If you and your partner are engaged, then you probably already know the cardinal rule of wedding etiquette: Asking for cash directly as a wedding present is tacky and rude. While some traditions have faded, this one remains as true today as it was 50 years ago.
In recent years, some couples have tried to get around this rule by asking for gift cards on their wedding registries or setting up registries devoted solely to gift cards. Sometimes they ask for gift cards to specific stores, but other times, they want Visa or Mastercard gift cards, which can be used anywhere, and that’s a serious offense.
The reason that this cash rule has been around so long comes down to the nature of giving itself. Wedding presents should be given because the giver wants to show love and support to the happy couple. The present is meant to be impactful, like buying the toaster that you’ll use every morning or the platter that you’ll use to serve a holiday feast, and it’s meant to remind you of your loved one whenever you use the item.
It’s hard to foster this same emotion with a gift card. The giver doesn’t know what you spend the money on, and you might not know yourself if you plan to save your gift cards until after you’ve moved or bought a new place.
And yet at the end of the day, what many couples want above anything else is cash — and you might be feeling the same way. Maybe you’re trying to pay for your honeymoon in tandem with your wedding. Or maybe you and your partner, like many others, are in the midst of big changes. You’re switching jobs, buying your first home, deciding on when to start a family. You might not have the room now for wedding gifts, and you could really use the cash now to make your plans happen.
All of this being said, it doesn’t mean that you can never ask for a gift card on a wedding registry. You just have to make sure that you do it respectfully because there are some instances when adding a gift card to a wedding registry is okay. Here’s what you need to know and how you can ask for cash in a polite way no matter what.
Is it ever okay to add gift cards to a wedding registry?
There is one instance where adding a gift card is completely okay, if not expected. It’s always okay to add gift cards to a traditional wedding registry, one that you would usually set up with a department store such as Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Most wedding guests expect there to be a gift card option on every traditional wedding registry. These are great options for guests that buy their gifts too late, when everything else has been picked over and all that’s left is that $200 down comforter. It’s also a good option for guests that just want to swing by the store — most of these big-box department stores sell their gift cards at drugstores, gas stations and even competing big-box stores — and grab one on the way to the wedding while they also pick out a card.
But adding a gift card option to a registry won’t encourage guests to give you cash as a wedding present. You might end up with too many gift cards to a store that you don’t like as much or need anything from in the short term. And if you don’t really need anything from a traditional wedding registry anyway, then creating one won’t do you much good.
What should I do instead of asking for gift cards on a wedding registry?
Gift cards may not be the solution to politely asking for cash as a wedding present, but there are other options.
Here are a few that might achieve your goals and keep your guests happy and excited for your upcoming nuptials.
Build a honeymoon registry
If you’ve celebrated your friends’ weddings recently, then you might already be familiar with honeymoon registries. Just like a traditional wedding registry, honeymoon registries list everything you’d like as a wedding present, but they’re all experiences related to your honeymoon. Some of the most common gifts found on a honeymoon registry include:
- Airfare and accommodations (hotels, resorts, Airbnbs)
- Tours and excursions
- Dining and drinks
- Theater or sports tickets
For those using Hitchd, it’s easy to create a one-of-a-kind honeymoon registry that fits everything you need to fund your trip. Our platform allows you to access your gift money as soon as it is given, which means you don’t have to worry about balancing a massive credit card bill. You can use the money you receive to pay for anything you’ve booked for so far.
This, however, does not mean that you can ask for honeymoon gifts and then never go on the trip or do something completely different. If someone pays for you and your partner to take a city tour, then you should honor that gift and do it. If you don’t and your guest finds out, he or she will feel hurt and confused. After such a generous gift, this is a terrible way to repay someone, so don’t create a honeymoon registry with gifts that you don’t intend to fulfill.
The key to a good honeymoon registry is to make it personal and impactful. This isn’t just any other holiday — it’s your first trip together as a married couple. Even if you’ve been on holidays together before, a honeymoon has a different vibe. It’s the one holiday you’ll treasure forever, creating memories that you’ll tell your grandchildren about.
Your guests will love the idea of sending you two to a spa for a romantic treatment or treating you to a delicious candle-lit dinner at a gorgeous restaurant — if you put effort into each gift listed on your registry.
Start a cash fund
A cash fund functions like an online fundraiser. Users on Hitchd often add them to their honeymoon registries in the same way that they would add gift cards to their traditional wedding registry. Anyone can contribute any amount of money that they’d like, and there’s no limit so you won’t hit a maximum.
The cash fund can be left open-ended or given a specific purpose. Some couples use them to raise money for a downpayment on a house or furniture for their newly purchased home. Others use the cash fund to raise money for a local cause or one that is meaningful to them.
The nice thing about cash funds is that anyone can give. You probably have coworkers and acquaintances who know and like you, but not well enough to invite them to your wedding. They still might want to wish you well, so having a cash fund allows them to throw in whatever amount feels right to them.
Gift cards might feel like a safe alternative to asking for cash as a wedding present, but they too can be impersonal and create other problems. If you want money as a present to pay for your honeymoon or start seriously saving for a home, then it’s better to use a honeymoon registry or a cash fund.
Ready to get started with Hitchd? Here’s how to start building the honeymoon registry of your dreams.