Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this bonus wedding-themed episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about paying for weddings, scheduling mid-week ceremonies, skipping thank you notes, bringing your own food, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)
QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS:
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YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO...
Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton
Theme Music: Rob Paravonian
Nick: Hey, everybody, it's Nick Leighton.
Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema.
Nick: We're in New York today, and we got so many more questions about weddings that we have an extra wedding bonus episode.
Leah: [Singing] Extra wedding episode!
Nick: It's kinda like a second wedding. Do you have to give us a gift for a second wedding?
Leah: Good question!
Nick: Ooh! We'll talk about it in a minute.
Nick: Our first question, though, is: Who pays for a wedding?
Leah: I believe, historically...
Leah: ...it has been the father of the bride.
Leah: Because it was sort of a paying off of properties, I believe is what it was, right? They were-
Nick: [Laughing] Thank you so much for taking this off our hands!
Leah: They were investing in the next man who was going to take care of the daughter.
Nick: Right, right. So, yes-
Leah: I think that's where its historical roots came from. As we progress into a future-
Leah: -I believe that it's whoever can pay for the wedding.
Nick: Yeah, O think that is the fair way. But yes, historically, this is true. The bride's family would be responsible for basically everything related to the wedding. Then, the groom's family is responsible for basically everything thereon after. So, yeah, this is a little antiquated because, you know, finances these days ... I mean, who knows who's got money? Who has-
Leah: Well, also, women, you know, aren't property. [Laughing]
Nick: Yes, I guess we do need to state that. Yes.
Leah: I do, however, obviously respect a lot of people wanna participate in the traditions of marriage, and their- bride's family's gonna pay for the wedding, and the groom's family is gonna pay for the ... A lotta times, they pay for the dinner before.
Nick: Right, the rehearsal dinner, yeah.
Leah: Obviously, whatever you wanna do!
Nick: Yeah. If you have the money you spend, you wanna spend it, far be it from us to tell you you can't do it. But I think modern approach would be the couple starts and decides, "Okay, this is our budget for the wedding, and then, we go to our parents, or our relatives, or whoever it is, and we invite them to participate if they want. We can ask, 'How would you like to contribute to this wedding, if at all?'" Ask, do they want to pay X number of dollars for something, or do they wanna sponsor this aspect, or do they wanna bake the cake directly? I don't know. However they wanna contribute ... You could invite them to see what they're interested in doing and then, be gracious and thankful for whatever that is.
Leah: Yep. Also, I know a lot of families ... Outside of money, maybe the groom's family, or the bride's family, they wanted a piece of some sort of family history to be involved, so I think that conversation could be included in that.
Nick: Ah, yes. Because in these weddings, family members have things that they wanna see or things they want you to do. Just know, if you take someone's money, that rarely comes without strings. So, if somebody's gonna give some money for your wedding, they definitely get some input based on that money.
Leah: Good to have it up top.
Nick: for sure!
Leah: Have that conversation at the beginning!
Nick: Yeah. Miss Manners has a great quote. She says that getting married is not, "license to control other people's finances."
Nick: So, just because you're getting married doesn't mean anybody's obligated to pay for it. Keep that in mind.
Leah: That's a great quote.
Nick: So, our next question is: "Is it rude to have your wedding on a holiday, or on a Tuesday, or a destination wedding on a Friday, or a Sunday?" Mmmmm!
Nick: Is it rude? Well ... A little bit. Depends. I don't know. I have thoughts.
Leah: I have thoughts, as well. Do you wanna say your thoughts first?
Nick: Okay. I guess, at the end of the day, we want to have a wedding that is not gonna needlessly inconvenience our guests, right? We want as many people to be able to attend; we want to not add undue burden to them. The idea that we're having a destination wedding on a Tuesday ... Yes, this would require your guests to take more time off work than they would if the wedding was on a Saturday. So, I think that's just something to note.
Leah: Definitely something to note. I am a firm believer, at the same time, that it's your wedding.
Nick: [Giggling] Mm-hmm.
Leah: If you have a dream to get married on a Wednesday-
Nick: To have it on a Tuesday ... Okay.
Leah: -on some random occasion that means a lot to you or because perhaps you got the deal of a lifetime?
Nick: Yes, it will be cheaper.
Leah: I think live your dream. It's your wedding. However, know that it may put people out and make sure they know they are under no obligation to come because you knew- you picked an off day.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, own your choice. Yes, definitely own your choice if you have made this choice, yes.
Leah: That's why I would say I don't think it's rude. I only would think it was rude if you picked an off day for people and then, you didn't [inaudible] understand why they couldn't make it.
Nick: Yes, or you picked an off day knowing that it was gonna whittle down your guest list, purposefully; like, you're doing it because you're trying to get people to not RSVP.
Nick: Which is very strategic.
Leah: Very strategic! I wouldn't even have thought of that.
Nick: Relatedly, I was looking at the cost of weddings because a lot of people do pick these sort of less-prime-time dates because it is a lot cheaper. I mean, the most popular day, I think, is Saturday.
Nick: Followed by Sunday, and Friday. So, yeah, if you really want this great venue, but it's much cheaper on a Tuesday, I get that. But I was looking at the average prices for weddings. In the New York area, the average price is $40,000 and then, the lowest cost I saw for a metro area was $25,000, in Tampa.
Leah: Oh, my goodness.
Nick: Then, everybody was in the middle. So, for a four-hour event, this is like $6,000 an hour. This is a lot of money!
Leah: That's just to rent the space.
Nick: Well, no, no, this is, I think, for the total cost of your wedding.
Leah: Oh, total cost, okay.
Nick: I mean ... A $40,000 venue? That's very nice, yes!
Leah: I mean ... Well, you said New York. That's why ... I was a cater-waiter. I have seen some things!
Nick: Oh, in New York City, you could absolutely have a venue that will cost you $40,000 for your wedding.
Nick: This exists, yes. The only other thing I was thinking of- why a like Monday night would be fine is if all your friends work in theater and that's the night the show is dark. That would be a reason why we would do a Monday night.
Leah: Yeah. That's why I always feel sort of, not sensitive, but fine with this question because I know so many people who have alternative working schedules.
Leah: So, weekends are their work days.
Nick: Right. Then, I guess, on holidays, which is sort of related, like if you got married on New Year's Day, or New Year's Eve ... I guess New Year's Eve is actually kind of a popular wedding time. You're forcing your guests to sort of make that their New Year's Eve, which could be fine. I mean, I'm not a huge New Year's Eve person, so I'd be happy to go to your wedding on New Year's Eve-
Leah: I'm not either!
Nick: -but some people ... [Giggling] Oh, we have something! Okay. Add that to the list. But, I guess, you know, if some people have real New Year's Eve things, like, "Oh, I always go to the Met Gala," or, "I always have my own New Year's Eve party," then, I would not be able to attend your wedding because I already have New Year's Eve plans.
Leah: This was a thing you said last time that I thought was so great, I'm gonna repeat it here.
Leah: To reach out to the close people that you really want to have at your wedding-
Nick: Yes, yes!
Leah: -and to say, "I really wanna have you at my wedding. I was thinking about doing it this day. Is this an inconvenience for you?"
Nick: Yeah. Send out a Doodle. Yeah, definitely making sure your VIPs can attend whatever date you're thinking about? Yes, this is key. It goes back to that idea of, yeah, work backwards. Start with your list and then, determine the wedding that works for that rather than start with your dream wedding and then, figuring out what list fits into the dream wedding.
Leah: I think you just have an open conversation with people.
Nick: Yeah, and I think most people would probably tell you, if you can afford it, a weekend would probably be more convenient.
Nick: So, our next question-
Leah: Except for me. I'm happy to go on a Wednesday.
Nick: Well, you're very accommodating, yes. It's one of your finer qualities.
Nick: [Giggling] Our next question is: "I have a question about being a bridesmaid. I'm feeling ripped off. I was asked to be a bridesmaid for a friend, and I said yes. These days, brides usually ask their girlfriends to be bridesmaids with a cute gift box. Most brides spend at least $10 on the gift. Usually, it's a gift box that has a cute glass that says 'Bridesmaid,' or it's a candle, bath bomb, or something like that; or some people do a couple things that the bridesmaids can wear at the bachelorette party, like a T-shirt, or flip-flops. I received a box of candy that was worth exactly $8.50. There were no shipping costs since it was delivered in person. I'm spending a lot of money on her wedding ... $300 wedding dress, plus alterations; gift for the shower; gift to the wedding; another $300 for the bachelorette party; $600 for the hotel. This girl is from a wealthy family, and it's gonna be a very nice wedding. So, here are the questions. How much is the polite, or proper amount to spend on a gift for your bridesmaids? I'm spending an outrageous sum, and I feel like it isn't being reciprocated. Is it wrong to feel that way? Should I have the attitude that the gift is being in the wedding? Is it wrong for me to not give as much for a shower and wedding gift because I'm already spending over $1,000 on this wedding? I usually spend a hundred bucks on a wedding present, but I feel that is too much, now, considering everything else I'm paying for. Lastly, am I just being high maintenance? I want to say I'm self-aware, and I know this is petty, but I truly feel like more could have been done for the bridesmaid's gift." Wow. Okay ... [Sighing]
Leah: Can I come in up top with something emotional?
Nick: Leah's raising her hand ... Yes, Leah. Yes!
Leah: This is not a how-to response, but this was my immediate reaction, especially to the, "Am I being petty?"
Leah: Or, "I know it's petty," is what she said.
Nick: Yes. "Am I being high maintenance?" I guess is the question.
Leah: "Am I being high maintenance? Is this petty?" I think that in any relationship you have in your life, when you start to notice things that bother you that make you feel "petty," it's because you're feeling unappreciated-
Leah: -and slightly taken advantage of.
Nick: Yeah, and the word 'underappreciated,' I wrote that down, too. That is the feeling that we basically are getting from this question because, I mean, come on ... Would the difference of $1.50 and how much she spent on this gift move the needle for you? Would we have been fine with that $10 gift? Was it the $8.50 that pushed you over the edge? I mean, I don't think so.
Leah: No, she's feeling unappreciated.
Nick: Yes, yes.
Leah: And I think you're allowed to feel unappreciated.
Nick: Your feelings are valid, yes. That is your truth. I think that's totally fine to feel that way. I feel like that when we're keeping score, though, this is a tricky thing in a friendship.
Leah: Oh, that's why I was saying, like, when you start keeping score?
Nick: Yeah ...
Leah: That's the perfect way to say it ... That's when you say, "I'm not a person who likes to keep score." It's gonna be ... I'm just gonna note that I feel unappreciated. Then, all of these things, it's not those little things, it's that it's amounting into feeling unappreciated. Then, what do I do with that feeling unappreciated?
Leah: It's not like, "You spent $8.50 instead of $10." It's this overall ...
Nick: I mean, there was no shipping cost. [Laughing]
Leah: She walked it over! She's counting gas!
Nick: Yeah. Well, I think, in general, the feeling of not being appreciated by a bride? Very common.
Nick: This feeling of, "Oh, I'm doing a lot for this wedding - I'm wearing a dress I don't wanna wear; I'm spending all this money - and I feel like I'm not getting my money's worth out of this experience ...," this is very common ...
Leah: Or even a proper response.
Nick: Yeah, like, "I'm not seeing as much gratitude from the bride as I want." Yeah. Unfortunately, this is very common. I think brides out there, it would be very nice if you made an effort to constantly reinforce to your bridal party how much you appreciate everything that they're doing, even if it feels over the top, because I feel like bridesmaids need to hear that.
Leah: Yeah, absolutely!
Nick: What do we do for our letter-writer? Because it's not about ... These questions, they're a red herring. I mean, it's not about how much you spend on a bridesmaid's gift because I don't believe it's either $8.50 or $10.
Leah: No, but I do think that one question is does she have to spend a lot on her gift? You can answer that.
Nick: Definitely not.
Leah: Yeah, definitely not.
Nick: No, and as we've established, the ideal wedding gift has nothing to do with the relationship to the cost of the wedding, itself. It's whatever you think will please them, and it's whatever is in your budget, and that is fine. That is all that is required.
Leah: You've already bought a dress, so-
Nick: You've definitely already bought a dress, and you're doing the bachelorette party; you're doing all the other things. So, I think a token wedding gift is totally acceptable.
Nick: How much to spend? Yeah, it's whatever is in your budget.
Leah: Do you think they should ... I guess there's no mentioning, "I feel unappreciated," during someone's wedding.
Nick: I mean, that goes beyond the world of etiquette. The world of etiquette would say just let it go. Suck it up and don't bring it up because no good will come of that during the wedding.
Leah: No, and definitely ... One would wait, like three months down the road. Do you get a nice card in the mail, saying, "Thank you so much for being a bridesmaid?"
Nick: Oh, I definitely expect this bride to send handwritten notes of thanks. Absolutely. Yes. I think, if the wedding happens, and three months later, you're still feeling this way - like the dust hasn't settled on this - then, yeah, I think you would take your friend aside and be like, "Hey, I'm still feeling bothered by this thing that happened ..." and have it out.
Leah: Yeah, wait.
Nick: But I think until we kind of get through this period because everybody's stressed out. Let's have a little empathy for the bride. I'm sure she's-
Leah: At all ends.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, just be thankful you got a gift at all, I guess.
Nick: Okay, so our next question: "I live in Utah, and wedding receptions are usually open house format, where guests come, stand in a long reception line, greet the couple, leave a gift, maybehave a cup of punch - always nonalcoholic - and there's almost never food, and leave. Anyone with any connection to the couple assumes they're invited. In fact, we were warned by the event coordinator at the venue we selected for my daughter's wedding not to place an announcement in the newspaper or post specifics of the date and time on social media because random people will just show up. She told me some horror stories about people bringing along their house guests and relatives saying, 'We knew you wouldn't mind.' Who does that? Well, word has gotten around about my daughter's upcoming nuptials, and I received a phone call from a neighbor wanting to know the details because they want to come. I barely even know this woman, and my daughter doesn't know her at all. I tried to politely tell her that the guest list is limited, and only family and close friends are invited. She was very insulted and told me that I just don't understand how things are done here. That may be so, but the venue is small, and we're having a very nice plated dinner, open bar. Frankly, I don't like how 'things are done here.' Does that make me a snob? I'm anticipating more phone calls of this nature. Any advice?"
Leah: I also wanna say real quick that I talked to some of my friends who live in Utah-
Nick: Yeah, I did some follow-up receipt on this, too. What do you got?
Leah: They hadn't experienced this.
Nick: Yes. My research suggests that this is actually not how things are done in Utah. I think what we're kind of hinting at is that these are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Leah: Well, the people I talked to are Mormons.
Nick: Right, although the Mormons, I think, prefer to not be referred to as Mormons. I think they preferred- they don't-
Leah: I'm genuinely repeating what was said to me from Mormons who call themselves Mormons.
Nick: Okay. Right. I was looking into that, too, because I wanted to use the correct terminology. They prefer to be referred to, I guess, as members of the Church. They would shorthand it as the Church, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They don't love LDS, or, I guess, being referred to as Mormon. You can refer to it as the Book of Mormon, but I think they don't prefer the term Mormonism. I'll let any Mormons in our audience weigh in about how we should refer to this. Be that as it may, I did look into it. Yeah, this is not how the church does weddings and members of the church do weddings in Utah. I think these are just rude people in your town. It has nothing to do with how things are done in Utah.
Leah: Yeah. That was also my research; what I came up with.
Nick: Yes [Giggling] Okay, so we have two sources.
Leah: But I do think if maybe you're in a certain area? I don't wanna not believe this person's experience. So, you're in a certain area where this is how it's done-
Nick: Okay. Right.
Leah: We'll just say that.
Nick: I mean, it could just be a small-town thing.
Nick: I could see this just happening in any small town in America.
Leah: Yeah. This is this town just does it this way.
Leah: I think you could then have your dinner because you're saying it's a plated dinner, blah-blah-blah ... People call. You say, "Oh, this is a plated dinner." Then, if you wanted to follow the rules of this town for positive things going forward, you could say, "Oh, but we're gonna have a nice open house welcoming to the community on Wednesday at 5:00." Then, set out some hors d'oeuvres, and then have that be the open-house event.
Nick: Totally. Yes, I think that is perfect. Yes. I think we wanna do the thing that we do in this community, and this doesn't even seem like a heavy lift. The open house is brief; doesn't have to go on all night; you don't have to serve alcohol; you barely even need to serve food, apparently. I think, you know, some nibbles is totally acceptable. People don't stay that long, I don't think. So, I think it'd be very easy to do something nice and keep nice relations with the neighborhood, and I think, then, you're done.
Leah: Yeah, I think that's a perfect solution.
Leah: I wanna add on to something said previously that just popped into my head-
Leah: RE: the perfect solution ... About the bride- the bridesmaid?
Leah: I'd like to- you know, my brain works in mysterious ways.
Nick: Yes. Very circular.
Leah: I wouldn't say circular. I'd say, "Ooop, BOOM!" Out, and then back.
Nick: It's more like a Slinky is what I would say.
Leah: On what you were saying, I also do think it's a great idea to give the bride the benefit of the doubt during her times of getting- because there's so much going on. We don't know what's going on at her end. She may surprise you.
Nick: Oh ... I don't think we're gonna have any surprises from this bride [Giggling]
Leah: I don't know. I'd like to think that; I'd like to think that.
Nick: I don't think there's gonna be-
Leah: That's why I think the three-month thing, you know what I mean? Maybe later on down the line ...
Nick: Yes. I would like to think that our bride in question one would step up, show the gratitude that our letter-writer is seeking and craving, and, at the end of all of this, our letter-writer will feel good about her efforts and that they were recognized. I think that would be very nice if that were to happen.
Leah: Just putting that out into the universe.
Nick: Yeah. I don't know if that's gonna happen, but, uh, we can dream [Giggling] Then, for our friend in Utah, I feel like we've given them a great answer, which is I don't know how typical this really is. Then, just go along with the open-house idea.
Leah: And tell people, when they call about the other one, "Oh, that's a plated dinner. It's a small ... Here's the other option." Ba-boom, done.
Nick: Yeah. So, our next question: "I recently attended a wedding where the bride and groom had a sign near the gift table. The sign read, 'Thank you to our friends and family. We truly appreciate your presence on this special occasion. As we begin our lives together, after much thought and consideration, we have chosen a special way to say thanks. Instead of mailed thank yous, a donation will be made in honor of the bride's late father to an organization of the couples choosing.' Is this wrong?" Leah, is this wrong?
Leah: You know, previously I said-
Leah: -if you wanna get married on a Wednesday-
Leah: -at 1:00-
Leah: -live your dream.
Leah: I'm not gonna say it's rude.
Leah: SO, the word "wrong" also falls into this category for me.
Nick: Oh, interesting!
Leah: I don't wanna say what somebody else wants to do, living their life, is wrong. Obviously-
Nick: I mean, this whole show is about telling people what's wrong, though [Laughing]
Leah: No, not what's wrong. No, I think that it's somebody is wedding. You know what I mean? Obviously, we wouldn't do this.
Nick: Oh, yes! I would certainly not do this, yes!
Leah: I would always write a thank you note.
Leah: You can mail a thank you note, and make a donation.
Nick: Yeah, yeah. Here's what bothers me about this. A couple ... Well, so much bothers me about this. I need to take a moment to [crosstalk]
Leah: I knew it would. That's why I was like why don't we just let you handle it?
Nick: [Giggling] So, I mean ... If the idea is that we want to save money, or the idea is the money we would have spent on the cards and the postage, we are now directing to this charity ... If that's what we're saying, the amount of money that you were spending on cards and postage for this wedding - maybe $100; maybe $200 - cards and postage for 100 guests, not a lot of money. So, we're not saving money by doing this. What it sounds like is we're using this as an excuse for why we don't wanna bother doing this thing and spending time on this tradition of sending thank you notes.
Leah: You know what? I read it differently.
Nick: How did you read this?
Leah: Now, that I read ... I read it that they would make a separate donation for each person in their name, do you know what I mean?
Nick: Oh, they might have, yes.
Leah: You would get an email- you would get a letter saying, "Thank you, Nick, for your donation to-"
Nick: This charity that I didn't choose. Uh-huh.
Leah: "-this charity." So, they would be making a separate donation for every person.
Nick: I see.
Leah: Then, they would get, obviously, a thank you note with that. But I wasn't reading that they were doing one lump sum and doing it as a-
Nick: Oh ... No, no. No, no, this is in lieu of a thank you note.
Leah: My misreading.
Nick: Well, I mean, that is the charitable interpretation of this question. However, in digging into this deeper, the idea that people would do the donation to charity in lieu of thank you notes? Not uncommon. Apparently, this is a thing! I was totally unaware.
Leah: Yeah, I was totally unaware.
Nick: So, in some online forum, I went down ... I felt like I was in the darkest, most awful parts of the internet on this forum.
Nick: Somebody said, "What are you gonna do with a thank you card when you get it? Read it, and throw it away? That's money down the drain. Instead, pick a charity." So, that is missing the point of the thank you note. Someone else said, "I like this idea. When I get thank you cards in the mail, I don't even read them. It's a waste of time for that person and money." What do you do with that?
Leah: I would love to have a dinner ... Not where I'm at. I'm just watching you at dinner with those two people [Giggling]
Nick: I would be very polite. I would not convince them that they are bad people. I would just let it go. We would talk about weather. Um, yeah ... You know, if that's your attitude, then I have nothing for you. If we don't understand why thank you notes are important, why they're the lubricant that makes society function, why we just don't think it's important, well, then it's not important. Then, okay, fine. That's where we're at with that. But I think the idea that we are actively choosing not to acknowledge the generosity of your guests and making a donation to something that has nothing to do with your guests, uh, I don't know. I just don't love anything about this.
Leah: I mean, the donation may have to do with a greater world-
Nick: The greater world?
Leah: Charitable reading. The world's greater good.
Nick: Um, okay ... Yeah. I mean, it's possible.
Leah: You know me and the charitable reads.
Nick: [Giggling] Yeah. So, I think, is it wrong? Yeah. I'm prepared to give you a hard yes on that. This is wrong.
Leah: Hm. Okay!
Nick: You shouldn't do it! I think there's really never an occasion where it's acceptable to not send a thank you note for a wedding gift.
Leah: You know, it just also takes me a long time to process these things. I didn't even know they were happening.
Nick: Yeah. I feel like your charitable read is because it is so inconceivable. [Giggling]
Leah: Well, it's just like one isn't related to the other in any way.
Nick: No, it's basically I don't wanna send you a thank you note, but I'm gonna pretend that I'm doing something nice. So, I'm just gonna make this lump donation to some charity that you don't know about, and that'll be your thank you note.
Leah: I think they were trying to find a way to recognize- here's my charitable read, again-
Leah: They're trying to find a way to include and recognize the bride's late father, which, I appreciate that.
Nick: Which I love. That's a great detail. I feel like that's a thing that should happen at the ceremony. Absolutely.
Leah: So, I feel like that was happening here and then something went awry after it.
Nick: Because, also, here's a practical reason why we send thank you notes - that lets me know that you've received my gift.
Nick: If I sent you the glassware set from Crate and Barrel through the mail, and I never get a thank you note, I don't know.
Leah: Well, I would know, then, if I got an email from Blankety Blank Organization saying thank you, that you got it.
Nick: I mean, would you? I don't know, unless that Blankety Blank e-mail also says thanks for the glassware, I don't know.
Nick: So, speaking of gifts, our next question is: "How often in a person's lifetime can they reasonably expect someone to give a wedding gift? My sister is getting married for the fifth time next year and always does an extensive registry. Am I the rude one if I don't get her another wedding gift?" Fifth wedding? Okay ...
Nick: Okay. So, love is love, but Miss Manners says that you only have to give a wedding gift for the first wedding.
Nick: So, you are off the hook for wedding number two and forward.
Nick: So, that's the official Miss Manners. I think I like that idea, and I feel like, officially, that is probably the correct answer, but can you imagine being invited to a wedding and not giving a wedding gift? I mean, even if it's a fifth wedding, that feels pretty ballsy!
Leah: Well, it's a family member.
Nick: I think, doesn't matter. I mean, if you're invited to a wedding ceremony, I feel like this would be like, "Nope, this was your fifth wedding. I'm not bringing the gift."
Nick: I think it would be very provocative to not [crosstalk]
Leah: Oh, it's definitely provocative.
Nick: Right? So, I think this is one of those times when I think I might disagree with Miss Manners on this one.
Leah: I think you could ... You're saying she does an extensive registry. I think you could ... If you bought her the flat screen the first time out ...
Nick: Okay [Giggling] I mean, you never have to go on the registry in the first place. So, just top line, registries are optional. You are always welcome to go off registry. I typically always go off registry. So, you're welcome to do that. You could just do a token gift, which may be one-fifth the size of the first wedding gift you gave.
Leah: Yeah, that seems-
Nick: But I think to show up empty handed, like no gift whatsoever? I don't think you can do that.
Leah: You wouldn't show up empty handed to a house party. You know what I mean? So, think of it as a house party. You're going to a house party-
Leah: Bring your plate of hummus.
Nick: Okay. [Giggling] Is that what you're bringing to my house party? Our next question is: "Can you bring your own food and beverage to the rehearsal dinner or reception? The vegan and vegetarian options are always awful and cold, and can you trust that it's tree-nut-, and gluten-free? What does one do?" Oh ... I was actually looking into this. There is this Facebook rant about some woman who brought all this Tupperware to a wedding reception and started unfolding all of these containers at the dinner table in front of all the guests. So, I think this is the thing that happens.
Leah: I giggled the whole way through the question because that is the visual I get.
Nick: Yeah, yeah. Uh, I don't think you can do that. What do you think?
Leah: I think that you shouldn't [crosstalk] and I do understand that people with food restrictions, maybe the food that's brought to you, you're unsure about in some way. I think you can not eat it. You don't have to make a show of it, and then you eat-
Nick: Yeah, let's not make a scene!
Leah: Yeah, don't make a scene of it, and maybe have a little snack that you have ... You don't wanna get low blood sugar or whatever; you wanna keep your health up.
Leah: You may have food allergies that you're genuinely worried about.
Nick: Yeah. I think, in general, the hazards of the catering at a wedding are kinda the similar hazards of just dining out in a restaurant. So, you know [crosstalk]
Leah: This person may never dine out. You know what I mean?
Nick: Oh, okay ...
Leah: Some people have very strict ... In which case, I think, don't eat it, but don't bring a meal that you unveil from your bag!
Nick: Right, yeah. I think, generally, for meals of this sort, you will be invited to volunteer if you have any dietary restrictions that the hosts need to know about. So, you do probably have the opportunity to say, "Oh, these are things that are important for me, for my meal."
Nick: Part of the question, though, is just that, often, the food is not that good or that it's cold.
Leah: Yeah, just-
Nick: For that, if it's not a safety, health ... You actually just can't eat the thing, or you are vegan, and you don't eat this thing just because-
Leah: Yeah, just hang in there for two hours. You know what I mean?
Nick: Yeah, just because the eggplant is cold? I mean, c'mon!
Nick: I will say, though, at big banquets, if I'm invited to one of those 1,000-person banquet-award things, or something like that, I actually go out of my way to order the vegetarian meal because it is typically the better meal.
Leah: Oh, yeah!
Nick: I always have much better luck with the pasta, or the vegetable plate, than with the rubber chicken, or the overcooked steak.
Leah: It's because the timing - as the previous cater-waiter-
Leah: The timing on meats for large groups of people, for the temperature, is very hard to nail.
Nick: Yeah, yeah, you're never gonna get it.
Leah: You just can't get it for that many people.
Nick: Even on an airplane, I always get the vegetarian meal, just because ...
Leah: Oh, man, when are we talking about? When are we getting meals on airplanes? [Laughing]
Nick: You know, in the Before Times.
Leah: In the late '80s, I always ordered-
Nick: Yeah, I was flying- when I was flying AirCal ... So, yeah, I think you should not bring your own food. I think you should just eat before; plan on eating afterwards; bring some gorp in your purse. I think that's fine.
Leah: Anytime you can work gorp into a conversation and into your purse, as a Mainer, I'm down!
Nick: [Giggling] Okay. Our next question is: "A friend was originally planning to get married in mid-May; due to social-distancing precautions, they are having a very small ceremony on the planned date, but they are having reception to follow a year later. Would it be more appropriate to send them the gift now or at the reception since everyone will be congregating then?" Okay, good question. Feels very topical.
Leah: It's a very great question. I also think that this is one of those circumstances where you can just ask the couple, "Hey, this happened ... When would you like your gift?" It may be easier for them to get it at a certain point. Maybe they're moving-
Nick: What? No!
Nick: What?! [crosstalk]
Leah: -have a conversation, "When do you want ... I was gonna send it to you now, but would you rather people wait until your reception?"
Nick: What? No! That makes no sense. Just send them the gift.
Leah: Why doesn't that make sense?
Nick: Well, send it now, send it later ... Is it less convenient now than later? Unless they're moving.
Leah: Yeah, but maybe this person wants to show up with a gift to celebrate their marriage!
Nick: I think you would send the gift ... Now ... Yeah, just commemorate it now. You can't- you shouldn't actually wait until the reception, because if you wait a year, they're gonna think you didn't get them a gift.
Nick: Yeah, but you think you would be inconvenienced, or you would wanna know?
Leah: Oh, I wouldn't be inconvenienced. I just thought- for some reason, my feeling from this was the letter-writer was feeling like they should bring it to the reception. So, if you're worried about that, then I think you can just ask.
Nick: Okay. Yeah, I mean, I guess asking us this question at all, I guess, suggests-
Leah: Because, otherwise, just send it now.
Nick: Right, yeah, we would just send it now.
Leah: But if you feel for some reason that that's what you were supposed to do because of the information given to you-
Leah: -and you're confused, then just to ask. It's not rude to ask.
Nick: But they make this question sound like they're gonna be bringing the gift to the reception, and then, like a shower, we're gonna all open the gifts in front of everybody, which is like not a thing that we do for wedding gifts. But it sounds like, oh, we're gonna all sit around and unwrap these things together.
Leah: Right. That's why I feel like you could just ask because that's not-
Nick: Okay, yeah. Ask, "Why are you doing that? That's weird."
Nick: Don't do that! No, I would say you should send the wedding gift now and then, if you felt like you wanted to commemorate the wedding again, a year from now, then you could do something very token later on. But I think the main wedding gift would happen now.
Nick: Because, as a married person, if I did not get something and a year had gone by, I would, in the back of my mind, be like, "Oh, I wonder if they're gonna get me a gift?" So, you just take that out of the equation.
Leah: All right.
Nick: Okay. Well, these were great questions. We have lots more wedding questions, but we'll just sprinkle them along our normal episodes as we go along. We don't want to overwhelm anybody.
Leah: We'll just cake-topper them through-
Nick: Okay, yeah, let's put it in the freezer for a year.
Nick: So, if you have questions for us, we'll say "I do" to them.
Leah: [Squealing] Oh, I love it!
Nick: [Giggling] That's a little forced.
Leah: No, it was great.
Nick: But if you do have questions-
Leah: I wasn't ready. It was really ... I was delighted.
Nick: If you have questions, please send them to us. We would like to hear them. They can be about weddings, or not weddings, or anything else. Send them to us through our website, wereyouraisedbywolves.com, or you can leave a voicemail; (267) CALL-RBW (267-225-5729); you can send us a text message ... We'll see you next time!