Never do the contents of my mailbox look so beautiful as during wedding season.
Brides around the world are packaging up beautiful little invitations with sisters, friends, and occasional future grooms. We’re oohing and awwing at their creations, updating our calendars, and instantly wondering:
“What kind of gift should I give?”
This season, I challenge you to think about wedding gifts differently.
Shortly after Martin and I were married, we moved abroad. All the beautiful wedding gifts we received were boxed up and stashed away in Montana. That was five years ago.
Now we’re back in the US, building a little home in the back of an airplane hangar. I keep thinking: What types of things are we going to need? What will we eat off of? Drink from? Sleep on?
With each wedding invitation we receive in the mail, I get flashbacks to all those not-so-practical wedding gifts we have sitting in boxes. And yes, many of those gifts were things we put on our registry. Back then, with the little department store gift scanner, we thought, “These are the things adults are supposed to have.”
As I dig into the time capsule Martin and I buried five years ago, here are four things I wish I knew about wedding gifts (both as a bride and a gift giver):
Photo by Katie Clemons
1. Cash is good. Crystal vases and picture frames probably aren’t.
Holding the little scanning machine at the department store where you want to register is fun. Unfortunately, all those pretty things you pick out aren’t going to pay the rent. I still remember how weird those crystal picture frames (like the one above) looked in our cramped apartment with the mattress on the floor.
Cash gifts help young newlyweds pay rent. They help stock the cupboards with food.
Jeannine at Small and Chic Home wrote a really interesting post about how the wedding consultants at her department store had her registering for all sorts of things – some of which she had know idea what they were for or why she’d possibly need them.
2. Vintage gifts are awesome.
You have to read this post about an unconventional gift registry by Jane at The Borrowed Abode. She and her fiancé didn’t like how the employees at Macy’s were pushing them to register for all those crystal vases and picture frames.
The couple canceled their registry at the department store and took a different route. They registered at an antiques store!
I have to say that shopping at an antiques store for a gift for Jane has been the coolest wedding experience. You can find beautiful things for a fraction of the price. The items are rich with story and character. They’re eco-friendly. Old doesn’t equal junk. Just look at how beautiful Toma at The Antiques Diva’s home is.
3. Give a wedding card with soul.
Brides keep wedding cards. They’re a sentimental connection to a huge transition in our lives that we get to share with all the people we love.
You and I may strive to live a life without excess stuff. Yet we want to keep the things that celebrate our stories. Wedding cards are one of them.
When my mom handed me the shoebox of wedding cards I’d left in my childhood bedroom, I curled up on the couch and looked through them all. What a nostalgic afternoon! The most treasured cards were the ones with well wishes and sincerity.
Don’t just write your names. Write with passion.
4. Celebrate the love story.
Since writing the post “What to Do With Old Cards and Letters” on Simple Mom last year, a lot of you started asking me what to do with wedding cards. How could we celebrate that day? How could we celebrate the love story between a husband and wife?
Because of YOUR requests, long discussions with my mom (who still keeps all of her wedding cards in the nightstand drawer after 30+ years), and the resurfacing of my own wedding cards, I started searching for an answer that didn’t involve a shoe box in the back of the closet.
This is it:
Photo by Katie Clemons
This wedding scrapbooking journal from Gadanke is specially designed to hold all the cards and mementos of your wedding day and marriage. Prompts help flesh out the stories and dreams of your love story: from the day you two met, to today.
Wedding season, we’re ready and excited for each party and celebration. Just know I’m not shopping in the traditional manner any more.
How else can we make wedding gift and card giving a more powerful (and useful) gesture of love this season?