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Why PayPal and Venmo make for poor wedding registries

Isuru, Co-Founder of Hitchd
Isuru from Hitchd
Apr 2, 20218 min read

Has this happened to you? You get a wedding invitation in the mail from a dear friend. Below the time, date, and location, you don't see a list of places where the couple is registered. Instead, you just see your friend's PayPal account with a note asking for any cash gifts to be sent to the account.

You may be used to sending your friends and family members money through PayPal or Venmo when you split dinners or reimburse someone for movie tickets, but more couples today are turning to these platforms as wedding registries. And if you're in need of cash as a wedding gift, then you might be thinking of including your PayPal account on your wedding invitations as well.

But just because other people may be doing this doesn't mean that using these platforms as wedding registries is considered tasteful and polite. You personally may not be offended, but there are a number of guests who might feel differently.

If you're considering using PayPal or Venmo as a wedding registry for your upcoming nuptials, then it's worth understanding why these platforms may not be the best, most polite option for your guests. Here's why these platforms shouldn't be used as wedding registries and a few other tasteful alternatives that fulfill the same purpose, but in a much more elegant manner.

Why PayPal and Venmo have become wedding registry contenders

It's easy to see the draw of using PayPal or Venmo as a wedding registry. Although it's considered impolite to say it out loud to guests, many couples really need cash more than anything else as a wedding present.

So many more couples are living together before getting married, and they're also older when they finally tie the knot. This means that fewer couples need household goods — the typical wedding present — as a gift. Because they're older, couples have already replaced their college sheets and towels with nicer ones, and they've already purchased more high-end goods such as stand mixers and vacuums. Since they've already combined households, there's no need to get rid of one partner's belongings or upgrade them.

You may think that building a small traditional wedding registry will hint to guests that you would prefer cash over a gift, but it doesn't always work out for most couples. If the registry runs low on gifts or has only expensive gifts left, many guests will just buy the couple a gift card to the store. While you can sometimes exchange those gift cards for cash, depending on the service you use, this is just an extra step for you, and you still might not get the full dollar amount that the gift card was worth.

Providing a PayPal or Venmo account on a wedding invitation very clearly states to guests, “We want money as a gift. Here's how to send it.” It takes all the guessing out of setting up a small traditional registry and tells guests exactly what you want.

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What's wrong with using PayPal or Venmo as a wedding registry

The problem with using PayPal and Venmo as a wedding registry is that both platforms completely lack any sense of wedding feeling or gratitude towards the people giving gifts.

Neither platform offers a way to customize your profile to look like a wedding registry, and this is important. Guests may be confused when they see just your picture or your partner's. When guests give gifts, they want to be part of the couple's future. After all, part of the joy of giving a toaster is seeing it in use in the couple's home in the future. Having an impersonal PayPal or Venmo account doesn't offer this connection.

Providing just a PayPal or Venmo account leaves no feeling and gives the giver very little satisfaction. They don't get to see the couple open the gift or even the card, and though the thank-you will likely come later from the care you send, it's a long way off.

Wedding etiquette and PayPal

Though many wedding traditions and forms of etiquette have changed over the years, some have most assuredly stayed the same — and the rule about not directly asking for cash remains the same.

No wedding guest should ever feel like they are forced to give a gift to the happy couple, no matter their relationship. Each gift should be given because the guest wants the couple to feel celebrated and welcomed to their new respective families. Guests should also feel like whatever gift they choose to give will be appreciated no matter what. Even if you receive a gift you know you'll immediately return, you still have to show the guest your gratitude.

PayPal and Venmo wedding registrations leave nothing else to give as a gift, and though some younger guests might not object, you can bet that older relatives will feel slighted. They might not tell you so, but some guests might give a smaller amount than they otherwise planned to or they might skip the gift-giving entirely.

For those who do feel slighted, there's definitely a good chance that word might get back to you through your parents. You don't want to have to hear about how your soon-to-be guests feel insulted through the grapevine, so it's best to avoid using PayPal or Venmo as a wedding registry at all.

What other wedding registry options do couples have?

While you may agree that neither PayPal nor Venmo are particularly elegant options for a wedding registry, you understand why couples don't want traditional wedding registries, and you know that cash would really be the best gift for you and your partner. That's okay. There's nothing wrong with preferring cash as a wedding present over household goods or even gift cards.

Luckily, you aren't saddled with just two options for a wedding registry, traditional or Venmo. You have a number of other wedding registry options that still give guests options in what they buy for you and leaves them feeling thanked and appreciated. These options will also satisfy you and your partner in that you're still getting money as a gift without making guests feel like you're just holding your hand out for cash.

Honeymoon registry

For couples paying for their own wedding or at least a good portion of it, it can be disheartening to watch your honeymoon budget shrink when you have so many other minor wedding expenses cropping up here and there. You don't want to treat your honeymoon like an afterthought, but it often feels like the budget just keeps shrinking and shrinking.

That's where the honeymoon registry comes in. This fund helps you pay for the honeymoon of your dreams by transforming expenses into gifts that guests can give. You and your partner get to go on a dream vacation, and your guests feel thanked and excited when they send you off on a kayaking tour or to a romantic dinner.

Honeymoon funds on Hitchd allow you to post as many gifts as you'd like and design them exactly how you want. Here are a few popular Hitchd gifts and how couples customize them.

  • Accommodations:
    Out of all the costs for your honeymoon, accommodations will probably be one of the biggest ones. With Hitchd, you can break down the cost of this big-ticket gift into more manageable ones. If you plan to spend $2,000 on your hotel, break that down into $100 or $200 gifts. More people can contribute, and no one has to should the whole cost.
  • Dinner and drinks:
    To make a honeymoon registry successful, you really need different price points. Not everyone will be able to give $100 or $200, so you need gifts at $25 and $50 price points. Dinners and drinks are the perfect solution. Add up the total dinner budget and then divide it into smaller contributions so more people can give comfortably.
  • Tours and activities:
    Guests love to feel that they're giving the couple something cool and exciting, and sending the happy couple on a kayaking or ziplining tour would take the cake. Sightseeing tours and adventurous activities make for great gifts. Couples should research these in advance and include links in the descriptions they write on Hitchd to make guests feel more included in the experience.
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Honeymoon registries accomplish the same goal as a PayPal or Venmo wedding registry. You still get cash as a wedding gift, but you're also showing guests how their gift will be spent. Guests also have the freedom of deciding which gift and how much to give.

House/Baby fund

Some couples have their next five moves already planned out. That's usually the case for those marrying a little older or those who have established careers before getting hitched. They've already talked about where they want to buy a home when they plan on starting a family and even where their kids will go to school one day.

For these planner couples, cash could go a long way towards making those dreams a reality. That's why many couples on Hitchd are using the platform as a cash fund rather than an actual registry. With Hitchd, you can select the “cash fund” gift option and allow guests to contribute whatever they'd like.

Couples planning for the future most often use these funds for:

  • House funds:
    Saving up for a downpayment on a home takes a long time, even for diligent savers. All the money given to a house fund goes right towards the down payment and the inevitable closing costs.
  • Baby funds:
    If you're the couple who can't wait to start a family, chances are that your family probably knows this very well. Having a baby fund helps you start saving for all those future costs, from baby furniture to diapers and even to a college savings fund for your baby.
  • Furniture funds:
    Okay, so maybe you have the house, but now you have no budget left for furniture — and you definitely need to replace that IKEA bed. A furniture fund helps you raise money to buy quality furniture that will last longer than a few years.

Although cash funds are a little less personal than honeymoon funds, you can add a sweet touch in your introduction by describing your dream home or your excitement over having a baby. Be sure to include links to your future home or furniture to show guests exactly what they're helping you buy.

Charity registry

The great thing about waiting a little later to marry is that when the time comes, there's very little that you actually need. Sure, maybe you could use some extra cash on your honeymoon or buy a home a bit sooner, but if you're already making good money and not in any rush to move or start a family, a charity registry can be an excellent alternative to give your wedding a thoughtful touch.

Cash funds on Hitchd can be repurposed as charity funds, instead of a house or baby fund. All of the money will be put toward the charity of your choice, and every guest can give what he or she feels comfortable with. There's no pressure to reach a certain limit, and if they don't agree with your charity, for whatever reason, they can simply choose not to give.

You can choose any registry that is meaningful to you and your partner but try to give context to your charity. The American Cancer Society is a great charity, but do you know of anyone who's had cancer? Instead of choosing a charity at random, pick one that has meaning for you or one that is local and does good work in your neighborhood. Explain your charity choice in the introduction, and you'll be sure to inspire some giving.

You and your partner are not alone in wanting cash as a wedding gift, but you still have to consider the feelings of your guests. They want to feel appreciated and respected as guests, and they want to feel like they have a say in what they give to you. Giving them a PayPal or Venmo account will not make them feel welcomed.

Manners still matter today, so if you want to steer guests towards giving cash instead of a physical gift, use any of these Hitchd alternatives to a PayPal or Venmo wedding registry. Your guests will get excited to send you off on a dream honeymoon, and you'll get the gift you need the most.

Ready to give Hitchd a try? Sign up here and get started building your honeymoon registry or cash fund.

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