“No gifts or flowers please”

Despite having this sincere plea in most wedding invites, most couples end up receiving gifts and bouquets galore. Unfortunately, in India it is considered rude if one does not bring a gift for the newlyweds. But what is a couple to do with a truckload of gifts, ranging from the usual home appliance, to artifacts and knick-knacks for the home and seemingly endless numbers of dinner sets? Not to mention the numerous, not-so-subtle, re-gifted and recycled presents.

So if you are planning your wedding and are concerned about the gifting situation, here are a few alternatives that you could present to your guests.

Monetary Gifts


Cash is the best thing that you could receive as a gift. You could use the money as a lump sum towards decorating and setting up your new home, use it to buy a new car or even pay for your honeymoon. The best way to politely ask for cash gifts (without seeming greedy or needy) would be to set up a cash registry or even have a registry to collect cash on your wedding website. You can then share this information in your e-vites or send it to close friends and family. Let them know what you intend to do with the cash with a creative or quirky message, and ka-ching!

Wedding Registry


A norm in the West and novelty in India, wedding registries can ensure that when you tear open that wrapping paper, you aren’t in for a rude shock or disappointment. C

Honeymoon Contributions


Many young couples are also persuading their wedding guests to refrain from spending on gifts but rather using that money to partly fund their honeymoon travel. Often dubbed a Honeyfund, you could have a creative booth or counter at your wedding party/reception for guests to contribute to your trip.

Contributions to a Cause


Don’t want to make it all about you? For the socially conscious couple, this is the perfect opportunity to get your guests to contribute to a cause close to your hearts. Make information about your favourite charity available to your guests by email, on your wedding website or even at your venue to urge them to donate their time or money.

Gift Cards


Rather than getting you home décor or appliances, you could ask your close friends and family to get you gift cards from home stores that you like. This way you can later shop for items you’d need for your new home rather than figure out what to do with things that do not match with your décor or items you do not need.

New-Couple Bonding Activities


If your guests know you and your partner quite well, they could even get you subscriptions or coupons for fun couple activities. Maybe a cooking class, an adventure activity like skydiving or diving (not for the faint-hearted), a couple’s spa date, a weekend getaway or maybe even a romantic meal-for-two at a nice restaurant.


When it comes to a big fat Indian wedding, it may not be practical or even possible to advice ALL your guests on gifting ideas. Printing you gifting options on the wedding invite may also not be practical in some cases. However when asked specifically, or even with close friends and families, couples should take the liberty to let them know what they’d prefer. After all, it’s best to give and receive something that is likely to be useful.

Written by—Ranjana Pillai

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