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Saturday, September 21, 2013

le Bon Ton Nouveau!

Since the beginning of modern civilization, the tastefulness of wedding ceremonies has been avidly discussed.  "Is her dress too short?" "Is the Hummer Limo tacky?" "Were the canapes from Sam's Club?" and most importantly" "Why wasn't there an open bar?" are all frequent morning-after questions that modern matrimonial guests discuss.

As "gay marriage" becomes the norm in more and more countries, states, and municipalities around the world, many more questions may be discussed. "What WAS she wearing?" "I wonder which is the bride?"and "Why did the open bar run out of liquor?!" are all questions likely to be discussed after gay matrimonial events.

For years, Emily Post, and later, Miss Manners Judith Martin, were the "go-to gals" for all things wedding... the tastemakers, the trend spotters, the problem solvers. However, the all-new world of gay marriage comes with its own set of predicaments, and our own Miss Ginger Grant is all too happy to step in and guide the uncouth masses in the tasteful and gracious way to consummate gay matrimony.

Case in point: Houston personal trainer and bod-about-town Eric Turner is soon to be wed to his beloved uber hunk, some foreign guy Miss Ginger has yet to meet. Anyho, Eric and Hunky have chosen to be married in South Africa, since it is legal there, and hunky's parents live there, and it is more exotic than, say, Delaware.

So far, the story is straightforward (gayforward?!) but it quickly goes awry.  Internet checkpoint Gawker picked up a story that Eric had started a "" account to raise funds to fly his parents to South Africa for the nuptials. The boys realize that all of their friends can't make it to South Africa, so they have planned 3 additional events "around the globe for friends and family to celebrate" their union. This was all stated on the "gofundme.come" page, along with the plea to help Eric's parents attend "their favorite son's" wedding.

Now, Miss Ginger doesn't know Eric other than facebook friendship, though she must admit he did catch her eye at her recent appearance at the Mint Julep shindig in August. You may recognize his biceps smile on the far left. 
The question brought up by gawker, in a nutshell, is "is it tacky to ask for specific gifts from your wedding guests?" And should one expect and anticipate gifts at all? 

Traditionally, department stores and better gift stores have offered registries for a bride's selection of china, crystal, and silver, both to ensure the bride received a usable assortment of the above, and to help the store ensure the correct patterns were in stock at the time of her wedding.  Later, the bride was encouraged to register for all sorts of things to help her make a gracious new home, and registry helped to prevent duplicated gifts and to enable easier exchanges. More recently, the groom has been involved, and registries have expanded from department stores and gift emporiums to places as common as the Home Depot and Target. Why not give a young couple, just starting out, the items they will need to make a new house into their home. For most, it is sensible and expected.

The world's largest store, recognizing that brides exchange a large portion of the gifts they receive, has started offering a "dream fund", which is essentially an open-ended gift card, the value of which is increased by generous wedding guests who don't want to make a decision about which item they want to give. This eliminates the need for exchanges altogether, and makes things easier for the guest and the bride. 

So, the idea of a "gofundme" site for an engaged couple is not far from the same concept. There are, however, a couple of subtle nuances that can make the idea seem much more gracious. Here are a few ideas Miss Ginger would like to foster.

First, it should never be assumed that the couple will receive gifts from any specific person.  A registry is okay, because it lists, in general terms, a brides preferences for things she made need or want, but puts no specific expectation on who will buy them.  In small towns with only one or 2 stores, there is no need to for a bride to publicize that she is registered, as guests can usually figure it out.  In larger cities, with so many options available, a bride often includes a card in her announcement or invitation that reveals where she has registered.  As long as it is worded and viewed as a convenience to the recipient of the invitation, and not an expectation on the part of the bride, this practice is usually appreciated by all parties.

On the flip side, registries should never be publicized to people who aren't invited to the wedding.  To send a registry card, or in modern times, email or other online posts, to people who aren't invited to the wedding is just plain tacky.  If they think enough of you to give you a gift, you should think enough of them to invite them to the wedding. Non-negotiable.

In the case of multiple celebrations, which happen frequently in this age of "destination" weddings, people invited to one celebration should not be expected to enhance the experience of guests at another event. Case in point: Eric's guests at a "reception" in Houston should not be expected to provide funding for his parent to attend an event in South Africa. If a card or email were sent to only the South Africa guests explaining the "gofundme" post, it is probably just as tasteful as any other registry announcement.  If the request went to anyone else: tacky. 

For the record, the gofundme site mentioned in this article has been closed and deleted.

What say ye, GingerSnaps?! Tasteful or tacky? 


mrs.missalaineus said...

if the only gift they were requesting was the presence of their parents then i say tasteful but i would have no clue how to word the invite other than to say

we're grown men who have had our own places and don't need a new toaster. however, we need some financial assistance to get our parents here, so if you are inclined to give a gift anyways, please share to the ticket fund so that they can attend- if the target is not met we will return your gift, and if we go over the target all funds will be donated to .

tell it like it is.

now asking for donations and gifts is tacky.


Bob Slatten said...

What she said^^^^^^

mistress maddie said...

First off girlfriend who need to post more! I thought you got married off. Second, Im old school, I find the whole thing tacky! If your going to have a far away wedding, plan accordingly and plan the money ahead to fly your parents there. I was invited to a friend's wedding in Italy. Not only was I paying my airfare and funds for a gift, but I didn't go for lack of planning. Said friend didn't included any list of recommended hotels, transportation methods, or what points of intrests there might be. Were talking a foreign country here, where most of us had not been. It was sort of like get here and your on your own. I could do the leg work, but if I was in her shoes, I would have gotten a little "package" put together of suitable hotel options, points of interests and what the itinerary would be. Needless to say many felt the same way, and sent cards and gifts. No, cute or not the Trainer there should really have to pay for his own parents to come I feel...... UNLESS there not requesting gifts. Of course, I also feel being with those you love is the best gift of all.

JaneR said...

Totally off topic, but in Judith Martin's first book, oh those many years ago, she answered this question, "how do I introduce my gay friend's companion at a party?" this way, "By his name." BOOM.

Joy Poteat said...

Oh Miss. Ginger! I adore you! I'm getting married in November and have been admonished by my future mother in law about every wedding choice I've made. Can you write an etiquette book for weddings in the south? Gay, straight; I don't care. This woman's home training (up north, of course!) Is appalling!


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