I really want to hear what you have to say on this, because recently we were invited to a few weddings where the grooms and brides were in their 30s (or very late 20s), had successful careers and maybe even their own homes.
I got married when I was 25, still living off my junky college furniture or even free furniture we got from near the dumpster, and, for many in their early- to mid-twenties, you’re in the same boat. You have junky dining utensils, plates, etc., small appliances, towels, etc., especially if you’re a guy. In my opinion, married life generally is the main impetus for getting rid of the junk and bringing in nicer replacements in part as an upgrade but also most definitely as a bonding exercise with your mate. When my wife and I picked our dining room furniture together (a set we stained ourselves), it was a momentous occasion and we still love what we chose. It was a lot better than the folding table I had in college!
But now I’m in my early/mid 30’s and so are most of our friends. And some of those friends are just getting married now (I’m not even going to bring up gifts for 2nd/3rd marriages!). They’re ecstatic about getting married and expect to go through the same process as many of us did 5-10 years ago. However, they’re in a much different place in their lives and I think they should have different expectations.
Should “older adults” register for wedding gifts?
Granted, some of you had your lives in order when you were 15, but from what I’ve observed, you don’t start hitting your stride in the professional world until around age 25-27. That’s when you start getting better tastes for design, electronics, appliances, and in general want to “nest” and make a place your own. Again, just my observation and your experience WILL vary.
But when you hit 30, society thinks you should start settling down in your career because you’ve had almost a decade out of college to figure out what the heck you should be doing with your life. You’ve had a decade+ to find a soulmate, and a decade to get situated where you live to the point of having a support network of friends and colleagues. Some of us are late bloomers and don’t find “the one” until long after our “prime” (aka our 20s), but regardless, the norm in society expects young adults (those in their 30s) to be stable and situated in life…and be married and probably have a few kids.
So, when a couple, both in their 30s, announces their engagement, then sends out the wedding invitations, replete with a list of cheap or expensive registry locations, are you obligated to buy them an expensive gift?
In all of the cases we’ve experienced over the last few years, the registries were just full of “fluff” meaning stuff you would never buy yourself, probably never use, but feel obligated to register for because you think your guests would feel obligated to buy you a gift. This is the one chance most people take to get a complete china set they’ll never use, or that matching towel set that will be thrown in the closet with all the others.
But ultimately, what do you get for someone who already has what they need? You can get them money, but when they make a good living wage, it just seems tacky. Same goes for a gift card, but at least you can give them a Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond or Amazon gift card because they’ll most likely use it and it’s more specific than cash.
Your thoughts? Should “professional” couples be registering for gifts for their wedding? Should they expect to be given much? Where do you draw the line? Or am I just being cheap?
I expect those who are younger won’t have experienced this situation, but those of you in your 30s and older most likely will have been invited to at least one “professional couple” wedding, so I’d like your feedback (especially since I have a feeling we’ll have a few more of these coming).
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