Opening Gifts - tradition???

MarchWeddingSeptember 26, 2005

My fiance informed me that it is a tradition to open your wedding gifts with your family. I've never heard of that before. Does anyone know if that is true?? I was hoping that it would be a time just for us but I don't want to ruin a tradition/family tradition.

Thanks for any help.

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No tradition that I know of. It is hard enough to get them opened and thank you's written in a timely manner. Now to add the family to this makes it just too complicated.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 3:29PM
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It is a tradition in my family & in the part of the world I grew up in--it's sort of a "mini shower." My sister did it, and I did it. I've seen other folks do it. And all my relatives and guests expected it.

At least, it's traditional for the gifts that arrive AT the wedding. And, the gifts are displayed at the bride's home for wedding-day visitors to see.

If your fiancé's family is expecting this, bcs it's part of THEIR tradition, can't you go along with it? Bcs the gifts are from the larger community, so I can understand why people would think it was not a private "just us" sort of event.

Can you find a way to have both--having some gifts that you can open together, and some w/ the family? Maybe the two of you open the ones that arrive at home, and those that arrive at the wedding you open w/ family?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 4:25PM
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I wouldn't especially want to do this, either, but if it is a tradition in your fiance's family, I think it would be a mistake to refuse to go along with it. It's such a little thing! It's not as if they are insisting that you adopt their religion or something. Besides, most of the gifts will come some other time, and you will have those to open together.

[By the way, this raises another tradition that varies in communities. The etiquette "rule" is that guests send gifts before or after the wedding -- a rule that makes sense, in my opinion, because if they bring gifts to the wedding it just makes a nuisance for the hosts/couple to safeguard and transport them, especially on such a busy and distracting day. But it is clearly the custom in many communities.]

You have a lifetime of moments alone together -- that IS the point of the wedding for which you are receiving all these gifts, right? But a marriage isn't an extended date. It's combining two families to make a new family. You are joining his family (just as he is joining yours). Don't get off on a bad foot by showing contempt for their traditions, even if your family does things differently. It's evidently important to them. If there ever does come a day when you really cannot in good conscience do something important the way they expect you to, your having been agreeable now will help them understand that it is because it is something important to you, not that you are difficult or contrary.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 8:37PM
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In our area we open the wedding day gifts at the "after party". When the wedding/reception is over guests are invited back to the bride or grooms parents' home for coffee,tea, etc. Guests can change out of their wedding clothes get comfortable and mingle. That is when I opened any gifts that were brought to the reception. It was a more relaxing time to wind down talk longer to guests, get caught up on family members you haven't seen for a while. The gifts I opened were put with the previously receieved wedding gifts on display for all to see. I don't see the harm in opening gifts with the family around. It doesn't have to be a major event just open them thank the gift giver if they are there and put it on display with the others. Just make sure you get the thank you cards out in a timely fashion. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 8:20AM
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In my family, the couple opens gifts the morning after the wedding, usually at the bride's parents's home. Both families are invited.

I agree with Tally Sue and Gellchom - this is such a little thing that I'd just go along.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 8:36AM
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Is this gift opening expected to be at the reception??
What if she has a wedding with 250+ guests???
Even it's supposed to be the next day, isn't there the honeymoon to consider? Also, where I come from, most people give monetary gifts, are those supposed to be opened in front of family/guests too? Shouldn't that be a more private thing?

Just wondering how this all works? ~~ TIA katclaws

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 5:49PM
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In my area the gifts are either opened the morning after the wedding with both sets of parents, or if the couple are leaving immediately for their honeymoon, they open them after they return, often by themselves. If one or both sets of parents live out of town, it is nice to have the time together to open gifts the morning after the wedding.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2005 at 12:58AM
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I've seen the money opened in front of everybody too, at the reception, or in front of everybody at the after party. Most times they don't announce the monetary value of the gift.

In those instances, it was a small wedding, attended mostly by family and very close friends. It was almost like a birthday party in size and formality. So there weren't 150 presents to open--just 20 or so. And they weren't the world's most expensive presents--grandparents gave $100, cousins gave $20, friends spent $32, that sort of thing.

In the case of the morning-after party, well, of course the honeymoon TRIP doesn't begin until later that day. They arrange it however works for them. I've also known of people in the same neighborhood who didn't have an morning-after party or any sort of familial present-opening.

If it's a huge wedding w/ 250 guests, they haven't opened presents in front of the whole reception. Maybe they opened them the next morning w/ the parents, or maybe they opened them when they got home--either after the reception or after the trip. If it was after the trip, perhaps they invited parents over to make it more of a social event.

I wonder sometimes if that "social event" aspect makes them more comfortable--they don't feel as greedy, perhaps. (not that opening them by yourselves makes you greedy; just that perhaps some folks are self-conscious about being the recipient of so much generosity, and it dilutes it a bit to include in the event)

If it's not your family's tradition, why do you care how it works? It works whichever way is most convenient for the specific people and circumstances involved.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2005 at 12:47PM
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Sorry if I touched a nerve with you Talley Sue. That was not my intention.

I was wondering how things "work" because I used to live in Chicago and many traditions there are very different from MO. For example, there was a time when the bride's veil was removed and then an apron was put on her to symbolize that she was now a wife and no longer a bride. The apron had little baby "charms" etc. on it.

Another old tradtion was pinning money on the bride for a chance to dance with her. At a cousins wedding in the Upper Pennisula, MI once the banns were posted the whole town usually showed up without invitations being sent. Obviously, it was a very small town, but that was how it was done. And apparently doing the "Chicken Dance" was the norm. I had never even seen it before that.

Some traditions require a "groom's cake and/or a special sweet table set up. I've seen brides carrying a bag to hold envelopes and I've seen decorated mailboxes or wishing wells for monetary gifts.

Different traditions are sometimes based on old ethnic traditions.

Also, there are so many changes these days from back when I was married 25 yrs ago, so that is why I'm so interested to hear about what's new with weddings these days.
Actually, the last wedding we went to was back in July, but before that it's been 10 years!

We are the groom's parents and not really part of planning the wedding, but will be happy to help out if/when asked. I'm not quite sure what to expect, so I'm trying to get an idea of how things are done in different parts of the country and what's now in and what's out, what's new and innovative in weddings today.

I hope this explains my interest in how things work.

All the best ~~ katclaws

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 6:40PM
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