’Tis the season that everyone goes gaga over gifts.
“What do I get for the [insert gift-able relation here] who has everything?”
But when a fancy little envelope comes in the mail inviting you to share someone’s Big Day, the biggest question is often, “What do I get the couple that’s about to get everything?”
Giving good gift is all about personal touches, but how personal can you be when you’re picking an item off a list and hoping no one else has already selected the crystal bowl/ornate frame/awkwardly intimate bedding?
Then there’s the dilemma some brides and grooms face who must merge two independent households full of furniture. My husband and I were both renting apartments when we met and started dating, so when the time came to co-habitate, we had to quickly divest ourselves of doubles—two couches just look silly in a studio apartment.
Leading up to our wedding, the question of gifts inevitably came up. We were inclined to request “Please, no gifts,” but were dissuaded by our elders—and already-weds—for fear it might look tacky. But both of us knew that the last thing we needed was a plethora of presents. We had plenty of things, and it didn’t help that we’d just moved back from Paris and New York, where we’d traveled—and lived—with only the items that could fit in a suitcase. (Yes, I did a lot of closet purging.)
So if we couldn’t say “no gifts,” but the idea of a deluge of domestic goods made us sweat, what could we do? The answer came in a fit of Pottery Barn catalogue perusal. Since our plan was to remain in Sacramento for a while (presumably prepping for our next European sojourn), and all of our worldly goods had either been stored or sent to the Salvation Army, why not combine the wedding well-wishes for one or two furniture items that would get us (re)started in our new condo?
Thus the small sentence at the bottom of the invitation was born: “Jessica and Joshua are registered at potterybarn.com. You may purchase a gift card to help them buy the household items listed in their registry!” We selected a sofa and bed frame that would make the barren condo we’d rented sight-unseen feel a little more like home.
Two years on, that sofa is a favorite of our friends—one of whom curls up on it immediately upon entering our house and conducts the rest of her evening from there—and every time we sit on it, we remember that the generosity and fond feelings of our wedding guests helped make it ours. It’s truly a gift that keeps on giving—and isn’t that the best kind?
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