A co-worker and I were having a discussion the other day about weddings and invites and etiquette and finally moved on to the idea of “fundraising” for weddings. She had attended a bridal shower the weekend prior, and we debated the merits of holding such an event.
See, I’m not a fan of the bridal shower. It seems to be a cash grab to me. You invite people over and expect them to bring gifts you picked out on a registry? Seems…crass.
A baby shower I can understand. When a kid is born, it makes sense that the community would sort of come together and help out – but even in this case, I think bringing second hand stuff would be fine. I mean, people buy or obtain things they need for a kid that they won’t need at other times. The kid grows out of stuff so quickly that the clothes or stroller that will be useful for a few months or years will soon be collecting dust in a garage – it might as well go to someone who could use it. The recipient will then give them away as they see fit when their kids have grown - and the cycle continues.
But what’s the purpose of the bridal shower? What gifts are “unique” to this situation? Lingerie? Really?
Now while this co-worker and I agreed bridal showers were a bit odd in this day and age “sans dowry”, we disagreed on stag & does. See, I think that where a stag & doe differs from a bridal shower is that a S&D usually offers something in return. It’s a fundraiser where attendees receive a good or service in exchange for their money. Usually, a S&D involves buying tickets and getting access to an open bar or meal or paying for a casino night – that sort of thing. If you invite me to a S&D at a hall where they serve alcohol and offer a meal and some games and a silent auction or draw, well, I’m way more agreeable to paying $75 or so. The couple pocket the profits, sure, but at least it isn’t a flat out cash grab. I may even think I’m getting my money’s worth! And even if I don’t, then at least I console myself thinking that the couple will put it to good use, rather than the less practical stuff people tend to put on gift registries.
As a side note, I don’t believe in gift registries for weddings, either. I have been converted, I suppose, by my Italian friends. If you wanna give a gift at a wedding (which of course you should), then for Pete’s sake GIVE MONEY. Not only is this far more portable than the crockery set, it also is more useful (it would suck to get half a tea service set, wouldn’t it?) and flexible (the couple can figure out what they wanna do with whatever amount they receive). It just makes sense. Carrying a wrapped gift into a wedding reception is so mangiacake. :P
Back to pre-wedding activities: I think bachelor/bachelorette partiers are absolutely on side. This is a fun night out with the members of the same sex and I’m all for them. How far they go in terms of fun is up to the parties involved. Strippers? (for either party or sex) They’re ok as far as I’m concerned, provided of course it’s JUST strippers not anything involving parts of the body other than the eyes. You know? The guests, of course, are welcome to do what they want. Heck, a bachelor party is often as much an excuse for them to act out. For some, it’s customary for the bride/groom to “dedicate” the “entertainment” to one of the wedding party members and to live vicariously through them. Sounds good to me. It also acts as a thank you to the wedding party member. :P There’s a perception out there that the bachelor parties are wilder than the bachelorette parties, but if my experience is any indication, it’s the other way around. Bachelor parties pretty much only get “wild” in terms of going to a strip club and drinking. Bachelorette parties sometimes involve accosting attractive strangers in the street and requiring various forms of physical contact or flirting. You’re also far more likely to see a bachelorette party dance drunkenly on the tables at the local bar – not only would guys not do this, they’d get their elbows re-arranged if they did this at the peelers.
What do you guys think? Bridal showers, stag & does, bachelor/bachelorette parties, gift registries: yay or nay?