Wedding Tip: A Wedding Gift
Giving of a gift is a precious gesture. A gift or present is an item given willingly to someone without the expectation of payment or anything in return. In many countries, the act of mutually exchanging money, goods, and other items may sustain social relations and contribute to social cohesion. On a wedding setup a guest will bring a gift (money or goods) because they either know the parents, sister, brother, cousin, uncle, aunt or any other relatives of the bride and groom. Since a gift is given willingly, it should be advisable on your wedding day not to have high expectations of receiving gifts. In our Malawian setup, the issue of giving out money _(pelekani-pelekani)_ has created a culture of people expecting a lot from the guests. One has to remember that a gift is provided willingly, therefore you should not force anyone to give because in return you will have groomy guests or they will depart from the event untimely. The essence of the event should not focus on receiving ( _pelekani-pelekani_ ); let that come as a bonus to you from the guests because their presence alone on that day is very important and should not be taken for granted. One has to also consider that a guest's sparing of time to attend your wedding is a gift on its own. Even simple words like 'we wish you well' or compliments like 'this event was marvellous' are a gift on their own. With the above explanation I believe a couple should not be having a wedding with other bills not finalized and trusting that they will settle those bills using _pelekani-pelekani_ money. It is a gamble which can put one in serious trouble.
Ulemu Nkhoma (UN)