Let's think about this situation. Two people meet at their apartment pool. They date, become engaged and plan a big wedding. They marry and go on a honeymoon.
Then they move into their first home, a one-bedroom apartment with only two closets. They received 200 wedding presents. What do they do with them?
That's the question I've been asking folks who have been to a wedding recently or who advise engaged couples. This is what I was told:
Presents that won't be used right away can be stored in their parents' basement or attic until the couple moves into a house.
If parents or in-laws don't live in a house, the newlyweds can always rent public storage space.
Most rental buildings provide tenants with a separate storage bin.
A lot of guests at weddings prefer to give cash or a check. There's no shopping time or energy involved and the gift is always the right size, shape and color.
Gifts from most stores can be returned for a store credit toward the purchase of something the couple can use in their first apartment.
This situation reminds me of what happened to a friend who married an engineer. He was a practical sort of fellow. Before they moved into their one-bedroom apartment, he sat her down at a table and pulled out a calculator. He figured out the amount of space necessary to store all the gifts from a large wedding. He determined the portion of the monthly rent check that would be devoted to this storage. He then multiplied this by the number of months and the number of years they would live in that first place.
The extra toaster oven they wouldn't need right away, the ice crusher and waffle iron they might never use -- all such items became too dear in price to keep. They went back to the stores as soon as possible.
The couple eventually did move into a house. They had no regrets about the appliances returned because, by then, there were new models of these items.
Here's some more advice from the experts:
"Certainly it is okay to return duplicate gifts," said Bette Kahn, spokeswoman for Crate and Barrel.