I found out the most amazing thing: you can invite people to your bridal shower that you do not plan to invite to your wedding! Now, 1) I don’t understand why you give gifts at a bridal shower, and 2) I’m not sure what a bridal shower is, but I still think this is a wonderful concept. This is because, obviously, you can’t invite every single person whose company you enjoy to your wedding. You like them enough to get a gift from them, but not enough to pay for their cocktails, food, cake, table linens, place card, postage, or liquor. You like them enough to be around them for an hour, but you don’t want them drinking too much and talking about their favorite drag routines or grooming habits to your homophobic brother. Hey, let’s face it, not everyone makes a good wedding guest. It all depends on context and how high maintenance somebody is. Your wedding day is the ONE day in your life when people expect you to be high maintenance. You absolutely cannot invite someone who’s going to steal your thunder.
Recently, someone asked me if I’m planning to register for gifts for my bridal shower. I was stunned. I’m still struggling with the idea of registering for things (as opposed to dollars) for our wedding and now apparently I’m supposed to ask for more stuff from more people, some of whom will feel compelled to buy me something off the wedding registry as well. The thing is, we don’t have room for many more things. I don’t even have a reasonable place to store my camera (it currently lives on top of a bookshelf, accessible to me only by step stool). Plus, we’re thinking of moving. I kind of feel like we should be trading goods with others, not receiving new ones from them. I would gladly exchange the silverware from my first marriage for something less…left over from my first marriage.
Besides. weddings are about love, not stuff, especially if the bride and groom are old enough to own their own butter dish and vegetable platter. Embarrassingly, I am old enough and should but don’t own either of those things, so maybe in the long run I’ll be really glad my fiance wanted to register for sundries in the $10-$60 range instead of, say, funding Doctors Without Borders for a month. I draw the line at putting a hamper on the registry, though. I don’t want people thinking about my dirty clothes. I want them focusing on my wedding dress. See? High maintenance!
There’s a whole bunch of other fun wedding etiquette I’m learning, too. For instance – contrary to what seems obvious – it’s not impolite to send an invite to someone you know can’t attend. The fear is that it may appear to them like you’re just trying to get a gift because they live in Kansas and you’re a jerkface and having your wedding on top of a mountain in Patagonia. But, according to The Knot, people won’t think this. According to The Knot, they would be offended if you didn’t invite them. The Knot also puts forth the idea that non-attending guests will want to keep their invites as a keepsake, so you better damn well blow $2,000 on stationery (which they link to, of course). The main problem with The Knot is that its insidiousness is equally balanced by its helpfulness.
Regarding invitation and destination wedding etiquette, the guest is supposed to intuitively know that you’re not inviting them just to get a present, but will probably still get you a gift because they feel guilty that they can’t spend $3,000 to come to your wedding. And that’s how you get your $100 Chantal tea kettle or a $155 carafe from Tiffany. It seems like a bargain compared to the cost and hassle of actually walking up a mountain (or flying to Costa Rica with a toddler).
You’re welcome, future brides. I just taught you how to gets lot of expensive stuff you don’t need while having the wedding of your dreams.