Bride Elect (Evolution of a Bridezilla)
Chapter Thirty-Four—They Won’t Stop Giving Us Gifts
Early on in our engagement, one of my cousins offered his advice regarding wedding planning. It was his opinion, based on his experience, that even with small weddings, you could still send out a bunch of invitations, honour the “cap” on the head count, and get a bunch a gifts to boot! He reasoned that all the people you invited, who you know wouldn’t be able to make it in the first place, would send a gift in addition to their regrets. If it weren’t for his wife’s mildly panicked expression, I would have totally thought my cousin was just trying to finagle an invite to the wedding.
Whatever his intentions, my cousin missed the mark with me. I wasn’t in the market to get presents. In fact, truth be told, the whole prospect of people foisting gifts upon us had me mildly panicked. I told my cousin as much—we really didn’t want gifts. He didn’t get it. He couldn’t fathom a world where couples getting married didn’t want or need gifts. I couldn’t fathom a person who knew me my whole life couldn’t fathom me not wanting any gifts. We were confused.
As time marched on, I just filed my confusion along with all the life’s mysteries that baffle me—I filed it right after “why do men have nipples?” Suffice to say my mental filing system is not heavily reliant on alphabetization. We did what we could to abate those determined to give gifts. I figured we had addressed the bulk of it. Yeah….right.
After all the pre-wedding celebrations there is a bit of satiated lull. People reflect back fondly on the parties, how lovely the bride and/or couple looked, and how nice the world is. Then as the clock ticks closer and closer to the wedding date, people feel a certain compulsion to start shopping again—for wedding gifts. I know I have been one of those people, and I also have it on very good, visceral, authority that karma is not just a bitch, she’s a bitch with sharp and pointy fangs—if need be.
Karma found me—at least in this instance. Of all acts of karmic justice, being ‘schooled’ by karma for being generous in times of wedded bliss is not so horrible—just a little hard to take in. It started with the wonderful family friend who organized the host-less Bridal luncheon. She had printed up some photos from the event, and wanted to share them with me. I thought, “oh! photos—nice!” Never did I think, she would be bringing anything other than some photographs in, perhaps, a photo album.
Thinking can be over-rated in times such as these. This lady showed up with a photo album for me, photos for my maid of honour, photos for my sister, photos for my brother, photos for my mom, and three wrapped presents for Palucid and I to open once we are married. My cat was surprised, not to mention a little disappointed, there were no gifts for him. (I ripped the ribbons off the presents and let him maul them with his mouth—he likes that).
My sister is someone who has a knack for finding the “perfect something” when gift giving. It doesn’t matter if it is a “just because” trinket, a birthday present, or any special occasion gift. Growing up it was not unheard of for my sister to find the coolest little pocket sized toy. She was the one who bought me my first smurf way back in the eighties (the first time they hit the North American toy market by storm). As I grew up, and as she had children of her own, obviously she had good reason to slow down on buying me little trinkets, and cool pocket sized toys. However, my pending nuptials was making my sister awfully nostalgic.
On Father’s Day, approximately a month before our wedding, my sister pulled me aside to tell me she got me “a little something”. I thought that was strange, especially considering she rarely buys me anything for Father’s Day. My sister has a thing for hoodies, and pullovers, and she managed to find a hoodie that said “Bride” in bling on the back—complete with matching panties. It was cute, and definitely not something I would buy myself. Before I could say “thank you”, my sister was rummaging in her shopping bag—she wasn’t done. In her hands were three smurfs: a bride smurf, groom smurf, and a bridesmaid smurf.
Despite my recent forays in Canadian Tire ™ I still teared up like a total girl. For a moment I was seven years old again. How apropos—just the other day my mom and I were wondering how we might decorate the bride’s cake, and now here I was with a smurf wedding party in my hands. Well, once I got dug out my Papa smurf and found a groomsman smurf, I would have a full smurf wedding party. My bride’s cake was going to be… “smurfy”!
My sister was delighted—she hit another home run in the gift giving department. Moreover, she would have the proud distinction of being the one who provided cake toppers for both the bride and groom cakes at our wedding banquet.
As for my “issues” regarding presents, any whining I did fell on deaf ears. One friend kindly put: there’s only three weeks or so—just roll with it, you’ll be fine! She was right, we had much to celebrate, and with too many presents or with none at all it didn’t matter: we had no control over how people chose to celebrate. Conversely, we were in control over our special day regardless of the gift givers.