Photo: Laura Ivanova Photography
Jen Glantz is a “Professional Bridesmaid” and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She’s the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates. In her monthly column for Brides.com Jen answers a fellow bridesmaid’s burning question.
“Our wedding was almost one year ago. We finished writing and sending out thank-you notes to our guests about four months ago. While we were doing that, we noticed that quite a few people — I’d say eight out of our 112 guests did not send or give us a gift. We started wondering if maybe we lost their check at the wedding or they shipped our gift to a different address. Should we say something to those eight people? If so, how do we say something without it sounding like an angry, ‘Hey you! Where’s our gift?'”
I always get awkward when the conversation of money comes around. Like on a first date when the check comes, I can’t just sit there and pretend I don’t see it. I can’t just twirl the split ends of my hair or fumble around in my purse and wait and wait for the guy to say, “Oh, I’ve got this.” I can’t even mouth a cohesive set of words that would indicate that we should just split it. So I don’t say anything, most of the time. I pull out every dollar I have or credit card with my name on it and throw it on the table like a pile of poker chips, as if to say, “I’m all in, dealer!”
Some people aren’t this way at all, and I desperately admire them. Some people have no problem coming up to you at an event and saying, “You owe me $10 for your share of the food.” Or remind you six months after a concert that you need to send them a check for the $50 they spotted you for the ticket. No matter what kind of person you are, there’s some extra gunk spread out on top of this situation. It was your wedding day. Not only that, but you threw the party of a lifetime — of your lifetime — for these guests. And that party cost money. Lots and lots of it.
Some couples use the money they receive on their wedding day as a way to pay off the credit card bill that reads like a grocery list of vendors, charging them for their services. Some use it to fund their honeymoon or as a down payment on their first house. I’ve seen a couple here and there use it on whatever the heck they want — clothes, a new car, a weekend trip to Vegas and five minutes at a poker table where they really did say the words, “Dealer, I’m all in.” Either way, as a couple, you can do what you want with the money. It’s your guest’s gifts to you. Which I guess is the underlying meat of this whole question. The gigantic bright orange elephant dancing to a Ke$ha song in the room right now. Just because you invite someone to your wedding and pay for them to be there and enjoy the live music and the piece of salmon and the white cotton napkin they wipe their lips with, do they have to give you or get you anything? The answer is no. Sure, it’s the right thing to do and good etiquette and the majority of people will. But not everyone does. Not everyone feels as though they should.
Sometimes bridesmaids feel that the money they’ve spent on the adventure so far — the dress, the bachelorette party, the bridal shower, and more is enough of a gift (sometimes I think they are right!) Sometimes people can’t afford to, forget to, don’t want to, don’t find the need to, don’t care. It’s annoying. It’s awkward. It makes you feel like you want to call them up and really stick it to them. Say something like, “Did you enjoy salsa dancing to that Gloria Estefan song? How’d you like the mint chocolate chip cheesecake we had for dessert? Great. Where the heck is our gift?” But if you’re not the kind of person who would do that, and I take it from your question that you’re not — or else you would have used your fingers to dial up these people’s numbers. Instead, go through the list of eight people.
The rule says people have one year to give you a gift. Chances are, if they haven’t sent anything by month six, it’s not going to happen. Unless you do something about it, if you personally decide you want to do something about it. So the question is really, do you?