Giving wedding gifts to the new bride and groom is a long-standing tradition, but why is that? Wedding gifts are a boon for young newlyweds in particular since they may not have everything they are going to need moving forward. When was the last time you saw a complete set of glasses at a single man’s house? Obviously, they are likely to need new stuff for around the home, but where did this tradition come from?
Wedding gifts were not always a thing expected of guests. In fact, for most of recorded history, it has been traditional for the groom to give the father of the bride gifts, or dowry, in exchange for his daughter’s hand in marriage. As society has progressed, so has the concept of marriage. As time went on gifts began to be given to the bride as well. These were usually small and symbolic, however, and not intended to be used. One such example is the southern key basket. This was a basket that symbolized a bride’s status in her new home. She is now the mistress of the house and will need a place to store all of her keys. People tended to have many more keys then than they do now, so this made sense at the time.
Introduction of the Registry
Starting in 1924, Macy’s introduced the wedding gift registry. This was the first of its kind, but other stores were quick to follow suit. With this introduction, gifts shifted from traditional, symbolic gifts to more practical items that the bride and groom could request. This meant guests no longer have to wonder what they newlyweds will need, but can instead just see what they need.
Today many couples are choosing to ask for money instead of gifts. This is largely because so many couples are living together before they get married now and already have everything they will need.
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