Somewhere between engagement and now, I suggested to folks that my fiancé and I were debating to get married and not register with a store for gifts. Instead, we have considered the idea of having guests donate to a charitable cause that’s close to my heart- helping foster kids.
I’m not new to the world of fundraising. In fact, many of my celebrations have been charitable. Most get togethers, I asked people to bring a can of food or a toy to donate in lieu of birthday or hostess gifts. I’ve also given up birthday for charity:water to raise $2,600 for my 26th birthday. If anything, the idea that I’d want to do something like this for the most important day of my (and my future husband’s) lives, shouldn’t come as a surprise- except, that it totally was.
I was a bit surprised that folks weren’t too keen on the idea that we’d prefer donations to a special charity in lieu of gifts.
Someone, went so far as to suggest that because we’ve cohabitated a year before the wedding that we somehow, “already had everything.”
Yes, I would absolutely love a set of Kate Spade china or something gorgeously soft and monogrammed- let’s just say a coordinating set of sheets, towels and robes to celebrate our newly minted marriedness…but honestly, I keep going back to what an amazing opportunity we have on our wedding day to go do something grand, and I’m not talking about finally having a matching set of salad bowls (as amazing as that would be.)
When are we going to have this many loved ones together in a room again? When are we going to get an opportunity to pursue something that matters to this scale? I honestly don’t know. I can hope that in the future I’ll be able to have a career that regularly does things that helps people and has a significant level of impact- but for now, how does one consolidate the idea of “barn raising” (meaning guests of a wedding contribute to the homesteading of a new couple) and the idea of the greater good?
It’s honestly something I’ve been struggling with, and the husband-to-be is also questioning. Apparently, it’s just “not something you do.” Fiancé thinks that people need to be able to help us “start out,” and that only going with a donation option for kids in need is just not going to be a good guest experience. Apparently people like buying you towels and that’s part of the wedding experience? I honestly don’t know.
I know a few years back, I heard a few wedding guests of a friend’s wedding balk at the idea of donating cash to help the couple buy a home or take a honeymoon. A cash donation was deemed tacky for some reason I cannot fathom.
Most us, bristling under the weight of high cost of living, low entry salaries and crushing student loan debt decided to team up on the finance front before getting married- so yes, we have some damn wine glasses already. The fella and I moved in together based on necessity, but we didn’t make the decision lightly.
In today’s world, with two financially educated, career-minded and independent people get married, there’s a lot more to consider rather than what you “should” do when you get married. The days of getting married after leaving your parent’s home or dorm room are gone. I realize this is a side rant, but I get all snippy when people balk at my idea to help others instead of registering for domestic goods simply because the dude and I must have been “LIVING IN SIN.” (all caps.)
I have a Master’s Degree. I own a car. I’m 27 years old. I lived on my own. I’m sorry for some reason some distant relatives or Facebook friends think I should have rolled right into my Care Bear sheet fitted twin bed and into my bridal bed with no domesticity in between, but alas, I, like most brides nowadays, I went to college and got a big girl job which required things like a blender, coffee pot and a few plates. Granted, nothing matches and most are from a thrift store- but dude, it got the job done.
Sorry not sorry, I didn’t get married directly out of school, nor does cohabitating before marriage equal “oh, you two must have everything already.” Let’s not miss the point.
Honestly, I don’t know what we’re going to do. There is nothing wrong with registering for sheets and towels. In fact, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with us doing a wedding registry- but in the scheme of things, the idea of a “big give” on our wedding day to a charity I adore seems like an amazing possibility. I’ve toyed with the idea of pitching corporate sponsors to do a big donation to help foster kids and a great organization… but who knows if that would fly either?
Apparently, I just can’t get married like a normal person.
Also, for snark value, enjoy this awesome song from a great woman who gets it. It came on as I was editing this post and it still cracks me up:
Fancy stuff, because everyone else has it. Surely, I too must have it. Well said Janis.
There is nothing that seems to get me more fired up than the stupid list of bridal “shoulds.”
Apparently it is one of the last remaining holdovers from a bygone era where it’s still seen as sentimental for your dad to “give you away,” (you know because he actually had any say in the matter?) or your partner to ask your parents for permission (because again, did they really have any say in the matter?) or the idea that we pretend there isn’t a horrible divorce rate floating around. (shh, just pretend it isn’t there… let’s talk about your cake options and crushing debt to have this party!)
We’re planning a marriage, not just a wedding. Let’s be sane about this. Sane in the way I’ve run my entire life- by doing what’s right for our lives, not by what’s right by someone else’s standards.
Also- OffBeatBride.com has saved my sanity more times in the last 6 months than I can count. You should check it out because seriously- it’s a breath of fresh air when all you find seem to be “traditional brides,” which all happen to be working with a $45,000 budget and seem to be a size 0, fabulously tan and have perfect hair.
You know, brides that don’t want s’mores instead of cake, and don’t even have to consider alternatives to the “daddy daughter” dance or ethical issues when incorporating tradition. I’m done with those brides. I’ll take the Offbeat ones, apparently, I am one.