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New-age wedding gifts: Couples are opting for Bitcoins, wire transfers, and Paytm cash

Traditional gifts and sweets are passé; couples are now accepting cryptocurrency and e-money as wedding gifts. If the gift-givers aren’t clued into digital payments, no problem — the invites have instructions.

more lifestyle Updated: Feb 23, 2018 16:09 IST
Aditya Dogra
Aditya Dogra
Hindustan Times
Niti Shree and Prashant Sharma, who opted to have a one-of-its-kind Bitcoin wedding.

Say no to receiving showpieces-that-must-be-gifted-to-someone-else gifts, and join the I-want-e-money crowd. What are we talking about? We’ll tell you. But first a little backgrounder. Back in November 2016, when demonetisation hit everyone’s cash reserves — big or small — it became acceptable to give the ‘shagun’ or monetary gift to the bride and bridegroom through e-transfer or cheques.

Back to what we’re talking about: more than a year since demonetisation, the bride and bridegroom have warmed up to the idea of hearing their e-wallets go ‘kerching!’ at the wedding. Couples are now confidently telling their guests to transfer credit to their e-wallets or even gift cryptocurrency.

Take for instance, Niti Shree and Prashant Sharma — the duo recently had what’s perhaps the world’s first Bitcoin wedding, where any and all wedding gifts were only accepted in the form of Bitcoins, the hottest new investment instrument. The couple was considerate enough to initiate in the crypto game those who had no clue about it. The wedding cards had a step-by-step guide for it, to ensure a smooth transfer of the ‘gifts’. (Incidentally, gifting an entire Bitcoin, which is worth around Rs 5.5 lakh as on February 14, 2018, is next to impossible for most invitees, but it’s possible to gift a fraction of a Bitcoin through the Bitcoin wallet app.)

The step-by-step process for Bitcoin transfer that Niti and Prashant had printed on their wedding guests.

Prashant thinks it was a great idea that also saved the invitees the bother of scouting for a suitable gift. He says, “We had attended about six to seven weddings, and were confused every time as to what we should gift the couples. So one could say that the decision to opt for a Bitcoin wedding came from the personal pain of being confused about gifting. Another reason for it was our interest in cryptocurrency, and we decided to merge the future with technology and gifting.” Not every invitee managed to get so tech forward, but, says Prashant, “a whopping 95% of attendees at our wedding actually opted to gift us in Bitcoins, which was great!”

Another couple, Aanya and Suchit, decided that they’d encourage cash gifts coming into their e-wallet or account by getting their Paytm QR code and account number printed on their wedding invitation. Oh! And just to be fair to the guests, they also had QR codes printed on their cards that would enable the guests to have sweets at the nearest Haldiram’s outlet. Truly cashless, indeed.

The couple felt that this digital methodology was one of the most efficient ways to collect, track and safe-keep the shagun received at weddings. They said, “At Indian weddings, there’s the highest exchange of money, and going digital is the way to move towards a cashless wedding!” Kabir and Maanya, a Gurgaon-based couple, decided that while their wedding cards wouldn’t have any QR codes or account numbers, they’d personally encourage wired money or shopping vouchers as gifts.

Aanya and Suchit’s wedding card, which trended online for going the cashless way.

According to wedding planners, the trend seems to have caught on, and more and more enquiries keep pouring in for such cashless gifting at weddings. “While I haven’t come across many takers for Bitcoin, [options like] Paytm and wire transfers seem to be a hot pick for many. I feel that this is great from an investment point of view, and the couples can utilise the lump sum amount however they wish to,” says wedding organiser Mukta Kapoor.

Kaveri Vij and Akshay Chopra from Designer Events Inc also feel that gifting has evolved and more people are opting for vouchers and e-money. They say, “We often see couples getting online shopping vouchers, travel vouchers, and home appliance vouchers, which the newlyweds can use as they like. Getting money into e-wallets is also slowly catching on — it proves to be hassle-free for the couple and the family, as they don’t have to worry about physical gifts on their special day.”

Many guests are now choosing e-vouchers as wedding gifts.

Thanks to digital transaction habits and e-retail taking hold, guests are now choosing to gift the smart way, too. Ankit Sethi, a Delhi-based entrepreneur, recently opted for Amazon vouchers as a gift for his friends who were getting married. “I could’ve decided on a gift for them, but the same thing could’ve been chosen by someone else, resulting in gift duplication. So, I decided to give them shopping vouchers, which would let them choose what they want to buy,” he says.

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First Published: Feb 23, 2018 16:09 IST