Monday, September 15, 2008
The Art and Artistry of Wedding Gifts
Weddings are on my mind. Of course, here’s where I’ll give the expected plug for the forthcoming, Murder Takes the Cake (May 2009) – which is fun, furry, and festive. But both in the fictional world and the real one, I’m awash in tulle and lace. In the last 12 months, I’ve hosted or attended four bridal showers, one engagement party, and two weddings. I’ve got two more weddings on the calendar in the next couple of weeks.
All of which means, besides dusting off my dancing shoes for the ceremonial, raucous hora (Israeli celebratory dance), I’m also spending a lot of time and money on wedding gifts. Part of me is envious, as I scan the bridal registries of the young couples. I wish that I could start over with new unchipped dishes and glasswear. I swear I’d still pick the same husband – but I’d like to replace my faded, thin towels, as well as my pilled, shrunken bottom sheets which pop off the mattress in the middle of the night.
Picking the right gift is always a delicate balancing act of taste and budget. The registries are much more elaborate today. Within days of getting engaged, I picked out, at my mother’s insistence, good china and silver – and in fact, got full services of both. But today, there are registries for the honeymoon, for gardening supplies, computer and electronic gifts, luggage, camping gear – you name it, somebody has registered for it.
But despite the often elaborate registries, I think every couple still receives at least one wedding gift that defies explanation. Ours was a silver-plated, four-quart teapot that rested on an elaborate, ornately carved ugly stand, and was engraved with the Greek letters of some fraternity. I still have it in the basement, waiting for the occasion when I host Queen Elizabeth and her family for tea.
Of course, no one owes you a gift and we need to remember to be grateful and gracious for the gesture and goodwill. But I read one story from a bride who recounted receiving a box of condoms as a wedding gift which seemed, pardon me, slightly tacky; or another who recalled the elaborately wrapped brick she received with a note that advised her to use it as a cornerstone when she built a house, which probably takes “practical” to a new level.
What’s your worst wedding gift ever?