When my DH proposed, I immediately started putting money aside for our wedding and honeymoon. I never once expected anyone to foot the bill for us, and subsequently we had a longer than proper engagement – 2.5 years. I was so touched and appreciative when my father offered to help us with the venue and catering. All in all, the wedding total came to $12,000, and my dad helped us with the two most expensive parts of it. Because of his help, we were able to set aside extra money in case we wanted to do something spontaneous and fun on our honeymoon.
Needless to say, I am very careful with money.
Anyway, in the very beginning, my mother’s casual friend offered – out of the blue – to be our wedding planner as a gift. She had been a planner for over ten years and recently retired, but she wanted to do it for us. This incredibly generous woman (Let’s call her Rachel) taught me so much about wedding ettiquette and proper traditions, gave so many ideas and helped with so many aspects that looking back, my wedding would never have been as beautiful without her. I did my best to help her help me, though I always felt as though I would be a “gimme pig” if I kept asking her questions or demanded her assistance in every aspect of my planning. So I never imposed, never initiated contact, always demurred to her suggestions, etc. I am a private, hermit person and feel a little awkward in social situations, and I really did not want to stress Rachel out with too many details or questions. I had never budgeted for, or even thought to have, a wedding planner – such an extravagance! Maybe that was selfish, or rude, to not let her into more of the putting together. I don’t really know. I was trying to be gracious and accommodating.
Anyway, the wedding was just beautiful. Everything was so absolutely perfect, and I was blessed to have such a perfect day.
My DH and I left the next afternoon for our honeymoon. The morning of, we opened gifts and made our lists to write thank you’s during our honeymoon down time. To my extreme surprise, Rachel had given us a gift of money on top of all she had already done for us! I never expected anything from any of the guests, really, but this was so far above and beyond that I think I sat there stunned for some time before my husband noticed.
And here is where I may have made a horrible blunder and need to be condemned forever.
Because I had managed to set aside more than needed for the honeymoon, when I wrote my thank you to Rachel, not only did I send BACK the money, but I sent extra. I was sincere in my thanks, I tried to convey my utter gratitude and how much her help meant to me, and that she went so far above and beyond that she needn’t to have given us any further gift. I said that while I knew the amount I was sending was not nearly equal to what she did for us, that I hoped she would accept this small token of our gratitude.
Please, even writing this two years later, I cringe. I guess that is sign enough that I did something hellish, but I really thought at the time that I was being a GOOD person.
I received another card from Rachel in which she sent everything back and told me that it had been her pleasure, she appreciated the gesture, and she insisted I keep the money. It was very gracious and made no hint that what I had done was horrible and uncouth. I left it at that, and didn’t try to get into one of those incredibly uncomfortable money wars that certain people are so fond of (where assault of the person is common, in an attempt to force money on a person). I did send out another thank you card, and that was that.
Anyway. What is done, is done. I just wanted to know if my instincts are correct, that what I did was completely out of line and ungracious. Or, by chance, is it a gesture that would have been taken in the spirit that it was intended? 0607-14
Your intentions were very good, your execution could have been improved. It could have been viewed as a rejection of Rachel’s money gift to send back the same cash with more added. I suspect Rachel did not take offense at this. But next time send a deeply sincere thank you note with a gift card to a nice restaurant in it. My son married recently and there were friends who offered their services to us for a lovely wedding but who insisted their time was a gift to us and that they wanted no payment. I gave those friends $50 gift cards to a nice seafood restaurant I knew they liked.
You can stop cringing now, btw.