Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Wedding Gifts


                                                      As a person who had the privilege of conducting the marriage of his three children, I know what a nightmare it is to receive hundreds of wedding gifts from friends and relatives.  To unpack them, sort them and find a storing place is an ordeal which I am sure  parents  face when their son or daughter get married.  The problem is compounded  when dozens of the same items like the casseroles, tea sets , dinner sets , cutleries,  framed  pictures of Gods in  all forms   are a part of the collection.

We still have a few left over gift items received during my elder daughter`s wedding 20 years ago.  While the more expensive ones  get to be used  over a period , the others are dumped in the lofts in every room.  How do you get rid of them?

Well,  recycling the gifts is one  obvious  solution. But what do you do with the scores  of gifts that you are left with even after you have recycled  the duplicate pieces  as your gift to a newly married couple. Though it is no secret that many parents recycle gifts received by their children, it hurts when you receive a gift package meant for some one else with the original `best wishes ` card inside the package– reflects   poorly of the guest who presented such a recycled gift.

Many well to do parents these days make it clear in the invitation by adding the words ‘No gifts please’ or ‘your presence will be the best gift’ etc.  Of course there are few who say ‘No box gift items  please!’  Does it mean that they have no objection to receiving cash or cheques  as gifts?

In spite of the clear instructions printed on the invitation many guests still bring boxed gift items and dump them on the  gullible couple.  When someone reminds them about the instruction regarding the gift in the card they will just shirk and say, “adhellam chumma potturukka –they have mentioned it  just as a formality.  I am sure the gifts will be accepted”.  And when such gifts are accepted by the couple, people  who have not brought any gifts are likely to  feel  guilty.

In one marriage,  I saw two tough  looking gentlemen (they could  pass off as bouncers in a night club) standing in front of the steps leading to the stage,  preventing  the guests from taking the gifts to the couple. They asked the guests politely  to deposit the gifts at a side table and take them  back after wishing the couple. Many  well  meaning guests , offended by the tough stance taken by the volunteers, walked away in a huff without greeting the couple.

To solve the problem and also to take advantage of the generosity  of the well wishers, an idealist couple added a note in the wedding invitation that  those who were interested in presenting  gifts  to issue  cheques  in the name of a charitable organization they had identified.  This trend is now catching on.

The real solution lies in a practice followed in Western countries. The invitation card carries the name of an identified department store where the couple is  registered for receiving gifts. The guests can go though the list of items already purchased by other guests  and order items   that the couple is likely  to find useful which are not already ordered. This avoids  wasteful expenditure.  I am sure that there are wedding gift portals which offer this service online.

My advice: Your blessings are more than enough for couples from well to do families. For others  cash gifts are the best .

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