*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Celebrating your wedding and relationship and also opening gifts from the people you invited on that special day can be very fulfilling, but how do you react when the presents are not what you expected?
And what if you suddenly realize that the box you just looked inside actually has a present you got for someone else at their wedding? Is it ever fine to regift what you received just to avoid spending more money when you go to a wedding?
My friend Denise, who lives in Los Angeles, California, got married last week to Ryan, her husband. They had a ceremony and organized a party after it, too. And everyone who joined them also brought presents.
"We had to rent a storage space in Los Angeles just to make sure we could fit in all the gifts. And when we got to opening them, we just had the nicest surprises from the people who cared about us and our relationship. We could really tell they were there for us every step of the way, and they celebrated our big day by adding a gift to remember," Denise said.
She and her husband got to open the gift boxes with their parents two days after they came back to Los Angeles from their honeymoon. They needed the extra help because of so many boxes, and at the same time, they wanted to share those moments with their parents at the beginning of their married life.
"We didn't live together before the wedding, so it was a new and exciting step in our relationship. And that's the way we wanted it to be. Our parents supported us every step of the way, so it made sense to ask them to be there to open the gifts," Ryan said.
As they began looking at the gifts, they saw some of the things they needed for their kitchen; they also got decorations, candies, chocolates, matching outfits, and scented soaps.
One box, in particular, got Ryan's attention, though. As he opened it, he immediately recognized a gift he and Denise had bought one year ago when they attended his colleague's wedding in Los Angeles.
"We loved seeing them happy, and Andrew and I got close while working together, so we saved and got them a kitchen set we thought they'd love. As it turns out, it came back to us," Ryan said.
He and his wife were confused about seeing the gift since they didn't know if it meant their friends didn't like it at all and wanted to get rid of it or if they just couldn't afford to buy them something else and simply regifted what they had received before.
"It was strange and not something I'd do. I do hope they liked it when we gave it to them because we asked if they needed to return it or anything, and they told us it was great. But when we saw that we got it in our own gifts, I wondered what that was about. If they couldn't spend on another gift, I would understand, but it's still unusual. I would rather just hear from them that they had no money. They didn't have to give up on their own gift. That was theirs to keep and a way to celebrate their relationship, not ours," Denise said.
They met the couple who gave them back the gift the other day while shopping, but none of them said anything. Ryan and Denise didn't want to bring it up and make them feel uncomfortable, but they're not sure if they can stay friends.
"I'm convinced they know we realized what they did. They didn't have to apologize or anything, but a short explanation would be ok. It's not something that happens every day, and other couples might feel offended. We'll keep our distance for now until we see what they intended by it," Denise said.
Ryan still works with Andrew in Los Angeles, and none of them talks about the wedding gift at work, but he avoids having lunch together or doing overtime if Andrew is there.
"I feel like he didn't value my wedding and my relationship with my wife enough to take some time and go and find a nice gift. It didn't have to be an expensive one. They could even have sold what we got them and bought something else if they had no money. But to just wrap up our present and regift it like we couldn't tell is not fine with me," Ryan said.
What do you think about this situation? Is Ryan fair in getting annoyed with his coworker and wife for regifting what they got at their wedding? Should Ryan and Denise try and find out more about why this happened instead of ending their close relationship with Andrew and his wife?