December 22, 2003

The Matching Envelope, Please

The results are in! On the issue of To Use or Not To Use, a solid majority of readers came down in favor of using the gifts prior to the wedding. Many caveats were included with your advice, however. A reader who goes by "R" wrote, "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." This is sage advice, R, and neatly sums up a large number of emails more or less suggesting the same thing.

So who won the thank-you note? Without further ado, here are the results of the "To Use or Not To Use" poll:

Most Socially Just: One person reminded us to donate any old kitchen items that are replaced by new gifts to Goodwill or a similar charitable organization. Will do.

Most Ethically Questionable: Proper etiquette dictates returning gifts in the event of a cancelled engagement, but one woman advised us to use the presents since no one would want a used toaster returned to them. "Think of it as some insurance," she wrote. "At least if it doesn’t all work out you will have some great things to auction off on Ebay and make some of the lost deposits back!" Sorry. I don't agree that wedding gifts should be used as some sort of collateral against a down payment on a caterer.

Least Aware of the Public Nature of the Internet: A reader recommended we use the gifts but not tell our "parents, friends or other family members." Since my mom reads this site, I would question the efficacy of such a policy.

Most Macabre: One reader broached the subject of possible disaster before the wedding. "If something bad happens, like a car accident, you should return the presents." Really? If I was run over by a steamroller, would anyone call L and say, "Um, I know this is a bad time, but could you send the wine glasses back?"

Funniest: The Other L, who wrote, "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?" Yes, The Other L. As far as our parents are concerned, I sleep on the sofabed in the living room.

The winner of the thank-you note is - drumroll please - Elizabeth Miller! Elizabeth's email had the distinction of being the most thougtful note that was not from a friend or family member (who, my attorneys advise, are ineligible for cash and prizes). Since giving gifts and writing thank-you notes are all about being as thoughtful as possible, it seemed fitting to pick her advice. She writes, "Absolutely go ahead and use them!  People who gave them to you do not want them sitting on your shelf for the next 9 months!  Think about it - whenever you give a gift, it's because you want the person to enjoy it." Good advice, Elizabeth, and unique in its inclusion of the intent of the gift-giver in your consideration.

So there you have it. The public has spoken. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm a little tired from sifting through all the emails. I'm going to use our nice new blender to make myself a smoothie.

Posted by The Groom at December 22, 2003 12:32 PM