From Ask Lutz

Happy Anniversary!

Dear friends and readers,

This month is the first year Anniversary of Ask Lutz. According to the wedding anniversary gift list of the Chicago Public Library, the appropriate gift would be paper or a clock.

I wish to thank you all for your support and questions throughout the year.

A special thanks goes to Biz Stone, Genius for the new site design (nice, huh?), my much appreciated home at Genius Labs, and for all of his help, information, and patience throughout the year. Ask Lutz couldn't have made it without you.

In honor of this joyous occasion, let's revisit the very first Ask Lutz column....


Dear Lisa,

A friend of mine is getting married in the fall. I have already started worrying about what to get him & his betrothed.

My first thought was to make a really special handmade gift, but then I realized, I have never gotten a wedding gift for anyone and I really have no clue what the etiquette is. (Can you believe I'm 28 an I've only been to one wedding in my life--and it was for someone I didn't even know!)

Do I wait and see if they "register" somewhere? Do I ask what they need? Or do I go for it and spend months working on a wedding quilt or some other type of handmade gift??

~Befuddled in Rockport


Dear Befuddled,

First let me thank you for the question and for your fine usage of the word ‘betrothed’, which gets so little play nowadays. I have been to more than one wedding (approximately 3*) and am quite happy to share my wealth of knowledge with you.

Most people, when they decide to marry in a place other than Vegas, will register at various stores and choose specific items that they want/need, ultimately depriving their guests/gift givers of their free will. Yes, you do have a choice among the items that they have chosen. But occasionally, if you wait until the last minute, you’re left with the option of a ceramic giraffe or two forks. Therefore, if you do choose the registry route, I highly recommend starting early.

Of course, you can always ask the couple what they desire most and I have seen home-made wedding gifts given and go over quite well. But here’s a little hint: If you start working on a home made gift now, your deadline is one year AFTER the wedding date—this is no lie. Therefore, you have a year and half to complete your spectacular, home-made gift. But remember, expectations rise the longer you take. You must first ask yourself: Can I handle the pressure?

Although I know an awful lot about wedding etiquette, I must say that the thing I know the best is what one should NOT get the happy couple on their wedding day. What follows is a brief list for quick/easy reference:

Lingerie (okay for Wedding Showers, however)
Pound Cake
Malt Liquor
Tuesdays with Morrie
The Oxford English Dictionary**

I hope I have been helpful, Befuddled. Please, Ask Lutz again, should you have any other problems or concerns.

Best Wishes,


*Now 4!
**My friend Morgan says the dictionary would make a fine gift.

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