My friend Liza got married in early January and had a lovely wedding she and her husband paid for themselves. She has been estranged from her family for some time–and you’ll soon see why.
She had a gift table at the wedding and many guests deposited their gifts there. Another friend, Carmen, was the designated gift collector who put everything in her car toward the end of the reception in preparation for driving them to the happy couple’s home.
Liza had invited her family mostly because she felt she would regret it if she didn’t. She had left their world years ago and tried to create a new life for herself as a person of manners–and she has succeeded. Her family was appalling–her mother showed up in stained sweat pants, her father wore a white t-shirt under a dirty coat, her sister tried (unsuccessfully) to hit on the groom, and her brothers just stood around the open bar getting drunker and drunker. I, and she, do not fault them for being poor, but they didn’t show an ounce of interest in Liza–it was clear they were there for free food and booze.
But the wedding was actually really great–Liza had recruited me and other friends to “run interference” with her family and we were happy to do this and it all came off without a hitch.
But that’s not even the problem–just the background. I went with Carmen to help her unload the gifts at Liza and Bob’s house after they left for the honeymoon and we discovered that some of the gifts were missing. There were distinctive packages Carmen remembered loading in her car that were NOT there when she had loaded the car. And, it seemed like few presents compared to what we had both noticed on the gift table.
After batting it around for a while and not wanting to disturb the honeymoon, Carmen and I called the police on our own and they did their investigation but didn’t have any leads other than trying to visit every guest at the wedding–but since the car was in a public parking lot it could have been anyone.
Liza got back from her honeymoon three days ago and we’ve been trying to figure out what to do, then just yesterday found out that Liza’s family stole the gifts. An old friend of Liza’s saw the wrapping paper and cards in the family’s home and called her. Liza had already been done with her family so this wasn’t really a surprise–she knew what they were like.
The problem is–what about the thank you notes? We have been making a list of all guests, and making note of the gifts that were not stolen, so it’s all good there. But what about people who gave stolen gifts? Liza does not want to press charges against her family–she just wants them to go away and never be heard from again–but sending a “Did you send us a gift?” card seems so awkward. If, for whatever reason, someone didn’t send a gift and got that card–Liza is well aware of not wanting to look like a gimme pig. But she doesn’t want people who sent gifts (even if stolen) to not get a thank you note.
Can we make a generic starter to the notes such as “We were so happy you could join us at our wedding. Unfortunately, we discovered afterwards that someone had stolen some of the gifts that were brought to the ceremony. Since the police have been unable to identify the culprits, we want to simply thank you for your presence at our wedding–which is the best gift anyone could have shared with us. We horribly regret that we cannot thank you more personally as we do not know which gifts were stolen. We are sorry that such a happy day had to be marred with this crime, but we will always remember . . . . ”
And then personalize the note with a happy remembrance of what they did or something they said at the wedding?
I told Liza about your site and she asked me to ask you what to do. She is more upset about not thanking people than about her no-good scum family.
Liza is reading this over my shoulder and asked me to add that one of her brothers is very sweet, but very slow, and she thinks they would try to pin it on him–this is part of the reason she doesn’t want to report that it was her family. “And really? You made my name into ‘Liza’?”
Any advice about how to handle it will be much appreciated. 0119-12
Dear Story Writer, Your tenure reading on Ehell shows in that I can think of no better advice than you’ve already given to your friend. The note sounds lovely. It conveys the message without pointing fingers or appearing victimized. Go for it!