addicted (I know, I know, me and my blog addictions...) to Dear Prudence, the advice column over at Slate. During the course of reading around a decade of columns, I've seen a lot of questions about wedding gifts-- appropriate and inappropriate. I've written before about registries and requests, but the questions posed to Prudie made me wonder... what is the most meaningful gift I've received? So many people talk about the amount of money they're spending on gifts, and though we did our absolute best to keep our registry on the cheap end  I certainly know people dear to my heart who have had registries were the cheapest thing was around $40! So what to do in those situations?

My friends, take it from me, the most wonderful gifts you can give are not things from registries. Those are wish lists, for some it's a list of things the happy couple need like a can opener or decent dishes that aren't mis-matched from college, and I have been just as lucky "going off-registry" with a small and thoughtful gift.

What makes me happy? What makes me feel like we are truly loved are the following:

1. The picture above-- I thought it would be very cute to have everyone sign a picture frame in addition to the guest book, that way we would have something to display always. My sorority little sister drew the funny little stick figures in the middle where we would eventually put a wedding photo. Her picture is still there. I love reading the names of those present at our wedding and it would definitely be one of those "save from the burning house" items.

2. A pair of journals from my mother's friends and fellow Rhodents-- they received the same gift for their wedding, a journal for each of them to record their thoughts and feelings and experiences throughout their marriage.

3. My friend Anne-Minter's words to me-- one of my best friends growing up, Anne-Minter, graced me with the honor of having her as a bridesmaid. Her mother passed away when we were in high school, which was a shock to us both; Mickey was like a second mother to me and losing both of them so suddenly was heart-wrenching. I think of both of them constantly. At the reception, Anne-Minter came up to me and whispered, "Mama would be so proud of you." I didn't cry all day, my husband was the one with the tears flowing at the ceremony! But those words were worth all the gifts in the world.

So, when you get invited to a wedding, don't feel obligated to bring a gift; or, perhaps, don't feel obligated to bring an expensive gift. If the bride and/or groom is close, some words of love will be well received and cherished, or a simple but thoughtful gift will mean the world. If your friends choose to be picky, you can always point them to the Prudie column which includes a couple that received a book on how to survive a cheating spouse from an aunt and uncle!

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