Melanie Reid writes in today's Times about wedding lists, calling them a "vulgar impertinence". What appears to have upset her is twofold: first of all the idea that people should 'ask' for presents and secondly some brides attitude to the demise of Wrapit (an online wedding list company who has recently gone into administration leaving a long line of brides sans presents and an even longer line of guests a the back of the queue of unsecured creditors).
I am not sure where people stand on wedding lists. One invitation I received had the wedding list information contained inside it, which as we were close friends I ignored it and bought 'off list'. I think we shall get round the problem by having some kind of wedding information website with all these kind of details there: we shall have a wedding list merely as a guide to people if they did wish to buy us a present and they weren't sure what we would like or need. Oh, and it won't be at John Lewis.
Not because, as Reid claims, "the joy of giving is finally extinguished, in my experience, by trawling the stuffy John Lewis website vainly trying to find an item on the list that fits one's budget and that stirs one's imagination in any way. One cannot see the gift; nor touch it; nor invest any emotion in it; one makes a choice based solely on financial value. You are merely a facilitator of a box that can now be ticked off". Because we would like some more unique things to add to our house and we feel the place that we have chosen for our gift list reflects us better. But in many ways we would rather that the guests, if they wish to give us a present, pick something of their choosing. The list is there for inspiration, ideas and as a back up.
And as for the bride "who tossed her hair like an angry pony and bemoaned the loss of £7,500 of goodies that had been pledged to her" or those who "seemed totally oblivious, these complacent young women, of the moral ambiguity of seeking gifts on such terms", I think it is rather harsh to speak of young women, newly married young women, in such a fashion. Yes, perhaps it is rather ungainly to fight for their right to have their presents, but in many ways they were only being realistic. People give presents at weddings; instead of remembering the guest every time you trip over something they bought you but weren't sure about, how nice for the guest to think that they bought something for the bride & groom that they actually wanted or needed. Even if they don't think of you personally every time they use it. Does Reid really think of each person who has ever bought her a present every time she uses it?
Image from Liberty.co.uk