real life

In lieu of gifts, please buy me a house.

What ever happened to giving toasters?

“Chances are, we won’t like the gift you buy us for our wedding. So please choose from the attached list. Or just give us cash. Cheers.”

Or, “Our baby really doesn’t need another stupid silver rattle or stuffed frog but we’d love you to help pay for her future school fees. Cheques are fine! Cash even better! Thanks!”

These are words you will never read on a wedding or christening invitation. Because, when it comes to ‘big occasion’ gifts, nobody ever comes outright and just says what they mean.

So instead they use a sweet and ‘cheeky’ poem that concludes with rhyming slang, asking you for cash instead of another toaster. Or they throw in a delightfully phrased anecdote that concludes with some euphemism for “please help us buy the $12,000 contemporary painting we’ve had our eye on”. (Yes, that really happens.)

Then there’s this. News Limited is reporting a new trend in wedding gift registries where soon-to-be newlyweds ask guests to contribute to the costs of building a house. reports: allows the bride and groom to build a graphic of their desired home, and set a range of prices for the registry such as $25 for a flower pot, $200 for a bay window, $900 for a marble column, or an unlimited amount for a home deposit.

Guests can visit the website, view the home and choose a present within their budget, paying money to the couple’s house fund via PayPal.

HatchMyHouse was created by Erin-Marie and Rieve MacEwan after they got engaged, and realised a traditional wedding registry would fill their tiny apartment with useless items.

Couples have raised more than $540,000 towards their house deposits on the US-based site, which launched last year and has account users in Australia.

Money for a house fund? These couples seem to be getting their wedding guests’ wallets confused with the Government’s first-home owner grant.

Now we can understand the wishing well idea, because – let’s face it – otherwise you can end up with a house full of stuff that you’re just never going to use and nobody really wants. Also, some people really like that it takes away the stress of picking the perfect gift. Wishing wells and gift registries make the present buying process virtually foolproof.


But you have to wonder if attempting to get your guests to cough up cash for your house or private school fees is going too far.

What ever happened to buying mix masters? And ugly vases? Or (at a christening) just giving the gift of your time on a Sunday morning when you’d prefer to be anywhere but a freezing cold church an hour’s drive away?

Surely there is something sweet and sentimental about looking at the garishly ugly silver platter that you got from Aunt Sue and smiling, because it reminds you of what was a really great day. (And also makes you appreciate how nice the stuff you actually bought yourself is).

Have weddings and other significant occasions just become an excuse to ask people to buy you all the things you can’t afford?

Marble column, anyone?

What’s the weirdest gift you’ve bought, or been requested to buy, for a friend’s wedding or engagement? Have you asked for anything a little bit out of the box? Where would you draw the line on what you wouldn’t buy someone for their wedding?