How To Ask For Money Instead of Gifts This Holiday Season

If you’ve ever read a story by yours truly, you know that the holidays give me all the life I’ll ever need. Even now, as a 26-year-old jaded New Yorker who is impressed by nothing, I tear open a perfectly-wrapped gift with the same energy that most people save for fighting strangers at Target on Black Friday. However, sometimes I’ll rip off the wrapping paper, lift the cardboard lid, and find a disappointing gift. Honestly, the last time I got excited over a gift that came in a box was in 2004, and guess what was in the box? A puppy.

Unless you’re gifting someone the eternal happiness that comes with a dog, wrapped gifts just aren’t as exciting as they used to be. Maybe it’s just a downside of being an adult, but my favorite kind of gift is a monetary one. Like, want to give me a gift I’ll truly cherish? Pay for my gym membership for a month! Just kidding, but like, not really. If all you and your loved ones want for Christmas is some cheddar, listen up, because etiquette expert Elaine Swann will clue you in how to give money as a gift seeming like you put zero thought into your present, and on the flip side, how to ask for money without looking like an entitled douchecanoe.

The only time I’ve ever witnessed people asking for money instead of presents was at my brother and his wife’s wedding. Yes, you read that right. These two asked their guests to donate to a honeymoon fund instead of losing their sanity on a wedding registry. At first, I thought it was the tackiest thing I’d ever heard, but then I saw the photos of them gallivanting around the Ritz in Paris and realized they didn’t drop a damn cent on this. And that’s when I realized that asking for money in lieu of gifts is, honestly, the move.

So if you’re just looking to give cash this holiday season, Swann suggests, “Make sure you personalize this gift. Give some thought to how this person may use the money. Then, in the note, you can add in a line about something that is a hobby of theirs or something they may enjoy doing with the money.” So, for example, if you’re giving me money, tell me a little tale about a thirsty girl who’s strapped for cash and loves white wine. Cute, right?

If you’ve been raised to exhibit classiness in your day-to-day life and don’t want to stop now by asking for money, worry not because there are ways to do it without looking like Mona Lisa Saperstein.

Swann says, “Be honest! Let them know that you have your heart set on a ski trip, a spa treatment, paying off your student loans, or any other kind of experience you’re interested in. By stating this, you can encourage them to give the gift of money that can go toward this experience.” For an added bonus, she advises, “Keep it towards an experience that people can see and feel a part of when you share stories or photos through social media.” Because the only thing better than seeing the look on someone’s face when they open a gift is being publicly thanked (and tagged) on Instagram stories once they actually use your gift.

Look, if anyone is actually giving you a holiday gift, chances are they know you pretty well, so they’re not going to judge you for asking for money (they probably know you well enough to judge you for your choice in exes/Seamless orders/generally destructive life choices instead). 

If you do want money, don’t wring out your generous friends by asking for a fortune. That’s actually why putting this money towards something specific, like a trip or a facial, is the way to go, and it will actually give them an idea of how much they should give you without you having to awkwardly name a number. At the end of the day, everyone loves getting money as a present! I’ve never heard any of my rich friends who work in finance or advertising open an envelope of cash and be like, “Ugh, I wish it was bath salts!” So, if you love your friends and family, get them something they really want, like a crisp Benjamin. 

Images: NBC; Giphy (2)

The Top 10 Wedding Trends Of The Last Decade

A lot has happened in the last decade: Kim Kardashian was robbed in Paris, Justin Bieber got married, Miley and Liam got back together and then broke up, oh, and a “controversial television personality” became the 45th President of the United States… but we won’t go into that. Instead, let’s channel our attention to the top 10 wedding trends of the last decade, some of which you won’t believe. We got inside info from Jennifer Spector, Director of Brand at Zola, the female led e-commerce online wedding registry and planner, on what these wedding trends look like. And while some are going to make it into the next decade of wedding trends, a few have seriously got to go. 

1. Statement Florals

wedding floral wall

Since you’re probably going to incorporate flowers into your big day, shouldn’t they at least make a statement? What’s the point of spending hundreds thousands of dollars on florals if they’re barely going to be noticeable? Plus, there are few decor elements more photogenic than flowers. That’s why the number one wedding trend of the last decade is statement florals. Think of flowers literally hanging from the ceiling or an entire floral wall at the entrance of the venue. From draped greenery to boxwood hedges, floral wedding trends were so fetch in the 2010s. According to Zola, 35% of weddings incorporate statement florals into their wedding decorations, 22% of which favor hanging greenery, 20% into succulents, and 16% going big with the floral wall. “Weddings in the last decade were all about having the perfect Instagrammable moment, and statement florals are a relatively easy way to make a big impact. Celebrity weddings like Kim Kardashian’s floral filled ceremony also helped bring the trend into the mainstream,” says Spector. Okay, so we’re not as over-the-top as Kim K, but that doesn’t mean our flowers can’t be.

2. Mix & Match Wedding Party Styles

bridal party

Apparently couples are getting over the whole “you MUST wear this exact dress in this exact style no matter how it looks on your body type” wedding parties, and honestly, it’s about time. Spector shares, “Couples today want their wedding to reflect their personal style, and that extends to their wedding party. From different dresses in the same color to simply coordinating colors, really anything goes when it comes to wedding party style,” which she says is “a big change from the matchy-matchy trend of previous decades.” Zola has found that 53% of wedding parties coordinated, but did not match. Does this mean I won’t have to see that same hideous lilac tube top dress duplicated on seven different bridesmaids? Hallelujah!

3. Destination Weddings

beach wedding

Have you ever dreamed of having a destination wedding in, say, Mykonos? The warm breeze flowing through your perfectly blown-out hair, the sun setting against the Aegean Sea (yes, I just looked it up), the waves shimmering in the background? I have, and I’m not the only one. “The generation of couples getting married today love to travel and there’s no better excuse to go on the trip of a lifetime than your wedding,” says Spector. According to Zola, 50% of couples plan to have a destination wedding, which in other words, means 1 in 2 couples are selfish and rude. Everyone knows that demanding people to travel for your special day is expensive and inconvenient for guests. No offense, but it’s true. I’d still totally have my wedding in Mykonos if I could afford it, though. Can I get an AMEN?

4. Mini-Moons


I didn’t know “mini-moon” was even a word, but it is, and just in case you live under a rock like I apparently do, it’s defined as a short vacation newly married couples take before their real honeymoon. Must be nice to be able to afford two vacations. Spector explains, “More and more couples in the last decade paid for their own wedding, so mini-moons are a great way to celebrate and decompress while spreading out expenses over a few months.” According to Zola, 19% of couples are taking mini-moons, and I’m here for it. Treat yo’self.

5. Non-Traditional Gifts


When it comes to wedding gifts, it’s no secret newlywed couples want one thing: cold, hard cash. Whether you and your new hubby are just starting out or you guys just bought a mansion in Capri (am I invited?), you’d still choose cash over a new air fryer, you know? That’s why I’m not surprised to find that according to Zola, most couples register for cash funds alongside regular gifts. But what if you want cash and air-fried sweet potato fries? With Zola’s registry, you can get both. “The majority of couples today live together before getting engaged and want to register for a mix of traditional home upgrades, gift cards, and cash funds to help pay for their honeymoon or a down payment on their first home,” Spector says. “Today you’d be hard-pressed to find a registry that doesn’t include a mix of gifts and cash funds. Zola is still the only place where couples can register for everything they want, all in one place,” she adds.

6. Adults-Only Weddings

bouquet toss

Baby, bye, bye, bye. No, literally. No babies allowed. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. But if your high school BFF got pregnant and had three beautiful angel children by the ripe age of 25, that’s her problem, not yours. Zola found that 63% of couples plan on having a kid-free wedding, and it’s mainly due to the cost. “Cost is the biggest factor in choosing to have an adults-only wedding. In addition to paying for their own wedding, many couples are investing in a more premium experience for their guests by inviting less people but spending more per person,” says Spector. Plus, with no kids to look after, you can have more fun, am I right?

7. Wedding Hashtags

wedding hashtag

Did your wedding even happen if you didn’t post it on Instagram with a cute hashtag? Um, yeah, which is why you spend thousands on a wedding photographer and videographer, but whatever. “Hashtags are the breakout star of the last decade. The overwhelming majority of weddings today have a hashtag and it’s one of the first things couples do once they get engaged. With hundreds of people snapping photos at all your wedding events, a hashtag is the best way to catalog everything in one place,” Spector says. Zola revealed that 77% of couples use wedding hashtags, and from a convenience standpoint, it kind of makes sense. But now that everyone just tags each other in Instagram posts, and with how forced these things get trying to mash two completely different last names into one pun, I’m wondering if we will cool it on the hashtags in the years to come.

8. Wedding Weekends

As if your wedding day isn’t exhausting enough, Zola found that 3/4 of couples have at least one other event during their wedding weekend. Talk about having zero chill. Some of these events include a post-wedding brunch or a welcome party, which can be nice for your guests coming from out of town. “The number of events surrounding a wedding has increased in the last decade, from the welcome party, to the after party and brunch the morning after, more couples are turning their wedding celebration into a weekend-long affair,” explains Spector. If planning a wedding isn’t stressful enough, and you want to put two more events on your plate, more power to you.

9. Wedding Websites

wedding website

Some of us swiped right to find our grooms, so it’s no surprise that the vast majority of couples continue using online tools like wedding websites to plan their wedding. Spector says, “Couples today do everything online, and the rise of wedding websites reflects that. Before Zola, couples had to use an average of three websites to do everything they needed for their wedding, but now couples can share travel details, their registry, collect RSVPs, and so much more all in one place.” Organizing everything in one place online is much more accessible and productive, and with the already immense amount of stress wedding planning entails, having one simple wedding website is seriously helpful.

10. Signature Cocktails

wedding cocktail

Think of yourself as a drink. No, seriously, try it. What would you be? I’d like to be a tequila soda with lime: simple, classy, and clean. According to Zola, 85% of people plan to have a signature cocktail at their wedding to accurately describe who they are. They’ve been super interested in making the drink names as personal as possible, Spector revealed. “Weddings in the 2010s were all about making it personal, and signature cocktails are another way couples add personality to their celebration. Some of the best signature cocktails names I’ve seen are the “She Swiped Right Refresher” and a “Matrimony Martini.” Even if your hashtag feels a little forced, you can still find a way to be fun with your signature drink names.

These top 10 wedding trends of the last decade seem up to par with what our generation is into, and I’m actually excited to see what’s in store for the next wedding decade. DIY bridesmaid dresses? Edible flower bouquets? Destination weddings to outer space, anyone? 

Images: Shutterstock (6); Katelyn MacMillan, Arshad Pooloo, Roberto Nickson, Unsplash; David Yohanes / Pexels

How To Tell Your Guests You Just Want Money For Your Wedding

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. 

Cash Registry


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We are ALL for creating cash funds for your wedding!!!! When it comes to a wedding, is there even a better option? | @cathy__rose @offcampus

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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