We were last discussing what common denominator ties weddings together world-wide. If not flowers, cakes, veils, or favors…what could it be?
That only leaves one thing!
Well, technically that leaves a lot of things…but today we are talking about il regalo di nozze, otherwise known as, the wedding present. This can mean different things to different people and is the source of confusion, anticipation, and concern for many a gift-giver
How much money should I spend?
Should I purchase from the gift registry?
Will the couple like my gift?
Speaking from experience with American gift-giving, any couple worth a present, will like and appreciate your present…although that doesn’t necessarily ease the stress of gift buying. Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire formula to help you determine gift value. However, while researching for this post, I found an interesting discussion about the same topic. Enjoy!
In Italy, particularly in the south, WHAT to give isn’t nearly as important as HOW MUCH to give. That’s right! It’s all about the busta, or soldi, or, in other words – the cold hard cash! A wedding guest is expected to present the sposi with an envelope containing those cute, brightly-colored, odd-sized Euros. Bunches of ’em.
In this case there is a formula.
You should consider how much the couple spent on your meal and compensate accordingly, not forgetting to add in a little extra to help them get started. If you are very close to the couple, or if you are in the wedding, you should add even more.
My American-self has problems accepting this, not out of a dislike for tradition, but rather out of the sheer distaste of the expectation. In fact, I have heard some to-be-wed couples express concern that their guests wouldn’t present them with an adequate busta to cover their expenses.
That was tough… .
Speaking of lovely wedding presents, though, I received my FIRST regalo a few weeks ago from one of my English students…
A beautiful, hand-carved, wooden elephant with the trunk up (indicating good fortune) was waiting for me after class. Che bello. And, in other wedding present news…a real life Wedding Crasher takes off with $1,500 CASH!! Ouch!
What are your favorite ideas or suggestions on wedding presents? What do you think about the Italian wedding busta and / or the expectation to give one?
BTW – Please let it be known that I think this Italian wedding proverb is cazzate, but…Pep thought it was “funny.” Boh!