Wedding etiquette: Can you ask people for money as a wedding gift?

It’s a question that appears regularly on various online forums: it is okay to ask that your guests give you money rather than a gift for your wedding? It’s a very divisive topic – some people think that it is rude and greedy, while others would much rather give the couple money to enjoy their honeymoon than a crystal fruit bowl that they would hate. So, let’s delve into this wedding etiquette minefield – Can you ask people for money as a wedding gift? And if so, how?!

Against: You shouldn’t ask for money as a wedding gift

Originally, the point of a wedding gift list was for the couple (who at this stage likely both lived at home) to furnish their new home together. The gift list was full of the practical things a young couple need, such as cutlery and crockery, toasters and kettles, and even some nice glassware. Family and friends enjoyed choosing something that they knew would be used by the newlyweds on a regular basis.

Of course, times have changed, and it is no longer assumed that the bride and groom will be living together for the first time after the wedding, as they may already be co-habiting. Although they no longer need items to furnish their house, it is still traditional for household items to adorn their lists. The act of going to a department store with a scanner, deciding which luxury items to add to the list is a lot of fun and lets the couple choose things that they may not ever buy themselves.

Asking for money can be seen as a little rude and greedy. As if the couple does not care about the thought that goes into a gift, and just demands the cash alternative instead. A gift is a tangible item that the bride and groom can appreciate years into their marriage, knowing exactly who bought them what. However, this is taken away when the “gift” is just cash in a card.

There is something really personal and thoughtful about choosing a gift for a newly married couple that wedding guests often enjoy. They feel proud that they can buy something for the couple that they will love and wouldn’t be able to have otherwise and it is a shame to take that feeling away from someone. In some cases, the gifts can be sentimental items, that will be adored for years to come.

Is it okay to ask for money as a wedding gift?

For: You absolutely can ask for money as a wedding gift

If you’ve lived together for any length of time, the chances are that you have everything you could need. Do you really want to clutter up your kitchen with three toasters and put an ugly vase on your fireplace, just to make sure you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings?

It is a waste, if there is nothing that you need or want, to be bought physical gifts. They will sit in the loft, dusty and forgotten about for many years until finally you give in and sell them at a car boot sale.

However, if you are planning an awesome honeymoon, some home renovations or even just getting on the property ladder, money can be the best gift you can be given! Especially after forking out for a wedding – after all, traditions change, and more and more couples are paying for their own big day, leaving them a bit poor at the end of it all.

Buying a gift that they think the bride and groom will like is a lot of pressure for friends and family members and quite often they would rather just be able to pop some money in a card and be done with it. If the couple has a gift list, it may be full of very expensive items, way over the budget of the guest, and so asking for cash allows them to stick to a set amount.

Guests can be happy with the knowledge that they are allowing you to have the holiday of your dreams, or helping you save towards a deposit. They like being able to help the newlyweds – not dissimilar to the older tradition of helping the young couple start a home together – just in a slightly less conventional way by providing money as a wedding gift. They can be confident that you love what they’ve given you, and it won’t just be left in a corner to collect dust. Who doesn’t love receiving cash as a gift?!

The best ways to ask for money as a wedding gift

How to ask (without seeming grabby)

If the idea of coming out and asking for money as a wedding gift makes you anxious, there are some options and ways around this that might help ease any awkwardness.

Just a quick search online will bring up a whole load of cute poems that make asking for money as a wedding gift a little more fun.
It’s important to note here that although these sorts of poems were once original and rarely seen, they are now a lot more common and as such, a lot of people hate them. Not just dislike, but a proper, burning hatred. We are not sure why. The moral of the story is that just because you think the poems are cute, not all of your guests will agree. If a poem isn’t for you, just a few lines explaining that you don’t have a gift list, but if anyone would like to get you anything, money would be appreciated. Make it personal to you, where you can.

Guests giving money tend to want to know what they are paying for to give it a little more meaning. It’s nice to explain whether it is spending money for your honeymoon, or even just pennies for a rainy day. A great way of getting around this is by using a site that allows people to “buy” honeymoon experiences for the happy couple. You are usually able to set it up with different amounts of money, for example, £20 for a meal, £50 for a couples massage, etc.. Although they are not actually buying those things outright, they can see what their money could get you on your trip. It makes it a little more interactive and thoughtful, and will nicely bridge the gap between money and gifts. Make sure you do your research before signing up to these sites, as some of them will take a percentage of your money, or require an admin fee to set up, so it’s better to be prepared.

If money itself feels a little off, why not ask for vouchers? You could choose a specific shop, or ask for the more generic ones that can be used in several places (John Lewis tends to be a popular choice!). Some department stores and holiday companies allow you to set up an account with them and money can be deposited in the lead up to the wedding. Asking guests to transfer money to your actual bank account may rub them up the wrong way, and feels a little ‘off,’ however they may be happy to do this for you. It’s important to remember that not all of your guests will be confident with using the internet for something like this, so you may still end up with some cash in a card – which, let’s face it, is a lot more fun to receive!

Conclusion

There are arguments for and against asking for money as a wedding gift and ultimately, it is up to you as a couple. A good compromise perhaps is having a small gift list of things you would like for those who don’t like the idea of giving money as a wedding gift, but also explain that ultimately you would love money towards something specific. It’s important to remember that it is your day, and if people really don’t want to give you money as a gift, they won’t – it’s as simple as that!

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