Saturday, November 12, 2005

Polling all Bloggers

Okay friends, I've got a dilemma here. I'm standing before an etiquette question that I've never been faced with so I need a little help to make sure I'm not completely insane. In the mail this week we got an invitation from my cousin to his daughters first birthday party. His first daughter had one of these and it was an enormous production. They rented a party hall there were probably 100 people there with one of the largest piles of gifts I've ever seen. We didn't have that pile of gifts at our wedding, and that's not an exaggeration. Personally, I don't care about gifts or large numbers of people. My cousins seem to be somewhat extreme in both of these cases when it comes to themselves or birthday presents. The invite to the birthday party was no big deal. It was at their new house, and for about a day I'd considered going. The next day, we get another invitation from them. This is for a house warming party. I knew they'd bought a new house but I hadn't heard that much about it other than they paid $300k for it and don't have a basement. This is their third house since they've been married. Good for them. They're doing very well for themselves. Really, I'm happy. The invitation I'm going to type word for word, save for names and directions:

"You're invited to a house Warming!" (front cover)
(inside top)
"Gift ideas: Registered at Bed, Bath, & Beyond,
Pottery Barn
Gift Cards, or Cash would be useful also!"
(names and directions here)
"Main colors: gold, sage, khaki, cranberry
Furniture: brown leather & dark wood
Likes black wrought iron accessories"

Now, the RSVP is to their cell phones. Let's be freakin realistic here people. This is insane. Not only that, it's one week after their daughters birthday party, and one week before thanksgiving. Basically we'd be committing three Saturdays to them (I think today is one of them but you can see how I feel about it at this point) all when we're expecting our own family. The birthday I can see how they can't get around that, it's pretty much set in stone. To me, this other gift invite is a piece of shit. If I sent invites to my friends and family that said "here is what to buy me, otherwise gift cards and cash work great" I think my parents would shoot me and I'd have no friends. The only other time I'd heard an inkling about this is when we had some friends over to our house after we moved in. We may have even sent invitations. People called to see where we were registered. I thought they'd gone crazy. I told one of my friends "Dude, our wedding registry at Target has probably expired. We've been married over a year now and you got us a nice wedding present." Which he did. For some reason he had it in his mind that you're supposed to bring a gift. Maybe we messed up. Maybe we should have charged admission. I personally never in a million years would have dreamed of sending horse shit like this to my friends and family. Oh yeah, I should also throw in that they've been married for like eight or 10 years and this is their third house. So tell me blogger friends, am I insane? Behind the times? An asshole? Or am I pretty much right on target with the etiquette here?


I have to agree with you on this one. That's just way out of left field. I've never been invited to a house warming party and if I did go I suspect that I wouldn't bring a gift to it. Is there a southern tradition thing that this is based off of? I only ask because my wife babysat for a couple from Kentucky (Louisville) and it seems like there were a lot of formal traditions that they went through. Any how best of luck. I'd skip the gift (and the house warming I might'll see it some other time right?).
posted by Blogger Chris D. at 11:23 AM  
I think you're totally on target. I think house warming parties are completely ridiculous except under a few circumstances. If it's for a single person who is getting their own house and is not married I can understand, or if it's for a couple who got married but didn't have a wedding and showers and all that then I can understand as well. First of all, it sounds like they're throwing the party for themselves, which is lame, and second of all they are on their third house! Take a stance; don't give in.
posted by Blogger Chas at 6:24 PM  
We've been married about the same amount of time and have 3 kids... our house is overflowing with so much crap. I'd be crazy to actually ASK people to come over and buy me more stuff. Plus I'd feel like an idiot because that's so tacky!

I wouldn't go to the party. I wouldn't even RSVP. Yeah, I know, that's tacky too but if I did go out and buy something for these people, it would be so hard to avoid buying something phallic just to see the reaction on their faces when they open their gift. And how would they word the thank you card? Hmm...
posted by Blogger manababies at 12:50 AM  
Thanks for the feedback guys. Glad to know I'm not crazy.

Christian - I don't think this is a southern thing. I'm not sure where it came from but no one in my family has ever done anything remotely like it.

Chas - Good to see you. I agree totally. If it was their first house and they were struggling to make it I could see it. They're very well off so to me this basically says "We want this stuff but don't want to pay for it so you can get it for us instead."

Manababies - that's hilarious. I didn't RSVP. The birthday party was yesterday and we stayed home. That would be funny to see how they worded the thank you card on that one though.
posted by Blogger Raul Duke at 8:04 AM  
I agree with you. You are not the one who's behind the times or an ass. That's a lot to ask for, especially for established people who already have what seems to be plenty.

My mother would instruct to give them a bag of rocks :)
posted by Blogger Josephine at 10:39 AM  
I've already thrown in my 3 cents. But sheesh. Just seeing it in print is just. Tacky. There is just no other word for it.

I can assure you, that you will find this NOWHERE in Amy Vanderbilt's book of ettiquette. You're covered.

That's like saying, hey Im having a party for fun. But I want you to bring me a bottle of wine to stock my new wine rack.
posted by Blogger Jenn at 11:43 AM  
I'm with everyone else, really. I'd actually be irritated to receive a house-warming invitation (gift request, really) right after a birthday party. I'd take a pass on the house warming gift. Or, if you want, you could bring some cookies or something like that. Nothing to spend money on, though. "Likes black wrought iron accessories." Who the hell does that?? That's just weird to me. If it were their first house, I could see bringing a little something, but only because you and Jen thought of it and decided to do it as a nice gesture, not because you were being asked to bring gifts!! You shouldn't have to buy them more stuff every time they move.

Good friends and family to fill a new house; that's what I call a house-warming gift.
posted by Blogger Boonzie at 12:26 PM  

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