real life

"Buy me a holiday!" said the bride to her wedding guests.

Thanks for the trip, friends!
Thanks for the trip, friends!

“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.

New research suggests a growing number of couples are asking their wedding gifts to give a financial contribution to their honeymoon. Apparently eight per cent of brides and grooms ask their loved ones for money for their after-wedding holiday; there are even websites dedicated to planning the honeymoon-registries.

You choose the country, the accommodation and the activities and the company. And your friends pick up the tab. This from Fairfax:

When Ella Legg and her now husband Adrian decided to tie the knot three years ago, they asked their wedding guests not for gifts, but for cold, hard cash to pay for their honeymoon.

“People really liked the simplicity of transferring money into an account and that was that. Luckily, we didn’t have any adverse reactions,” said Ella Legg.

While once considered tacky, asking wedding guests to contribute to the cost of the honeymoon is becoming increasingly common, with 8 per cent of respondents in a survey conducted by travel and lifestyle website lastminute.com taking this approach.

Gen Y has particularly picked up on the trend, with 21 per cent asking for donations, compared with 10 per cent of gen X couples and only 2 per cent of baby boomers.

And then there’s this.

News Limited recently reported on a new trend in wedding gift registries where soon-to-be newlyweds ask guests to contribute to the costs of BUILDING A HOUSE. They said:

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Say it with us: No more toasters!
Say it with us: No more toasters!

HatchMyHouse.com 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…

With house prices prohibiting many young couples from entering the market, they wanted to allow their wedding guests to help with the deposit for a house, but didn’t want to ask for cash in an envelope.

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 holiday 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?

Maldives, 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? A holiday? A house?

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