Indian weddings have traditionally had an unwritten rule; gifts always come in the form of cash. I was rather surprised when I learned as an adult (shortly after my own wedding) that the little italic script on the bottom of the wedding card that reads ‘no gifts please’ doesn’t mean ‘no gifts’, it actually means ‘no physical gifts, cash only please.’

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Now this might seem a little shocking to someone outside the culture, but it actually makes sense from a traditional standpoint. In the good old days the gifted money was used to help families shoulder the cost of the wedding ceremony and invest in the future. It also makes a lot more sense to gift someone money when you don’t really know them well but are attending their nuptials (which happens often at Indian weddings!) However, times are changing and a gift registry makes a lot of sense for younger Indian couples.

Many couples today are moving in together after the wedding and could really use a toaster or extra dishware. Or maybe your best friend from childhood is getting married and it’s just too impersonal to give her money in an envelope, you want to give her something meaningful (good luck explaining that to your mom, I’ve tried). Either way, a gift registry for an Indian wedding is definitely a must have these days.

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My suggestion though is not to expect everyone to use it, and I certainly wouldn’t include a registry card with the wedding invitations, not everyone in every generation is ready for that yet. You could however include a link to your registry on your wedding website. The chances are, if someone is tech savvy enough to check out your wedding website they might be interested in viewing your registry. (PS: have you signed up for your free PlanShaadi account yet? It includes a free wedding website!)

You could also task your maid of honour and bridesmaids with sharing the information with bridal shower guests and other ladies in the family. Quite often people are open to hearing about the registry and interested in buying you a gift you actually need, but you never want them to feel forced or obligated to purchase off your list. Some people actually take great pride in finding the perfect gift for you, even if you didn’t know you wanted it yet!

What do you think? Do gift registries work at Indian weddings?