Saturday, 8 November 2008

For whom the well tolls

I've received an invitation to the wedding of a friend's daughter. Well, this gay man has not attended a wedding, straight or otherwise, in more than ten years and I am not up on wedding trends. So I was bemused to read in the invitation, "if you would like to give a gift, a wishing well will be available at the reception". A wishing well? What the fuck is that, in the context of a wedding?

My first reaction was to ring my friend and ask him but then I thought I would try the Google method. Sure enough, the simple enquiry - wedding wishing wells - brings up more than 400,000 listings. I was astonished.

Anyway, it turns out that the couple who already have everything except marriage can ask you to give them cash at their wedding instead of multiple toasters, ironing boards and the like so that they can then spend that money how they wish. The photo above was in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2006 on the day the couple pictured were to be married and their well is shown to illustrate an article explaining this phenomenon.

I suppose this is not too different from those cultures where bank notes are pinned to the bride's gown. Still, it seems a little strange to me. Do gay weddings have wishing wells?

Sometimes I am quite relieved that I am not straight. They have such strange practices.


  1. I've never heard of a wishing well either, but I think it's a great idea, especially considering so many couples usually have two of everything already (from their previously independent lives). Besides, who really wants a useless floral tea set from Aunt Mavis and pressure cooker from Gramdma Flo? Better off putting the nmoney into things which will actually get used.

  2. I wish we had thought of this *snicker* Seriously, we tried to eschew gifts...the day was for us to celebrate our commitment, not get presents from friends...I have always hated the idea that people are obligated to give gifts ever, let alone be asked for them. Gifts are wonderful when they're voluntary, but tacky when they're expected....IMHO.

  3. Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners) always says that asking for money, or gifts for that matter, at such occasions is nothing less than extortion.

    I agree. Why not just charge your friends and family and entry fee and be done with it?

    Strange customs, indeed!

  4. It may end up being the cheapest wedding you've ever had to fork out for. Don't pennies get thrown into 'wishing wells'.

  5. A cover charge for a wedding, now that's a good idea...
    I've been to many a mate's wedding where the "cash" gift is the preferred option. It's anonymous and you're able to share in something that both bride and groom will enjoy. To me, that's what celebrating your friends wedding is all about. :)

  6. Never heard of the concept until now. It would seem with gift registry there would be the mistake of duplicates. But I like FireHorse's thought.