I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but…

47423Wedding season is upon us and with it comes the wedding gift debate. Do you have a wedding gift list? Do you wing it and hope not to receive three toasters and an egg poacher. How do you sensitively ask for money instead? What about gift vouchers?

Once upon a time, the wedding gift debate was mine, and in my case certainly the question was how do you convince your new husband that spending your Marks and Spencer wedding gift vouchers on a dress rather than some saucepans is a perfectly reasonable request?

Help on this front came in the form of two of our wedding guests. These were two people that I hardly knew. My husband-to-be had been to the pub one night, probably drunk until he couldn’t remember his own name or who on earth he was marrying and promptly invited a bunch of people to our wedding claiming that they were his ‘friends’. To put this into perspective, this is the man who got in a temper and nearly missed his own wedding rehearsal for absolutely no reason. I now know him to have been suffering from a chronic condition known as ‘beingatosseritis’. Honestly, I can’t think why the marriage didn’t last. Anyway, I digress. The wedding went without a hitch. We were on a budget so it was a relatively low key affair with about 60 guests, but the sun shone and I managed to justly avoid the personae non gratae.

No-one gets married in order to receive wedding presents. Based on the average price of a wedding these days, £18,244 according to the Telegraph; you can skip the wedding, buy yourself a rotary toaster and employ an egg poaching breakfast chef for the eleven and a half years that the average British marriage lasts. However, there is a certain etiquette regarding wedding presents. If the bride and groom have a wedding list, buy something from it. If there is nothing on the wedding list that you want to buy, you can’t go wrong with a gift voucher from Marks and Spencer so the bride can buy a new dress a sensible grown up home store like Ikea or Debenhams and worst case scenario, if you are having a personal financial crisis, don’t buy a gift, just send a card with lovely words or buy something small and thoughtful.

Two of the pub guests obviously were unaware of this wedding present protocol, although, this was not clear at first. At the wedding, they presented us with a beautifully wrapped box. ‘How wonderful’, I thought, berating myself for giving my new husband a hard time. They were his friends, he wanted them there, they’d obviously been out and bought us something special to celebrate our big day and I was touched by this.

When we opened our wedding presents the day after the wedding, the pub guest present was one of the last gifts to be opened. We shook the box. It rattled. Bemused, we wondered what was inside. We ripped open the wrapping paper to reveal…

…A 500g box of Shredded Wheat.

And that’s the story of how I ended up with a very nice Marks and Spencer dress to wear on my honeymoon.

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