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Updated: May 22, 2014 17:11 IST

Gifting it right

PRIYADARSHINI PAITANDY
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Bagful of ideas On gifting websites
Bagful of ideas On gifting websites

A wedding gift registry makes gifting easier

“Not another bedspread...or photo frame!” Are these your thoughts while unwrapping your wedding gifts? Sometimes the gifts that you get can take the joy out of receiving them. A thoughtful gift can bring a smile to one's face. Rather than mind-numbing multiples of duvets and cutlery sets, which in most cases end up crammed into the loft, you now have the option of deciding what you'd like to receive on your big day — say hello to wedding gift registry.

A common practice in western countries, a gift registry is a sensible idea where the couple getting married registers with a store or a website and lists out what it really needs. All friends and relatives have to do is stick to the list. And it makes sense because this way they don't have to rack their brains or waste money buying inconsequential items.

The concept is still in its nascent stages in India, and not too many stores have warmed up to it. But there are a few websites that save you the “post gift unpacking” sighs.

Priyanka Agarwal launched a gift registry website when she saw the mound of redundant presents her sister received for her wedding. “Her wedding invite said ‘Blessings Only' but even then guests brought in presents. Some of what she received was really embarrassing such as wine bottles with complimentary labels from another event, and some of the gifts were of no use at all. So I came up with Wishberry, where you can not only specify the gifts you want but also receive cash as a gift,” says Priyanka. She is positive about this trend picking up. “When somebody sends us food or sweets, we never return the dabbas empty. We always send it back with something in it. That is because giving gifts is engrained in our culture. So I believe the gift registry concept will catch on once people are aware of it.”

Based in Mumbai

A lack of impressive online gifting options and the search for the perfect one made Isha Kedia and her partners Aparna Dalal, Vishy Venugopal and Anushka Arellano, start Lamhe in 2010. “We are based out of Mumbai but work with our brand ambassadors who are stationed across the country and help us locate brands to tie up with so that we can provide unusual experiences and presents,” explains Isha.

Trusha Shah started Shareurjoy, as a result of a personal experience. “I am from Dubai but was married in Mumbai. A lot of my friends who couldn't attend the wedding didn't know how to send me a gift or what to give. That set me thinking and I came up with the website in June 2010.”

These websites follow a simple procedure. Remember how you penned down wish lists for Santa Claus as a five year old? It's similar. Log on and create your wishlist. You could either choose from the options available on the sites or add your own specifications. Inform your friends via social networking sites or print it on your wedding invite. It's up to the invitees to browse through your list and decide what they'd like to give you. Two or more friends too could pool in and buy a gift.

“This practise helps prevent duplication of gifts. In other countries, it's assumed that you are registered. I notice in India too it's becoming common,” says Trusha. While Isha thinks there is a resistance to this idea. “We don't really have the culture of asking for gifts. Some are shy and feel it's not respectful. But all that's slowly changing now.”

Not just material gifts, you also have the option of choosing from experiences. How does sipping champagne on a yacht, under a starry night sky sound? Or how about taking a cruise or a helicopter ride with a loved one? Or going on an adventurous paragliding trip? And in case you have narcissistic tendencies, an oil-on-canvas portrait of yourself should please you perhaps? The options are aplenty. But the most popular wish list entries are electronic gadgets, iPads, mobile phones, laptops.

So, what happens when an expensive gift has been only partly funded for? “You either have the option of paying the balance or choosing another item or taking vouchers from the service providers,” they explain.

The good thing about these portals is they also have tie-ups with charitable organisations. So couples who don't want any presents have the option of requesting their guests to donate towards a cause or charity. “At least this way people can do some charity work,” says Priyanka.

Not just weddings, you can count on them for any occasion, be it birthdays, baby showers, bachelorette parties or even a graduation party and yes, they deliver across the country.

So if you are tying the knot anytime soon, focus only on your trousseau. Don't bother with buying that pair of Aldo's for your honeymoon, or that wine decanter you've been eyeing for your new house. Just mention it on your wish list...the guests now know what to get you.

Keywords: wedding gifts

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