Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To open, or not to open?

So after Saturday's post, I was horrified--out of embarrassment, not anger--to hear that Melissa (my best friend of 18 years/MOH) and her mom were a little upset that I had started opening the gifts that had been shipped prior to the shower. I feel terrible! I guess I didn't realize that it would be viewed by some as really crass, and although I know all the guests are expecting me to be surprised by what they've brought, I guess... well, I guess I was thinking I could successfully feign surprise. (Of course, many things will be from the registries, but the important part is the person who bought the gift.) At this point, though, I know I should "act surprised" when I open gifts, and fortunately I'm a decent actor. 

But in my defense, I *did* think it through before I began opening things. Here's my rationale:

  • When you receive wedding gifts prior to the wedding, etiquette dictates that you open them and write thank-you notes as they arrive. I know that this situation is different because a shower is basically thrown so that the bride can open gifts in front of everyone and be surprised, but I was able to get a head start on the thank-yous for the gifts that had large and visible "FROM" tags.
  • A few gifts didn't have those tags, and I decided to set aside the cards (marking on the envelope what the gift was) so that even though I knew I had received something from our registry, I didn't know who the gift was from. A little weird, I guess, but this way there's still some element of surprise.
  • Our house 1) was a mess before we started planning our wedding, 2) no longer has a visible wood stove because of my wedding-crap repository, and 3) couldn't even handle the three large boxes I waited several days to open, thinking I might be able to hold off opening the shower gifts that were starting to arrive. But given the excessive packaging companies use, I didn't have a fighting chance. We've already made one major trip to the recycling center with a carload of cardboard, and Tim alerted me today that another is impending.

Has anyone else had a shower like this, with an awkward gift-arrival purgatory? Or have you had a similar experience in any way? How did you handle it? If you're lurking and have an answer, ***please*** come out of the woodwork! I want to be absolved before... oh.... 6:30 CDT Tuesday.

Make that 6:25, so I can enjoy a signature drink.

8 comments:

Amy said...

Ooh ooh! Me me! I had 2 long-distance showers. Most of the guests shipped gifts before the event, like you. We opened them as we received them, for basically the same reasons you listed (though our reasoning was not nearly as well articulated!!). None of the guests seemed surprised or upset. I got a head start on my thank yous, and I heard through the grapevine that people were wowed by that :)

Have an amazing time at your shower, can't wait to hear all about it and see pictures!!!

Miss X said...

I have not had a long distance shower, however I did seem to catch a little flack from some relatives when I mentioned that I have already used some shower gifts (wedding is still 2 months away). Apparently all of my cousins waited until after their weddings. I, on the other hand find it a complete waste to use my crappy old iron when I have a good quality one (with vertical steaming function) in a box in the other room.

To each her own, I guess.

Guilty Secret said...

We don't have showers here (the idea of having a get-together just to open gifts being decidedly un-British!) and I still don't really get them... do people still give you gifts at the wedding? Do you have two registries? I'd love to understand this tradition better...

Terrica, the Jekyll Island Wedding Planner said...

You poor thing! Some etiquette and expectations are a bit antiquated, but still some people are "appalled" when someone goes against the norm. I guess none of them had to sit down after a wedding or honeymoon and write 200+ thank you notes.

Ms. 122 said...

oh man. i'm gonna take notes on this one...ask MOH before opening gifts. i agree that the etiquette thing is a little out-dated, but in this day and age, us brides need to de-stress and do what works best for our situations, but it's hard to balance all that with what others view as appropriate/inappropriate. :/

Blablover5 said...

We had only recieved on gift before our shower, but it was a vacuum that we seriously needed (it's amazing how much dirt a good vacuum can cut down on).

I just always viewed it as if you get a present the sooner you use it the more important it is to you. So you should view as someone opening up their gifts and using them as a sign that you picked well.

Kristin said...

Hi! I stumbled across your blog from Weddingbee. I am getting married at the Fontainebleau and using many of the same vendors as you (word of mouth, plenty of poises). Maybe we could chat about it in the future. Best of luck!

candy said...

i think its fine to open the gifts and you don't have to write so many thank yous at one time