Ask Team Practical: Accepting Giant Gifts by Liz Moorhead I’ve been thinking aloud about hiring a local DJ my fiancée and I both love to play our wedding. Friends of ours hired this DJ at a discount, and I just found out that they paid this DJ what would be a full 10% of our entire (small) budget. Having this DJ at our wedding would be awesome, but not at all worth that much of our budget, and we can make a DIT iPod situation work fine. I was with a close friend when I found out how much this DJ cost, and I’d mentioned to her a few times before that I’d like to hire this DJ. She offered to pay for the DJ as a wedding gift. We were drunk at the time, so I told her that it was a very kind gesture but that it’s an awful lot of money and not to worry about it. Weeks passed and I didn’t think anything of it beyond starting to plan a DIT playlist. I then heard from my friend that she’s thought about it while sober and repeated that she intends to hire this DJ for us as a wedding gift. She said that it’s more money than she’s comfortable spending on her own, so she’s gotten another friend of ours to go in on it with her. This is incredibly kind and generous of both of them. But the friend she’s going halfsies on this enormous gift with is someone I don’t know very well, to the point that she’s only met my fiancée once and I don’t even have her phone number. An added layer to this is that my friend and I dated briefly when we first met years ago, and I learned through a mutual friend that she carried a torch for me for quite a while. She also took a while to warm to my fiancée. I wonder if this overly generous gift might be her way of showing that she’s happy for me and supports this marriage. I’m not sure what to do. I’m happy to have the DJ or the iPod playlist—I’m concerned about this friendship. She hasn’t made an offer in the form of a question that I could say no to; she’s said declaratively that she plans to hire this DJ with this other friend who I like but don’t know well. Do I tell her that her gesture is so kind but that it’s overwhelming and that we’re happy to do an iPod playlist that we’d love for her to contribute ideas to? Or do I accept her generosity graciously and hide that I’m overwhelmed? Other ideas? Sincerely, While Heartwarmed, Overwhelmed and Awkward Dear WHOA, You nailed it. Right here, with this part: “I wonder if this overly generous gift might be her way of showing that she’s happy for me and supports this marriage.” Yes! I’m sure that’s exactly what it is! And what’s wrong with that? That’s exactly what gifts are about, whether small and modest or giant and generous. Heck, man, that’s what weddings are about. Not the ceremony and vows section, but the reception and community and party things? They’re all about people being happy for you and excited about your happiness, and joining in celebrating all of it. So how do you handle generosity? What do you do in response to someone wanting to express being happy for you? You say, “Thank you.” Assuming there isn’t any subtext, ulterior motives, tandem expectations (like that time in college when a guy offered me a car), you swallow your pride and let your community love on you. I know, I know. She was drunk when she offered. It’s completely fair to say, “Hey, this is really just overwhelmingly generous. We’re really very happy with our iPod playlist!” Give her an out. (It sounds like you already tried to?) If she still insists after that, girl, take it. One little round of, “No, please don’t!” “But I insist!” is friendly and endearing. After that, refusing someone’s kindness gets sort of insulting. Suuure there are times when it is just flat uncomfortable and a no good very bad idea to take up someone’s overwhelmingly generous offers. But most of the time, that squicky feeling is pride. It’s, “Ohhh, I don’t want to put her out…” when actually, someone who is offering you a gift feels anything but put out by you graciously accepting. So go on and let her know you feel overwhelmed by her generosity. But when she insists, you go ahead and take her up on it. Just be sure to send a thank you card. ***** A friend and client that has known my honey for ages has given us a gift card for a resort. The amount of the gift is huge (and the resort is expensive). We love that they wanted to give us such a wonderful gift. And we know they are wealthy people. But it is a very large amount. Big. A lot. Do we just say, “Thank you so much!”? I mean, of course we say thank you so much. But do we also return it to them? Try to gift some back to them somehow? (It is their favorite resort. Have I mentioned that we are not people who have been to enough resorts to have a favorite?) Or do we just say thank you so much and spend the whole dang thing on ourselves? Anonymous Dear Anon, Get yourselves to that resort, have a blast, and send them a postcard with thanks. Don’t you dare try to return it to them or make it up to them somehow (and though you didn’t ask, don’t let it impact how you gift to them in the future, either). You know that “thought that counts” thing? That goes for the big gifts as well as the small. Imagine if a wedding guest gave you something small, like, a plastic spatula set or something. Imagine if you tried to give it back to them. That would be really insulting wouldn’t it? Just because this resort gift card has a higher price tag, it doesn’t make it any less insulting to refuse the gift. Go have fun already! ***** Team Practical, how do you respond when friends offer crazy generous things? How do you thank friends who have already given you giant gifts? Photo Gabriel Harber If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off! Liz Moorhead Staff Writer Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her sons.