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Wedding Planning/Etiquette problem


My fiancÚ and I are getting married this year. He is older and this is his second marriage. I'm in my early 30's and it's my first marriage. We have been living together for over 3 years in our (fully stocked) home and are financially comfortable. Because of our situation, we are not wanting gifts and did not want to do any bridal showers. We told our family this many times, but after continued pressure I finally agreed to a bridal shower. Now I don't know what to do because we still aren't planning on registering anywhere and so my mom is suggesting that people can give "personal" gifts like certificates towards the hair/make-up, spa services, etc. I feel like as the shower and wedding get closer this issue is only going to continue coming up. Do you have any suggestions for brides/grooms that really don't need/want any gifts, especially housewares, but keep getting pressured about it?

Hi Lea,  Congratulations, first of all!   Now, on to the dilemma.  The easiest way to not get 'boxed' gifts is to not register; in my area, for the weddings at least, most people give checks.

For the shower? Well, people love to buy presents. You can register all over the place now, for things as diverse as chainsaws, canoes, or maybe just some things you'd like to replace; towels, throw pillows, that spoon that fell behind the stove and you never saw again.  

I'm personally not a fan of the gift card route, because it feels a lot like asking for money, which I have a feeling we both find distasteful. I am also not a fan of asking for donations, because very few people can agree on a charity, unless it's something kind of universal or particular to your group (like Sandy rescue).   BUT if they are insisting that you have a shower, (and trust me, I'm with you on this one too....)  maybe it could be a theme shower, like a wine tasting where everyone brings you a great bottle of wine, or a book shower.  The shower might be more of an experience for everyone than a gift giving opportunity; I went to a shower at a glass blowing studio. It rocked.

My best advice for avoiding multiple conversations about any aspect of the wedding that you feel pressured about is to have a nice, clear, firm conversation about it, make it clear that you've made up  your mind and not discuss it again.  This works wonders with issues like inviting children, limiting or eliminating the bar, and the ever popular, ever growing guest list choices.  

Good luck!

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Celia Milton


I can answer questions about wedding etiquette, wedding ceremony ideas, reception ideas, sticky situations....really, anything wedding. I cannot give specific legal advice, but I can connect couples with the correct information about state licensing.


After running a successful, upscale catering business for over 15 years, I went to seminary and then Celebrant USA to train as a wedding officiant and become ordained. I have personally officiated at over 700 weddings, and I now head a group of six other officiants. We have written and performed weddings and civil unions for mixed couples, non religious couples, and everyone in between. I am well versed in ethnic and cultural rituals, as well as creating new rituals for my couples that desire them.

American Association of Wedding Officiants New Jersey Wedding and Event Professionals

William Paterson University, BA, Philosophy, 2000 Union Theological in the City of New York, Masters of Divinity, 2003 Drew University at Madison, attended, 2002 Fordham University, Bronx, NY attended, 2003-2004 Celebrant USA, 2005-2006. Graduated in three disciplines

Awards and Honors
145 5 star reviews at Featured on TLC's "Four Weddings", Fox 5's "Good Day Street Talk", in "Contemporary Bride", "NJ Bride",and "201 Magazine" and "Four" "Wedding Wire Brides' Choice 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012", and "Best of the Knot 2011, 2012". Profiled on Sage Wedding Pros, Natalie Bradley's "Bride Attraction" and Small Business and So You're

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