Money as a Wedding Gift?
It was once thought rude and money-grubbing to ask for cash for your wedding instead of material gifts. And while some may still hold that opinion, giving monetary gifts is becoming more popular. Asking anyone for money (at any time) can be a heated subject, let alone for an emotionally charged event like a wedding.
Not so long ago, getting married meant leaving your family home for the first time and moving into your own (often empty) house. Wedding gifts helped couples start building a life together by providing essentials for a new home – things like a toaster, blender, or the all important Waterford crystal vase from your great aunt.
In the 1920’s major department stores saw the potential to earn more profits from the wedding gift giving tradition and created the concept of a gift registry. An amalgamation of appliances, furniture, and sundry items could be procured in a massive wedding gift extravaganza.
Western society has generally held that giving money as a wedding gift is crude, thoughtless and tacky – a wedding etiquette no-no! For other cultures around the world, that certainly is not the case. Giving money to a bride and groom is considered the proper thing to do.
- For example, in many parts of Asia a newly wedded couple receives a red envelop filled with money to start their life together.
- Jewish and Hindu wedding guests are expected to give envelopes of cash in multiples of 18 or numbers ending in 1, as the numbers are supposed to bring the couple good luck.
- In Greece, Azerbaijan and parts of the Middle East, it would be seen as rude not to give money at a wedding.
- In Italy a custom called the Grand March sees couples hand out sweets to their guests, who in turn give the couple an envelope with money.
One of the major benefits of asking for money instead of physical gifts is that you are in complete control of how you spend the cash: a rainy day fund, a dream house fund, a future college fund for your kids, a charity of choice, or you could split it among the options.
For a whole host of reasons, couples are choosing to marry later in life, which implies they have probably lived together for some time. That means they have already acquired the various appliances and goods that a traditional registry would offer. Coupled with the fact that wedding costs just seem to keep climbing, money can be a useful and thoughtful gift.
If you are thinking of setting up an online cash registry account or want your guests to know that you are open to receiving checks and envelopes you should state it openly on your wedding website. However, you should also give guests the option to give you a physical gift.
Work through your grapevine. Inform your family and friends that both gift options are welcome. That way no one will feel pressured to strictly give a cash gift. Perhaps someone will generously offer to bring all the wine or alcohol at your wedding, as one of our family member guests did at our wedding.
No one wants to become a bank teller on their wedding day.
On the day of our wedding, my husband and I modified a wedding card basket to indicate that guests could deposit both cards and envelopes of cash.
If you do have somewhat large amounts of cash circulating at you wedding, make sure you assign a trusted family member or friend to promptly secure the cash basket!
Another option is to get rid of the need for physical cash altogether. The beauty of an online account is that you eliminate awkward cash handovers and you do not need to worry about having thousands of dollars in cash onsite. Try a service like Zankyou, which allows you to setup an account and transfer all funds contributed to your registry directly into you own personal bank account.