The founder and director of the original luxury wedding expo, Bridal Asia, is an authority figure in the industry. Acutely aware of trends in the market, she has been instrumental in the launch and growth of several niche labels and designers of apparel, textiles, jewellery and home décor through her platform for over 15 years. To extend a helping hand for the upcoming season of nuptials, she lists her favourite gift ideas for weddings abroad and destination dos.
When invited to a destination wedding, or one outside the country, the perpetual question is – what to carry as a gift? Streamlined luggage allowances mean that something heavy or bulky or cumbersome is out of the question. Fragile pieces are risky, but with proper packing and handling, they have a good chance of surviving a journey.
Nowadays, because of online retail, we can leave the delivery in the hands of the seller; they will wrap your present beautifully and even send a personal message from you. Or if you’re not sure of the couple’s taste, you can play it safe by gifting a coupon of your preferred denomination, so that they can select something that they will like and use.
But part of me is old-school. There is something personal about choosing a gift and presenting it physically at a wedding. It speaks of the time that you have taken to pick out a present, which means that you value these people in your life. It’s an etiquette which I hold very highly.
You don’t want to give a generic gift that will most probably be of no use, and will get recycled and passed on to some distant relative of the couple during a random occasion. If you’re known for your taste, then confidently make your selection as per your budget. The key is to pick something unique that they will not get easily in the market, or something handcrafted that speaks of the rich Indian heritage.
The House of Things has plenty of options to choose from. Here are my favourites:
Indian pashmina or cashmere is known all over the world for its quality. It is a heritage craft from the beautiful land of Jammu and Kashmir. A stole or a shawl in this luxurious fabric will always be appreciated. Solid colours are great unisex options. Or if the bride is a close friend, then gift a hand-embroidered shawl.
Cashmere Men’s Stole (Rs 16,000/-) and Antique Patchwork Shawl (Rs 45,200/-) from Andraab.
Fine jewellery is always a fail-safe wedding gift, and the easiest to carry during your travels. A pair of cuff-links for the groom or a bangle for the bride will be great ‘investments’ for the new couple. If your budget doesn’t allow precious jewellery, then pick semi-precious or art jewellery from a reputed designer.
Horse Cufflinks (Rs 40,000/-) and Flower Bangle (Price on request), from Sunita Shekhawat: Rs 40,000/-
Luxe bedding sets, floor coverings and tapestries are always useful for a new home. A good textile with delicate hand techniques is nicer than mass-manufactured items. Go for patterns and motifs that represent a classic weave or embroidery.
Dakota Bedding Set from Sarita Handa: Rs 18,900/- & Tree of Life Hand Embroidered Tapestry from Ganesh Emporium: Rs 50,000/-
Fine porcelain, hand blown glass and luxury ceramics are great gifts and always useful for a couple about to start a new home and entertain guests. Dinner sets with a regal feel or antique dessert bowls make the food taste even better.
Jodhpur Evenings from Nishita: Rs 82,000/- & Murano Dessert Bowl Set from Taherally’s: Rs 72,000/-
Antiques and crafts
A hard to find art piece in a rare hand-craft is an excellent gift. So are vintage and antique pieces, which are not manufactured anymore. A trusted seller means that your selection will be authentic. The value of your gift exceeds the price tag.
Wall Brackets (Pair) from Mayur Arts: Rs 53,500/- & Hand Beaten Silver Burmese Bowl from Essajees: Price on request