It happens to every couple who gets married: you receive a wedding gift, and eagerly open it only to find something awful inside. The gift might be ugly, tacky, impractical, or just downright weird, but you still have to write a thank you note to the person who sent it. Here are some tips on how to write gracious notes for truly terrible wedding presents…
The reality is that we have all received gifts that we found to be disappointing for one reason or another. Whether it was a birthday gift, a holiday present, or a gift for some other occasion, who hasn’t opened a package, and exclaimed, “What were they thinking?!”? If the donor was there at the time, hopefully you didn’t actually scream out loud; situations like that are the perfect opportunity to perfect your poker face.
Even if you receive a gift that you find to be just hideous, you are still obligated to politely thank the person who gave it to you. If it is a wedding gift, you might even have to keep the monkey lamp or tasteless gag gift, so that you can pull it out whenever that person comes to visit. Hopefully, anyone who sends you a terrible wedding gift lives far, far away, so that you will feel free to exchange it or donate it to Goodwill.
So, how do you thank someone for something for which you are not at all thankful? The same way as you would for a gift that you love. Start by thanking them for the “thoughtful”, “unique”, or “interesting” gift. Try to describe a way that you will use it, even if you have no intention of ever doing so. For example, “Brad and I are looking forward to having friends over to dinner and using the very special platter that your son painted for us”.
Next, throw in a line like, “We love to entertain, so we are sure to get a lot of use out of it.” Yes, it is a lie, but sometimes etiquette prefers a little white lie over the brutal truth. After all, you can’t exactly write, “We are sure that if we served our guests on something this hideous that they would lose their appetites.”!
The final step is to close the thank you note by either saying you much you look forward to seeing them at the wedding, how much you enjoyed seeing them at the wedding, or how much you will miss them at the wedding, depending on the situation. Then all you have to do is sign the note and send it off. Whew! Then pat yourself on the back for being gracious and courteous even if you were not feeling that way.
Sometimes a gift from a close family member can cause more of a problem. Let’s say that you have already picked out some beautiful crystal jewelry for your wedding, but your Aunt Martha has just given you her wedding jewelry and is expecting you to wear it (even though it is out of style and clashes with your dress). The key here is to remember the kind intention behind the gift, and to find a way to let the giver down gently. The bride should write her aunt a note effusively thanking her aunt for the jewelry, and explain that as much as she adores both the gift and her aunt, that she already has jewelry picked out for her wedding. Then promise to wear it for your rehearsal, and stick to that vow to make your relative happy.
Receiving an awful gift is by no means the worst thing that could happen to a person. Hey, at least someone cares enough about you to give you a present, right? With a little sensitivity, you will find that it is not so hard after all to give thanks gracefully for a terrible gift, and at least it will give you and your husband a funny wedding story to look back on over the years.