I've got an etiquette question because I can't decide if I'm being cheap and greedy or thoroughly modern. Here's the deal. I have found the man I plan to spend the rest of my life with. We are very much in love and committed to each other, but we don't want to get married. It's just not important to us. We are, however, buying a home together. For me, it's a huge step and a statement of our relationship. It's a major commitment ceremony all its own. To mark and celebrate the occasion, I would like to host an elaborate housewarming party, with cocktails, supper, and formal dress. And I want all my friends and family to buy us gifts. My reasoning is that this is as close to a wedding as I will ever have. My sister and brother both got married and got to register for gifts. My grandparents gave each of them a substantial sum of money, which each used as a down payment on a house. Am I not entitled to the same, or do I get penalized because I'm not actually walking down an aisle? Would I be able to register and communicate to people that I want gifts? I'd appreciate your advice, as one modern woman to another.
The Reformed Boor responds:
Obviously, this writer is neither "modern" nor a "woman," nevertheless, as usual, this boor's opinion will be provided. Yes, as your conscience tells you, you are being greedy. Worse than that, though, you are not ashamed to celebrate your violation of the seventh commandment.
Fie! For shame!
Surely, many have fallen into temptation and have sinned sexually - but to suggest that one would celebrate one's shame by holding a party, and further to suggest that one's relatives might be expected to come and shower you with gifts for your open rebellion against the Creation ordinance of marriage is abhorent.
Even strictly as a matter of protocol, it is in poor taste for one to expect gifts, even at one's marriage. Accordingly, regardless of how you present your arrangement, you should not do so for the crude purpose of eliciting gifts.
Nevertheless, one traditional occassion for gift-giving is the house-warming party. If the house-warming party is to be a formal affair, polite guests are likely to bring nicer gifts. You could reasonably anticipate that your move to new quarters will be celebrated with relatively modest gifts by your friends who share your moral views.
And don't expect your grandparents to give you money: if you were "entitled" to it, it would be your wages, not a gift.
May God restrain his judgment on this adulterous generation of ours,