Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wedding Gift Woes

My cousin is getting married this month, but with finances and setting up the new homestead and all, we won't be able to attend. But I'm very glad for him, and I wish him all the best, so I wanted to send a really nice present for him and his new wife to show that. I've got a really soft spot in my heart for young newlyweds.

So here's the problem. I went to their Bed, Bath, and Beyond registry and started checking things out. Everything is so expensive! At first I was ashamed of this reaction, but then I realized that it's not that I begrudge spending the money on my cousin. I'm very glad to spend money on my loved ones! But I do begrudge the fact that I can get them so little for the money. I really think that store is so overpriced, if I spend within our budget, I won't be able to get them anything much, but if I go over budget, it won't be that much nicer a present, and I'll be overspending!

I suppose that shopping second-hand and at discount stores has taught me that even though Bed, Bath, and Beyond seems to be the most popular place for wedding registries, it's ridiculously over priced. Ladles do not cost ten dollars in the real world. Neither do plastic salad tongs.

I would just go out and find them the most perfect lovely crystal vase (I never registered for one, but one of my cousins bought one for me, and it's just a wonderful thing to have) at a good price, but since we don't live in town and aren't attending, shipping is going to add just as much of a cost to it. To avoid the shipping charges, I could send it home with my parents when they visit, but then it would arrive after the wedding. I know that's okay according to ettiquette, but wouldn't it just make me look cheap and disorganized?

Of course, my first instinct is to make something, like a set of embroidered tea towels, but after looking at their registry, I'd say that she (and he, I suppose) has some pretty austre taste, so I'm not sure what would be appropriate.

So, do I just bite the bullet, and buy from the registry, even though I'm uncomfortable with the commercialism and the quality and the generic-ness of that? Do I bite the bullet and pay super shipping charges and loose any of the good deal I could get on a nice piece of crystal or silver? Or do I make a nice set of tea towels, and send them along with some kitchen gadgets, even though that might make me look cheap, and I could miss the mark completely with the design and colors?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, since I'm sure to be repeating this situation over and over again, what with living away from all our family and such.

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Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog. :)

This is just my personal opinion, but I think you should go ahead and make them some embroidered tea towels, or a pair of pillow cases, etc. I treasure the hand-made things I recieved when I got married. I think simple, handmade gifts mean the most in the end. And you could do a simple embroidery - perhaps a monogram - that wouldn't offend their "austere" tastes. :)

Alison said...

I'm sure something homemade would be a nice personal touch that they could hang onto for years.

I do know a lot of people, though, who would rather have something from their registry. I dislike registries and think they are presumptuous. What I might do instead is view their registry and then shop somewhere else like an antiques market (no, antique markets are not all I ever talk about) and get them something similiar to what is listed on their registry. Nothing from Bed Bath and Beyond and stores of the like are meant to last and are quite overpriced, especially for the quality of their products.

It would be nice to find something along those lines. That way you know you are getting them something of quality, something that I'm sure looks better than what could be found at a retail chain like that and something meaningful because it's handpicked with them in mind, not just easily picking from a list they comprised.

I don't know if that makes sense or if it was all just a really long ramble.

CastoCreations said...

You know what? Screw the registry (pardon my French). When hubby and I got married I did not expect everyone to buy from our registry. We registered at Macy's. We didn't register for super expensive china or anything but our towels weren't cheap. :)

I LOVED the special pillow cases that my (then) best friend made us. They were his and hers embroidered. I also got a super special Pie Plate from my aunt and she included a hand written recipe from my grandma for Lemon Meringue Pie (my absolute favorite).

What about a special handmade cookbook with special recipes from your family? If that doesn't sound right I definitely think some nice tea towels should be very appreciated. It's not about the money - it's about the thought! :)

Bethany said...

Welcome to my blog! I'm glad you enjoy it! I never thought of pillow cases, that's a good idea, and less time consuming than a whole set of tea towels. I'm sure I could match their sheets. I was just thrown because all the kitchen linens are "stone" colored. I wasn't sure what actual colors might be in their kitchens.

Ali, that's exactly what I was trying to say. And it's precisely what I'd like to do, except shipping can get so expensive. Especially for heavy fragile things. Maybe I could find an antiques store that would handle the packing and shipping for me. Might cost more, but at least I'd know for sure it was done right.

I felt the same way when we got married. "Screw the registry." Everyone convinced me that you have to register somewhere, though, so I picked Target. And it was a lot of fun, and I'm glad I did. But lots of people bought us things we didn't register for, and that was awesome, because it's stuff I didn't even know I'd want or need, like the crystal vase, or board games, or a family bible.

I definately like your idea about the recipes and the special baking dish. And pillowcases do seem like a good plan, if I have time to finish them.

Thank you guys for your advice, you've given me lots of ideas to think about!

Sharkeysday said...

The pillow cases are a fantastic idea! Or even a pillow? (I'm big on pillows...grin!)
Or the other idea I was going to throw out is search ebay for a lovely vase and have them ship it direct. I don't think crystal vases go for much on there and you could probably get an excellent deal (and be recycling by not giving them something new! :) )

Melonie said...

There's always the option of a gift card to BB&B. You could send it in a nice card with a heartfelt blessing for their life together, and tell them - I know you will put this to good use on your registry or other little things you find you need later.

That way you can stay within your budget -and they may be able to use your card + money or gift cards from someone else to get one of the bigger ticket items from their registry....or new items that come in a year from now that they didn't have when the couple registered. :-)

Julie said...

We use our hand-made pillow cases all the time for our guest bed. It makes us feel like we're doing something special for our guests to put hand-crafted cases on their pillows. I love it.

Bethany said...

Julie, do your guests turn them over or refuse to sleep on them? ;)

Thanks everyone for contributing on this topic. I'll definately update and let you know what I decide to do. I'm leaning toward pillowcases, but their registry doesn't say what colors the bed linens are, so I'll have to see if I get to bed bath and beyond in person this week to check.

Julie said...

How about an antique serving spoon? I received one of those and use it all the time.

Plus it would be easy to ship!

(I just discovered your blog and love it because I am a happy homemaker too -- though not as skilled!)

Waterrose said...

I'm a little late with a comment, but I think tea towels are the best idea. Good Luck!

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