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Is this too awkward?

Posted by fatlester (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 12, 04 at 14:55

I'd like some feedback. Invitations are just out to dd's wedding. I'm starting to get questions about where they are registered.

My dd and her fiance have registered only at Williams Sonoma and Restoration Hardware and for very few things. They actually prefer to have friends donate to two favorite charities and also would love it if people gave them trees to be planted on the grounds of their home where the wedding will take place in Aug.

The store registries and the charities are no problem. But the trees are trickier. There is a landscaper's list of trees and shrubs at a variety of prices and they need a lot of them. But the landscaper cannot field or handle the gifts.

Would it seem too odd to create a private tree registry for this? I could see that as a web album with photos and the number of each tree they would need and price -- just like the web registry at Williams Sonoma or at Restoration Hardware.

The delicate part is suggesting how to direct the gift. Would it seem too awkward to suggest that tree gifts be directed to the landscaper -- we'd give the name in each photo caption -- and sent c/o of the mother of the bride or the mother of the groom, or to the couple directly?

Friends are beginning to contact me asking where they are registered and this is on the theory that charity or a tree is nicer than a pot or a pan or a towel. But it is delicate.

This info would be provided only in response to queries.

Opinions please and any suggestions of gracious wording for this also would be appreciated.

Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is this too awkward?

When my MIL was married, we got her a gift certificate for a local nusery. We went there, found the price of an apple tree, and got a gift certificate for that amount. We then let her choose the exact tree. She also had control over the timing of the purchace and therefore the timing for the planting.

Perhaps just suggegsting gift certificates from a local nursery for the new landscaping would work. That way too you don't have to worry if August is a good time to plant trees and shrubs in your area.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

They've picked out the landscaper they want to work with and he will put in the trees whenever. The issue is how to direct those gifts gracefully since the landscaper cannot do the accounting and does not have gift certificates.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

It seems to me that you are asking for people to give money towards trees. Is this correct? That seems to be the case, since the landscaper does not want people directed to him/her and does not have gift certificates. If you have a way of creating a website where people can select the plant/amount they would like to give and funnel the money (process credit cards) then it would work, but it just seems a tad complicated. You could set up a simple wedding website and have a registry section - links to William-Sonoma and Restoration Hardware, to charities, and the trees.

BTW, it is a little rude to suggest how a guest ought to spend money. It is the guest's choice on how to spend his or her money. Registries are only suggestions if a guest needs help. If someone calls you for suggestions you can direct them to the choices you outlined above. If you wanted to faciliate the tree idea, then you could provide gift cards with photos of trees and tell your family and friends they can give the gift of a tree/plant. If they choose to give a tree/plant they could use one of your gift cards - just an idea.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

As I said above, "this info would only be provided in response to queries."

Obviously, no one is trying to suggest anything. They basically do not need anything. But it's quite a big wedding and people are asking.

People ask where they are registered. Again, I'm trying to provide a graceful means for people to give them a tree, in a kind of registry format, should they choose to do so.

Suggestions on that is all I'm looking for.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

I thnk perhaps the private tree registery you suggested would likely be the way to go. Creating the website wouldn't be much of a trick. The hardest part will be to process the orders. However, I suspect you can contract that sort of work out.

A simpler solution would be to just let people know that all cash gifts will go toward the landscaping, and simply forgo the idea of people choosing the plants themselves.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

I am stumped on a gracious way to do this, honestly. The gardener in me loves the idea of a tree/plant registry. How cool if you could associate each tree and shrub with a particular relative or friend! But the landscaper won't do it. And any other way I can think of just ends up being a fund toward purchase of trees, which frankly isn't all that different from a fund toward a down payment on a house or a vacation or whatever, and not even all that far from just asking for cash. Same for charities. I wouldn't put links to any companies' or organizations' sites.

The most important thing is what you already stressed you are doing: ONLY telling people ANYTHING if they ASK. I think what I would do if I were you were to tell them the places that they have registered, and then add, "and the only other thing I know is that they are saving up for a lot of landscaping that they want to do, and their favorite charities are the XYZ Fund and the ABC Foundation -- they really don't need too many things, and I know they would love a donation in their honor." Then people will know that they can send a check with a note suggesting they use it for the landscaping or send a check to a charity in their names (which will then notify the couple of the gift).


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RE: Is this too awkward?

A cousin who asked what they want started this whole thing.

They don't basically want or need anything. She didn't have any gifts at her shower.

Gellchom -- I like your suggestion about just say these are the charities and here is the info on that. They are registered here and here and they also want trees.

I thought about creating a web album for the trees on a photo site but it still smacks of asking for something. Then there's the sticky thing of how those gifts are done because they can't just send checks to the landscapers.

But even my mother, who's a big stickler for etiquette, thinks the tree idea is lovely and I think it's what they want most after the donations to the charities.

She couldn't care less about pots or pans or towels.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

I think if YOU create and manage the web site, that it's not too bad an idea at all. But maybe it's more work than you need--what if you just sneak a copy of the list of plants, and offer to send it to anyone who expresses interest in it.

Then people can perhaps pick the plant they most wish to be associated with (peonies, that's me!), and write a check for whatever amount works. Sure, they might get six people giving them checks earmarked for the three peony bushes they want, but the givers don't really need to know, do they?

A sort of "a bunch of us want to do this *for them*; if you want to join, that'd be great!" tactic--if it doesn't stem from the bride, it can be as indulgent as you like. It's not like people don't have options.

The bride and groom can't suggest gifts for themselves quite so directly (though I'm a fan of most store registries). But a bridesmaid or even I think a mom who is directly asked, can say, "well, I know they need trees for their new place, and their landscaper has them picked out, but they can't afford to buy them from him all at once. So I don't tell the bride, but I snuck a copy of the list--I can send it to you, if you want. Her best friend is drawing a picture of the bush she wants to give--she has dibs on the forsythia--and include it in an envelope with a check. I know they also have strong feelings for XYZ and ABC charities, and they've said that donations there in their name would be greatly appreciated. They don't need that much, really. Of course, if you have your own great idea, that would be very touching for them, I think."

ooh, wouldn't it be fun if you could get everyone who was giving a tree to include some sort of *creative* tree w/ the money? Like a pipe cleaner maple, a pen-and-ink drawing of an acorn, a silk forsythia w/ the check for a forsythia bush, a jar of mulberry jam for the mulberry bush, a crayon-on-paper sketch of a hawthorne, three pressed pin-oak leaves in a small box ..

I think people respond well to the "someone else is going to do this cool thing, and I'm doing a variation on it" sort of suggestion. They've got company.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

There are a ton of great nurseries that do have online ordering. Possibly they could get their landscaper to use one? Then they could do a regular online registry and avoid all this hassle.

Do they know where the landscaper is getting his plants? Maybe the wholesaler could do registries or gift certificates. A lot of wholesale nurseries also do retail anyways and would be set up for that.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

I just wanted to reiterate:

If people ask you, TELL THEM. Even if it's not some fancy website you set up, tell them.

If they ask, they want to know.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

I didn't mean to imply that registries or any of the things that you were thinking of doing were rude...I was wrote that to clarify the difference of giving people options if they asked for help and suggesting gifts to people in general. I just wouldn't want people to think that a gift from the created registries were not as wanted or appreciated as donations to a charity or the trees.

I think a website would be very helpful. I also think the idea of creating a paper catalog that you could send to people who asked would also work very well. I think the trees are a great idea.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

Autumn -- Again I would never, ever suggest without being asked. A rather insensitive friend of ours did that with her step daughters baby shower -- actually gave the registry on a save-the-date email and requested that everyone bring a book to donate! I was really aghast and thought it was unbelievably rude. She also pasted the registry info in the invitation -- unasked!!

I think i was reacting to that in my concern about the trees.

Just an update. They've veto'd the album thing -- it smacks too much of asking for things which, ironically, is the last thing they want! I can't disagree.

Talley Sue -- Thank you. I think you may have hit on the method.

But do you think it's gauche for me to send a list of trees with prices to people who express interest in that?

I actually have such a list. For examples, they need/want 10 hydrangea bushes. Those are $54 each. Some would give 1, some might get together and give one etc. Some of the trees are $250 but groups could do that if people wanted.

And I could say, someone is just going to make a drawing of the hydrangea and send that to them, isn't that sweet? Then if they ask how they purchase the tree, would it be rude of me to say something like: the name of the landscaper is such and such and you can't send it directly to them. I'll facilitate sending the gift for you or maybe it's just easy to send it to the bride and groom with your note or photo or whatever? They really want the gift of your presence at their wedding, not things.

There's also the charities and 3 registries so it's not like I'm asking for anything for them. At first they weren't registering at all -- she's still against it. His mom thought it was a good idea, and I agree, so he organized it.

How does that sound?

Anita -- They have a lot of landscaping to do and have a super landscaper who's also doll. They want to work with him on an ongoing basis so they don't want to go elsewhere. I've met him and I don't blame them.

But I thank you all because you've really given me other windows on the thing. It's a goodie but a toughie.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

Since they have three registries and two charities (5), and will also be saying they don't want anything (6), and a lot of people give money (7) or things not from the registry(8), and it sounds like it will be a pain in the butt to get the plant information to guests who do decide that, out of the NINE options available to them, they want to give trees - it seems like it might just be worth it to register for some of their plants with an online nursery, then give them to the landscaper to use. He can't possibly get upset about that, since he really can't handle the registry himself, and it will likely be only a small fraction of the plants they'll be purchasing from him.

Seems like that would be the best way for them to get the plants they want, and can't hurt their relationship with their landscaper. I doubt that many people will buy them plants if they have to go through you to do it - just too complicated. But it sounds like plants are something they truly want, so they should make it convenient for people who want to purchase them.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

fatlester:
I think you are trying to plan too much! I wouldn't start with drawings of hydrangeas or sending price lists or anything like that. It's just getting a little too detailed and directing for what I can tell you (let alone the couple) want. Just let the guests figure out how to do it. If they want more detailed information, like prices or the name of the landscaper, they will ask you (or the couple). If not, let it go. The worst thing is that they will send cash, or buy from a different nursery, or just buy something else altogether. But so what? I can tell you are concerned about anything that could be considered grasping in the least, so I would let it go at that. As one poster once wrote here, recipients of generosity should not be trying to direct the form that that generosity takes (something like that, only better). That goes for their close relatives, too. I know it's kind of silly, as both giver and recipient would love a perfect match of gift and desire, but in the end I think you will all be happier if you don't try so hard to be so specific. I mean, some people would like to have negotiable securities as gifts -- you wouldn't give guests their broker's name, though, would you?

I think you will be safest if you just sort of let this go. So what if they get a vase instead of a rhododendron? You certainly don't want to catch it from your daughter over some plant!

May this be the toughest problem you all ever have!


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RE: Is this too awkward?

Gellchom -- Exactly what I did -- you are so correct.

Two relatives called and asked what to get them and I just mentioned the charities as that was easiest way, mentioned the trees in passing and mentioned the registries.

Let everyone do what they want, or not. I'm not getting involved in anything more specific.

She is very tense and so is he as they are only a few weeks away and I think the usual pressure is starting to build. Any small thing sets her off.

I even realphabetized the RSVPs by first names, as she wanted, and didn't tell her I thought it was totally bollax since everyone has 2 names. Let her hunt through her lists.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

fatlester, I hope someday to achieve your level of serenity and self-control! I would have found it hard to restrain myself over that RSVP list. But it really doesn't matter, does it? And you kept the peace. Thanks for a valuable lesson. I will remember your example!


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RE: Is this too awkward?

perhaps registry info w/ save-the-date cards is too soon, but I personally am not offended by registry info in a SHOWER invitation. That's what a shower is FOR, to give gifts.

I've never construed registry info as saying other gifts aren't welcome, though I do know someone who genuinely did.

I think if someone asks you for gift ideas, you don't need to worry about appearing to be grasping.

And the cool thing about that conversation being between guest and MOB is that the MOB can simply say all these things are HER ideas, and the giftee doesn't look greedy or grasping at all.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

I'm not OFFENDED by registry info, but I still would not include it in any invitation, even a shower. To me, it still seems a little too much like anticipating and trying to direct generosity, in place of the polite fiction that it never crossed our minds that the people we are inviting might want to express their feelings tangibly!

People often feel that sending unrequested registry info is a convenience to their guests. But that logic can get you into real trouble if you take it too far -- after all, wouldn't it be MOST convenient for the guests if you just to tell them to send you cash?

I agree that a shower is the closest case -- as Talley Sue correctly points out, the very fact that it IS a shower is a direction to buy SOME gift. But in my opinion, it should stop there, rather than to go on to suggest WHAT gifts. At the most, a theme to a shower suggests a category of gifts.

I think it is always safest to stick to the old rule: never distribute or mention any registry information or other hints about gifts until someone specifically asks. People invited to showers can ask about registry info/preferences the same as when they are invited to a wedding -- or for that matter, anything else. A birthday party is another occasion at which gifts are usually given (as are parties for a graduation, bar mitzvah, anniversary, etc.) -- but I don't think any of us would reason that therefore it is okay to include the birthday person's "wish list" (that's what a registry is, after all) in a birthday party invitation.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

Gellchom -- I had the same impulse as you on the rsvp list but I got a lecture recently about how I was saying too much. The fiance's mom has 4 marrieds and is very seasoned at being laid back to the point of doing nothing.

Oddly the fiance's mother suggested registering (my suggestion of same was met with 'im not interested in that, I don't want any gifts) in self defense so they didn't get stuff that was hideous (after 4 other weddings she probably knows what her side sends).

DD refused so he was in charge of that. And then when I checked the registry before sending to to one of my husband's cousins who called to ask what they wanted, everything was taken except 2 cookie sheets. So why was I sending it?

That's when I raised what else was there and the whole thing got too complicated.

She does listen and ask so I am trying to save my commentary for the times she asks. OTOH, sometimes my responses are met with "that's old fashioned, people my age..." True, but people of my generation get offended by things that younger people take for granted. The queries I'm getting are from DHs family and I don't want to have any problems there either. They are a tart bunch in the best of circumstances.

Part of my reaction to this whole thing has to do with that baby shower invitation. I was completely offended by the way everyone was instructed about where to buy the gifts by the stepmother of the father-to-be --another couple hardly in need. I would have bought a generous gift anyway, as I did -- just maybe a gigantic stuffed animal that sits in the corner of a room instead of 2 carseats (twins).

The world is changing. I am trying to learn.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

if sending out a baby registry card w/ the shower invite means you were prevented from buying a gigantic sutffed animals that sits in the corner of the room, then I say:

SEND THE REGISTRY CARD W/ THE INVITE!

If I'd been given that animal, I'd have cried! If that's the sort of present they were afraid of getting, no wonder they felt the need to protect themselves by suggesting some other ideas.


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RE: Is this too awkward?

Or...don't have a shower. Have some other kind of shower, like a recipe shower or something, or an entirely different kind of party altogether, or forget it.

No one should have to be afraid of presents! (Talley Sue, you made me smile with that image, as well as that of new parents buried under giant toys and weeping.) But I still think that if fear of getting unwanted presents is a problem, the solution is just not to have a shower at all, not to present a wish list with the invitation or make any other attempt to direct generosity.

As you see, fatlester was, in her words, "completely offended" and "really aghast and thought it was unbelievably rude" when the hosts of that baby shower included registry information with a save-the-date card and with the invitation. Not everyone has that reaction, but as you see, many people do. So if you don't want to take the risk that some of your guests are in the latter group, play it safe and don't ever send, or let anyone else send, unsolicited registry info.


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