For some reason, the biggest wedding faux pas of all time is to straight-up ask for a cash gift. This isn’t the 1950s, so it isn’t everyone’s dream to get a Crock Pot or a new set of knives as a wedding gift (but both of those things are awesome IMO, #adulting). Chances are you and your soon-to-be spouse have been shacking up for a while now (forgive me Father for I have sinned), and your place is probably furnished. So like, you don’t really need another KitchenAid mixer or a bunch of plates because you bought that stuff years ago. Thankfully it’s 2019 and we’ve finally figured out how couples can get what they really want from their guests: money. Here’s how to do it tactfully.
Websites like Zola and Honeyfund have ushered the concept of wedding gifts into the 21st century by giving couples an option to register for items unrelated to houseware. You can ask for money towards your honeymoon, home renovations, an activity, or another large purchase. Guests will feel better about gifting money when you tell them how you’re planning on spending their money. Without enough context, older guests might be convinced they’re funding your next kegger, so be as explicit as possible by asking for things like a couple’s massage on your honeymoon, or a new couch for your living room, so they don’t shy away from giving you that sweet cash.
Don’t Put It On Your Invitation
Guests probably won’t react well if your wedding invitation has your Venmo handle on the bottom of it. You might be tempted to stamp “bring me cash!!!” on the envelope, but try your best to resist. On your wedding website you can provide a link to your cash registry, which will heavily imply what you’d like (which in this case, is cash). We’re moving into the 21st century by being able to give money, but let’s keep things classy when it comes to invitation language.
Spread The Word
me to my family: can you just write me a check and leave me the F alone?
— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) April 16, 2019
We all have that bridesmaid who doesn’t STFU. Normally she’s the only one you can’t tell anything to, but we’ve actually got the perfect job for her. Let her know that you and your fiancé would prefer a cash gift, and (mouthing) off she’ll go. If people ask you what you’d like for your wedding, don’t be afraid to be honest. Let them know you have a lot of home goods already and you’d love them to contribute to your honeymoon or a big furniture purchase. Again, telling them explicitly where their check will go will make them feel better about not giving a physical gift.
Set Out A Card Box At The Wedding
Let’s be real, when you see “cards” written on a wooden box at a wedding, what the couple really means is, “Help me, I’m poor”. Setting one of these by the guest book or the escort card table will let guests know you’re open to receiving checks. Don’t go as far as having the ushers walk up to guests during cocktail hour asking for donations (this isn’t church), but setting it out as an option for guests is a subtle way to ask for dolla dolla bills.
Give People Options
once you accept you’re going to be bleeding money, the entire wedding process will start to get a litttttle bit easier
— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) July 25, 2019
No matter how badly you don’t want a traditional registry, you’ll probably have guests that are sticklers when it comes to tradition (for example, my mother), so it’s a good idea to create one in case people are committed to giving you a physical gift. There are still dozens of options for non-traditional registry gifts, like sports equipment or bar accessories, so you don’t have to get stuck asking for baking trays or a mixing stand if you’d never use those. At the end of the day, people are going to give you whatever gift they feel most comfortable with, so you might as well be prepared with a traditional registry in case.
Images: betchesbrides / Twitter; betchesbrides / Instagram
If you’ve got a fresh ring on your left hand, the wedding planning process wheels are probably already turning in your head. Everything from getting your photographer nailed down to sending out Save The Dates to picking your venue and food—it’s a lot to digest. As you’re going broke and insane trying to put together all of the moving pieces that form a wedding, you’re probably fantasizing about the envelopes of cash and checks you’ll get to stuff in your bag on your way to the honeymoon. But… will you be able to count on those cash gifts, or are you going to be going on a budget beach trip to the Dominican Republic because all of his relatives insisted on buying towels, china, and pitchers?
Cash gifts have evolved more as the “norm” in the last 20 or so years, since more couples are living together before tying the knot—sort of nixing the need for the traditional housewares associated with wedding gifts. According to The Atlantic, the practice of giving the bride and groom household gifts started way back in the Renaissance, when a bride would drag a hope chest with her down the aisle (I assume), full of things like brooms and fabrics and whatever the f*ck else was considered a household necessity in 1500 (maybe, like, also plague repellent).
Depending where you live, you can expect a lot or a little in terms of cash for your wedding. Many Northeast U.S. folks treat cash gifts as the standard, but there are still plenty of hold-outs that still believe cash is tacky and gifts like irons and towels are the way to go (looking at you, Southeast U.S.). What’s a tactful way to ensure you do have a fistful of Benjamins and not a cabinet of useless sh*t after you say “I do” ? We scoured the internet and found stories and advice on the best and worst ways couples have kindly requested cash wedding gifts. We hereby present it to you as a guide to navigate getting that money, honey.
Don’t Ask For Cash Outright
Wedding Gift Request Honeymoon Money Personalized Enclosure Card
The biggest f*ck-up couples seem to make is to explicitly ask for cash on their invitations or at a pre-wedding party. One bride-to-be (on Reddit, the home of all tacky wedding occurrences) outright asked her guests for cash wedding gifts at their engagement party—which she and the husband-to-be threw for themselves, which is an etiquette no-no in and of itself. When no one brought said cash, she sent angry texts demanding to know why. As you can imagine, most people were insulted that the couple would outright ask for money and would then confront them about it later. The bride is now considering un-inviting all the “mean people.” (I have to wonder who will remain in attendance.)
First of all, yikes. Secondly, a way around literally hounding your guests for money is to simply nix the traditional registry altogether or have a very, very small registry with only a few gifts available. This subconsciously and politely sends the message that you’re in the market for envelopes and not a new king sheet set.
Use A Funding Website
If you’re planning on using cash and check for a honeymoon excursion, there are plenty of websites that host trip-specific registries so guests can pay toward activities, dinners, spa retreats, and whatever other activities you’re planning on taking part in. Honeyfund, for instance, breaks everything down for gift-givers depending what you, the bride and groom, have specified you want. From upgrading airline tickets to adding dinners to tacking on snorkeling adventures, guests can pick and choose how much and what they want to sponsor on your honeymoon.
If you want to go a more intermediary route, Zola is an all-in-one registry that has the honeymoon registry pieces like Honeyfund, but also allows you to register for physical gifts so Aunt Diane feels better about being able to finally get those dish towels you need. You can even add options like putting a down payment on a house, so the options are endless and you can still get money.
Make It Feel Personal
One couple on Reddit defied expectations by not being tacky and leaned on their ethnic customs to get around the whole asking-for-cash thing. They wrote, “If you decide to give a gift, we prefer the Chinese custom of a red envelope, called hong bao, to help us start our lives.” Basically, the Chinese tradition of the red envelope with cash is twofold—it helps set the couple up financially, and it’s considered good luck. If you aren’t Chinese, you can put a note in the same vein on your wedding website.
How do you do that without being déclassé or culturally appropriating? Add a personal touch. Perhaps you’re having a really hard time buying a house as a couple, or just invested a fixer-upper, or are going back to school, and that cash would go pretty far. Whatever the reason, giving your guests a story to connect to their financial contributions will make them feel better about just throwing dollas at you, figuratively.
Mention The Gift Setup
There are, obviously, much better ways to imply that you’re into the idea of cash money without saying, “B*tch better have my money” to grandma. One couple from Australia put in their invitation their regular registry, but additionally, noted that there’d be a “wishing well” at the reception. After some in-depth Googling, I found out that a wishing well is the equivalent of those boxes or birdcages for envelopes we in America love so dearly. Oh, Australia—so wise, so strange.
Although I wouldn’t outright say, “hey, we’ll have a box for money in the cocktail area” you could say something on the RSVP card like “Check our wedding website for more information.” From there, you can explain whatever gift setup and/or birdcage you plan on having. This is still sort of tacky, but if you feel the need to spell it out, go for it.
Spread The Word Quietly
Since putting that you want cash in writing anywhere on a Save The Date or invitation is in bad taste, make sure your parents, future in-laws, and wedding party all know that you and your beloved would greatly prefer cash gifts over physical stuff. Chances are, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and close family friends are going to reach out and ask those folks anyway what you all want as gifts, and it’ll be gentler coming from mom and dad versus scrawled on the bottom of an invitation.
Altogether, no matter what you do or how you do or don’t ask for cash, just make sure you’re taking notes on what not to do from that bride that demanded $1,500 per guest for her dream wedding.