Metroplus

Present perfect

Amit Bhargav and Sri Ranjani open their ‘chosen’ wedding gifts  

It’s half past seven on a busy Monday evening, and you’re already late for your friend’s wedding reception that’s taking place at the other end of the city. You’ve to get your best shirt out, coordinate the trousers and shoes, and call your friends to ensure they’re there when you get to the hall.

You have to top up fuel in the car, and pick up your wife on the way. And, you need to buy a gift. Dressed and ready, you head to a nearby gift store and pick up... a clock.

In an hour’s time, the clock will find its way into a boxful of gifts including, well, a dozen other clocks and watches that will, in turn, be gifted during another social occasion. The ‘vicious gifting cycle’ begins!

“Ninety per cent of wedding gifts are not useful,” says Kanika Subbiah, founder and CEO of city-based weddingwishlist.com, a portal that strives to create a ‘gifting experience rooted in practicality’. “In the last couple of decades, the emphasis has been on what a gift looks like rather than what’s inside.”

When she was in the U.S. — she studied engineering, did an MBA and worked in a couple of companies for a few years — Kanika experienced wedding registries firsthand. “The benefits were compelling; every wedding I attended had a wedding registry built by the couples. I learnt that 89 per cent of all weddings in the U.S. have a registry.”

But the scene back in India, which has many more weddings happening on an everyday basis, was different. Kanika realised that the gift divide — the gap between gifts received and gifts desired — was something that needed to be bridged. “Guests would ideally like to give something useful to the couple, but have no idea what to buy. So, they end up gifting generic items such as photo frames. Sometimes, they just recycle from the gift pile at home.”

Her portal seeks to assist would-be couples in creating a wedding registry, which would include everything they desire as gifts. The list would be shared by the couple among their invitees — who, in turn, can sit in the comfort of their home and workplace and order/contribute to a gift that they know will be welcomed by the newlyweds.

Divya Murthy and Vinaayak Viswanathan, who got married in June, were looking to shift base from Chennai to Bangalore after they tied the knot, and had to set up home from scratch. That included buying a television, a washing machine, a steam iron box and a laundry basket. “We were very specific about what we wanted — not just the products but also the brands,” she recalls. The process, which started in April (they got engaged on February 14), had them select each product carefully before it went on the list. “In between all the wedding preparations, just setting up the registry was a good break for us… and time well spent on our new home. Apart from helping us understand each other’s perspectives, it got us — as gifts from friends — all that we needed to begin life in a new city.”

They’ve been married for a month now and everything that Divya and Vinaayak use on an everyday basis are gifts friends have given them for the wedding. But doesn’t that take away from the whole charm of opening a gift without knowing what’s inside? “The entire mindset of surprise has changed today. We’d rather get something that we use on a daily basis,” she adds.

Soumya Keshavan of Good Earth, which has a bridal registry, agrees. “Young couples are more practical when it comes to gifting. Gone are the days when you would give something that gathers dust on the showcase.”

The concept of creating a wedding registry is picking up, she states, with at least five to six city couples creating one at their store. “There’s a lot of involvement from the couple’s side, as they get to select things they like, and would probably use,” she says.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 9:15:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Present-perfect/article14472644.ece

Next Story