Can you ask for cash for a wedding present?

Many engaged couples now wish to ask for cash for a wedding present, but readers ask “Is that totally crass?”

For couples who haven’t gone the “traditional” route of living apart until marriage, having a wedding registry for your wedding can be complicated, and you might end up having to choose (and receive) a lot of things you don’t really want or need. Now, there’s many more options couples are asking for as wedding gifts, and asking for cash instead of gifts is becoming more and more acceptable, but there’s a right (and wrong) way to go about it.

Don’t forget to ask for a copy of I still do to begin your marriage with!

I suggest this is not the right way:

Do come to our wedding bash – please show your love in cheques or cash

But it’s tradition…

Yes… was – BUT In 2012, as many as 70 percent of couples lived together before they got married, compared to 10 percent in 1960. Times have changed! For couples who have already cohabited and established a home together, having to set up a traditional wedding registry of gifts of kitchen appliances and other household goods can be a waste.

As an aside, one thing that will definitely not be a waste is a copy of I still do – the wedding anniversary and diary that has JUST landed! Grab a copy for yourself or ask one of your nearest and dearest for it as a wedding gift!

If you’re worried about guests turning their noses up at your request for a monetary contribution, consider that monetary gifts have long been considered proper and acceptable in different regions and countries:

  • Korea: guests often present envelopes containing cash or checks to the parents of the couple, who in turn present the money to the newlyweds;
  • China: guests usually hand the bride monetary presents in red envelopes (red symbolizes luck) AND even guests who don’t attend send money;
  • Italy: has the custom of “The Grand March,” where the wedding reception ends with a receiving line in which the couple gives each guest a sweet in exchange for an envelope of money;
  • Poland: the “Dollar Dance” where guests dance with the bride and pin money to her veil or dress. it is the norm in many cultures; and in
  • Greece, Azerbaijan and parts of the Middle East, it would be seen as rude not to give money at a wedding.

Cash is King!

So, for the nearly four-fifths of couples marrying this year will be asking for a gift that definitely won’t be gathering dust on the top shelf (aka a financial contribution) what to do:

Where’s the money going?

Though you can simply ask for contribution to a bank account ‘to help pay for the wedding’, many couples choose for the money to go toward something specific. We chose furniture, and let our guests know just what we’d be buying with it. Others choose a honeymoon fund or let guests know they’re using the money to build a patio, or put into a ‘date night‘ fund. Choose what you’re asking for, and if it’s something more specific, let your guests know.

How to Spread the Word?

Again, according to tradition, the wedding gift registry doesn’t go on the invitation, because in our culture it’s actually impolite to ask for gifts. So, if you decide to set up such an account, or register on a cash registry site or if you simply want your guests to know you’d prefer checks, let your parents, close relatives and friends know that when other guests ask what you’d like as a wedding gift, they can tell them cash would be most appreciated. Of course, a great place to convey your gift preferences and registry picks is on your wedding website, if you have one.

However, be aware that some guests may not give you money anyway, and will buy you a gift instead. It might interest you to give those guests a choice—some may really want to give you something material, rather than just writing you a check. Personally, I love Mildred & Co, a wedding website that has more than just the usual homewares (even stocking the little white book, which you can add to your engagement party registry, should you desire).

If you’re writing a cheque…

Do people do this anymore..? Just in case – make cheques out to the bride or groom, rather than the bride’s maiden name, or the couple’s married name.

It’s the thought that counts

What’s a little awkward about giving cash for a wedding present, or making a cash contribution, is that there’s full disclosure – i.e. no secrecy about how much they’ve spent on you… but realistically, that’s the same with a wedding registry, as you put the gifts on it, so you must know what they’re worth.

Whatever you ask for, and whatever you’re given, be grateful and be thankful – and that includes writing a thank you card within a few months too!