Quite often, to the right couple, toasters, blenders, and whitegoods make a fantastic wedding gift. Other times, as newlyweds unwrap their tenth set of linen from yet another wide-eyed family member, they can't help but think that there must be a better way to get the one thing they were actually hoping for (money!) without causing offence or appearing tacky.
While receiving traditional gifts are great for some couples, today's modern couple may not need a new set of kitchen appliances. A more common reason could be that the couple may be marrying later, often after years of living together, which means their shelves could already be packed with towels and dinnerware. In fact, with the rise in popularity of trends such as minimalism, many couples feel the desire to cut back and minimize, not horde more "stuff".
The truth is that the enablers of this older way of thinking, old-school bridal registries, simply weren't built for today's couple. It's no wonder that in the last few years, there's been a shift towards couples asking for money, and experiences, over traditional, and physical, gifts.
Enter the cash wedding registry (also known as a honeymoon registry, cash fund, or honeymoon fund) - a new way to solve all of your loved ones desires to shower you with unwanted trinkets and treasures. Think of a cash registry as your way of creating a new collection of everlasting memories with your significant other, while receiving some well needed financial aid towards funding it all.
By asking guests to contribute money towards gifts and experiences that you have hand-selected, or created from scratch, couples can not only enjoy the benefits of a debt-free honeymoon, but it may also lead to being able to travel somewhere that might have been inaccessible before.
Thanks to technology, and an ever-growing 19 billion dollar wedding registry industry, there are now plenty of options when it comes to registering your wedding for gifts and experiences online. In this article, we aim to clarify some of the reasoning around why a cash wedding registry can be the best option for you, and steer you in the right direction to finding the perfect registry.
What is a cash wedding registry?
A cash wedding registry is a new kind of non-traditional wedding registry which allows couples create gifts and experiences, such as; flights, accommodation, adventurous activities, and romantic dinners, that they wish to receive as gifts from their wedding guests. Some registries, such a Hitchd, cater towards couples registering physical gifts as well, but the main difference between a bridal registry and a cash wedding registry is that the couples receive the money for the gift, instead of receiving the physical item itself. Recent studies have actually shown that family and friends much prefer gifting ultra-personal gifts and experiences, over buying traditional, physical, items that have little sentimental value (think; blenders, toasters, home-ware).
One of the main benefits a cash wedding registry offers couples is that it removes the awkwardness of outright asking for money, which can be seen as poor taste, or tacky. A cash registry will also let guests contribute towards experiences and gifts using their credit card, which means the funds are being directly deposited to the couples personal bank account. Top cash registries will also allow guests to contribute using Stripe, or PayPal, ensuring an added layer of security for couples. If you choose a modern cash wedding registry, it should be as convenient for your guests to find a gift and contribute money as it would be to use any major online shopping website. The trick is to find the right registry that works for you and your unique circumstances.
See our article comparing the best honeymoon registry websites for 2019.
How does a cash wedding registry work?
Cash wedding registries allow couples to fund their entire honeymoon by creating gifts and experiences (think; Gifts for the home, accommodation, hot air balloon tours, couples massages, and scuba excursions) which wedding guests can contribute towards. Better registries, will allow guests to leave a wish, and even let the couple reply with a personalized thank you message and the option to attach a photo of their gift or experience.
Once a gift is funded by a guest, the contribution is securely deposited directly into the couples bank account, where they can then put the money to good use. By giving guests the power to pick out a gift or experience, it creates a personal interaction which just can't be attained by gifting cash in an envelope.
There are usually five main touchpoints in a cash wedding registry that a couple should get familiar with:
1. Personalizing the registry
Couples can customize their registry with personalized information, such as; event specific information, a profile image, cover image, and a welcome message.
2. Adding gifts
Gifts can be added to cater to any form of present or experience. The choice is entirely yours and only limited by your imagination. Some registries go the extra step and provide a list of curated gifts to choose from, or even use smarts to help you create a variety of gifts for you to add the finishing touches.
Learn about how the Gift Assistant can help get you started.
3. Publishing the registry (going live)
Couples can publish their registry live to make it available for guests to visit. With Hitchd, we automatically create a Stripe account for couples as soon as their registry is live. From there, all they need to do is enter their bank account details to start receiving guest contributions directly to their bank account.
4. Sharing with guests
Once the registry is live, it's time to share it with guests. Couples typically include their unique registry URL (address) on their wedding website, as it's a great way to keep your whole pre-wedding experience online with the information freely available to guests.
5. Thanking guests
Once the newly married couple return from their honeymoon, they can send a personalized thank you messages and attach photos from their trip to send to guests who contributed towards each gift. Thanking a guest forms a personal touch and shows guests that their contribution was meaningful and appreciated.
Learn more about the Honeymoon fund etiquette do's and don'ts.
Cash wedding registries are on the rise
While monetary contributions at weddings are yet to outrank traditional gifts, that's slowly changing. Cash registries are steadily gaining more popularity, according to a study performed by The Knot in 2017, which states an increase of up to 50% since 2016. In fact, In 2017, 6% of couples had a cash registry, compared with just 1% in 2011.
With 1 in 3 millennials in the United States now spending upwards of $5,000 on travel per year, there's no doubt that we are travelling more than ever. These days, we're also unwinding when it comes to discussing finances. 79% of millennials say they're happy talking finances with a friend (as opposed to 51% of baby boomers who said the same). Even as traditional opinions start to shift, some wedding guests may still be put off by a cash registry - and that's fine. You'll never please everyone. By defining precisely what the money will be put towards, you're not only allowing the guest to get much more insight than an envelope full of cash, but you're creating interest and excitement about the gift. If you need some motivation, simply think of Indian and Chinese weddings, where it's been a tradition for centuries to gift newlyweds cash.
A honeymoon registry can quickly solve all of these problems by allowing you to create both experiences and physical gifts. By catering to your wider audience of guests, you'll be sure to check all the boxes when it comes to pleasing even the harshest of critics. Also, by creating unique and personal experiences to choose from, your guests will not only have a more enjoyable time in purchasing you a gift; they'll love that they feel part of your inner circle.
Some couples even use their cash registry to ask for money towards a house down payment, or encourage guests to contribute to a cause or charity they're passionate about. Whatever the end destination for the funds, as long as you put thought, and an explanation, into the gifts, it will go a long way to removing the awkwardness and tackiness that can occur in guests minds. What's most important is how you present the idea to your guests. Tell your unique story and showcase your registry to guests to set the scene of what's to come.
Cash registry wedding etiquette
While cash registry websites are a new and popular non-traditional registry option, they can still leave couples a little confused when it comes to etiquette. What it all boils down to is that it's all about asking for money the right way, and there's a tacky way, and a tasteful way, to do it.
A few simple tips to remember are:
1. Don't ask for money in your wedding invitation
We've found the best results come from simply placing a URL (or address) to your registry directly on your wedding website. You don't want to be too modest since this will likely be one of the main reasons your guests are visiting your wedding. The trick is to do it tastefully enough, so that doesn't feel like a transactional.
2. Use a modern cash wedding registry that is well designed
It's only natural to want your guests to feel impressed by the fun and activities you've got planned for your honeymoon. However, it's poor form if guests are forced to use a honeymoon fund registry that is outdated, difficult to use, and clunky.
3. Don't write tacky poems, especially for non-traditional registries
The solution to crafting a great welcome message is to keep it tasteful and to get directly to the point. The more information you provide, the more chance guests have to connect personally with what you're writing. When asking for money, don't forget that it still needs to sound as if it's completely optional.
4. Tell your unique story
For guests to be willing to contribute money, they first need to be engaged by your story. Our findings at Hitchd show that the average contribution per guest is approximately 20% more for registries, where couples have provided more details about their gifts and trip.
5. Add a broad range of gifts
When adding gifts for your cash wedding registry, we've found that the more gifts you add, the better. You can also decide to go as small or as big as you like in gift size. It's considered poor registry etiquette to provide minimal gift options for guest's when they are viewing your registry - so even if you decide to make a few more substantial gifts, make sure they are still broad enough to suit all of your guest's tastes.
Depending on wedding size, it's usually wise to try and aim for a range of 20-50 gifts, with the more expensive gifts; such as flights and accommodation, generally being contributed to by many guests.
The argument for a cash wedding registry
Now that we know we're more comfortable talking about money than ever before, it's safe to assume the trend will only continue as financial awareness becomes more openly discussed in future generations.
So, why is it so hard for others to grasp that two people, who are facing one of the most expensive periods of their lives, ask for a little monetary assistance? Couples aren't asking for an absurd amount of money. In fact, a cash gift at a wedding really shouldn't be any more substantial than the amount a wedding guest is willing to pay for a toaster or the estimated price per head at the wedding. If this is the case, why not allow the couple to decide precisely how that money would best be spent?
As it turns out, the emotional link between guests and their gifts goes deeper than just etiquette, and contrary to belief, it's quite common for a gift giver to be more concerned with how the couple will view them based on their gift choice, than a couple would be about how their registry will be received.
With many couples now bucking traditions and paying for their wedding themselves, this often cuts into their honeymoon budget. By using a cash wedding registry for your honeymoon, your guests have a chance to view your registry well in advance of the actual wedding day, with a portion of those purchasing a gift as soon as they receive the wedding invitation.
We all live busy lives, and it's only natural to find the most desirable solution for any problem. Your guests are no different. While it's important to consider your needs first, it's just as necessary to provide guests with the most accessible option available. With the 24/7 accessibility of a cash wedding registry, it's a great first step in making sure guests fall in love with your registry.
There's a non-tacky way
Your wedding will most likely be one of the most unique and unforgettable moments of your life. From organizing the guest list, to floral arrangements, to the song that's playing while you're being whisked away, there might seem like an infinite to-do list of tasks that need to be completed, and it's only too easy to make small errors along the way. After all, for most of us, this is will be an entirely new experience.
For guests to feel engaged and enthusiastic about contributing money towards your honeymoon, they need to become engrossed in your story. You might be thinking, "Does it actually matter? It's our honeymoon, not theirs". Our findings at Hitchd show that the average contribution per guest is approximately 20% more for registries where couples went above and beyond when describing trip. Who knows, it might just mean you'll be able to stay those few extra nights at a jaw-dropping hotel, or make reservations to the special dinner you wouldn't usually book yourselves.
Here at Hitchd, we solved this problem by partnering with Unsplash to provide couples with of over 1 million, free, beautifully curated high-definition photos to choose from, which means it'll be easier to find the perfect imagery to describe your gifts and trip.
As we now know, there are a lot of different options when it comes to asking for money instead of traditional wedding gifts. If you're not feeling all that brave, consider adding specific gifts, your friends and family can buy together, and some that could be fully funded by a single person, or couple. By breaking up gifts into sizes, you're not alienating guests who may not be comfortable giving an amount that's over their pre-set budget, and who wants to provide a whole gift, not a small portion of something such as a flight, or accommodation.
Creating a cash wedding registry can seem daunting, but it can be one of the more rewarding and enjoyable parts of your wedding experience. By using one of the more reputable cash wedding registries, you can ensure you, and your guests will be receiving the highest possible service available. It's essential to find the right registry to suit you and your unique wedding.