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Please Don’t Make Me Open Your Gift in Front of Other Guests

Emily Forrest, Zola’s director of communications, wasn’t surprised by the survey results. She thinks that people just feel more comfortable these days doing what feels right for them, regardless of what any (heteronormative and old-fashioned) tradition might have dictated.

“I do think there may still be some type of generational difference in the expectations of what a wedding shower should be, and what the experience is,” she said. “More and more couples have showers where they’re changing some of these traditions.”

If the last two and a half years have taught us anything, it’s that we should treasure time spent, in person, with the ones we love. (And that we should wash our hands.) The true gift at any shower is the togetherness, Ms. Forrest said; instead of holding up and showing our guests a flag we just got, or a plastic rectangle redeemable for travel, or heck, even a nice KitchenAid that we’re genuinely excited about, maybe we embrace the community and not the custom.

There is one custom, though, that isn’t going anywhere: thank you notes. Ms. Forrest said they’re still very much a thing. Because, to be clear, not opening gifts in front of people isn’t about shunning appreciation for the thought, effort and money that goes into them; it’s about using the time in the way the person being celebrated wants, she said. As a result, opening gifts in public is now more of a choice than a foregone conclusion.

We know what Ms. Presser, given the chance, would have chosen. “I just want to say a genuine, heartfelt thank you,” she said, “and then I want to go talk to everyone or move on to the next thing.” This might mean vow Mad Libs or maybe just sipping a whiskey neat before noon with friends from out of town.

And if you find yourself on the eve of your wedding getting paraded around an Idaho rodeo by horse and carriage with a green prince and princess flag your mother-in-law gave you strung up on a pole, waving in the wind as you’re galloped past friends, family and strangers by a man named Ian, well, then you and Ms. Vasoli have a lot in common.

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