It’s wedding season, which means that it’s time to figure out how many times you can wear the same dress before your Facebook friends notice. Also, it’s the time to get the old credit card fired up, because we’re all going to Crate & Barrel. Unless we’re not. In this modern age of modern unions, couples across America are busy eschewing old-fashioned gift registries in favor of Honeyfunds, and I, for one, am not happy about it.
To the uninitiated, a Honeyfund (see also: HoneymoonWishes, Wanderable, Traveler’s Joy, etc.) is a Kickstarter for your honeymoon. You itemize your trip into bundles — dinner for two at a fancy and authentic restaurant! a night at a romantic and charming hotel! bike rentals to tour the beautiful mountainside! swimming with dolphins! — and then you ask your friends and family to gift you money for these activities. Supposedly, this is win-win. How else will you get to swim with the dolphins? How else will your friends help you make Important Memories?
Theoretically, Honeyfunds make sense. I understand that. I understand that a Honeyfund is pragmatic. These days, it is totally possible — likely, even — that the happy couple already has a bread knife and a Cuisinart and a Zojirushi rice cooking system, because they have been living as independent adults for years. They can make their own rice. They don’t need me to make them rice. I am also aware that science says experiences make you happier than things do, and therefore, you should spend your money on having all the experiences. That is how I justify pretty much every irresponsible expenditure of the last six years, and also the reason I don’t have any shoes.
But even with all that in mind, even chanting all that to myself as I scroll through the fun and life-enriching honeymoon activities I have the unique opportunity to sponsor for you, I don’t want to contribute to your Honeyfund. I will contribute to your Honeyfund, because you are my friend, and also because I really do hope you have a nice time in TahitiLisbonParisRome. But are you really, really sure I can’t get you a nice trivet or something?
According to my mother, social liberal and wedding-etiquette conservative, Honeyfunds are crass because you’re essentially asking people to pay cash admission to your wedding. One might argue that, if you want to look at it that way, all gifts are in fact admission tickets, given that those Williams-Sonoma place settings (2 of 8 left!) are listed on the registry with price tags. Is a $109 serving tray, if known to be $109, really so different from PayPal-ing the couple $109 earmarked for romantic bike rentals in Nice? Yes, says my mother, who argues that honeymoons are separate and private events that ought not to involve funding from one’s wedding guests.
That is not, however, my particular problem with Honeyfunds. My primary issue is this: when I give you a present, I want you to have it forever. Not only do I want you to have it forever, I want you to think of me every time you look at it for the rest of your life. I want to be associated with that fancy German bread knife for the next 50 years. “Oh, her!” you’ll think, every time you cut goddamn bread from now until your eventual death. “She was great! She gave us this fine bread knife, and what a fantastic and thoughtful present that was!”
You know what you will not remember me for for the next 50 years? That I paid for one half of your romantic dolphin swim. I paid for one of you to swim with some rando dolphin, and you are never going to think of me again. “Who co-sponsored one half of our romantic dolphin swim?” is a thought you will have approximately never in the history of your life. Don’t lump me into some pool of people who collectively made tiny contributions to your larger love-cause. What are you, MoveOn.org? I want to give you a tangible, individual gift, because this is America, and then I want you to have to find space in your house for that gift until you end up in a nursing home and for you to pass it on to your children and tell them it was a very thoughtful and creative wedding present from me. You know what you can’t pass on to your children and tell them was a thoughtful and creative wedding present from me? One half of a stupid dolphin swim.
Look, your wedding is about you and your love and I respect that. I want that, even. I want you to have the wedding of your dreams, and I want it to be your special day, and I am genuinely thrilled to be in attendance. I would like to give you a present that will make you happy, and if, upon careful reflection, you decide what would make you happy is cash for your crowd-funded honeymoon, then fine, and here is $150 and please enjoy five-eighths of one night in your Tahitian bed & breakfast. Peggy Post, expert in such matters, says you’re fine. But if you are really looking for experiences, may I suggest the experience of using this fine set of grapefruit spoons I bought you every morning for the rest of your life?