When, a couple of weeks ago, another two wedding invitations landed across our desk, we found our happiness for the otherwise-graceful couples somewhat diminished by alarm: alarm, we say, at the rapid and almost unnoticed evolution of a sinister trend in matrimonial circles: Registration.
By some inconceivable process, it has become normal for the modern couple, when once marriage has been decided upon and is impending, to make lists of the things they would like people to give them. These lists they then refer to as lightly and as quasi-tactfully as possible when writing up the invitations. Some have even advanced the practice to the perverse point of including actual lists of desired merchandise along with the invitations.
Many people assume that this practice has been around forever, but in fact it has only recently become common. The generation before us had their foibles, but they had enough wind in their wristwatches to know that when a man and a woman marry and invite people in to watch, they ought to be grateful for their gifts, and that if they do get three toasters, or a teak cutting board that doesn’t match their maple kitchen cupboards, they ought to consider it par for the course.
We here request your aid in the slaying of an unfortunate trend, by which many wonderful men and women are being unwittingly discountenanced, in the name of “custom.”
“The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose.”
—William Cowper (1731-1800)