It’s called the 4 empty bedrooms + storage room at my parent’s house ;)

Belgian living in France here, it’s SUPER common, my sister had not the same people at Church (everyone got invited), “punch”, dinner and after party. Usually at “punch” your parents got to invite their friends, “give back invitations” (I HATE that part), dinner is family+close friends and after party is family+close friends+friends. Guess why I’m still not married.

            Everyone seemed to block Belle, so she couldn’t see what was happening outside, just hearing their reactions. They were just trying to protect her, but she was still craning her neck to see through them. The windows clouded over with a purple and green smoke, and Belle had to remind herself to breathe in, out, in, out…

            Belle was cut off by a distinct yell from Grumpy. “Look at the sky! Look at the sky!”

New buzzword? Because we could have whole threads about that concept. Sub-thread: People saying, “Oh, you’ll understand when you finally make all the decisions I’ve made.”

            “I can feel you,” she said quietly, using the sing-song voice she’d adopted whenever she addressed her daughter out loud. Belle ran her over her stomach, feeling the movement of the growing girl within her. “She’s, uh, happy I guess,” Belle said, smiling up at the group of people watching her.

Similar to what I’ve been trying to say, but you said it better. Perfect advice.

            “Each person will pick two slips of paper. They’ll each have a letter, and you have to use them to start a first and middle name, first names that come to mind. Belle will pick the winner, and they’ll get a highly valued gift card to the diner,” Granny said, the crowd making a low “ooh”ing sound of fake awe. “Who’s up first?”

            “Told you she wouldn’t notice,” Grumpy whispered, stepping towards Belle. “Hey, sister, let me take that plate for you.”

if you say, “Cake and punch”, I’ll expect cake and punch. If the invitations were explicitly for a ceremony and dancing, and you tell me that the dinner is family only? Totally cool, so long as I know!

Yeesh. Some people are going to judge no matter what. Liz as the right idea.

I have been on both sides, waiting to register for things and buying them myself…and I find buying things for myself way more empowering. I’m getting married for the second time this fall, and we still haven’t sorted out whether or not to insist on no gifts because we’ve got everything we need at this point and we’re pretty picky about our consumer habits. But we know people will want to give gifts. It’s a toss-up.

However, my SO comes from a tiny family, so at almost 30 years old, he still receives gifts from his aunts. Which, just sounds so crazy to me! But, I understand that I look at it from a different perspective.

Yep … you way under-invited for a gift-grab. You should have included at least a hundred out-of-towners just for the gifts! :)

That’s awkward. I can see how that would really sting, and I’m sorry that happened to you.

            Belle was sitting at the end of the table, and Nova reached into the basket eagerly. “Hmm - Tracy Zoo,” she said, nodding her head. “That way, if you ever want to take her to the zoo, she can just say her name and everyone will think she’s so smart.”

(Which isn’t a BETTER problem, just a different one. Less about the value of female accomplishments and more about there only being One Acceptable Way to live. It’s been a good long while since that was the norm, so who knows when gift-giving customs will catch up.)

Second weddings don’t deserve loved ones attending? She thinks you had a wedding is just to get gifts? Unbelievable!

Lol, if my fiancé had been able to have his way, that’s totally where we would have been! But I wanted to make sure our grandparents (who don’t fly) could come if they wanted. So Florida it is.

Looking at it from the other perspective I can see people doing this so that they can still celebrate with people they care about but just don’t have the space/money to invite for the actual ceremony or reception. BUT I feel like that rule flies out the window for an out of town wedding-it’s one thing to ask someone to cab downtown for an after party but a totally different beast to ask them to go out of town just to show up at the end of the night.

            “What’s everyone doing here?” Snow asked, looking around at the decorations. “Who’s having a baby?”

How do you get the message across that you want to celebrate with people without them thinking it’s about the gifts?

Should people expecting their second or third child have baby showers? Specifically, if the second child is of the same gender, should that family have a baby shower and expect gifts? Is there basic baby shower etiquette for families with multiple children?

My baking sheets live on top of my fridge, in case you have room there!

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Baby Shower present for my gran

            “The theme of the food doesn’t matter,” Belle said after taking a long sip. “It’s the thought that counts, really, that you all would do this for me-” she paused, suddenly feeling overwhelmed with gratitude.

Wow, really? Now I can’t imagine going to a wedding and paying for my own non-alcoholic drinks!

I am so sorry. That sounds painful and awful.

Your parent’s colleague you saw twice in your life invited your parents to their son’s wedding ? Then it’s considered rude if your parents don’t do the same at your wedding. I just can’t stand it even tough I understand the point.

What if some people can't afford to bring a gift but want to take part in a sharing your special day with you? Is their emotional support not good enough for you?

I was never prouder of my mom than when she just kept giving them all presents, because she did it to make my cousins happy, not for any kind of exchange. :)

It’s an invite not a summons. If they view it that way and are offended they are not required to attend.

I don’t think so. I think if you just don’t mention gifts at all it can be assumed that you aren’t necessarily expecting them and if people choose to give you a gift that is up to them.

The wedding was totally worth it for the look on my aunt’s face as I walked down the aisle, and my little brother’s speech, and the way my husband’s eyes lit up during his vows. And our wedding gifts are tremendously meaningful to me. But financially, it would have been easier to buy our own stuff.

Have you ever had to co-host a bridal shower or baby shower and wanted to kill the person you were planning with before the day of the shower even arrives? I have a friend who is about ready to kill her recent co-hostess, and after hearing the stories, I'm willing to help her bury the body and hide the evidence.

Yep, that’s fair. As a general rule, I accept that people get to have whatever kinds of weddings they want. And I also try to cut people A LOT of slack when they are planning their wedding, because I know it’s an emotional/financial/etiquette minefield, and that it’s ultimately not about my feelings anyway.

This generation's expectation of gifts is incredible to me. What ever happened to just getting together with people who are important in your life and celebrating your precious new arrival?

I third the Amazon wish list. My family always knows what to get each other, since we keep lists, whereas my husband’s family can come up with some random stuff.

            “It’s more than I could’ve asked for, Marco, it’s perfect-”

My husband and I were invited to something like that once, it was handled much more graciously, and it was really fun. There was a big group of guys who were teammates of the groom, and they couldn’t invite everyone to the ceremony and dinner. But inviting them all to the reception (safely after dinner was over), was a nice way to include folks but not pick and choose from the team. We brought a gift but didn’t feel obligated to, and we had a nice time.