Dear Amy: The son of a friend is getting married in March.
He and his fiancee have lived together for several years.
Both are 30-ish and employed.
They are planning an expensive wedding, followed by an expensive honeymoon to Thailand, and have established a registry asking for funding for their honeymoon or future home.
As we are not interested in contributing to these expenses, would it be appropriate to make a contribution to a charity in honor of their nuptials?
Under the circumstances, we plan to save our money by declining the wedding invitation, afraid that a kitty jar might be passed to pay for the ceremony. — Perplexed
Dear Perplexed: If this couple registered for a slow cooker from Crate and Barrel, would you decline to give it to them, believing that because they are employed and living together — they don’t actually deserve to receive something specifically because they’ve asked for it?
My point is that the idea behind registries has always been to try to give the couple something that they actually want and will use.
Even though you balk at the idea of contributing money to a prosperous couple, in some cultures, after a wedding — regardless of the social status of the couple — people place money in an envelope and hand it directly to the bride, who places the envelope in a special purse. Others use “money trees” on their gift table, and some guests pin cash onto a metal tree for the couple to use to defray expenses.
Less-obvious requests for cash are honeymoon registries (or even so-called “cash” registries), which have become quite popular. My favorite registries involve specific items you can purchase for the couple to enjoy while on their honeymoon trip, such as, “Zip-lining through the rain forest” or “an afternoon of surfing.”
Using one of these registries, I contributed for a honeymooning couple to have coffee and croissants at a cafe during their trip to Paris. They sent me a postcard from their trip, thanking me for the gift and completing the circle. Nice!
Just because a registry is set up, a guest is not obligated to use it.
In fact, because you intend to skip this wedding, you are not obligated to give the couple anything at all.
However, you can pat yourself on the back, because contributing to a worthy nonprofit is always a good idea, even if your motivation to do so is more passive-aggressive than generous.
Dear Amy: My siblings found out through an email from their nephew (my son) that I am going to be a grandmother.
I was away at the time, having just found out myself.
They all emailed their nephew to offer congratulations.
It is now four days later and not one of them has contacted me to congratulate me about the fact that I am going to be a grandmother.
We otherwise have regular communication.
Am I being over-sensitive, or are they being insensitive? — Soon-to-be Grandmother
Dear Grandmother: I think you are being over-sensitive. Your siblings might have believed that your son was going to share his news with you in a special way. Because you were away at the time, they might not have wanted to hop onto this news, just in case you hadn’t been told yet.
Or, they may have simply been focused on responding to the person who shared this news with them — your son.
Now that you are going to enter the special-status category of “grandparent,” you should take stock of your own needs, sensitivities, and relationships.
Being a grandparent is a grand opportunity to become more expansive and generous, and please, less sensitive.
If you are excited, say so! Contact your siblings, saying, “I think you’ve already heard the good news! I’m really excited. Our newest family member is due this summer.” This will give them the opportunity to respond directly to you. For your sake, I hope your siblings give you what you want.
Dear Amy: In a recent column, you replied to a question from “Desperate,” a medical student who was torn between her desire to live a small-town life, and her longtime boyfriend’s need to live in a big city.
In your list of metropolitan areas that seem to offer the benefits of both big-city life and proximity to beautiful nature, you mentioned my town of Portland, Oregon.
Sure — we appreciate the shout-out, but please don’t send any more people here, Amy. We’re all full-up. — Happy in Portland
Dear Happy: And your response is ... full-on Portlandish.