Beginning new life with a cause
Attended by who’s who of the southern film industry, Telugu star Ram Charan Teja’s wedding with Upasna Kamineni was a lavish affair.
From the high-profile guests to Kamineni family’s farmhouse Temple Trees as venue and from a grand reception to designer clothes, it was a big fat Indian wedding by all means except one. The couple requested the guests, including friends and relatives, to donate to an NGO rather than bring expensive gifts for them!
The trend of asking guests to donate for a cause instead of giving gifts at the wedding is slowly catching up among many couples, who like to embark on a new journey by bringing a smile on the faces of the needy in lieu of their blessings. The best way to communicate this to their near and dear ones is to get it printed on their invitations.
Parthip Thyagarajan, director, WeddingSutra.com says even though the market is buzzing with gifting ideas, there are people who think differently. “Many brides and grooms want to give and receive gifts that support a cause and NGOs with creative wares and new services have stepped in to fulfil this need,” he says.
Pratham, an NGO working for the education of under-privileged children, is one such organisation which received funds through this concept. “Recently, a couple wanted to sponsor one of our programmes for children. They asked friends and relatives to donate to us rather than giving gifts or cash. The amount wasn’t much but the effort is very appreciable,” says Swati Kapur, who looks into the communication and fund raising events of the NGO.
Indian weddings are a grand affair. Even at a small-scale weddings, the number of invitees is many. Some bless the couple with shagun and some with household gifts many of which are not liked or are unusable. However, cash equivalent of the price of gifts can make a difference to lives of the needy. Realising this, many couples also let an NGO install a booth at their function where people can directly contribute to the cause by purchasing products made by them. “Many NGOs participate at weddings now. In their stalls you’ll find beautiful and often not-so-expensive creations such as coin pouches, mobile phone covers, bangles, bindis, beaded coasters, dining mats, bookmarks and jewel boxes,” Prathip says.
With big Indian fat weddings getting bigger every year, the idea of asking people to not bring gifts or donate money to NGOs, is still considered alien by some. Many also resist the idea, as they doubt the integrity of NGOs.
A wedding portal BollywoodShaadis.com recently conducted a poll asking people ‘if they donate the money received at their wedding’. Apoorv Kalra, co-founder of the portal says, “36 per cent said they want to enjoy the experience of getting many gifts, while a mere 25 per cent were willing to forego gifts and donate money. 14 per cent said that they can’t decide while the rest said they would like to donate if the NGO is genuine.” Appears there can’t be a more perfect way to start the new journey of life.