From time to time I hear a wedding idea that I have never heard before. If I hear something twice in one week, I know it is something that deserves further research. But, before I will label it a ‘trend’ I need to see proof that more than one person is using this idea, that it seems to be catching on and that people are universally accepting the idea. In my humble opinion, some trends are good and (in this particular case) some trends are bad.
Recently it has come to my attention that invitees are being asked to bring gifts to Bridal Showers….. unwrapped. On the pretense of being open-minded I have responded with the obligatory, “That’s interesting, tell me more.” when, in reality, I am saying to myself “That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard”. I can’t even imagine what that gift table looks like. Haven’t they ever heard that presentation is everything? Furthermore, am I losing my mind?
The alleged purpose of the “unwrapped shower” is two-fold: To save on paper waste and to save time for the bride who could be spending that same valuable time ‘bonding’ with her guests. Lets examine this carefully:
Reduce Paper Waste: Being abut as green as any average person could be without using a palm frond for toilet paper, I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. I understand not wanting to waste paper, I recycle and re-use everything possible. I still carefully open Christmas gifts so I can re-use the paper for next year, I purchase only paper made from recycled products, I measure gifts so that I can use as much of the paper as possible and not waste a scrap. However, this is where I draw the line. In good conscience I cannot bring an unwrapped gift to anyone, anywhere, for any reason. It’s like wearing a beautiful outfit and not combing your hair. In addition, if everyone across the globe collectively stopped using all wrapping paper of any form, there would be a huge gap in the job market and parts of the economy would be out of work…. not on my watch. I always say you don’t have to sacrifice style to go green, that being an environmentalist doesn’t mean you have to change everything about the way you live. Could I be completely wrong?
If going green is really your main purpose, then you need to address that in the invitation and make it clear. Maybe you could ask guests to use ribbon only. And speaking of ribbon, when wrapping a gift for any occasion whatsoever, you should only use fabric ribbon. It can be tied, untied, ironed and tied again. Recycling ribbon is the perfect way to go green and the plastic shiny ribbons are just not as pretty. My favorite is the ribbon with a small wire edge so you can make a big swirl-y bow and it stays in place! The real purpose of the ribbon is to keep the box closed or the package tightly shut. So, if the box has a lid – are you supposed to just tape it or what? Could this be the reason that Tiffany & Co, uses beautiful blue boxes and fabric ribbon? You don’t need to wrap a gift from Tiffany & Co, the box is pretty and the ribbon keeps the lid closed. Whoever came up with that idea was way ahead of their time: elegant, beautiful and no waste!
Saving Time:In cases where the bridal shower is large and the bride is expected to open gifts in front of everyone, the theory is that this will save time that could be used socializing with her friends. I understand that wedding protocol dictates that the gifts should be opened in front of everyone so the guests can oooh and ahhh over the lovely items. For me, this a tradition that could be broken without regret. Open your gifts later and spend this time with your friends. I can think of a million ways to save time and this is not one of them and the amount of time it takes to tear into a package is the least of my concerns.
Maybe everyone should just walk into the shower and hand you a wad of cash (no card or envelope so we don’t waste paper) in front of everyone and annouce the dollar amount.
If I was invited to an “unwrapped shower”, I would bring my gift in a decorative box sealed shut somehow and attempt to understand the motive behind it and hope I could keep my opinion to myself and not offend anyone. But, of all the ideas I have heard in a long time, an “un-wrapped shower” is just about the worst.
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago