I want to talk about a dirty word. The dirty word? Gift cards. Specifically, a wedding gift card. As a young woman growing up in the south I've generally never had to ask What is the etiquette for wedding gifts?-because I already know. They are as follows:
- You ALWAYS send a gift, it doesn't matter if you attend the wedding or not. Although this rule is changing of late.
- You have up to one year to send the newlyweds a present.
- Generally, you should get something off the registry to ensure the happy couple gets what they most desire.
My friend however, had a very different idea….
I went out to lunch with a group of girlfriends last week. My good friend, Alexa* thanked our other friend Bonquiqui* (names have been changed, the more ridiculous I think you are ….the more ridiculous of a fake name you get…) for her sweet thank you note. Bonquiqui had recently gotten married in June. Our third friend who was at the lunch chimed in her thanks and I’m left sitting there thinking “where is my thank you note?”
I sent her a wedding present and managed to get it in before the wedding, although I had not budgeted to attend.
I casually made a joke about mine getting lost in the mail. As Alexa swiftly changed the subject I noticed Bonquiqui’s disapproving frown.
Because apparently….Some People Think a Wedding Gift Card Is Rude
Bonquiqui ended up facebooking me later. It started out sweetly enough:
“L Bee, I wanted to write and tell you how much I appreciated your monetary gift,” She wrote, “I didn't want to tell you this at lunch, but I didn't write you a thank you note because I was a little disappointed in your choice of gift. I would be embarrassed to give someone a gift card as a wedding present and did not think the time necessary to write the thank you note was worth the very little “thought” put into the giving.”
I’m not going to pretend reading that note didn’t sting. It did. A lot.
Why a Wedding Gift Card is 100% Awesome and Totally Okay
After reading her note, I felt like I was in middle school all over again and wanted to cry. I even got the gift card from the place where she is registered! For the first time in my life, someone had made me feel bad about giving them a present. Even if you didn’t like my gift, why would you tell me that? As far as I was concerned the conversation was over once we had left lunch, and now Bonquiqui was going out of her way to be hurtful.
Fast forward to a few days later when my indignation kicks in. (Hence, this post.) What exactly is so wrong with a gift card anyway? I give gift cards to everyone for every occasion, because I think they are amazing and they're one of my favorite things to get.
Here are just a handful of reasons why.
- I like to imagine the gift cards I give being used towards a bigger item the recipient may not have been able to afford on their own, or used to get the last thing missing from their registry.
- They never expire, so that awesome “I have a present in my pocket” feeling can last for a long time.
- Sometimes I'm mailing gifts after the wedding, in which case I think a gift card plays well because they add more gift cards they may have received and put the money toward a bigger gift.
- They pack amazingly well for destination weddings.
- You can avoid being the lame person who gets stuck with the lame gifts, like having to pull together four separate items into some creative whatnot.
- With a gift card, I think the fun is in letting the bride and groom choose. They have them at virtually every store, and even Amazon can ship the gift cards for you.
Wedding Gift Cards: To Give? Or Not to Give?
Bonquiqui's gripe is that the gift card came across as lazy and that she was hurt I didn’t take the time to pick out something personally for her. You know, since we are fairly close. In doing so, she felt I was communicating that I didn’t know what to get her, which offended her further since we’ve been friends for so long.
I told her I understood where she was coming from, but that I wasn’t going to apologize for giving her a gift.
Did she tell her Aunt she hated the set of bath towels she gifted her? No, she did not.
Even if someone handed me an apple from the refrigerator and thought enough to wrap it and give me a card, I'd say thank you! I'd be mortified for them to think I wasn't grateful for their efforts. Sure, some may view gift cards as a cop out, but the premise of the gift is still the same.
In my opinion, a gift card says “I care enough about you to want to part with my hard-earned money to give you a present.” I mean, since when did the actual gift become more important than the thought behind it? I gooogled it – feel free to give as many wedding gift cards as you like. Even Emily Post says it's okay.