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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014
Nuptial no-nos: guidelines for attending an Indian wedding
Mignonne Dsouza, Hindustan Times
November 14, 2013
First Published: 17:56 IST(14/11/2013)
Last Updated: 16:06 IST(16/11/2013)

If you’re invited to an I Do, remember to say I Don’t to social faux pas like these.

You’re invited to a bachelor party in Bangkok, Dubai or Singapore.Who foots the bill?
According to Candice Pereira, co-founder and creative head of Marry Me – The Wedding Planners, bachelor or bachelorette parties follow one of two scenarios. “Sometimes the bride or groom pays, sometimes the guests pay their own way.” Pereira adds that if you know you need to pay, keep in mind that this includes travel costs, accommodation, meals, night outs and more. But if the bride or groom is picking up the tab, be a good guest. “Any room service, laundry or phone charges from the room should be covered by you,” she says.

If you’re thinking of hosting an out-of-town hen or stag night, let guests know what expenses are being covered by sending a polite email, says Pereira. “This leaves no room for doubt and avoids embarrassing situations,” she explains.

A family member or close relative is getting married. Do you still have to give them gold jewellery?
Gold is still the most popular choice for close family members when it comes to giving the bride a gift, says wedding planner Vithika Agarwal. But this can cause complications. One, gold prices are steadily on the rise. Secondly, many brides now prefer costume jewellery or silver ornaments. Thirdly, the gap between the bride’s style preferences and those of elderly relatives can be quite large. “But there are ways to get around this,” explains Agarwal, who has been planning weddings for five years with her partner Divya Chauhan. “One way is to opt for gold coins. Or you could come to an arrangement with your family jeweller and get the bride a gift card instead.”

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2013/11/wedding-no-no.jpgRelatives can also find out if the bride would like some other gift. Agarwal says they can offer to pay for the honeymoon or a Noritake dinner set. And much depends on the bride’s or groom’s relationship with the person doing the gifting, adds Agarwal. “When I got married,” she explains, “I asked my brother for a Louis Vuitton bag.”

However, as a bride or groom, there is a fine line to tread when requesting a different gift, explains Agarwal. “Your relatives may have already put aside gold jewellery for you,” she says. “It would be rude to ask for something else in that case. At the end of the day, it is a present, and you need to accept it gracefully.”

You’re going to a destination wedding, and paying for your room and flight. Do you still need to give a gift?
“Even if you are invited to a destination wedding where you have to cover your own expenses, you would still need to gift the couple something,” says Pereira. “Guests who don’t live in the same city as the couple should carry their present to the wedding; others can give them the gift before leaving for the ceremony,” she explains. As a bride or groom, if you don’t want to burden your guests, specify you don’t want any gifts on your invite.

The invite says: no gifts, please. What do you do?
When a couple requests no gifts, respect their decision, says Pereira. “If you feel that you want to give the couple something, let them know,” she explains. “If they still insist, take a housewarming gift when you visit.”

Is it too cheap if a bunch of people chipped in and give the couple a joint gift?
According to Divya Chauhan, joining forces to gift the couple is a great idea. “It’s not cheap at all,” she says. “This minimises the burden of thinking of many gifts and you can get the couple something amazing.”

I’m gifting money, but it’s too much cash to carry to a reception. Who should I make the cheque out to, and is a cheque okay?
According to Pereira, people gifting large amounts usually do it via cheque. “It’s perfectly okay to make out a cheque to the person who has invited you – either the bride or groom,” she explains.

If I’m not going to make it to the wedding, do I still need to send a gift?
Most invitees give the couple a present even if they can’t make it to the wedding, explains Pereira. “They visit the person with a gift, or at least send one over,” she says.

The fine art of the RSVP
What’s the one wedding custom both bridal couples and wedding planners wish we would all adopt? That would be the habit of RSVPing, says Vithika Agarwal. “We find that when a couple or the couple’s parents invite people personally, very often people do not tell them if they are going to be unable to attend, even if they know they have other plans on the day or will be out of town. Also, when many members of a family are invited, people do not RSVP to say that x number of people will be coming.”

The result, say Chauhan, can be chaos. She recalls one occasion when 500 guests turned up to a wedding when 2,000 were expected. “The amount of food that got wasted was just incredible,” says Agarwal.

Photo: Shutterstock

From HT Brunch, November 17

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