Putting your foot in it
Helga-Barbara Gundlach | 18.05.2018
Kathrin and other colleagues were invited by a colleague to her "Turkish" wedding in Hanover. They asked the bride what they should give and learned that instead of a flower vase, crockery or other items money or jewellery was expected. But they did not want to put their money in an envelope. Knowing that the bride and her future husband were planning a honeymoon, they lovingly made a dream island with palm trees, little boats, etc. In this work of art, they folded numerous bills of various heights.
At the wedding, they discovered that the bride's gift of jewellery was going to be worn immediately and that the money was going to be attached to the groom's suit. A moderator then read out the respective sums. When the moderator now took the island in front of a video camera, he looked at first extremely irritated, wrestled for words and brought out with a quick thought out: "And ... a lot of money from the Germans!"
What had happened?
Kathrin and her colleagues had felt safe. They had asked in advance what was suitable as a gift, so as not to go wrong and put their feet in it. But they had not been informed about the way of delivery and nobody had told them before. In Germany, it is also not uncommon to donate money. But it is sometimes unimaginative and unloving to just hand over an envelope. Unless it is explicitly stated that a donation box or a lucky pig can be used. But even then, there are people who use their creative skills. For support, there are guides on the book market or craft instructions on the Internet. The subsequent works of art sometimes deliberately only give a general idea of how much the folded flowers, butterflies, frogs or the like amount to all together. Because the exact sum is not important to other guests.
At "typical" Turkish weddings, as well as in other cultures, it is often important for all guests to know how much money their relatives and acquaintances have given. This can create a certain amount of pressure, which can ultimately force up the amounts of money given - to the burden of less well-to-do guests, but certainly to the delight of the bridal couple.
What should have happened?
Kathrin and her colleagues could have got more exact information. Likewise, the bride could have been more precise. In the bustle of the wedding preparations, she may not have thought about it. Maybe she had never even been to a "German" wedding, so that the reference to a gift of money seemed sufficient.
In the end, the moderator saved the situation well. He did not want to expose anyone and he succeeded. The relatives applauded (after all, according to the moderator, "a lot" of money was given). All participants were amused by the unusual situation and are now certainly enriched by this experience.
Kathrin is an employee of an educational institution.