I don’t understand this complaining. I *wish* I had more weddings and baby showers to go to. And excuses to party with my friends in exotic locales. Everyone I know is still single past the point where we would like to be. Also, you just have to get A gift. It doesn’t even have to be off the registry. It could be a bottle of wine. If your friends complain about it, they are the assholes. And if you are the one who feels like you need to spend more to the point where it would damage you, *you* are the one who has to examine your insecurities and relationships with the people involved.
The thing that confuses me the most is the modern American rejection of life milestones and celebrations. We all go on about the ‘wedding-industrial complex’ but weddings have almost always been, throughout history and the cultures that celebrate marriage, a nigh-bankrupting excuse to display one’s family’s wealth. Think of the wedding feasts of biblical times, of people feeding the entire neighborhood in rural Central Asia, of the multi-day festivities of the traditional Indian wedding, etc. Only in this excessively self-centered and individualistic society would we complain about something that is supposed to be a once in a lifetime familial and community celebration as overly expensive ‘life choices.’