Dear Married Friends,
I owe you an apology. I realize it only now that I'm getting married as well, but it seems I messed up when it came to some of your gifts. No, not that I gave you one -- some people think that's not even necessary, but you didn't tell me not to and I probably would have ignored you anyway. The mistake, instead, is that I disregarded your directions. You and your now-spouse laid out exactly what you wanted, down to the last spatula, and I took the items on your list as mere suggestions.
For so many years and for so many weddings, I went off registry. I decided that because I like Michael Aram, surely you must like Michael Aram, too. I decided this despite the fact that you made it abundantly clear that you preferred Kate Spade or Jonathan Adler. It's like you asked me to get you a chocolate ice cream and I came back with pistachio. Because pistachio is so good, you know? And how could you not be jazzed about pistachio? I sure would be.
There are oh-so-many occasions when we are invited to events and think, "I have absolutely no idea what to get this person." And so we ask if there's anything special that person has been wanting and we hear something like, "Oh, I haven't even thought about it." A wedding is not one of these occasions. The engaged couple has put quite a bit of thought into it. They tell us loud and clear, "THIS IS THE BAGEL GUILLOTINE WE WANT." By this they do not mean "...but a loaf pan would be cool too." Or, "That other bagel guillotine is fine. Whatever. We don't care." Even if they really don't care, why not just give them what they want?
At this point, my fiancé and I have spent hours wandering around the sixth floor of Bloomingdale's. We have carried around that scan gun on our multiple visits, occasionally scanning each other because it's really funny and has not yet gotten old. We have weighed our options for china that we won't use for years, and we have had discussions about whether the silver nut bowl from one collection will go with the copper ice bucket from another. We are not the best decision makers, but somehow we have slowly pieced together a lineup that we both really like. (I know he really likes it because I have asked him repeatedly, "Do you really like this? Are you sure you really like it?" He says he is sure.)
Now, Married Friends, I will admit that I am not 100 percent contrite about this matter. There are times when I went off registry and I stand by my decision. In some cases, I got there too late and your list was already picked over, and I couldn't bring myself to put together a hodgepodge gift of, say, a measuring cup, one cookie sheet and a hand towel. In others, I wanted to find a present that would stand out from the usual suspects, something you would find meaningful and keep for years to come. I know I ran the risk that it wouldn't fit your needs or taste, but I'm hoping I wasn't totally off base.
I worry that our own wedding guests will read this and think I'm all "do not disrespect the registry." That is not my intent. I understand that the registry is not the final word in gift giving and that strict adherence to it would leave out the possibility of something really special. We have received beautiful engagement presents that are already on display in our living room and we will forever associate with the people who gave them to us. And we are grateful for these types of surprises.
What I do regret, though -- and I regret this as much as I regret declining the free chocolate chip cookie offered when I signed up for my own registry -- is that I made somewhat arbitrary substitutions when I bought some of you gifts. I looked at what you picked out and then chose an equivalent item that I thought was maybe a little better, something that I would want in my home, even though it was obviously for yours. Or I didn't think about the fact that you probably wanted a full set of wine glasses and you would actually appreciate it if I bought you two of them. As a result, despite what you said in your thank-you note, you probably ended up returning my gift only to get what you asked for initially.
I understand now that registries exist for a reason. Sorry for the pistachio.
Your Newly Enlightened Friend,
Follow Lori Fradkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lorifradkin