As an American living in England, I’m constantly aware that American customs are pretty different to those in the UK. The humor is different, the landscape is different, the weather is different – yep, it’s pretty cold in England – and driving on the wrong side of the road took a lot of getting used to. However, I noticed one of the biggest differences while I was planning for my wedding this year. It wasn’t just that we had some cows turn up to our wedding reception, we were also plagued with a dilemma; do we ask for wedding gifts or money?
In America, the idea of giving money as a wedding gift can be impersonal. From my own experience in the States, Americans are more likely to ask for either gifts or a donation towards something, rather than an envelope full of cash. Most of the time, American couples will set up a wedding registry at some of the biggest and best stores in the country. They may ask for housewares and linens from Bed, Bath and Beyond (yep, one of the most American stores ever!), they may ask for more luxurious and expensive gifts from Bloomingdale’s, they might set up a wedding registry with Target, or ask for relaxed furniture and accessories from Pottery Barn.
Alongside this, many American couples often ask their wedding guests for donations towards their honeymoon – because paying for a wedding is not cheap! To save themselves a little money, they may sign up to sites such as flyustothemoon.com with their honeymoon itinerary, and ask their wedding guests to pay for aspects of their honeymoon. They can contribute towards the flights, the accommodation, the activities and the meals, and takes the stress away from the newlyweds.
I’ve learned that many couples in England will simply ask their wedding guests for money – rather than a donation or a gift. This way, they can use the money on whatever they like, rather than being tied to a gift they may not want, or a store they’re not particularly fond of. To an American, this may seem pretty rude, but it’s really not the case. Luckily, the English are pretty good at being tongue-in-cheek and have their own ways to charm their wedding guests. Instead of asking outright, the couple may write a quirky and witty poem attached to their wedding invites, politely asking them to refrain from buying them gifts.