It should have been a question that filled us with delight and anticipation, but when our friends started to ask us what they could get us as wedding gifts, both Mark’s and my face dropped. “A new salad bowl? Some dishtowels? A set of steak knives?”
You see, we are so rich. And I don’t mean the kind of rich that you might be thinking, with three houses, five cars, and money to burn. Not that kind. But we’re so rich with love and family. And we’re especially rich with stuff. STUFF.
This was the second marriage for both of us, and when we came together to blend families, we looked around and realized we had at least two of everything. Two sets of frying pans, two sets of camping gear, two toasters. Two sons and two… no, wait… THREE daughters. See! We had some to spare! We pared down most things to just one (but kept all the kids), and still our garage and storage areas were bountifully full.
Hmmmm…. Could we get away with being stern about our “no gifts” policy? We gave it some thought and decided that either people might think we’re grouchy and not grateful, or they would haul off and get us yet another set of pillowcases (we have 68 pillowcases… no joke) that we really don’t need. We had to find a way to redirect our guests to something that we could feel good about receiving.
That’s where our SoKind registry came in. We brainstormed with the kids about activities that the whole family could feel good about (donations to causes we care about, passes to the local pool so we could all splash around on a hot day, home-cooked meals to give the kids a break from my weird dinners) and a few lovely indulgences for our honeymoon like a massage or bicycle rental or hotel room view upgrade. Since we didn’t know where or when we would be able to go on our honeymoon, the “credits” to apply toward our romance at a later date were perfect.
It couldn’t have fit our personalities more! We customized our registry to the hilt with a background, funny descriptions, goofy family photos, and creative requests for gifts. The kids showed it to their friends, proud that our family wasn’t asking for fine china, but instead for donations to specific charities.
Then, at our picnic-in-the-park wedding reception, as Mark and I were having a friendly hula hoop competition (I won) and eating our body weight in BBQ and cornbread, we overheard our friends saying: “Did you see their registry??!! It’s HILARIOUS! Here. I have it on my phone, I can show you.” We were delighted and flattered to hear people raving about how creative and fun and thoughtful it was that we put our own spin on the wedding gift tradition.
And I’m pleased to report that (aside from a cheese grater that stands two feet tall. What is THAT????), we received the most delightful “gifts.” A piece of artwork made by a friend who had just traveled to Thailand and brought back materials to make a collage, a rum cake, a coupon for a couple’s massage, movie tickets, and many more thoughtful gestures. We didn’t get any more STUFF to clutter up our garage!!!
Now if only we could find a great way to upcycle all of the DIY pretties (most were used to begin with) that we used to make our wedding “us.” Well… that’s a project for another day!
Photography by Joni Bilderbach