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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