Present perfect

Getting married? Build a wedding registry, spare yourself the horror of gifts that you least desire

Present perfect

Akshita Sethi

Five wall-clocks, 11 bed-sheets, seven framed images of Lord Ganesha and two hideous lamp posts pretty much summed up standard wedding gift items that newlywed couples got stuck with during the last decade. Chances are a few unconventional guests or the special Canada waali bua might have surprised you with a spa voucher that needed you to travel 40 kms before it could be redeemed. Some of you most likely got an ultra-modern coffee-maker by generous family friends. Until a year ago, who cared what the bride and groom would actually need to start a new life. It was only about not ending up at a function empty-handed!

No formalities

More often than not, guests have no idea what the couple would like and end up investing in a safe option. It’s time millennial couples lead the way to revolutionise the concept of wedding gifting by minimising the exchange of unwanted presents. The immensely practical concept of a wedding registry is finally making its way to our country; it promises to benefit both the giftee and guest by eliminating awkward formalities.

When Gurgaon-based Poulomi Bose and Naman Anand were to get married, they recollected the bizarre experiences of their friends and shuddered at the thought of the same thing happening to them. “After every cousin’s wedding, we spent two days laughing at ridiculous gifts that came their way. It’s distressing to see anyone give or receive useless gifts,” says the couple, who opted for Wedding Wishlist, a gift registry platform where one can create a list of what they want and when they want it.

Your rules

The idea gained momentum especially when style icon Priyanka Chopra Jonas partnered with Amazon Wedding Registry and brought to light that it included stuff such as dog apparel, luggage trolleys and a service cart!

A gift registry is a list of gifts and experiences the couple select in advance. Depending on the portal, they can choose from kitchenware, beauty and grooming, home appliances, gift cards, apparels, home décor to furniture, and share the online link with everybody who is invited. For a guest, the registry allows you to see the wish-list, pick a gift and make an online payment without spending a rupee beyond your budget or worrying about the logistics. This way, not only is every gift enormously appreciated by the couple, but the guests are also relieved of the guess-work. Once a product has been bought by someone, no other guest can buy the same thing. Talk about saying goodbye to duplicity of gifts!

For the to-be-weds who don’t wish for any physical gifts, a social cause they support can be added to their registry or a cash fund can be created, the money from which gets transferred to their bank account.

Eye on charity

The concept of a gift registry is slowly reshaping people’s mindsets by helping millennials plan socially conscious and waste-free celebrations. And this, useful over wasteful gifting, is the core principal at Wedding Wishlist, says co-founder Kanika Subbiah. “Millennials are taking control to ensure their gifts are things they will love and use, not re-gift. Many show a high inclination towards charity gifting. We have tie-ups with charitable organisations for child education, animal welfare, health and environment; a couple can choose the amount they want to donate and guests can contribute to the cause,” explains Subbiah. She notes that 22 per cent of their client-base added charity organisations to their registry last year.

Initial confusion

We are a society whose sentiments are attached to log kya kahenge and often have little knowledge that our lovingly wrapped present could be a burden for the recipient. It is not difficult to imagine neighbourhood aunts and uncles mooting the idea and exclaiming, “What! No Lifafa?” Since the idea is relatively new, families are bound to be apprehensive for it might appear as though the couple is demanding gifts.

Altering traditions

Wishtry, a Mumbai-based free online gift registry platform, focuses on personalised gifting by giving the to-be weds the freedom to select their own gifts and also help in keeping track of every guest’s contribution. For a conservative society like ours, ‘asking for gifts’ does not sit well with the elders of the family, notes Yogita Parekh, co-founder, Wishtry. She adds, “Both Gen X and Gen Y are now tech savvy and prefer ordering personal products online. So why not select wedding gifts too without going from store to store in search of an appropriate budget-friendly present!”

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