I have a post-wedding etiquette question for you and your team of wise sages:
I live on the other side of the planet, but got married in CA. I had all the registry gifts sent to my mother's place - so items wouldn't have to be shipped across the planet. Some people also brought gifts to the wedding (in other words, gifts everywhere). After the wedding I went through the gifts and created a gift spreadsheet to ensure everything was organized and accounted for. Then I left for my honeymoon and then home. Now, I am back home visiting this month and am doing some further organizing (we left the country a couple days after the wedding and I couldn't do much more than open the gifts and write down who gave what).
I'm going through the list and I see a couple friends on there who I'm pretty sure gave us something, but nothing is listed. Additionally, there were a couple gifts that did not have cards (or in all the mayhem, the cards got lost). I have no idea who gave them to us. Finally, there are some people on my list who I'm pretty sure didn't get us anything.
So my question is this:
How do I find out who gave us the gifts with no card without making the friends who didn't give us anything feel uncomfortable? I was thinking of going the process of elimination route and emailing people on the list where no present is listed, but what happens if that person didn't get us anything? Their presence at our wedding was their present, and we're honored that they joined us to celebrate, I don't want to make them feel bad. I also don't want to be ass and not send a 'thank you.'
Finally, what about the people who I suspect got us something but I don't have anything written down? I mean, I don't know for sure, but again, I cannot not send a 'thank you' if they did give us something. And what if I'm totally wrong in my assumptions? I honestly don't know.
Doesn't want to be an a$$shole & is usually more organized
I was doing my best to ignore your email. Or, rather, peeking at it every other day and promising myself, "I'll get to it..." And then Rachel's thank-you-note-spreadsheet post smacked me right in the face.
It is thus with great pleasure that I bring you this response from the blogosphere's foremost expert on thank-you-note spreadsheets:
Dear Doesn't Want to be an A**hole,
I can completely sympathize because this is basically my worst nightmare, re: wedding gifts. And I can't even slap you on the wrist because you are doing exactly what you should have done (spreadsheet, etc) and against great odds, what with the flying back and forth issues. Now is the time to hone your thank you ninja skills.
1. Since you registered, work the registry. Most of them will keep track of who bought what. Some of them provide this information online if you dig (usually called "thank you manager"). This will definitely clear things up for all the gifts people purchased online. I've found that it's much more sketchy for in store purchases, although I did spend some time calling customer service and attempting to badger them into giving me more information. Probably don't waste your time with that.
2. Get stealthy. You know where the gaps are on your list, which is good. What you need to do is spread the word in those circles (but NOT to those specific people) that due to the craziness of intercontinental wedding planning, some gifts got separated from cards. Mention some of the specific gifts. Play up the fact that you feel terrible because you're sure that you're missing some thank yous and you'd really appreciate it if you could figure out who the gifters were. Basically, if you currently have a blank next to your aunt's name, it is much less weird for your mom to casually ask your aunt if she might know of someone who gave you an coffee maker (because naturally you absolutely adore it and it's tearing you up inside not to be able to thank the giver) than it is for you to go down the list and confront the people with blanks next to their names. NEVER talk to someone about gifts if you aren't sure they got you something. That's uncomfortable and looks like fishing.
3. Some people will out themselves, but they'll never do it to you directly. They'll ask your parents or your mutual friends if they know whether you received x,y,z gift because they never received a thank you note. This is where the spreading the word part helps again, because those people are now primed to say "Oh my god, she was agonizing over that because the gift somehow got separated from the card!" and the gifter will feel relieved that you aren't just an ungrateful a**hole and then your informant will pass the information along to you and you can send an effusive card.
4. Yes, there are people who didn't get you anything. That's fine. I was awkward about this because I genuinely wanted to send these people thank you notes just for attending (because some of them made a huge effort to be there) but I didn't want it to seem like I was being a passive-aggressive asshole and pointing out the fact that they didn't buy gifts. I think my solution is going to be including a "it meant so much to have you at the wedding, it wouldn't have been the same without you on the dance floor" type note in a different context (casual email, holiday card, etc).
Good luck and god speed, friend.
I do have a team of wise sages, don't I?
p.s. Rachel did terrific how-tos on planning + budgeting a DIY wedding, streamer backdrops, painted tablecloths and hand dyed napkins for 100 Layer Cake last week. And you should probably take a look at her wedding photos. (Spoiler Alert: THERE ARE SPARKLES)
Photo: Sarah Bebe Holmes via Arial Edge via Peonies & Polaroids