Almost 70% of people attend an average of four weddings every year. In Ireland over one third of those guests will spend 100 to 200 euro on the wedding gift and one third will spend between 100 and 150 euro. Generous nation. Cash is the most popular gift. Many people don’t feel happy about giving cash and would prefer to buy a gift. The days of gifting ironing boards, irons, tuber ware or a set of six glass dessert bowls is long gone. As for crystal decanters and the ubiquitous matching set of wine glasses they hold bad memories for most brides to be. Why?
THE GOOD OLD DAYS
Sitting rooms were for ‘good use’ only, for visitors, especially the priest, the dentist, the doctor, the profs of life. Not that dentists do house calls, but hey ho! Sitting rooms were the hallowed sanctums that held the glass doored, highly polished display cabinets. And therein lies the rub – literally. Brides to be regale their friends with tales of their coming of age (at 10) when they were entrusted with the chore of dusting these relics, a weekly nightmare that made them shake and quiver. Having to dust each piece individually was a feat worthy of praise, instead mothers’ strident voices all over the land rang in their ears resulting in years of therapy. ‘Don’t break my best china. It’s Limoges. Careful with Aunt Hedwige’s crystal.’
BACK TO THE PRESENT. NO PUN INTENDED.
Today a wedding invitation is more likely to include The Wedding Gift List held at one of the exclusive stores. By the time you get there the cheapest item has been purchased. In fact, most of the guests must have rushed in and bought everything under 100 euro or less if they were lucky. So now what do you do?
It’s not that you’re being a skinflint or begrudge the happy couple something special, but you still need dosh for your own outfit, unless you can revamp the ones you wore to the last three weddings and as for the hen party see your friendly bank manager. Plus, you need money to get your hair dyed or at least the black roots touched up, and a comfortable pair of shoes but they must be classy. Your feet are still hurting from the super high heeled Manolo’s or Jimmy Choo’s (fab name!) you adore, but really should only sit in. Are there any classes for ‘How to Walk Elegantly in Six Inch Heels? Please email me.
THE HEN WEEKEND
What happened to the Hen Night? A few raucous hours down the pub or stumbling around the town in a fake tiara, t-shirt emblazoned with the words ‘Bride to Be,’ just in case the net curtain on your head didn’t give the game away. Budget for at least one hundred euro assuming it’s only one night. You’re now on the way to an exclusive Spa Weekend. Champagne on arrival. Hot tubs and saunas and steam rooms that make you sweat like a pig on a spit.
Calorie laden meals that make you put on pounds, the last thing you want before any wedding! The country’s weight loss and fitness classes are jam packed in the run-up to weddings. What could be worse than that? A weekend of healthy eating, smoothies with ingredients you never heard of kale for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your lust for cream cakes and chocolate increases by the hour, not even suppressed by the size six hen-night attendees. What could be better? A weekend in VEGAS! Now that’s worth forking out your hard-earned cash for.
THE PERFECT WEDDING GIFT
‘Mary, we have a problem. ‘Not now, Ann,’ Mary said brushing her aside as she struggled to balance the day’s takings. Head down eyes blurring from exhaustion, she scanned the figures. Their takings were down again this week. Their recent sale which had been extended for a further month had brought in less than the previous month’s average. ‘I’m busy, Ann.’
She’d sent her colleague down to the stockroom in the basement to Marie Kondo it. Thump, thump, thump, up the stairs. Boobs first around the corner followed by a pretty face topped with ginger curls. Ann enters the scene. ‘There’s no light down there. I need a new bulb.’
‘All that squawking for a bulb. I thought there was some kind of emergency.
‘But there is! There is! You must come now.’
I TOLD YOU I’M BUSY!
‘AAH! You know where the bulbs are.’
‘No, it’s not that. There’s a problem with that new range of bedding we got in.’
Mary rolled her eyes. ‘This better be good, because other than a plague of giant moths eating holes into the damn stuff my day can’t get any worse. Our profits are plummeting faster than the Titanic. Ann lit the way with a torch as they descended the stairs to the stockroom switching it off as she opened the door.
‘What are you doing that for, you klutz. I can’t see a thing.’
‘Just look over in the corner, Mary.’
‘If it’s a dead rat I’ll bludy sack you.’ She glanced at the corner and blinked. There was a strange glow, a lurid pink. ‘What the hell is that?’ She moved closer her hand reaching out to touch the gargantuan pile of bed sheets she had bought. They were unmistakeably glowing in the dark, a hot Barbie pink that screamed Bordello. She blinked hoping it was a mirage. ‘That’s sick. Return them.’
‘We can’t. They were on special and no returns.’
‘What did we pay for them?’
‘Two euro a pair.’
‘No wonder they were so cheap. How many have we got?’
‘Five hundred pairs.’
YOU ARE JOKING!
‘I’m definitely bankrupt now. We’ll never sell them. No-one in their right mind would buy them. What bludy moron ordered them?’
‘You did, boss. Ann touched Mary on the shoulder. ‘No worries. I have a brill idea. I know how we can sell them.’
‘At 50 cents each,’ Mary said scathingly.
‘Two hundred euro with a 20% discount for our SPECIAL customers. The ultimate wedding gift’
‘You’ve lost your mind.’
‘The first 500 customers through the door will be offered this unique gift. To qualify for this honour they must produce the Wedding Invitation.’
‘You’re nuts! Where do we find 500 customers and besides the few customers we have will hate them? We’ll be the laughing stock of Ireland.’
‘But Mary they only glow in the dark.’
‘When they’re on display in the shop they’ll look normal. We’ll build a lovely display, advertise nationally. Unique Designer Wedding Gift. The ultimate gift available only to our elite, discerning customers. Limited range. You know how people fall for all that razzmatazz.’ (They shimmied, more of a River Dance than a Jazz dance.)
‘But why do they have to bring the wedding invitation?’
‘So that we can wrap it and deliver it for them. A personal service.’
‘You know what I think it might just work. People are so gullible, and the bride and groom might love it, think it’s the last word in CHIC. If they hate it, they won’t want to embarrass the family member or friend who sent it. Win Win.’
BIRTH RATES INCREASE DRAMATICALLY
Retro bedding encourages couples to spend more time together and less at the office, quality time over building their careers time. All businesses baby related boom. The national grid reports a dramatic decline in electricity usage from 7PM onwards. People are happier, less stressed and smiling all the time. And in a little shop down the country, Mary and Ann are beaming. With no help from Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank they have invested in more retro bedding and are making millions. The moral of this tale is: BE HAPPY!