Can I buy the bride a pair of reality goggles?
August 5, 2008 1:02 AM   Subscribe

What do you do when buying a gift for friends soon to be (re)married but think the happy pair are being selfish twits?

A not-my-best-friend kind of gal pal friend is getting remarried this month (wedding #3 for her, #2 for him). Both have successful, lucrative careers, both are 50+ yrs old. They want for nothing. They're combining two households, one of which the bride has already combed through to removed any possible trace of her betrothed's ex-wife.

The bride is turning their upcoming nuptials into a three day affair (dinner and drinks Friday night, wedding Saturday, brunch on Sunday). I picked two of the three events to attend and thought 'hey cool, that's the end of the moral dilemnas!', but no, I just visited their bridal registry and went limp upon seeing the cost and general uselessness of most of their registry items.

They're not a young couple. They aren't just starting out. They both have grown children. They can, actually, afford to buy themselves everything listed on their gift registry while many of their wedding guests cannot.

I'm (trying to) like them and don't want to be a major crabapple but c'mon, all that? And do I really have to buy these selfish friends a(nother) gift? I want to be as gracious as possible but I'm not particularly excited about overextending myself for my slightly attention-whoreish pal. Would bringing one nice bottle of wine or something other simple inexpensive tasteful thing be considered declasse or rude?

All I was able to come up with by way of advice via google was at which advised second-timers:

"And speaking of gifts, be sure to register. Even if you don’t want gifts, some guests who love you may still want to give you something and need guidance. It’s also perfectly appropriate for encore couples to register."

posted by anonymous to Human Relations (44 answers total)
Sheesh. You don't have to give anyone anything if you don't want to. A $1.99 card with kind words suffices here.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:08 AM on August 5, 2008

If you want to slip something in the card, get them something memorable but fun and relatively cheap: a gift certificate to a really great local wine shop? A pair of tickets to their favorite musical coming to town?

Also, no one (I hope!) is going to open and compare gifts at the event itself. Were I you, I'd drop the card off at the end of the last event you attend, thank the bride and groom for inviting you, and see if they remember to send along a thank-you note.
posted by mdonley at 1:20 AM on August 5, 2008

the whole point of a wedding registry is to help two people, traditionally very young, set up a life together—if the couple doesn't actually need anything, feel free to ignore the registry. gifts are supposed to be freely given, not required or begrudged.

if you still feel like you need to bring a gift, a nice bottle of wine or a card saying you donated to a charity in their name should suffice; if they have the nerve to complain about either of those things, they're not worth being friends with, honestly.
posted by lia at 1:20 AM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

You say in your post that "most of" the items on their registry are useless and overpriced. Does this mean there are some items that are affordable? If so, get one of those. If not, a bottle of wine or champagne will be fine. I'm not sure I understand why you accepted the invitation to go to a wedding of someone you don't seem to like very much, though.
posted by hazyjane at 1:24 AM on August 5, 2008

Best answer: I'd go for a gift in their name to a very unselfish organization. For example, Heifer International buys animals for needy families that provide a chance to boost themselves out of poverty- a flock of geese, a pair of llamas, a milk cow.

They also provide rather lovely cards to enclose as a gift that don't specify the amount of your donation, though I think it would be fun to write 'I donated a cow to a family in China who lost everything during the earthquake in your honor' on the card.

I agree, they don't need more stuff. Get them a more meaningful gift by refocusing their attention, even for just a millisecond, on things outside of themselves.
posted by arnicae at 1:27 AM on August 5, 2008 [10 favorites]

You seem to have a very low opinion of these 'friends'. You're assuming they're being selfish by having a gift registry when they don't actually need anything. Maybe they're just following the advice you found - that a gift registry is expected.

A gift isn't a gift if its required - its a fee. If you can't afford anything on the gift registry or don't want to give a gift then don't.
posted by missmagenta at 1:36 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Idotaketwo is trying to sell wedding presents so they can't really be relied on for impartial advice.

If the marrying couple had any class they would have something on their invite saying something along the lines of "We would much rather see our guests than have them bring gifts, please do not feel you have to give a gift".

They won't know by the wedding if you haven't given and they're not going to give you shit about it. Screw the present. In my experience, just going to a wedding will set you back a decent wedge anyway.
posted by biffa at 1:55 AM on August 5, 2008

The cheap stuff have probably already been taken.
posted by ChabonJabon at 4:18 AM on August 5, 2008

Pretty much people who use the phrase "they are selfish twits" or the phrase "they have no class" are probably classes twits themselves.

What you like is what you like. What they like is what they like. "Class" really comes down to graciousness, and "rude" is what you are being when you expect everyone else to share your preferences and attitude.

My advice? Do what makes you comfortable. Myself, I would give them a book. True Love is particuarly relevent. Another way to go would be the first season of As Time Goes By. Older people as heros and romatics, and very funny.
posted by ewkpates at 4:27 AM on August 5, 2008

The registry is for people who want to buy a gift and want to know what the couple want. It's not a checklist that you are required to fulfill. A gift is traditional, but it can reflect your friendship. Get them something affordable for you that they'll enjoy: a great bottle of wine, a ridiculously great corkscrew, pepper grinder, compilation cd made by you. Thoughtfulness is key. Expense is not.
posted by theora55 at 4:29 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Give them thank you notes. You can get cute, cheap personalized ones (but decent quality) from Embossed Graphics. That way you're giving a useful gift but with a certain irony if they are indeed the selfish twits you describe.

Or you can opt for what I would do. A nice card. Screw 'em. I've done that before plenty. And if i do buy a gift, I NEVER buy from the registry; I always get something much more personal and in my (lower end) price range. Towels they will not receive! A good book or board game or personalized stationery they will!
posted by cachondeo45 at 4:35 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

If they didn't have the registry everyone would be asking where the registry was.

Believe me, I tried to get married without one and it did not work.
posted by sondrialiac at 4:59 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Maybe it's been forgotten that the point of a wedding is to celebrate the couple.

Don't like the couple? Don't go to the wedding.

Further, have you stopped to consider that maybe the fact that they have everything is the reason the registry gifts are high-priced and "useless"? What sense does it make for them ask for things they already have?

Get them a gift or don't, but either way, get over yourself.
posted by toomuchpete at 5:13 AM on August 5, 2008 [9 favorites]

Wow. Sorry if this sounds harsh but I have to agree with toomuchpete. You seem like you really don't like these people right now. If that's the case their wedding is not the place to make a judgmental statement. You don't have to get them a gift. But if you're whole attitude toward them right now is that they are selfish old jerks who need reality googles don't go to the events either. If you are happy for the couple then go, not bringing a gift or just bringing a card is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. But if I were the bride and saw that post - I don't know if I'd want you to be there knowing you felt that way about me.
posted by dog food sugar at 5:43 AM on August 5, 2008 [3 favorites]

We're not exactly in the same boat, since this is our first marriage, but we are older than most newlyweds (30s) and we've lived together for almost 3 years, so we have most of the household stuff. There's stuff we like, but nothing much we need. Still, all we hear is "Have you registered? Where are you registered? Are you going to register anywhere else? Huh? Huh? Registerregisterregister?" So, your friends may be twits apart from the registry thing, but registering seems like a required part of getting married, so don't consider that rude in and of itself. (Btw, we picked a wide price range of stuff.)

I agree with dog food sugar - don't go to their wedding if you don't want to be there. I would be highly offended if anyone showed up at my our wedding out of a sense of obligation, and secretly felt I was a twit.
posted by desjardins at 5:59 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I always kinda assumed (perhaps cynically) that bringing a gift was my way of paying for my meal and all that free booze. If you look at it that way, who cares if they *need* it or not.
posted by ian1977 at 6:19 AM on August 5, 2008

If they didn't have the registry everyone would be asking where the registry was.

Believe me, I tried to get married without one and it did not work.
posted by sondrialiac at 7:59 AM on August 5 [+] [!]

We had to fight to not register. Everyone kept asking us where we registered but, we didn't like the idea of picking out our wedding gifts. We were fairly young (23 and 24) when we got married, were in our first home besides our parents' home, and were very broke but, we didn't feel right about registering.

If I did it all over again, I wouldn't be so stubborn, I would have registered just to keep people happy.

As far as the OP, if you don't want to buy off the registry, you do not have to. The registry is a list of ideas. Buy them a gift certificate for a restaurant, some wine, anything *you* feel like buying them. Are they really your friends though? I mean if all you can call them are selfish twits and attention whores, well, do you really want to go to their wedding?
posted by SuzySmith at 6:21 AM on August 5, 2008

I've been known to have strong reactions to similar requests, just as you are now. And I can always rely on my trusty wife to remind me that I'm being a tacky cheapskate.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 6:24 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Honestly, if you hadn't already RSVP'd, I would suggest that you decline to attend and send the couple a nice bottle of wine with a note of congratulations.

I know that it's very frustrating to see people use their wedding as an excuse to milk friends and family for gifts* when you have good reason to believe the marriage won't work. After all, it's not like you can get your money back if they divorce. agreed to attend the festivities when you didn't have to go. That means you need to adjust your attitude.

Get a gift that you can afford--some very good ones have already been suggested. Go and have a good time. And rather than fuming over their attention-whoring, raise a glass with the sincere wish that this time they'll make it. It's the least you can do as a decent guest.

*Especially when it's the bride's second marriage. Traditional etiquette states that no gifts are expected after the first wedding, when presumably the bride is older and has everything she needs to set up housekeeping. The Wedding Industrial Complex has worked very hard to destroy this tradition by catering to the selfishness of it's customers.

posted by magstheaxe at 6:25 AM on August 5, 2008

It is traditional to buy newly married people gifts, whatever their age. It is traditional to help young people set up in life. One statement has nothing to do with the other. Gifts are not an entrance fee to any event. It is none of your business what the recipient does with/thinks of your gift. People who make it known that they expect them should be unmercifully ribbed forever afterwards. If you feel that burdened by having to bring a gift to this wedding, then you should not bring a gift to this wedding, and in fact probably should not attend if it's making you think this poorly of the bridal couple.

How is a three-day wedding "selfish," especially since it's clear they don't expect you to attend every event? This wedding has been designed to be a spectacular event, with lots of choices for the guests; where people who might not want/be able to attend one or the other of the offerings will have a choice of what they can do, and therefore a chance to participate. What a beautiful, even thoughtful, thing.

The bride and groom Do Not Care If You Get Them A Gift. If this is that rare instance where they are keeping track, I can't imagine why this is important to you, as you say do are only "trying" to like them. You are manufacturing motives, and therefore your moral dilemma here.

Can we have an end to this question now? No, you don't have to bring a gift to a wedding, and you don't have to justify this to anyone. Especially to a large wedding the worst that will happen is the bride will notice that she never sent you a thank you note and will spend the next 15 years desperately trying to remember what it was you bought her, and how to trick you into reminding her.

Sorry to go on so long. thanks anyone who read the whole thing.
posted by nax at 6:47 AM on August 5, 2008

You don't have to buy them anything off the registry.

And I am seconding everyone above me with the whole "But you must register!!" issue. All I got were questions asking me if I had registered and where and why didn't I register at Crate and Barrel, or Bloomingdales, or any number of other places that met their opinion of "what must be done." And then when we started the registry (putting basics and a china pattern on there), all I heard was that my stuff was not expensive enough and I needed to register for more items and fancy vases. Two people actually suggested postponing the wedding because the registry was not finished (nine months prior to the wedding). It is insane.

So - it may not be the couple being selfish. Just because you don't like their registry doesn't mean they are selfish twits. They put it out there in the event that people do want to get them a gift off of it. You don't want to. Fine.

My decision, when I was in a similar boat, was to consider a donation to an organization close to the couple. In my case, it was the university that the couple both attended, even though they met later in life. Maybe your friends like pets and you could donate to the ASPCA or something.

You don't even have to give a gift. However, I am shocked at the number of people who can tell me exactly who never gave them a gift at their wedding, even as far as 20 years later. If they are putting together a 3-day weekend and covering the cost of those events (the schedule doesn't sound that crazy by the way, as 100% of the weddings I have attended, including second weddings, followed that format), it does seem kind of rude to not give them anything unless they have specifically asked guests not to give gifts. I am not turning this into tit-for-tat, saying you must give a gift or saying that your gift must equal her expense, as that is not the case. I am just putting it out there so you can see all the angles.

Personally, as a bride currently planning a wedding, if I knew you felt this way about me and my future husband, you'd be axed off the list in less than a second. Seriously - I would actually call you up and say that I thought it would be best if you didn't attend and that you were not invited anymore. There is precious little space on guest lists and I would rather have the people there that are happy for me and don't think I am a selfish twit/attention whore/etc. Chances are other people got cut from the guest list while you stayed on it. If you really feel that strongly about them and this gifting thing, call to say that you can't attend and don't send anything (you must actually cancel and not just be a no-show). Free up your slot for someone who they want who wants to be there. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
posted by ml98tu at 7:08 AM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

As many have said, an expensive gift is not required. A bottle of wine, some nice chocolates, or other edible treat would be appropriate.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:19 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

.Another way to go would be the first season of As Time Goes By. Older people as heros and romatics, and very funny.


You scold the OP for incubating subversively snotty thoughts about these much-married newly weds-to-be - then suggest As Time Goes By as an appropriate gift?!!!

I loved the dry humor of As Time Goes By but as a wedding gift, it could easily be taken as some sort of witty passive aggressive commentary on the couples' age!

A three day event for a mature wedding is over the top.

It does sound as if the couple concerned yearn for all the dewy razzamatazz of first timers and I've never yet been to a 2nd or 3rd time wedding without some mildly rude private guest chatter about expensive gift expectations or similar.

McBeth should buy them Auden's collected shorter poems.

Poetry is always classy, relatively inexpensive & implies, at least, an outwardly suitably respectful and thoughtful attitude!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:26 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

I prefer the other version of that saying at weddings, ml98tu!

If you can't say anything nice, come and sit beside me!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:29 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I always thought the registry was mostly so that guests didn't get them stuff they already have, and so that two guests didn't get the same gift. As long as you're getting them something unique or non-fungible - like a good bottle of wine - you should be fine.
posted by nicwolff at 7:29 AM on August 5, 2008

You can always give cash, in the amount that you deem appropriate - which will be less than what those gifts would cost.
posted by Citrus at 7:32 AM on August 5, 2008

You don't have to get them anything you don't want to....any of the "token", personalized suggestions already mentioned by other posters sound just fine (book, gift certificates, etc.).

Might I just add, however, that certain couples I have known have actually mentioned to me (and others) that they consider the gift to be "payment in kind" for the per-person cost of the wedding to the betrothed (i.e. we'll spend $60/head at the reception because we'll probably get that much back anyway in gifts and checks). I was really appalled by this crass attitude....but many of the folks I mentioned it to (all women in their late-20s early 30s expecting a princess wedding at some point) thought it was entirely reasonable. So there are those who consider registry items to be a "fee" and not a "gift."


(and that kind of attitude--from grownups who already own property, have full household setups and furniture from living independently for 10+ years, etc.--also makes me tempted to buy the cheap-ass candlestick holders, even though I am in general a classy person.)
posted by availablelight at 7:32 AM on August 5, 2008

Dislaimer: currently planning my second wedding here. While *I* am planning a smaller wedding, I think couples getting married should have any damned wedding they want (and can afford). Want a week-long extravaganza in your sixties? Hell, why not.

But I can tell you what I don't want at my wedding: people who think my wedding is ridiculous, or that I am selfish. Honestly, if you were my friend and we were sitting here over coffee discussing this, I'd tell you to call your soon-to-be-married acquaintances and tell them something came up and you unavoidably can't attend the wedding. Solves your problem; no need to buy a gift, and also ensures that the happily marrying couple don't have anyone there who doesn't truly wish them the best.
posted by twiki at 7:40 AM on August 5, 2008

I appreciate the terrific ideas, thanks. And yes, you're absolutely right toomuchpete. Of course I need to get over myself ... which is why I posted the question.

I probably didn't communicate it well, but I do like these people when they're not getting married. Personally, if i was to attend by myself I might only go to the wedding itself and none of the other pre- or post- activities, but my partner is closer than I to the bride and sweetie has said We.Are.Going.Pick.Two.

Weddings are fantastic opportunities for bad behavior (including my own less than enthusiastic attitude, yep). My knickers are twisted more over the indulgent excess than my friend's bridal persona. It feels more like a waste than a celebration. I absolutely don't begrudge them happiness; I cannot grok why people who don't want for anything would ask for even more of the things they already recognized they don't need. And ~desjardins~ oh goodness, guests themselves get wigged out about the registryregistryregistryyyy? I had no idea that it's also perpetuated from the guestly direction. Yeesh. Sorry.

The g/f and I both have been struggling about how best to support our friends without contributing to the collection of things they don't need. I'm down with a tasty bottle of wine and, because our friends are both animal lovers, I'm going to vote that we make a donation to the local humane society in our friends' honor and give them a pretty congratulations card.
posted by mcbeth at 7:58 AM on August 5, 2008

My knickers are twisted more over the indulgent excess than my friend's bridal persona.

??? Isn't it their money to do with what they wish? They're 50 something, so it's unlikely their parents are paying for it. I'm 33 and while our parents have been generous, most of our wedding is going to be self-financed.

It feels more like a waste than a celebration.

Again, as a bride, I guarantee you it doesn't feel like a waste to them. Our wedding costs ~$150/plate, and if someone on my guest list thinks it's a waste and not worth the money, they're welcome to stay home. I would also be horrified if anyone felt obligated to give a gift. I invited them for one reason only, because I want them to be a part of our celebration.
posted by desjardins at 8:22 AM on August 5, 2008

Also, the guests get wigged out over the registry simply because they want to give us a gift, but they have no idea what to buy us. They know we've been living together for awhile and they know we must have bought sheets and towels and dishes at some point. The registry is for the guests' convenience, so they're not flying blind. No one likes to give a gift that will be stuck in a closet, unused. I've made sure that the registry includes things in a variety of price ranges so no one feels obligated to get something they can't afford. Like I said, they shouldn't feel obligated at all.
posted by desjardins at 8:27 AM on August 5, 2008

Dude. Your friends are happy and in love and eager to start a new life together at this stage of their lives. They are going to throw two parties you plan to attend at which they give you free drinks, a nice meal, and the company of good friends, and you are complaining that your friends' happiness and attendance at these parties is not worth a $100 gift to you, but might be worth a $20 to $30 bottle of wine. And you are calling them selfish?

Don't spend what you can't afford, of course, but if you are really Cheapie McCheapster you need to come to terms with your general approach to money, and not look to blame others -- such as brides who "insist" on (the now perfectly normal convention of) having a day-before dinner for close friends, a reception after the wedding, and a breakfast/brunch particularly for travelers all purchased by the wedded couple and intended to give the guests more party time and decrease the overall cost of their weekend. I agree with others who say if this is really such a "moral dilemma" for you, you should apologize and send your regrets that you will not be able to attend after all. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I do think that you, and not the wedding couple, are being selfish.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:48 AM on August 5, 2008

" brides who "insist" on (the now perfectly normal convention of) having a day-before dinner for close friends, a reception after the wedding, and a breakfast/brunch particularly for travelers all purchased by the wedded couple and intended to give the guests more party time and decrease the overall cost of their weekend..."

Modern weddings are a cacophony of convention, invention, tradition, pragmatism and often bewilderingly contradictory expectations.

You can find a precedent for anything - including - should the most generous wishes of your guests be the only gift you require - the fact that it was the bride and groom who traditionally thanked their invited friends with presents, and not the other way around!

The wedding "favors" - matchbooks and the like -are the vestigial remnants of this older practice.

(I once had to research the history of wedding etiquette for a book)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:21 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

To second Jody Tresidder, here's an excellent bit from Rebecca Mead on that exact subject.
posted by availablelight at 9:38 AM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

I cannot grok why people who don't want for anything would ask for even more of the things they already recognized they don't need.

Just to be clear: some shops that offer registries also allow the newly married couple to bat clean-up: after the wedding, they themselves can purchase the items from their registry for a discount. It's possible that your friends know this, and have added big-ticket items less in the expectation of getting them as gifts, but with plans to buy the [plasma-screen TV/ fancy crystal/ enormous yacht] for themselves, but at a 10% discount. Does that idea make your friends seem less grabby?

No, you absolutely don't need to buy anything off the registry (or anything at all). I almost always give gifts off-registry, though if I'm making a gift basket, I often include trinkets from the registry. For example, if you give (as suggested above) a bottle of wine, you might scan the registry to see if they listed an inexpensive wine opener or, say, coasters.

As mentioned above, some people have an expectation that a wedding guest will "cover their plate," i.e., give a gift equal to or exceeding the price of their dinner and attendance at the wedding, but it's by no means a universal code.
posted by Elsa at 10:16 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: (Erm, I think most of us have attended weddings and wedding-related events for people who irritate us at times, particularly (but not solely) when the happy couple is closer to our b/fs, g/fs, partners. I can think of a wedding I attended over a year ago where we guests still giggle about some of ridiculousness. I bet you, too, can remember a wedding you attended with a slightly less than perfect attitude. I'm sorry, but part of the wedding experience is dishing/bitching about the expense, or some strange guest/relative/New Age prayer, or some ridiculous dress/cake/fountain, or the flaws of the couple. That's the reality of social settings.)

For the OP, I think just don't look at the registry. Come up with something positive, thoughtful, and affordable.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:22 AM on August 5, 2008

OP, I posted without seeing your response, and your suggested solution seems good to me, so I'm sorry my comment was harsh.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:57 AM on August 5, 2008

but my partner is closer than I to the bride and sweetie has said We.Are.Going.Pick.Two.

No. Your partner should go, because she is close to the bride. Tell your partner that you can't be there as a supportive friend; therefore, you do not belong there. You think it's a waste and you have no place at the wedding. Perhaps the bride only included you because of your partner. The couple may be happy to see you drop out and allow room on the guest list for someone more supportive.

Your partner can attend alone and enjoy the events.
posted by 26.2 at 11:10 AM on August 5, 2008

Yes, I agree with 26.2 completely. Plus you will probably be moody and no one wants a pouty guest at a happy occasion.

Another thought occurred to me - what if the bride/groom did not select the items on their registry? What if they were selected by a wedding planner, the grown children or another third party?

I say this because my mother attended a shower and she gifted the bride with some glasses off the registry. The bride exclaimed with joy over them and how much she loved them, then asked how on earth my mom knew she would like them so much. My mom was like, "Well, you registered for them didn't you...?" Turns out the bride's mother did the all registering for her daughter.
posted by ml98tu at 11:28 AM on August 5, 2008

Swimming against the tide here. These people don't have a great track record, they've had 5 previous weddings between them and here they go again, bigger than ever. If they want to have a huge bash to celebrate their nuptials, that's their prerogative, but from your description it sounds to me that they are being egotistical and grabby. Stand on your principles and a) give something inexpensive, heartfelt and meaningful; or b) politely decline the invitation. Besides your best wishes, these people need nothing, they are not the types of just starting-out-newlyweds wedding gifts should be intended for.
posted by Daddy-O at 11:30 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just to chime in late, as a recently married person I have to say that we created registries for two reasons: because family members kept begging us to even though we insisted that we didn't want any gifts, and because many of the sites offered a discount to us after the wedding if we wanted to buy the stuff ourselves. We told everyone that if they insisted on giving us a gift, to either make us something (we have a lot of friends who are artists/artisans) or to donate to our list of charities on JustGive. We put the other registry links on our website because people (most notably my mother-in-law) kept hounding us to do so. We put big-ticket items on there because we wanted to buy them with the post-wedding discount, but filled the rest up with inexpensive items that we did actually need but would have purchased ourselves anyway.

We also had a brunch the day after, but 75% of our guests were from out of town, and we wanted to spend more time with them because we knew the wedding would be hectic. We also paid for the brunch. (And we love brunch!) Maybe this couple just wants to spend lots of time with all of their friends and loved ones as they celebrate all weekend.

Anyway, if you feel uncomfortable giving them a gift or going to all of the events, just get them a nice card (or make them something if you're crafty/artistic - maybe put a photo that you took of them into a nice frame?) and skip out on the extra events.
posted by bedhead at 3:00 PM on August 5, 2008

I think it's common practice to have 2nd, 3rd weddings be more low-key including the registries, but you can't really force common conventions on people. I would recommend making a donation in their name to a charity you think they would both support, or something nonpolitical/unoffensive like planting trees or feeding the hungry.
posted by kenzi23 at 3:01 PM on August 5, 2008

onlyconnect-- thanks. It's all good.

Having determined what I can do has already, in less than a day, helped me get past my crabbies, which in turns open up a lot more emotional space to be happy for my nearly-newlywed friends.

ClaudiaCenter and Daddy-O -- yes, you both wrote the thing I was trying to get at. I may just be turning into a crusty old unmarried fart who says 'back in my dayyy...' a lot. I'm not a in-event pouter. Usually for me in these cases I tend toward a small vent ahead of time, blow the steam, come back to center, then make positive choices with plenty of time to spare, and I don't revisit my initial pout ever again.

Anyway, thanks hive.
posted by mcbeth at 3:58 PM on August 5, 2008

The bride is turning their upcoming nuptials into a three day affair (dinner and drinks Friday night, wedding Saturday, brunch on Sunday)

I´m getting the feeling that you think the couple is selfish for doing this, but the last two out of town weddings I attended have worked this way. There simply isn´t much time for the couple to visit with people at the wedding. These days weddings also double as family reunions for a lot of people, since there are many family members traveling to the wedding who haven´t seen each other in a while. The traditional rehearsal dinner has been expanded to a pre-wedding party, and the post-wedding brunch gives new friends and relatives wanting to get to know one another better more time to visit, and is a handy breakfast if you have a long drive to get home that day.

Neither couple whose celebrations I have attended have been at the post-wedding brunch, they were on their honeymoons, and presumably were not entertaining any guests. These were younger couples where one of the mothers hosted the post wedding brunch. If your friends are hosting their own, their mothers may be to old to take this on, or dead. I imagine that contemplating this would only intensify the desire to spend more time connecting with people one doesn´t see often.

As to gift registries, they may know some people who would prefer to buy them very expensive gifts. If you want to donate to charity or give a bottle of wine that is perfectly acceptable.
posted by yohko at 12:32 PM on August 10, 2008

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