I attended a Sikh wedding, and while I expected the hosts to expect gifts, I didn’t know what type of gifts, so I had to consult. You see, turning up with the wrong gift is disappointing to both the gift giver and receiver.
Do anything go or are there appropriate gifts for Sikh weddings? The simple answer is yes; there are appropriate gifts for a Sikh wedding, so you have to consult before you buy or prepare the gift to take with you. The Sikhs have guidelines for every procedure that happens at a wedding, so you are not at liberty to decide for yourself the right gift.
The giving and receiving of gifts is one tradition that cuts across every culture or society. I am yet to hear of a community that does not like giving or receiving gifts. I would say every human being loves gifts because gifts show us that we are loved and valued.
Remember also that there are several ceremonies in the Sikh wedding process so your gift should be relevant to the particular wedding ceremony you are attending.
Do not turn up to a Sikh wedding empty-handed if you respect yourself and wish to be respected. The question is the appropriate gifts, not whether you should or shouldn’t bring gifts. I think this clarification is necessary because some “experts” have created an impression that gifts are not significant at a Sikh wedding.
Suffice it to say that a gift should, in a way, have value to the receiver. So, before you buy a gift, you need to ask yourself if the receiver is going to be pleased. A gift may not have high monetary value but still be valuable in the eyes of the receiver.
Are the bride or the groom going to be happy while unwrapping your bundle? That’s the question.
That’s why you should take the time to find out what is likely to please the receiver. If you have known the couple-to-be for some time, then you can easily guess some of the items they are likely to want as gifts.
Something else: plan well. Do not wait until the wedding day to buy the gift on your way to the ceremony. You never know how the day may turn out. You may not get the time to make your gift look presentable.
You should buy or prepare your gift in the preceding days and wrap it nicely.
As you can see, the art of giving gifts could be tricky. However, worry not because, at the end of this article, you will have arrived at the right gifts your hosts are likely to expect.
Gifts for the Bride
A bride may heartily accept your gift before the cameras only to throw it away if she feels she doesn’t like it.
In other words, your gift ends up as waste. Before you buy the gift, you can inquire from her parents or close friends for clues. Is she trendy, or she is the traditional and reserved type? Does she want to stand out?
But then a gift should also have an element of surprise attached to it, so going about asking for what you should buy may not go down well. You have to figure out some of these things.
Again, do not overthink about what she could need as a wife. Try to also focus on her because this is about her. So, if you are bringing more than one gift, have special ones for her.
That said, the following 20 are some of the best wedding gifts you should consider for the bride if you are attending a Sikh wedding:
You should consider ornaments for the bride because women love ornaments more than men do. A pair of golden earrings, a diamond necklace or chain are in order. If possible, secretly find out her preferences. Some ladies like heavy ornaments, while others prefer sleek ones. Other women also like bright, attractive ones while other women are fine with the nice but cool looking.
2. A Stylish Watch
You can already consider a stylish bracelet wristwatch that makes her stand out in the ground.
3. Aroma Basket
You can fill a basket with some of the little sweet-smelling things like scented candles, lavender perfumes, bath salts, etc. These seemingly little gifts sometimes end up the most remembered ones. Nobody wants to forget a sweet smell.
4. A Handbag
You do not have to ask around if the bride will like a handbag because they all do. Moreover, they never have enough of lovely handbags.
5. A Cook Book
You can buy a book with some of your favorite recipes to start her off at her matrimonial home. It shows her that you care about how she will be running her kitchen. Some marriages are broken or strengthened in the kitchen. If she is not quite a good cook, the book is going to be valuable, and she will always remember that she mastered the art of cooking through your book.
6. Heels for Parties
Trendy ladies love heels shoes for parties. Indeed, after the wedding ceremony, she will still have other related ceremonies to grace. Hence, bestowing nice heels upon her will make her genuinely happy. Ensure you get her shoe size right.
If she is not the heels type, you can buy some traditional slippers or whichever shoes she is likely to enjoy having.
7. Cosmetic Set
The bride wants to groom herself more in the subsequent months after the wedding so you can also consider a cosmetic set that contains many of the beauty products in one place. They may include but not limited to brushes, hair care items, face care products, sunscreens, eye makeup, skincare products and nail accessories.
Gifts for the Groom
If you are to buy a gift for the groom, think like a man even if you are not. If you personally know the groom, think of what he is likely to enjoy having. While each individual has particular gifts that turn him out, the following are some of the favorite gifts for grooms at a Sikh wedding:
1. A Wallet
Men love wallets, so the groom is going to be pleased with a wallet, especially if it is leather.
2. Sporty Watch
A sporty watch is another gift you can consider.
Find out his shoe size and get him a pair or two of shoes. Nobody has enough shoes.
4. Traditional Clothing
You can get him some popular traditional clothing. This may include a turban.
5. Sweets and Fruits
Yes, you can shower the groom with food as gifts. During the Roka or Thaka ritual when the parents give their consent to the wedding or marriage, the groom receives food gifts from the bride’s family.
The gifts include sweets and fruits. So, if you are on the side of the bride, you can chip in with sweets and fruits for the groom. Remember that this ceremony takes place before the formal wedding.
Apart from the sweets and fruits, it is also the right opportunity to give your clothing or jewelry gifts to the groom. You can also give these gifts to the groom during the Sagan ceremony.
Take note that some the gifts we have so far discussed here are not appropriate on the formal wedding day, so you have to give them in one of the many pre-wedding ceremonies.
6. A Piece of Art
You could opt for a piece of painting or drawing if the groom as a taste for arts. Get a painter to paint him and bring the piece as your gift. This is something he will never forget, especially if he places it in his office or living room.
It can also be a picture of some landmark or landscape in your city. If he loves art, he does not have to be familiar with your city or region to appreciate the gift.
Household or Couple Gifts
While you can buy a gift for either of the couple-to-be, it is also in order if you focus on things that are suitable for both of them. There are those household gifts that both the bride and groom are going to appreciate. They can also be non-household but still meant for both.
It is a perfect case of killing two birds with one stone. The following are the most popular household or both-spouses gifts at a Sikh wedding:
1. A Photo Album
A photo album may seem simple, but it means a lot. Many wedding photos will be taken, and they will need an album. Photos become part of the family’s heirloom, so they need to be preserved. When you gift the couple a photo album, it goes to show how much you care about their future.
2. Spa Sessions
After the long days of preparing for the wedding, having it and then bracing the post-wedding ceremonies, the couple is no need physically and mentally drained. You can surprise them with tickets to a classy spa for spa sessions for both of them after they are done with the post-wedding rituals.
3. Cutlery or Kitchen Appliance
It would help if you considered kitchen stuff such as silver spoons, pots, microwave, mugs, gas cooker, etc.
4. Bedroom Stuff
Silk bedcovers, customized pillows with the names of the bride and groom written on them, or identical pajamas are some of the gifts you can consider.
5. Cushions, Coasters or Carpets
For their living room, you should consider items like cushions or coasters for the furniture. Coasters are never enough because they can be changed. If you want your cushions and coasters to be unique, you can brand them by having their names written on them. Alternatively, you can have quotes with special messages to them instead of their names.
A line from a poem can do. You can also choose designs or colors that are not likely to be found in the locality where they are wedding.
6. Honeymoon Destination Package
Most people are expected to bring material gifts, but it would be unusual if one of them offers to cater for the couple’s honeymoon trip to some classy destination they didn’t even think they could visit one day.
If you have the means and can afford to be generous without breaking the bank, it is no waste if you sponsor these lovebirds to their dream destination for the honeymoon. Let your gift be in the form of airplane tickets to a romantic destination where they will explore new cultures or places.
They will live to remember this moment forever. Honeymoon away from home gives them the time they need to be together and rest from the endless Sikh ceremonies that they have endured to get married.
Of course, you have to plan for this kind of gift well, even if in secrecy. It will not be of much help if you inform them of the air tickets when they have already booked and paid for another destination, or someone else has on their behalf. Your supposed surprise for them might surprise you more.
Again, not every couple wants to spend their honeymoon away so you need to be sure your proposal would be acceptable.
7. Cash and Money
Any gift, be it shoes or photo album, has probably been enlisted by another friend or relative attending the wedding. So, you are most likely going to bring the same gift that someone else has brought. It is not uncommon for different friends and relatives to bring forth similar gifts.
Watch out for similar gifts
While all gifts are welcome, it is really disheartening to receive lots of similar gifts from many guests. What would you do if twenty guests brought you twenty wallets or twenty photo albums?
Frankly, you probably are not going to use twenty or so leather wallets in your lifetime, so may have to sell some later or give them as gifts. However, what if they had brought money instead of wallets?
You could deposit the money in the bank and use it later when you need it. You could spend the money on your honeymoon trip, buy something the guests didn’t bring as a gift, or pay part of the loan you took for the wedding expenses.
Best gift is money
In short, if you have been invited to a wedding, do not rule out giving money as a gift. In fact, the most preferred gift for the couple-to-be on the wedding day is money.
It is more convenient and perhaps the oldest form of gift in the Sikh wedding traditions. On the wedding day, there are very many activities to take place. To save you from having to transport the material gift to the temple or the homes of the couple-to-be, you can settle on the money.
By settling on money, you also remove the worry and confusion that accompanies having to buy a gift that you are not entirely sure is going to please them. You also save you time because you are not going to the market to buy anything as a gift.
Money is convertible. Unwanted material gifts will only have value to the couple if they exchange them for money.
That’s why there are weddings where they politely request the guests to bring no gift other than money.
There a guideline you have to follow if you decide to go the money way. Your money should be in a well-decorated envelope, and whatever amount of money you give should end with 1.
Inappropriate Gifts for a Sikh Wedding
Another point to bear in mind is that each region has what it considers appropriate. What turns a couple on in the USA may not play the same trick on a couple in India’s rural parts. Again, it could be that a Sikh couple living in the USA would be much grateful if you brought them traditional Indian dresses straight from India as their wedding gifts.
With that I mind, the following are some of the inappropriate gifts you should not take to a Sikh wedding:
Some carvings may look great for house decorations, so you may want to pass them as gifts to the wedding couple, except that they are seen as idols by the Sikh community. I fact, avoid all forms of religious gifts.
For that reason, you should be careful what kind of what you give as gifts.
A clock as a gift could mean many things, some of which are not pleasant. Does it mean the marriage is going to survive for a short time? Is the marriage crumbling with every ticking of the clock?
Avoid gifts that are open to strange interpretations.
3. Baby Products
In your well-meaning but misguided notion that they need to start preparing for their first child, you may turn up with baby clothes or toys. It is not a good idea; the wedding is about them, not their children.
What if they fail to have kids in the long run, for whatever reason?
4. Relationship Advice Manual
Even if you are a marriage counselor, even if you believe the marriage is not going to work, kindly do not give a book about how to achieve a successful marriage, etc. It isn’t polite, especially if the marriage fails in the near future.
It could be interpreted to mean you are looking for an opportunity for “I told you!” should things go wrong or right.
In conclusion, you should think outside the box when you consider the gift to buy. As you decide on the appropriate gift to take to a Sikh wedding, remember that you also should be innovative, creative and imaginative. Do not go for the obvious items that everyone else is likely to bring.
Your gift should stand out and be unique to the bride or the groom so that they feel them feel you were not bringing a gift for the sake of it. For instance, let the shirt or fruits you bring be different from the types others bring. It may be hard to stand out but do your shopping with that in mind. Okay, it is about pleasing the couple, not inflating your ego, so do not over-do for the sake of standing out. Just strike the right balance.
Finally, remember that joy and happiness are the most important themes at a Sikh wedding. You should come with a plan to share in the happiness of the two souls being enjoined to live as one soul. The Sikhs see wedding ceremonies as the opportunity to mingle, laugh, socialize, have fun and show love.
Gifts are part of showing love. They are not an end to themselves, but a means to an end, which is showering the couple with love and sharing in their happiness.
They invited you to the wedding to share with them the happiness of the day. While gifts are necessary, they are not the central part of a Sikh wedding. So, if you receive an invitation card to a Sikh wedding, do not interpret it to mean you are merely being asked for a gift.
A gift is a freewill offering. It ceases to be a gift if you are pressurized to give it. Yet, do not turn up empty-handed at a Sikh wedding.