Dear Uncommon Courtesy,
One of our wedding guests wanted to bring a +1 to the wedding. Initially we said no, but the guest then got us multiple nice gifts off our registry (Le Creuset, Lenox crystal…). Should we now say “yes”?
Almost at Venue Capacity
First of all, your guest is being extremely rude in requesting a +1 to your wedding. Never ever should a guest ask the host if they can bring someone to a formal event such as a wedding. We have established this. As to the gifts, it’s obviously rude to bribe someone to get them to do something you want them to do. Since this is so obviously rude, you should just assume the best and take the gifts as a simple sign of generosity.
Victoria: So this invitation bribery question…
Jaya: Yeah. Oy.
Jaya: Though I mean really, fuck no you don’t have to invite anyone, right?
Victoria: Yeah, of course. I mean, there’s actually nothing more to say than that, except discussing feelings about it.
Jaya: Hahaha yeah. I can see where the guilt comes from, absolutely. If a stranger gets you a crystal vase worth hundreds of dollars, a nicely worded thank you note seems a little lame in return.
Victoria: Haha, a little bit!
Jaya: (My thank you notes are worth a million crystal vases.)
Victoria: Gifts have DEFINITELY gotten out of hand, but I also get it for older people who are all excited about young love and are feeling a bit flush and really are just very generous.
Jaya: Yeah, that can make sense. And that is what everyone should assume is the motive, because that should be the motive!
Victoria: Yep! And in like 90% of cases it probably is.
Jaya: I’m sure there are some sneaky people out there who think they can buy their way into a good party, but not many.
Victoria: Maybe the guest is even buying extra nice gifts to make up for their rudeness in asking! Best case scenarios!
Jaya: Yeah, and in general people need to consider their relationship to the couple. If you’re their best friend, go ahead and get them a nice gift. If you went to high school with the groom’s mom and keep in touch with her but haven’t seen her son since he was in grade school? A gift is probably not necessary, and will probably just make them feel uncomfortable and pressured to invite you.
Victoria: I think the only thing you can really do in this instance is accept the gift in the spirit of generosity in which it was offered and send a nice thank you note immediately. That’s it. What a mess.
Jaya: Yes. Write them a thank you note, figure out a way to use/return the gift, and if it’s a secret ploy for an invitation, that’s their problem, not yours.
Victoria: When in doubt, write a thank you note.