Dear Margo: Gifts That Are Never Quite Right

Margo-Howard_tall10Margo Howard’s advice

Gifts That Are Never Quite Right

Dear Margo: I have a good friend who, whenever there’s an occasion for a gift (my birthday, Christmas, etc), buys something that either doesn’t fit or is not to my taste. Ordinarily this would not be a problem, but she always buys these gifts on sale — so there is no returning them for either the right size or credit.

I know they say it’s the thought that counts, but this is starting to annoy me. I know you can’t tell a friend, “Look, none of your gifts work out, and it would be nice if you’d stop buying everything on sale.” I should add that there’s no attempt to disguise these presents, because she either tells me there was a sale on at (fill in the name of store) or the present has no tags — and sometimes no wrapping.

Is there a subtle way to make it known that I would appreciate a gift certificate or at least something that could be exchanged so I can use it? I would rather die than seem ungrateful. — Louisa

Dear Lou: You are quite right that you can’t tell a friend (or anyone) that their habit of buying presents on sale is always a big fail. This person is obviously, let us say, a value shopper, and you can’t change that. As close as you could get, without making a mess, would be to say she is so great about remembering occasions that it might make her life simpler if she just got you a gift certificate. The problem with this, though, and especially for a value shopper, is that the price would be right there, front and center.

Since you can’t change her habits, I suggest you work on taking the edge off of your annoyance by accepting that this is who your friend is. You cannot change her instinct to be thrifty (well, OK, cheap), so go back to understanding that “it’s the thought that counts,” and just accept that only a random act of the cosmos might make a gift from her either fit or be to your liking. — Margo, understandingly

When Children Should Be Neither Seen Nor Heard

Dear Margo: My son is getting married soon. The invitations have been mailed, and RSVPs are coming in. My son and his fiancee are on a tight budget for their reception. The wedding invitations have on the INSIDE envelope the names of the people who are actually invited to attend the wedding and reception. No children, regardless of age, have been invited.

Every day, my son calls to tell me that people have added their children’s names on the RSVP card that has been mailed to them. My nephew posted a message on my Facebook page asking whether he needs to get a babysitter for his son (age 6) or will we provide a babysitter at the reception? I have told my son that when they get an RSVP with extra names on it, they need to call the person and tell them it’s nothing personal but only two people per family — and no children — have been invited. Don’t people hire babysitters anymore, or am I from Mars? — Susan

Dear Su: Good grief. You are entirely, indisputably correct about your interpretation of a wedding invitation. My own thinking is that unless a wedding is an informal one, perhaps in the backyard, children shouldn’t be present unless the bridal couple wants them.

The respondents who have added the names of their children need to be set straight. If you want to relieve your son and his intended of the onerous job of informing the clods that the affair is adults only, you could offer to be in touch with the people who don’t know any better and tell them there will be no babysitters because there will be no children. Reiterate that the wedding and reception are only for couples (or plus-ones, if they are single), and if it’s impossible to get a sitter, they will be sorely missed. — Margo, huffily

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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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52 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    Letter #1:  Yes, it is the thought that counts, however your friend doesn’t seem to be putting too much thought into her gifts for you except for the thought that she needs to find something on sale.  This can be irritating but it would be incredibly rude of you to suggest to her that her gifts are not good enough for you.  Give away what you cannot use (but not as a *regift* for an occasion) or donate it to charity and mark this down as an annoyance, as Margo says.
    Letter #2:  Having 2 nieces who were recently married, I am fully aware of the issues with limited budgets and guests who presume that the entire family is invited when the invitation clearly says Mr. and Mrs. or John and Mary, or John and John, or Mary and Mary.  I also did not invite children to my own wedding except for those who were in the wedding party.  I did not want children screaming during the hour long ceremony or running rampant at the reception (have you noticed that parents who go to these events with their children seem to think that other guests will look after them while the parents eat, drink and be merry?).   I would talk to the mother of the bride and put your heads together on how to tell the guests who have presumed to add children to the party that they should not bring thier children with them (I assume the offenders are on both *sides* of the guest list so the mother of the bride (or whoever is fulfilling that role for the bride) should be consulted before you call the guests on their side.   I don’t know where people got the idea that the hosts of parties need to provide baby sitting services for thier guests but evidently a lot of people think that way.  It may be that your son and his fiancee are in fact the *host and hostess* if they are paying for everything but I think that you can indulge the fiction that the bride and groom parents are the hosts in order to handle this situation.  Just be careful about making exceptions because it will be noted by guests those guests who are told to leave their children at home. 

    • avatar Toni Jean says:

      Great advice on both counts! Thank you for pointing out NOT to regift the bad presents! I did have a friend who gave bad presents… Somewhere over the years she began to improve – alas I do not know what caused the transfiguration. For the LW, I would wait a few months and for the wrong size stuff pull it out, say I love this of course but it doesn’t quite fit… And give it back cheerfully (because it probably fits her!)
      Loved Margo’s tough love on the wedding guests.

      • avatar Ariana says:

        If it’s a chronic thing with the fit, I’d try it on as soon as she opens it. If it doesn’t fit, tell your friend what your size is and ask her if she can exchange it for a larger one. Hopefully the friend would at least get a clue the next time around.

  2. avatar Florafloraflora says:

    LW#1: Your friend is never going to get you anything good. You’ll be happier when you let go of that expectation. Don’t say anything to her, just regift everything. The one right she doesn’t have is to expect her cheap gifts to be on display when she comes over. Having done that, enjoy the rest of your friendship, the parts that don’t involve gift-giving.
    LW#2: No, your guests don’t have the right to add their children to their RSVPs, but if I were your guests with children I wouldn’t come to your wedding or send a gift either. Come on. What are parents supposed to do with their superfluous kids when they’ve flown into town for your event? I don’t have kids and don’t plan to, but if I were planning a wedding and I actually wanted to see my friends and family who have children I’d plan a much less formal event where children wouldn’t be a problem. And if I don’t actually want to see the parents I know, there’s a word for that: announcement.

    • avatar Katharine Gray says:

      For out of town guests, most hotels provide babysitting services or referrals for their guests.  Or, the hosts could leave the children at home with relatives or friends…or…as you suggest…not attend at all.  I realize that many couples invite people to their wedding only to recieve the gifts but there are, in fact, those (and I was one of them) who really don’t care about the gifts and just want their guests to have a pleasant time without *superfluous* children running rampant and creating havoc.  For us, it wasn’t a financial issue as our reception was a very simple afternoon affair.  Of course, I didn’t expect the one or two close relatives or close friends of mine who lived out of town to attend OR send a gift…I just didn’t want them to think I didn’t care about them enough to invite them.   I may be crazy, but since when are other people’s children MY problem to worry about? 

      • avatar carol grzonka says:

        ty, katherine.  and it seems that the children who have seen the least discipline have the parents who are the most insistent on them being included. and the parents are standing back, beaming.

    • avatar Ariana says:

      Flora, these people were invited to an adults-only event. Children are not appropriate in every setting. If you can’t swing it, either because you can’t leave your children with relatives or a babysitter overnight, then it’s okay to decline. But to be personally affronted because someone wants to host an adults-only event and attempt to punish them by not wanting to send a wedding gift comes off as self-centered and rude.
      PS: if you aren’t attending a wedding, a gift isn’t even required. You can just send a card.

      • avatar John Lee says:

        Well said Ariana!  Nothing wrong with declining if it is too difficult to hanlde one’s childcare logistics, but getting all offended and stuff, jeez, seriously people, you need to remember you have your own lives, not just your kids.
        For my wedding, we said no kids and my goodness, we almost lost a few friends over it.
        And now that I have a precious newborn myself that I couldn’t possible love more than I do?  Nothings changed with my opinion.  I don’t expect my little one to be included in any event, unless it was an event specifically for kids.  I’ll either get babysitting or I’ll decline regrettably.

        • avatar angelmother3 says:

          John Lee, re almost losing friends, several years ago a relative of mine, who had a young baby, called me to ask for advice about a wedding she and her husband had been invited to. The invitation stipulated no children. This young mother’s reaction was, “What do they think is wrong with MY DAUGHTER?!” I couldn’t believe how personally she took it. She was ready to end the friendship over the “insult”. I was able to mollify her, and she left the baby with her husband’s sister overnight. I do not know what makes some people think the whole world revolves around their children. You have the right attitude.

          My husband and I were invited to a post-honeymoon party out of state. The wedding and reception had occurred in yet another state. The affair was adults only, and we asked the hostess if she knew any teens (children of friends, for example) who might like to earn some babysitting money. We could not take a babysitter with us, and no one was available to take our chldren for a long weekend. We clearly were asking for a referral, same as if we lived in the area and were looking for a babysitter, and we plainly offered to pay. The hostess was offended and said that she would never dream of asking one of her friends if her teenager would like to earn some babysitting money.
          I actually wrote to Margo’s cousin Jeanne (I didn’t know at the time that Margo wrote a column) and asked what she thought. Jeanne thought it was unreasonable of me to have asked if the hostess (who happened to be my husband’s cousin, fwiw) could give us a reference. (Btw, we would’ve contacted a teen directly and made the arrangements. We were not asking the hostess to do all that for us.) I still think we did nothing wrong. And we did not attend the party. (We had been unable to attend the wedding itself.)

  3. avatar mskclark says:

    On the “off” gifts, I would suggest to your friend that you both start a new tradition — that you will take the “birthday” (or whatever) friend out to lunch on her special day (or host her to lunch in your home).  If she takes you to a fast-food restaurant, and you take her to a swanky place, fine.  Nothing will be taking up room in your closet or the rest of your house…..

  4. avatar Cindy M says:

    L #1: In what seems an increasingly friend-less world, simply be grateful she’s even thinking of you. Grin and bear it. Then take the goods to Savers or Salvation Army.
    L #2: Yeah, uh…what’s up with parents invited not understanding they need to get a babysitter? Why do they expect a babysitting service will be provided to them? Glad this isn’t my headache! The bride and groom had better expect some kids WILL show up, as their parents will cop out on the babysitter front.

  5. avatar Ariana says:

    LW#1: I like Margo’s advice about not letting it get you down – there are some people who are just unable to get the right gift for a certain person. E.g. no matter how hard I try, I just can’t pin down my mom’s taste, or she mine. I changed my tactics though and started having her help me pick out presents. I ask her: hey I’d like to sew you a top for your birthday, can you help me pick out a pattern and fabric you’d like?
    Or is there some reason to think your friend just doesn’t make any effort at gift giving? Does she just run to the next store with a sale and pick out a random thing? If so, then yes, she’s being cheap. Otherwise I know many people who shop at sales and pick up things during the year that they think someone might enjoy in order to give to them later. 

    • avatar bright eyes says:

      Ariana – can I have your Mom? I NEVER know what to get my Mom! Jewelery? Nope, she doesn’t wear it. Clothes? Well there’s the size issue but also the style issue. Housewares? Never know what she needs. On and on and on.
      A few years ago I started getting creative. I’d gather up pictures from the year and have them printed, then find some funky way to give them. One year she got a clock with a pic of the grandkids at each hour. One year it was a blanket – it’s still hanging up in her room! Another year it was spelling out my son’s name in picture frames with pictures included.
      I do shop cheap but the key is to personalize. And since I shop cheap/sale – I can get different things but they’re still all personalized to something that she’d like to hang on her walls. One of these days she’s going to run out of wall space!

  6. avatar bobkat says:

    LW1: Oh, just tell her: “Look, I appreciate that you always remember my birthday, xmas, etc. but the clothes you buy for me are not a style I wear, sorry. So why don’t you save your maoney?” If that hurts her feeling, she’s pretty thin-skinned. I don’t see why one can’t be honest with a ‘good friend’?
    LW2: Call those who added their kids and tell them, it’s adults only. Yes, they have to get a sitter.

  7. avatar Kate Olsen says:

    Has anyone stopped to think that she shops at sales as a matter of necessity in these trying financial times.  I agree that she should pay more attention to her friend’s taste and/or ask for her correct size.  Having myself lost some hours of work in the past few years, I have had to tighten my spending and shop mostly for things on sale. 

    • avatar JCF4612 says:

      There’s a big difference between quality on sale, and crappola from sale bin. My friends and I have a rule … never buy without a coupon or unless it’s on sale or somehow discounted. We do not buy junk. 

    • avatar bright eyes says:

      Kate – I agree. It could be that she’s tightening her belt and buying on sale. But I have never bought clothes for someone (other than myself or my child) without the tag or getting a gift reciept. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything unwrapped either. Well with the exception of pre-owned video games, but those can be exchanged anyway.
      I try to buy everything on sale also – I am always on the lookout for Christmas presents or toys for my nephews. I grab things when I find them and when the oportunity comes around, I have the perfect gift for it. Just because you buy things on sale doesn’t mean you have to give things that other people wouldn’t use.

  8. avatar Lynde says:

     Everything I buy is on sale.  I am a value shopper and bargain hunter, I know that sales items come with a receipt and can almost always be returned.

    • avatar butterfly55 says:

      Lynde, I was thinking the same thing – most places do accept returns on sale items with a receipt nowadays.  I think the big thing is to look for the right gift though,  no matter if you are buying it at the most expensive store or on sale in the dollar store.  Then there would be no problem with a return.  That seems to be LW1’s real deal.

      • avatar John Lee says:

        Yeah, that was really weird.  I don’t know of any sale items that cannot be returned, unless it were an used item or from a going out of business sale.
        No tags and no wrapping?  I was thinking maybe the gifter got it at a five-finger discount sale.
        Just kidding, I don’t think that’s really the case, but it did briefly cross my mind.

  9. avatar mac13 says:

    #1; How old are you? Life teaches you what to do with bad gifts. If you haven’t learned this, learn it now.
    #2; Well here goes an unpopular thought. You invite someone to your wedding, you are hosts. Hosts take care of their guest’s needs. In moderation of course. How many kids are you expecting to be added? You can’t drop an extra $100 for a sitter to watch the kids. Provide them a small snack? I means how long does a wedding and reception need to last? A couple of hours? But here you are all torn up and agitated about something that could be easily alleviated.

    • avatar Ariana says:

      It’s unpopular because people should be grown up enough to abide by an ‘adults only’ invitation. But for some reason, parents get their knickers in a twist when someone tries to host a party without children. 
      I believe it’s reasonable to be allowed to host an adults-only party without parents blatantly ignoring that request.

    • avatar butterfly55 says:

      mac13, this is their day, they have invited adults, they have the right to say who should be there.  And they did say it, the guests are totally wrong in ignoring this.

      • avatar Ariana says:

        I agree. Hosts should be catering to their guests, but in this case, children are not guests of this event. Why should hosts be put upon to provide additional services to people who aren’t even invited?
        It’s a choice made by not only parents, but also those who have pets. They cannot go everywhere with you, and expecting someone else to pay for extra services for you just so you can attend a party is selfish.

        • avatar mac13 says:

          You all have very valid points. Mine is, here this woman is writing an advice columnist about what to do. So much energy worrying and now the additionly work of notifying parents…risking hurt feelings or not getting to see dear Uncle so and so? Sorry, but is that headache really worth the cost of a sitter? To me? Abolutely not. If she wants to be so rigid, go ahead but in the end it could have been so much easier. But then again, these days and the “it’s my day” bridezilla attitudes it might be best to opt out of attending.

          • avatar Ariana says:

            Well she wasn’t actually looking for advice – she was looking for a confirmation that she wasn’t totally off-base with her suggestion that her son call people who don’t feel it necessary to abide by the invitation.
            I get your point that it’s sometimes saves nerves in the end to shell out some extra money and put-up with people’s rudeness rather than to put your foot down. But what I found annoying is the sheer gall of people who feel that it’s OK to add additional people to the RSVP list to suit themselves.
            For all the bride-zillas out there, it’s easy to forget that there’s even more guest-zillas.

          • avatar butterfly55 says:

            So true, I believe the mommy-monsters and daddy dragons have become the latest craze.  Their “angels” should be allowed everywhere.  I resent them in fine restaurants, screaming and running wild.  Something my kids would never have been permited to do. 

    • avatar JCF4612 says:

      How presumptious to assume bridal couples want to, as you put it, “drop an extra $100” on a sitter to watch the kids. And where will this sitter be headquartered with these kids? In yet another room rented for the occasion. And will the kids be sneaking over to see mommy and daddy. What nonsense. No kids, means no kids. Leave them at home with your own sitter or family member, or stay home yourself.   
      A late thirty-something friend marrying for the first time recently had a problem with old school chums wanting to bring their kids so they could show them off at HER wedding. She held the line, and has had no regrets. It was a lovely evening, with no rug-rats disrupting the toasts or hogging the dance floor.    

      • avatar Ariana says:

        My close friends host at least 1 no-kids party a year because they never otherwise get to see their friends detached from their children. All the parents love it because they have a chance to relax at a party, have a few drinks and carry on a conversation for more than 2 minutes without being interrupted, or having to be careful because ‘little ears are listening’.

  10. avatar Ariana says:

    Whenever I read these letters about weddings, I start to favor the thought of destination wedding where we’re the only ones present. No one ever seems happy with the way weddings are put on, starting from the invitation list to the food.
    My brother had extended family members upset for planning an evening wedding, because it meant they would have to get a hotel room. They wanted him to change it so that they could make the 3 hour drive there and back in one day.
    I once attended one of the most tasteful weddings I’ve ever seen which was set at a castle. No wish was left wanting. People were fed non-stop expensive appetizers and champagne, live musicians strolling around playing violin, the bride and groom took time to speak to each guest personally and thank them for coming, there was a formal but short ceremony in the basilica, there was excellent sit-down dinner where you could choose between 4 different menus, not to mention any mixed drink you wanted from the fully-staffed bar…
    Yet the group we were sat with complained about the timing of the food, where they were seated in church, how they didn’t like some of the appetizers, they didn’t like the dance music, the cake wasn’t nice enough for them, they found the doves tacky… on and on. And it doesn’t even seem to be an isolated incident. No matter how much/little money you spend, all people seem interested in is criticizing.
    It makes me want to start a poll: Has anyone here actually attended a wedding that they _honestly_ enjoyed?

    • avatar mac13 says:

      Make mine a YES vote. And those I didn’t I at least knew to keep my mouth shut and smile.

      • avatar Ariana says:

        I have to ask – was it your own wedding you liked so much? ;-D
        That’s what I’m pondering – I’m not sure I see the point of throwing a wedding with all the trimmings which people just go to, smile politely and keep their mouth shut. And from my experience at other weddings, many seem to do just that. If it’s really ‘our day’ then maybe it’s better to ditch the guests and invest that money in a small ceremony with an awesome honeymoon… ah the decisions…  🙂

        • avatar mac13 says:

          Heavens no. My wedding was all about what the bride and my mother wanted. And they didn’t get along. As for the one I enjoyed, it was simple, tasteful, and elegeant. It felt like their main concern was that the guests were treated well and comfortable. The ones I haven’t liked were pretentious affairs and the guests were just there to be an audience for “the show”. Rather than yapping and complaining, I took the thought to each there own and was a good guest and smiled and kept my mouth shut. Who am I to judge what they want.

    • avatar bright eyes says:

      Ariana – I agree. A few years ago when I thought about getting married – I wanted to go somewhere and elope. No muss, no fuss and no Mother- Mother In Law squabbling over the dress, church, etc. I figured as long as the guy I married and I were there – that’s was good enough.
      I did enjoy one wedding- I was the maid of honor for my sister. It was a nice big church wedding with the whole families invited, I can’t remember if the only kids allowed were the ones in the wedding or if there were other kids – I was one of the only ones with a kid at the time. I had a great time and my kid (2) danced his tail off! He loved it!
      But he also got bored during the ceremony – Grandma forgot the toy bag I packed for him! Since I was maid of honor, I left him in the hands of our Mother. He got bored and was jumping off and on the brides’ train. He was so quiet that none of us noticed and Grandma grabbed him quickly enough, but everyone got a good chuckle. The bride was done being Bridezilla by the time of the ceremony, so she didn’t try to kill me when we found out (much, much later!)
      But there was a LOT of drama around planning the wedding. There were divorces on each side of the family (both his and hers) and there was a lot of – if your other parent shows up, I’m not going to! The Bride sat down each of them told them to stop whining, that everyone was showing up and whoever got out of hand would be the one kicked out. Of course there was a lot of drama before the wedding, but I think the whole thing turned out rather nicely.
      Now – I would never spend that kind of money for a wedding. Esp since I’m sure the drama from that wedding would spill over into any one that I would plan. As long as my kid shows up – I’m happy. Possibly my family also – but that’s about 6 people, so it still wouldn’t be a big deal.

    • avatar medussa says:

      I had a lot of fun at my 2nd wedding, and three years later I still get comments on it. It was Halloween, and not only were children welcome, but we encouraged everyone to attend in costume. Having the kids running around and showing off their costumes was half the entertainment. I understand that there are people out there that like to go the adult-only route, but it makes no sense to me. A wedding is the joining of families, and the beginning of a new one. I wouldn’t dream of excluding the youngest members of that family. To each their own, I suppose.

  11. avatar JCF4612 says:

    1) When a sweater, tank top, or whatever doesn’t fit, hand it back and say “thanks for the thought, but it doesn’t fit and I can’t return or exchange sale merchandise or items without tags.” Repeat as necessary, and maybe she’ll get the drift. With the other junk, get it rid of it at your next tag sale or give it to Goodwill. 
    I must tell you, however, that my closest friend and I make a habit of exchanging what we call “prezzes” that are gleaned from garage sales, auctions, etc. for pennies on the dollar in value. We have a ball surprising each other with outrageious stuff. I love my apron — who wears those anymore — emblazoned with pink rickrack that says “put on your big girl panties and deal with it.”  
    2) Thank heavens Margo is taking a hard line on such obnoxious inquiries from idiot guests. By all means, call these fools and lay it out exactly as Margo outlined. Frankly, I’d be tempted to add “If we wanted kids at this wedding, we would have invited them. We didn’t and we aren’t going to.”  

  12. avatar Jay Gentile says:

    Re LW#1: How about a simpler way of getting the message across? When the inevitable wrong size gift arrives, put it on in front of the giver. Let Miss Sales Gifter see that it doesn’t fit, and say something like “gosh, I wish I still wore this size.” Or “What a shame your money was wasted again because this can’t be returned or exchanged.”
    Of course, the most charitable thing would be to say nothing and know that a few times a year you get something to donate to a chartity thrift shop — for a tax deduction.

  13. avatar sdpooh says:

    Heres a real snarky way to handle the add on RSVP’s.  Call the offender and let them know that since they have added “X” number of people you will need “X dollars” to cover their meal and additional expenses.  If it is  a child, let them know the hourly rate and facilitiy rental for the baby sitter.  Tell them that the money needs to be sent and recieved by “X date” in order to insure that all expenses are paid.  Then offer them the option of not bringing the additional people.  LOL.  Betcha they pull back those names quickly.  Or if they are offended let them know they will be missed at the big event. 

  14. avatar JulMarieP says:

    LW#1 – While you can’t change the cheap part, the size part may be a misunderstanding on the giver’s part.  I also had an issue with a friend who kept giving me the wrong size of clothes and one day finally tried something on while she was there (because she gave it to me at the house instead of out).  She was shocked to find out it didn’t fit.  She thought I was two sizes smaller than I am!  Was flattered and it cleared up the size issue.  The style issue is still ongoing. 

  15. avatar D says:

    I am going to put most of the blame on the bride and groom for this one.  The letter did not specifically say that the invitation stated that children were not allowed wedding or reception, so I am going to assume that any potential guests did not know of the “no children” request.  Most of the guests probably assumed that their children would be allowed and put them on the wedding list.  If the married couple-to-be does not want children at the wedding/reception, they will have to contact everyone they sent an invtation to and let them know not to bring children and that no childcare will be provided.

    • avatar Ariana says:

      I’m surprised at your take on this. Check any wedding ettitqutte book and they will say that only the persons specifically mentioned on the invitation are invited. If these people really weren’t sure, a simple phone call would have cleared that up.
      I’ve even had people call up for a backyard BBQ at my house to make sure it was OK to bring their kids, so I’m not sure this didn’t occur to these people when everyone knows that a wedding is a much more costly and planned affair.
      Since then I’ve always made a point to add: You and your family are invited….

      • avatar JCF4612 says:

        D — I , too , am surprised by your take on this. When an invitation arrives for Mr. and Mrs. John Jones or
        Mary Smith and John Jones .or Mary Smith and guest,  just how is it that anybody other than a true clod would think that means it’s appropriate bring along their kids? 

  16. avatar writebythelake says:

    Regarding letter #2, and some guests’ assumptions that sitters will be provided at weddings and/or receptions:  When I was 22 years old and planning my own wedding  back in the late 1980s,  it was either an etiquette advice column or a wedding planning book that had some advice to the effect of:  “A thoughtful bride can keep the needs of parents of young children in mind by providing a babysitter to watch the children during the ceremony.”  It’s one of the many things connected to weddings that began as a creative idea or a nice detail, but evolved into an expectation. 

  17. avatar Kathy says:

    LW1- So, you want different gifts?  Get over yourself.  Just take them, say thank you and get on with your life. 
    LW2 – I never understand why people with small kids take on the expense and – well, nuissance – of traveling to a wedding.  Are they that desperate to get out?  Just RSVP with regrets, send a gift, and save the cost and headache you can do it without little ones who cannot be accommodated.  I never took my young kids to a wedding.  It’s no fun for the parents, and less fun for the kids.  (I was at a wedding two years ago and a little girl threw a loud, long fit during the ceremony.  The mom later said that it was just hard for the girl to sit that long, but she really, really wanted to dress her up for a wedding.)

    • avatar sdpooh says:

      Kathy, I think you hit the nail on the head.  The “It’s about me” people.  She thought it would be cute to dress up her kid for someone else’s wedding.  I betcha mommy kept saying “oh do be quiet darling and mommy will buy you a present”.  She is raising another generation of person who does not honor boundaries.  I equate them with the people who are invited to dinner, then dictate the menu.  Children get bored easiy and a parent should put the measurement of 1.  Will this event last longer than 10 minutes  2.  Will there be moments of silence requested  3.  Is it being held somewhere with no playground   4.  Is anyone at this event not related to you.   If any of these answers are yes, don’t bring your kid.

  18. avatar lauradarling says:

    LW2- It might just be my personality, but I invited all the lovely people with their children (rotten and otherwise) to share my happy day. I expected that if you have little ones then you should bring them. Heck, when I was getting ready I watched my little niece (my flower girl) and helped get her and her older brother (her escort) get ready. My niece even cried during the ceremony and ran all around after her cake, promptly falling asleep about an hour later. There is no way to not sound petty when asking you to leave your little ones at home in my opinion. I don’t have children, but I’ve never had an issue with little ones running around where ever we are. I am not a formal person at all though, I invited all my guests to wear jeans to the reception and since it was in June told them to be dress comfortably, not formally. It was a small wedding that I would’ve had smaller if I could redo and very casual and fun. I can’t imagine not inviting all the little ones in my life that I adore to help me celebrate.

  19. avatar E4rthmoth3r says:

    Re: Giftgiving. I always leave the tag on and give the real receipt sealed in an envelope. My gift was the time I spent thinking about the person while I shopped. Why try and hide that you spent $10…you spent an hour of your precious day:)