December 08, 2003

To Use or Not to Use

It's been over one week since the engagement party and now L and I are wondering, what's standard practice for using gifts before the wedding? Are we free to use gifts as they come in? Or should we store everything and start fresh once we are officially recognized by our friends, family and the IRS as husband and wife?

L follows the latter school of thought. If we go by tradition, she said, "We aren't even supposed to be living together." In days of old, she said, things would have been given to our parents and handed over to us when we moved in together the day after our wedding. Then again, in days of old we'd be receiving two cows, five chickens and a bag of grain instead of a waffle iron.

I'm not sure what is proper. On the one hand, I don't think we should use our new China for Mexican takeout - at least not before we receive a full set. But should a KitchenAid mixer that takes up a lot of counter space go unused until August 30, 2004? Don't people understand we have cookies to make?

One friend said we are free to use any gift received for our engagement but should hold off on anything received later for the wedding. Then what's the cut-off date? Six months from the proposal? After the engagement party but before the first wedding shower? What if you have a short engagment?

I would imagine that some of you out there have experience with this or, at the very least, hold some opinion on the matter. Help us make a decision! Post your advice or email me with your thoughts. The most creative and thoughtful position on this subject will be featured in a future post and its author will receive a personally addressed thank-you note from me and L.

Posted by The Groom at December 8, 2003 10:15 AM
Comments

I say if they didn't want you to use the gifts before the wedding, they should have waited until the wedding to send you the gift.

Posted by: Francis Heaney at December 8, 2003 12:54 PM

My fiance and I both decided it was ridiculous and a horrible use of space to leave our gifts untouched until after the wedding (we still have 8 months to go afterall). We decided since we live together, better to utilize the stuff we get (and throw out old, unseable items) then to just let it sit there. Plus, all those boxes were overtaking our very small dining room. The deal is every time we get a gift we send a thank you note, and then throw out something we don't use to make space for the new stuff. It's worked very well, and we have our dining room back, woohoo. To be honest, the gift receiving wanes a bit anyway, we haven't recieved any gift in almost a month. I say go ahead and enjoy the stuff you get! This only happens once in your life!!

Posted by: Elisa at December 8, 2003 01:03 PM

Not "creative or thoughtful," but . . . USE THE STUFF!!! That's why people get you gifts! I think you have plenty of things you can hold off on until you are "officially" married. Like having sex. You guys are waiting for that, right?

Posted by: the other L at December 8, 2003 01:45 PM

That's very funny, other L, but please be advised: friends and family of PlanetGordon.com are ineligible for cash and prizes.

Posted by: The Groom at December 8, 2003 01:52 PM

Use 'em - L. needs to use the Mixer to make challah anyway!!

Posted by: M at December 8, 2003 02:34 PM

curses . . . foiled again.

Posted by: the other L at December 8, 2003 03:41 PM

I believe Miss Manners would tell you that you need to open the gift and write a Thank You note within 2 weeks (part of wedding etiquette). This helps to accomplish a few things: 1) You get to play with the cool new toy, such as a mixer, B) this assures the gift giver that the gift did arrive safe and on time. Last by not least; this alleviates the mountain of Thank You notes if you wait until a certain time to open them. So, go on and open your gifts and enjoy them!

Not one of our relatives, friends, family or other has started sending us gifts and we are down to 6 months left! We have been engaged over a year! You lucky people!! Good Luck!

Posted by: Karen at December 8, 2003 09:33 PM

What's standard practice for parents to use gifts left here because they didn't all fit on the bus?

Posted by: N at December 9, 2003 10:00 PM

Behold my complicated system for wedding/engagement gift use: I vote use whatever has (a) made it to Brooklyn that (b) is not a member of a set. Only when you have a complete set can you use any items from the set, however no use of dishware or glassware because if one broke before the nuptuals I think it would be a bad omen.

One of my married friends had a policy of not using gifts before the wedding, but they also had them ALL shifted to their parents' homes in NJ, so it was also a literal impossibility. But I vote a big GO on the Kitchenaid so I don't have to haul mine to the outer boroughs for Bake-Off 2003/4.

Posted by: R at December 10, 2003 08:47 AM

Ok, so I know that you both love each other deeply and madly and so on...but speaking as a two time engaged person...hold off on using those gifts! It is easier to return an unused blender for cash!
and of course L wants to open them!

p

Posted by: p at December 10, 2003 01:32 PM

OK, so I loose it looks like, but I am an old fashioned mom. I thought you should wait, and anyway, I know that L. is not making Challah. I guess some of what has been said makes sense like the counter space etc., but when you get gifts at the showers in Chicago, I could wait to send them until after Aug. 29!!!!!!
P.

Posted by: Paula Kaye at December 10, 2003 04:14 PM

I would absolutely use things. Think about it. You got the gifts as your "engagement" presents. And you already tackled the feat of getting engaged...you earned the right to use the gift. Now, if right before your wedding, you get "wedding" presents, I would hold off on using those until AFTER you get married. Also, I agree on the "sets" thing. You shouldn't use something unless it's a complete set. Don't know why, I think it has to do with being superstitious.

Posted by: JRS at December 12, 2003 06:24 PM

I say using the presents is a vote of confidence in the marriage. If you're feeling a little iffy about things, then go ahead and leave the KitchenAid in the closet; if you're pretty sure that the wedding is on, then I think you should be blending smoothies and drinking them together as you peruse wedding invitation samples.

Posted by: Rose at December 13, 2003 04:11 PM

Um, make that "baking cookies and eating them together" -- I forgot it was a mixer and not a blender....

Posted by: Rose at December 13, 2003 04:13 PM

Don't worry, Rose. We also received a blender.

Posted by: The Groom at December 13, 2003 10:04 PM

Is your eagerness to use a brand new something something (of which you probably already have an old, crappy edition that's been working just fine) really going to win out over indefinite free storage at mom and dad's house?

I say, keep it packed up, store it all at mom and dad's, and have a big tag sale of old stuff when you're ready to move

Posted by: Amy at December 19, 2003 11:13 AM

All of our gifts are being saved for after the wedding. They are being stored at my mom's house until then. we just liked the idea of having new things when we get our house later this year. ;-)

Posted by: MrsZ2b at January 21, 2004 05:07 PM

All we got was a dictionary (which we never use anyway)

Posted by: Laura at February 2, 2004 11:18 PM