You just might be thinking, Dan my Man, it’s about time you come up with a really good idea for me. You’ve a rep for the occasional brilliance. I’m sure I’m not the first to say it, but you’ve been slacking of late. Danny Boy, what do you got for me?
Fair enough. Glad you asked. Do I ever have gold for you and it relates to wedding presents.
Question #1. What’s an appropriate wedding present? Many couples let folks know what they want through Pinterest or the Knot or some registry. It makes a heckuva lot more sense than the getting of some random “thing” that sits in the closet for years until you have the self-confidence/frustration to pitch or donate it.
That said, am I the only one who thinks such registry wedding gifts can have the feel of a transaction? Oooooo, getting a little heavy, Dan! I suspect your reaction to that statement/question ranges from “Whoa, lighten up” to “Do I hear an Amen!”
Question #2. What is the point of a wedding anyway? Answer #2. It’s a celebration of the commitment of two people to each other. It’s not Christmas. It’s not your birthday.
It quite frankly can be another of the best day of your lives. For me, our daughter’s and son’s weddings were the two of the top ten days in my entire life. A wedding is not about the presents; it’s the moment of celebration that can lead to many other equally amazing moments together. It’s about building a life, and maybe a family, together. But it sure seems like presents and weddings have got tangled up in a web of mistaken good intentions.
That said, wedding presents are a fact of life. I participate every time we are invited to a wedding. I am not rebel when it comes to nuptial gift giving. There are some fabulous wedding gifts such as scuba diving on the honeymoon, a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant, a picture of a time together, and a million other excellent ones.
But for the first time, I am rethinking my past gifts of money, choosing off the registry, or most often, just letting Hannah do it.
Well today, I have the Chicago Cubs of Good Ideas for you – giving the gift of time together.
So, here’s the situation, my sister Patty’s kid, Tara, is getting married to a fabulous guy in Anthony Trifiletti. Tara is around the age of our three kids (30s), so she is one whom we will see at family gatherings and perhaps other times, especially since they live in New England.
Given that Anthony proposed to Tara at the Portland Harbor Hotel (Maine), Hannah and I thought our wedding present would be to give them a night at said hotel sometime in the coming year. To spice up our wedding gift card, Hannah drove to Portland to lunch with a friend, took pictures of the hotel that day, got prints, and included two of the prints in our wedding present envelope.
But here’s the cool “time together” part of the gift. Knowing that Anthony and Tara would pass within a mile and a half of our house on their way to Portland, we invite them to stop in for a glass of wine. My thinking is that our gift is laying the foundation of a lifetime connection for us with Tara and Anthony; we’d have some time for just the four of us, not just a transaction. Cool, n’est-ce pas?
Well, to our surprise, a mere two weeks after the wedding, Tara emailed that they are going to use our hotel gift the very next weekend and they would love to stop by. It turns out they’d be passing through York around noon that Veterans Day Friday; so coffee, rather than vino, becomes the appropriate drink of choice. Not wanting Tara and Anthony to think that they’d have to stay for too long, we have in mind 30 minutes for their stopover.
Arriving at noon, Tara and Anthony talk with us over coffee, connect like old family friends, and we all have a terrific hour together, or at least that’s how I read it. Taking this picture to the right before they leave, we have a reminder of a relationship that is now deeper than it would have been had we given them a traditional wedding present. As Jerry Seinfeld says, Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Though we think we came through with really appropriate traditional presents for our nephews Jon and Brian and our niece Anna when they married, we invite them for coffee, biscuits, and fruit when they are next in town!
PS In response to this blog, a friend wrote: (the bride) sent a list of gifts you could buy them on their honeymoon trip to Europe. (i.e., a night at an Inn, a pub visit, a bus excursion etc. But since the idea didn’t come from me – I felt used – no “me” in the gift.)
PSS After reading the original blog, my mother’s college roommate, Amy Core emailed, I have never been comfortable with bridal showers, inviting strangers to come with presents. My help has consisted with entertaining the bridal family with informal brunch before the wedding. I did that for your parents at Shannopin Country Club. The Archer parents were too busy at home preparing the reception, but others were there and out of the way.
My roommate Jean Archer was in the South Pacific with the Red Cross. She had just resigned and was coming home to be married to Dan Rothermel who had limited Navy leave. Her mother, sister Marian and I arranged the wedding for two days after her return. The bride wore the same size in our college days even to shoe size. She knew what my wedding dress looked like and that it would fit. Marian and I chose the attendants gowns and made our own hats to match and except for a light snow the December wedding in Ben Avon went off without a hitch.
Neither of the Core or Rothermel daughters wore our wedding gown. At your mother’s suggestion it was given to the Zelienople Historical Society for their costume collection. It was purchased at Boggs and Buhl and now is stored at the Buhl House, Main Street, Zelienople (PA) and has been shown a number of times.