A report on yahoo.com describes the unpleasantness generated because a newly married couple in Canada was disappointed with the wedding gift they received from one of the guests, the reason being the gift cost only $ 30.00 while the cost per guest was $ 97.00. One of the emails to the guest concerned said, “I’m not sure if it’s the first wedding you have been to, but for your next wedding, people give envelopes. I lost out on $200 covering you and your dates plate, and got fluffy whip and sour patch kids in return. Just a heads up for the future :)”
This reminded me of this excerpt from a report in The Economic Times dated June 6, 2011 about the marriage of Rohan Murty, son of Infosys Executive Chairman N. R. Narayana Murthy with Lakshmi Venu, daughter of TVS Motor CMD Venu Srinivasan:
‘The couple in their reception invite have requested guests not to carry gifts or flowers and instead make contributions to the Akshaya Patra foundation, a charitable organisation that provides children in public schools with wholesome meals for lunch.
“We have been very fortunate and the chances of fate have given us both so much. We would love our wedding to support a cause we care about dearly and one that will have a positive impact on society. Hence, if you are thinking of buying us a gift or flowers for our wedding, we request that you instead contribute to the following cause,” the couple had said in their invitation card.’
Lakshmi Venu and Rohan Murty were certainly not the first persons to do something like this. A few decades back, some persons started mentioning ‘Presents in Blessings only’ or ‘No Presents or Bouquets Please’ on wedding invitations, and this caught on in quite a big way. However, it is common to find many guests bringing gifts or bouquets despite this explicit request. Lakshmi Venu and Rohan Murty found the way to ensure that they did not accept any gift without denying guests the satisfaction of ‘gifting’. I hope many more people follow their example.
A related matter of concern is the lavishness of wedding celebrations. Often, people themselves go to great lengths to ensure that their wedding celebration is not only more lavish, but ‘unique’ compared to other people’s wedding celebrations. While some people may have the means to indulge in such one-upmanship, real or imagined social pressure makes many people overdo things even if they cannot really afford to do so. I know of cases where people have created financial problems for themselves by spending all their savings or/and borrowing huge sums of money only to ensure that their wedding celebrations were more lavish than expected by their relatives and friends.
This trend must be reversed. But who will bell the cat? ‘Ordinary’ people who avoid lavish wedding celebrations are generally labelled stingy or eccentric or something worse. Very few persons would not let this bother them. Most others would prefer to avoid ridicule. Hence, I wish high-profile individuals and celebrities take the initiative to avoid lavish wedding celebrations so that it becomes fashionable for ‘ordinary’ people to follow their example.
What’s your take?