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5 tactful ways to ask for money as gifts for your wedding

Ollie Rozdarz, Co-Founder of Hitchd
Ollie Rozdarz
Nov 02, 20217 min read

If there's one question engaged couples have been asking each other for generations, it's how to politely ask for money as a wedding gift. It's the most versatile gift because it can be used anywhere and for anything, but it's also the hardest thing to ask for as a wedding present.

Wedding etiquette, the unwritten yet universally known rules and guidelines to weddings, state that directly asking your guests for money is considered rude. This is is for two reasons:

  • All wedding gifts should always be optional. The presence of your guest's company should be enough of a gift.
  • Many guests want to help you build your life together. That's why home goods are such popular gifts. Giving money can be helpful to the couple, but guests won't really see how their gift has been used unless you tell them later — and there's no way for guests to know that you will.

But you still have options. There are ways for engaged couples to tactfully ask for money as a gift for the wedding without explicitly saying so on the invitation or in person. Here are five ways to make that happen.

Launch a honeymoon registry

The easiest way to ask for money as a wedding present is to not ask for money at all.

Instead, you ask for experiences on your honeymoon registry. A honeymoon registry, like hitchd, functions just like a regular wedding registry, but instead of asking for blenders and towels, you ask guests to give honeymoon experiences, such as dinners, spa treatments, tours of a city and outdoor excursions. Your guests do not book the experiences themselves. They simply give you the money as a gift to pay for it on your honeymoon.

Honeymoon registries have become extremely popular over the years because they help couples pay for their honeymoons without having to estimate how much money they'll receive from guests at the wedding. If you're paying for both your wedding and your honeymoon, then you need to be mindful as you send checks and charge expenses to your credit card.

Hitchd has helped thousands of couples plan and pay for their dream honeymoons. If you think a honeymoon registry might be right for you, then check out:

Register at a store — but make a small wedding registry

Many couples today decide to live together before they get married. If this describes you and your partner, then you likely have a lot of the home essentials you need already, such as bathroom towels, nice sheets and small kitchen appliances. If you two have been out of uni for several years and have established careers, then you've probably replaced many of the uni hand-me-downs and upgraded appliances.

Even though you'd really like cash as a wedding present, there may be some home goods that you may still be missing. For couples hoping for cash and a few much-needed home goods, then making a small wedding registry with Amazon, Target or any other big-box store may seem ideal.

Building a small wedding registry helps you out in two ways. In the first place, those guests who really prefer to buy gifts can do so, and you and your partner can finally upgrade your coffee pot or get a brand-new pair of flannel sheets, perfect for wintertime. Second, that registry will likely fill up quickly, leaving anyone who didn't already buy a gift to give cash instead of a gift.

This plan does have a few drawbacks. With such a small registry, you do run the risk of annoying your guests who like to shop in person. Imagine having a guest visit the store and check your registry only to find that all of the gifts have already been purchased. If that were you, then you might be a little more than annoyed.

You may also have guests who see that all the gifts have been purchased and decide to give you a gift card instead of cash. While you might be able to use the gift card or at least exchange it on third-party sites, it's still an extra hassle for you.

For couples who really do need a few home goods, try a hybrid approach instead. Create your small wedding registry, but then create a honeymoon registry. Doing this has helped hitchd couples redirect guests who come to the traditional registry too late but still want to give a good gift. It also lessens the chances of receiving gift cards where cash would be preferred.

Create a cash fund

Similar to a honeymoon registry, a cash fund asks wedding guests to contribute whatever they'd like to a fund that the happy couple will use in some way. At Hitchd, most couples use cash funds to raise money for:

  • Downpayments on a house;
  • New furniture to furnish their newly bought house;
  • Baby clothes and furniture if the two plan to start a family right away, and;
  • A charity that is meaningful to the couple.

The key to a successful cash fund on Hitchd is in the introduction. This is where you thank guests for coming to your cash fund site and explain what you plan to do with the money that you are given. Although you are asking for money, you're being very clear about how the money will be spent. You can even add links to your introduction, showing houses in your area that you like or furniture you plan to purchase.

Cash funds allow anyone and everyone to give as much or as little as they would like. Every wedding has a mix of guests in all types of places in life. Some of your older relatives may be on a fixed budget. Others will want to give generously. Some friends may be finishing school or paying for their own weddings. A cash fund has no minimum or maximum, so all of your guests will feel comfortable giving what they would like.

As with all honeymoon registries and cash funds, you will need to follow through with what you intended to do with the money. There's no hard and fast rule stating that you can't do anything else with the money gifted to you, but your guests will feel a little slighted and bewildered when you don't purchase a house within the first year or so of your marriage or you wait three more years to start a family.

Of course, unexpected life events certainly happen, but if you aren't really sure you'll want to start a family right away, then don't create a cash fund for a future baby. There are better ways to ask for cash, such as building a honeymoon registry, than being slightly dishonest about how and when you decide to buy a house or start a family.

Ask your parents and bridal party to spread the word

When family members want to know more about an upcoming wedding, the first people they always want to ask are not the engaged couple: it's the parents.

Your parents will probably answer plenty of questions such as, “What time does the ceremony start?” and “Where will the reception be held?” When they're answering these, they can also put in a word about what you and your partner would really like as a gift: cash.

Having your parents act as messengers spreads the word to all relatives and improves your chances for getting cash as a wedding gift. Parents can drop hints about your search for your first home or all the empty space you have to fill now that you have your home. Hearing about this from the parents of the couple can be a great way to convince relatives that what you really need as a gift is money.

While your parents spread the word among your family members, your bridal party can help you out with friends. Among your friend group, those not in the bridal party will likely go to the groomsmen or bridesmaids they know for questions about the wedding. When they do, that will be your best man or maid of honor's opportunity to mention that cash would be the best gift.

While this solution can work and help encourage guests to give cash as gifts, it's not exactly full proof. Some guests might ignore the advice altogether and give a gift card — or even nothing at all — instead. There's also no guarantee that every guest will ask your parents or bridal party members questions about your wedding. Maybe some will, but others might not get the message.

Rather than relying on friends and family members to spread the word, it's better to create a honeymoon registry or a cash fund. That way, everyone gets the same exact message.

Don't register at all

There is always the option of forgoing any wedding or honeymoon registry at all. Although it's far less common, you could skip registering at any stores or creating your own honeymoon registry or cash fund. When you don't ask for anything, the implication to guests is that all you want is cash as a wedding present.

Now this is technically an option, but it does come with some serious risks.

For one thing, you mind confuse or even offend some guests. If no registry is listed on the wedding invitation or save-the-date card, then guests might assume that you don't want gifts at all. It wouldn't be unheard of. Guests might assume that parents are paying for the wedding and honeymoon, and therefore, the couple doesn't need gifts.

On the other hand, you could accidentally offend some guests by not giving them a gift option, and that's poor wedding etiquette. Guests want to know that no matter what they give, their contribution will feel appreciated, and they want to feel welcome to decide what they want to give. When you don't register for anything, you don't give them options and leave them feeling obligated to give cash — or don't show up.

The last thing you want to do is offend your guests, so while not registering anywhere will send a message that you want cash as a gift, it tends to backfire. It's completely reasonable to want cash as a gift for your wedding, but your first priority should always be making your wedding guests feel welcome, appreciated and included.

If what you really want is money as a wedding present, then choose the option that is tasteful, thoughtful and grateful: a honeymoon registry. Even if you're planning a staycation or a honeymoon at a later date, you can still register for expenses that you will be paying. It makes guests feel involved in your honeymoon planning, and when you get back, you'll know you have plenty of options.

With Hitchd, you can create a honeymoon registry that fits your needs and lets your personality shine through. Get started with a free trial here.

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