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“and i always wish you’d behave more discreetly”

March 1, 2010

I was in the process of replying to comments on the previous post, and realized it was getting a bit out of hand. How about a follow-up post instead?

A few people mentioned alternatives to traditional gifts, such as requesting gifts to charities or honeymoon funds (or any number of other fund-type-donations – were we to go this route, it might be a “house repairs fund”).

Generally, i think all of these alternatives amount to roundabout ways of asking for cash. I do not think cash is a bad present – sometimes it’s downright perfect – but i think it is, well, tacky to request. (Is that a southern thing? For some reason it seems like it might be – only, i’m never very sure if things are “southern” because i don’t know much about the alternatives.) I mean, more so than i already feel that way about requesting presents (which i thing SF did a wonderful job explaining in her comment, by the way). Also, note that i am generally only this judgmental towards myself.

That aside – because we’ve established my general discomfort, and decided to ignore it in the name of practicality – i don’t think any of the cash-for-a-cause options solve the general problem, which is that some people think that one must give a wedding present. And i don’t think that traditional point of view will particularly feel that donating to something qualifies. I think most folks who would thing it was cool and acceptable would be perfectly happy to respect “no gifts.” Anyway, you may note that this is really only about some few more traditional folks, and so basically doesn’t matter – i’m overthinking (surprise).

But, while i’m on it, my thoughts on charitable giving. First, i think it’s really cool that people are starting to do that as an alternative to wedding gifts. The coolest wedding gift idea i’ve seen was a friend who set up a small foundation in their name, requesting the start-up as their wedding gifts. It’s an ambitious plan, because you have to raise a fair bit to have a foundation function, and you have to have it managed (we’re lucky in that there is a nonprofit in our state that specializes in setting up mini-foundations – i had never heard of anything like it before, but i’m sure it’s not the only one around), but very, very cool in that it “lives on” in a way that a simple donation doesn’t.

But in my case i feel it would be inappropriate (yes, that again). Because we are going to be inviting a wide range of people, i think that asking them all to support an organization that i support (read: very progressive) would be simply rude. Even when i disagree with people, i really think you ought to respect their opinion (or, at the least, their right to hold it).

And, no, i actually don’t think there are middle-ground organizations that everyone can support. I work at a nonprofit – one of the best i know of, if i may – and, well, i’ve been doing this long enough and my political opinions are specific enough to be extremely critical. I do not support charity – excepting situations of sudden, immediate need, such as natural disasters, it typically does more harm than good in the long run – and i do not generally support national organizations – i do think some of them do important work, but i think they are too far-removed and media-driven to really get into the meat of matters. That’s enough on that – which is not really what this was supposed to be about!

I just had a thought, though. It would, perhaps, be interesting to ask everyone to donate to an organization – any organization, and of their choosing. That would be, really, in support of something i do believe in strongly, which is a culture of philanthropy – and that it isn’t really the detail of what you are supporting (although i do have opinions on that) that matters, but that you are getting involved. Hmm.

I still like the “no gifts” idea best.

Lady Brett

"You Miss The Point Completely" - Harvey Danger

P.S. – I can almost see where it makes sense to expect a bit of loot out of your wedding, when you think about the tens of thousands that you are expected to spend on it. Consumerism begets consumerism, i suppose? That, however, is nowhere on our radar. Any tens of thousands i come across are going straight into the house or Jamie’s school, thanks. Or maybe those funny little “savings account” thingies.

Now i am really on a new topic.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 1, 2010 1:47 pm

    I don’t really have much of an opinion, at this point, on the topic of wedding gifts in general. BUT, I am in 100% agreement with you on the issue of charitable giving and/or asking people to donate to a specific charitable organization, and thanks for articulating it, because now I will have a real answer when people ask me why I feel weird about it, instead of my vague “oh, you know, well, it just makes me kind of, I don’t know, uncomfortable, or something.”

  2. March 3, 2010 8:41 pm

    Oops, I guess I should’ve read this post before I commented on the last. But good points, all of them, and I still echo the sentiment that it’s your damn wedding, do what makes YOU feel comfortable. If people do or don’t feel comfortable donating, they’ll do as they wish.

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