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Expert August 2021

Do you feel obligated to take free things?

Molly, on April 4, 2021 at 4:03 PM Posted in Planning 0 16

My mom was at my aunt's house today and found a ring bearer pillow from my cousin's wedding 4 years ago (those two are now divorcing). She sent me a picture and asked if we had a pillow yet. I texted back and said we weren't sure yet if we were using a pillow and she replied saying "free". I felt very pressured to say okay even though we might not even use it.

So my question for you brides is: do you feel obligated/pressured to take free items offered by your friends and family? Does it change your perspective if it doesn't fit your vision/you won't actually use it? Or do you just take it and maybe compromise on items you had already planned to get?

It's not that I haven't taken free things offered to me and been grateful but, it just seems odd how the word free can cause pressure on taking it.


Latest activity by Michelle, on April 7, 2021 at 12:56 PM
  • A
    Expert September 2020
    Amanda ·
    • Flag
    I did not feel obligated at all! Other people’s trash is not my problem. I didn’t say that directly to anyone who offered, just graciously declined but definitely don’t need to hoard other people’s belongings.
    • Reply
  • Lisa
    Rockstar July 2022
    Lisa ·
    • Flag
    I don't normally feel pressured to accept things people offer for free. If it was something I'd actually use, I'd accept it (and would also probably offer to pay, just in case). If I wouldn't use it, I'd definitely turn it down. I don't want to become the collector of everyone's unwanted stuff, especially because it would sit and collect dust in my home if it's something I wouldn't use. They can donate it or try to sell it online if no one they know wants it.
    • Reply
  • Nicole
    Master September 2020
    Nicole ·
    • Flag
    No. However, that word is very comfortable for me to say in all aspects of my life. I would just let them know that you’ll let them know if you end up wanting it.
    • Reply
  • Jenni
    Dedicated May 2022
    Jenni ·
    • Flag

    My family has been doing this to me a lot too. Once the engagement announcement went out, it seemed like everyone was cleaning their attic out and trying to give me their old wedding stuff. I'm a people pleaser, so "no" can be challenging for me, but if it doesn't fit the vision, I don't take it.

    • Reply
  • E
    Super July 2023
    Eniale ·
    • Flag

    "No, but thank you," is your best course of action here. Or take it and throw it away yourself.

    I got married very young, so I didn't have anyone around me to give me their hand-me-downs.

    It is so bizarre to me how many people not only hold on to their wedding stuff, but then also try to shove it off on other people... why would anyone ever think someone wanted their old ring pillow? Or their leftover decor? It baffles me.

    If it doesn't fit your vision, you aren't obligated to take it or make room for it by compromising.

    Also, while I'm not the superstitious sort, a lot of people would not want to use a ring pillow from the wedding of two people who are now getting divorced. Bad vibes. And I wouldn't hesitate to use that excuse if I felt I was being pressured or bullied into taking items I didn't want.

    • Reply
  • Melle
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag

    Yea haha i think because of the idea that it's free

    or for me, my husband had bought SO MANY fake rose petals for my proposal that there were literally thousands of brand new unused ones he didn't even use. and so it made me want to incorporate that but it was red and i was going for pink vibes and i kept thinking about how to incorporate it cause i already had it. but in the end i didn't because like you said - it just didn't go with the vision i ultimately wanted

    • Reply
  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
    • Flag
    This is how many Bridesmaids feel about proposal presents, and don't like them. Someone urging you to take things you may or may not even want does create a subtle pressure on you, and creates something of a negative vibe from the one offering the free thing, if you do not take it. Be it found items like this ring pillow, or things that are their taste but not yours, but are a free gift so mow maybe you suddenly should change your ideas, to gifts to do something you really can turndown ( BM) after bride got alll excited and did this stuff.
    FREE often has big strings you really don't want.
    • Reply
  • Amber
    Just Said Yes March 2022
    Amber ·
    • Flag
    No - I usually say something like “no thank you. I appreciate the thought!” My mom wants to buy things - I say “no thank you. There will be plenty of other things to spend money on along the way. Save it for now Smiley winking
    • Reply
  • Erin
    Expert May 2021
    Erin ·
    • Flag
    I swear! 🙄🙄 i would clean for a lady who used to stick food like crazy and she couldn’t just throw stuff away, things (boxed/canned items) would be 1-2 months beyond expiration date and wanted to know if me or my family wanted it... “free food” i got to the point where i would say yes , then get home and throw it in the dumpster myself since she couldnt bear to do it 🙄🙄🙄
    • Reply
  • A
    Super September 2020
    Alli ·
    • Flag
    I would never alter my vision for something that is free; I would just politely decline!
    • Reply
  • D
    Donnaly ·
    • Flag

    No, and it's best to tell them the truth though definitely not in a harsh way. I accept free stuff if I want it to, but decline stuff I don't think I need.

    • Reply
  • Kari
    Master May 2020
    Kari ·
    • Flag

    So I come from a family of hoarders and believe there is an entire psychology around gifting "free" things. Tons of people have houses full of junk they refuse to throw away because some item might have some value to someone. If it's not broken then it could be useful, if it's broken then someone can fix it or might need parts from it. By "gifting it" all they are really doing is unloading the weight of having to throw the thing in the dumpster onto someone else. My mom has a house full of this junk, and she keeps getting more because she's too polite to tell people she doesn't want their stuff.

    Because I've observed this toxic trait in my family, I've become far better at saying "no thank you" when people offer things I don't want (and also far better at realizing when things I've been holding onto just need to be thrown out because no one else wants them either). In particular, when it comes to your wedding if these people are invited they are going to see that you didn't use the thing they gave you. So it's best to just be firm and decline gifts you don't want to use.

    In general, I think people should avoid gifting things to other people at all unless they are certain it is something they would like. Stick to money, a registry item, something you KNOW will resonate with the person/couple, or something perishable, like flowers or food, so there is a time limit as to how long those things occupy space before they get discarded. I feel guilty every time I get something I don't want. We have a few wedding gifts we have been holding onto for nearly a year because we have no idea what to do with them; instead of them bringing me joy, they flood me with negative emotions. Don't let people do that to you, and don't do it to other people!

    • Reply
  • H
    Devoted August 2023
    Hhh ·
    • Flag
    I’m the same way! But try to learn to say “no thank you” now, because it will be much worse if she brings up why her pillow (or other “free” items) aren’t at the wedding later!
    • Reply
  • Natalie
    August 2021
    Natalie ·
    • Flag

    No, the word 'free' causes this pressure but you don't have to give in or feel obligated to take something you don't want. I agree with PPs saying you need to state this clearly right now so that later there wouldn't be any questions or comments of you being ungrateful.

    Plus the fact that something is 'free' doesn't mean it's necessary or even of a good quality. We were offered to work with a photographer who is a daughter of my mom's colleague. It was very beginning of our planning and we decided to meet her. The girl was nice and she offered us a huge discount but when we saw her works... Ugh. I'm not a photography savvy myself but her pictures looked as if she had zero experience shooting weddings (which is probably true) and knew nothing about using even the simplest photo editors like Photoworks for the basic editing and correction. We refused and my mom's colleague wasn't happy with that but we didn't want to agree to something mediocre just because it's free and some of the acquaintances needs experience!

    • Reply
  • Toby
    Beginner June 2021
    Toby ·
    • Flag

    I always feel rude saying no when people offer things that I don't want but I also feel weird about accept help and gifts that I do actually want/need. I've been working on saying "no thank you" and "yes please" when needed but it's a slow learning process.

    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar December 2022
    Michelle Online ·
    • Flag

    Can't say that I have ever encountered this but I am pretty good with declining things I'm not interested in. Also no one I know has kept any of their wedding stuff outside of photos.

    • Reply

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