Ask just about any engaged couple what the perfect gift could be, and most will give you the same answer — cash.
That's why the latest trend in wedding registries has been the rise of the Venmo wedding registry. Instead of building a traditional one at a store, couples are adding their Venmo usernames to their invitations and asking guests to send them money.
There's nothing wrong with preferring cash over physical wedding gifts, and a Venmo wedding registry can offer some unique benefits. Today's engaged couples have unique needs and living situations that can't be served by a more traditional wedding registry.
So should engaged couples create a Venmo wedding registry? Here are the pros and cons of a Venmo wedding registry and what all couples need to know before adding their usernames to their invites.
The pros of a Venmo wedding registry
When engaged couples consider a Venmo wedding registry, they're likely thinking about how easy it will be for their guests to contribute to their dream honeymoon. In many ways, they're right.
Venmo does make it easy to send money to a friend or family member as well as pay others for goods and services. Because so many people are using it, there's a safe chance that most of your wedding guests will already have accounts or find it easy to set one up. Even if they don't have an account, likely, they've at least heard of the platform.
Creating a Venmo wedding registry does have a few other benefits. Here are a few.
Fewer physical gifts
Venmo is a payment platform, and it's not built to host traditional wedding registries as you would see at Bed, Bath and Beyond or Target. The only function it provides is sending money from one person to another.
For couples that already have the home basics like sheets and towels, Venmo takes physical gifts out of the equation entirely. Couples won't have to worry about keeping receipts and notes about who sent which gift. They'll also be less likely to end up with duplicate gifts or gifts that they didn't need or want.
Easy access to funds
It's extremely easy to send cash back and forth on Venmo. Since Venmo connects with bank accounts, users can easily transfer their funds into their checking or savings accounts. The transfers take about a day or two to show up in bank accounts, and from there, the funds are available to be used as the couple is booking hotel rooms or flights.
This makes it easier for the couple to plan and budget their honeymoon. Couples will be less likely to overspend on their honeymoon or be forced to cancel activities. If they know they have the funds, couples can make sure they don't overexert their budget or miss out on activities they didn't think they could afford.
Venmo will also keep track of who sent you what and how much. This will make it much easier to write thank-you cards when the couple returns from their honeymoon.
More eco-friendly than traditional wedding registries
Wedding gifts, while well-meaning and kind, can do a number on the environment. All of the plastic wrap and cardboard ends up right back in the garbage, and even though some packing materials can be recycled, not all couples have recycling services available to them.
There's also the question of the gifts themselves. Most couples register for slightly more expensive items, which are usually better quality and will last a long time. But just because an item is on the registry doesn't mean that wedding guests might look for similar, less expensive options — options that will break or fray easily and wind up in the garbage as well.
A Venmo wedding registry is environmentally safe. Once your guests send the money, all they need to do is pick out a card and head to your wedding venue.
The cons of a Venmo wedding registry
Although a Venmo wedding registry has some good things going for it, it's certainly not a perfect platform for couples. There are a lot of drawbacks to using a Venmo wedding registry — and they may outweigh the benefits.
Here's what each couple needs to consider.
Venmo is not exactly known for its personal interface or its many custom message options. Venmo wedding registries are no different. There's no landing page describing where the couple plans to spend their honeymoon or how much they appreciate their guests coming to their wedding. Once the guest sends the money, that's pretty much it.
For something as intimate and emotional as a wedding, Venmo makes for a highly impersonal platform. Although Venmo gives wedding guests the option of sending a message, it's hard to convey what the couple means to the guest in a few short sentences. At least with a card and gift certificate, the guest can write the couple a nice message and sign it. Venmo offers no-frills, just cash.
Because of the highly impersonal nature of Venmo, it's likely that some of your guests will be offended and put off by a Venmo wedding registry.
Obviously, it's no secret that wedding guests give couples gifts, but guests don't want to feel like they're forced or expected to give money. Guests should feel welcome at the wedding whether they can afford a gift or not, and they shouldn't feel like they'll be turned away at the door until they send money.
The last thing couples want is to make their guests feel unappreciated. Most wedding guests give generously to the happy couple — they just don't want to feel that they are expected to give just cash.
Privacy and access concerns
Though Venmo may be popular, especially with younger users, it's not ubiquitous. Grandparents and older relatives might not have a Venmo account, and they may not be comfortable connecting their bank account to another company. Some may even have a hard time accessing Venmo if they don't have a reliable internet connection or a smartphone. It may seem rare for someone to not have everyday internet access, but it certainly is a problem for some.
Not only do Venmo users risk their private information — name, email address, bank account number — when creating a profile, but they may also be oversharing other personal information. Because Venmo requires you to write a quick message about what the money's for, it's easy for hackers to track a person's spending. Even if the amount of money sent remains private, hackers can safely assume that the user is getting s to disable amount of cash. If one user is getting multiple wedding-themed messages, then hackers may decide to target that user and try to access his or her bank account.
Couples can make their own profiles private and encourage guests to do the same, but some less tech-savvy guests may have trouble with this.
So should I use a Venmo wedding registry?
As tempting as it may be to use a Venmo wedding registry, most couples should stay away from the platform if they want to create their own honeymoon registry or encourage guests to give money as gifts.
In the end, Venmo is just too impersonal for something as emotional as a wedding. Guests deserve to feel welcomed and appreciated regardless of what gift they choose to bring. They want to know that the couple invited them to their wedding because the couple values the relationship, not because the guest was certain to send a cash gift.
Without a registry or any other website on the wedding invite, a Venmo account with a “Send cash gifts here” message looks desperate and feels rude. So despite the few pros of a Venmo wedding registry, engaged couples should make other plans if they want to encourage guests to give cash, rather than physical wedding gifts.
Alternatives to using a Venmo wedding registry
There's nothing inherently wrong in preferring cash as a wedding gift instead of a blender or new sheet set. Today's engaged couples have all sorts of priorities, and many would rather invest in the trip of a lifetime.
It's not wrong to want your wedding guests to give money as a gift, but there are some right and some wrong ways to go about making that request. A Venmo wedding registry leaves no other option for guests, but there are other methods that can help steer your guests towards giving cash without asking for it.
Here are a few alternatives to using a Venmo wedding registry that is more polite and thoughtful.
Small traditional wedding registry
Nearly every engaged couple can put together a traditional wedding registry, even if they've been living together for a while or plan to merge households after the wedding. There are always nice upgrades that can be made, such as nicer sheets or better vacuums. Together these items can make up a small wedding registry that works for the engaged couple.
A small registry is a subtle hint to guests that the happy couple either has the basics down or may want to wait to buy new household items. Couples who are trying to buy a home may want to wait to buy new things for their house until after they know what their new home will look like.
The registry provides options for those guests that prefer to buy physical gifts for wedding guests, and because it's small, it will likely fill up fast. Other guests who wait too long will probably give cash as a gift.
Couples, however, may run into an unexpected problem with small registries. Some guests, instead of giving cash, decide to give the couple a gift card for the place that they registered. While you can trade in some gift cards online for cash or other stores that you might use more regularly, it can be tedious to exchange so many gift cards.
A honeymoon fund offers all the perks of a Venmo wedding registry with few if any, drawbacks. Honeymoon funds, like Hitchd, function like traditional wedding registries, except the gifts you “register” for are honeymoon experiences and expenses. Some couples register for airfare, hotels, meals, drinks and fun excursions like ziplining and snorkeling.
Unlike Venmo, Hitchd and other honeymoon funds let couples build their own websites, telling their own stories and sharing more about themselves as a couple. It also lets them describe their dream honeymoons, complete with photos and links of the places they plan to go. With honeymoon funds, guests can feel more involved in the honeymoon planning process, and when they see the cool restaurants and spas the couple picked out, they'll feel more comfortable giving monetary gifts when they know how the couple will be spending the money.
Honeymoon funds also offer a number of price points, and couples can break down bigger expenses to make them more affordable for all guests. Having plenty of under-$100 gifts makes guests feel like they don't have to break their banks to give couples a nice gift and that they're not expected to splurge.
Privacy and security concerns don't apply to honeymoon funds. Many, like Hitchd, let guests use their credit cards to pay for gifts, just as they would at a store, so guests do not have to make an account and link to their bank account like they would with Venmo.
Best of all for couples, the money can be used right away to pay for the honeymoon. Many guests will buy their honeymoon fund gifts a little early and then bring a nice card to the wedding. This means that the money will be available to the couple before the actual wedding, so they can use the funds to pay off credit card bills that might be a bit higher than usual.
A hybrid honeymoon fund and traditional wedding registry
For many couples, a hybrid model tends to work best. They create one or two small traditional wedding registries and a honeymoon fund to give guests as many options as they like.
This method works on several levels. First off, it plays to every type of wedding guest. For those that like to bring brightly-wrapped boxes to a wedding, they have plenty of options to choose from. For those that would probably bring a card with a check inside, they can leave the check and bring the card. Instead of the check, they'll give a honeymoon fund gift.
Engaged couples considering a Venmo wedding registry should think long and hard before putting their usernames on their wedding invites. A wedding means more than just getting gifts. It's not about squeezing as much out of your guests as you can. It's about honoring the couples' relationships with their guests. Bringing a gift is just one way for guests to show appreciation, but it's on the couple's shoulders to make guests feel welcome no matter what gift is in hand.
A honeymoon fund like Hitchd serves as a good alternative to the Venmo wedding registry, but the most successful ones are the ones that really showcase the couple and their values. A good honeymoon fund shares the couple's story and describes how each gift will be used in great detail, using photos and links of the places the couple will see and visit. This makes guests feel like they're supporting something cool and fun for the happy couple.
It may seem like a waste of time to put so much effort into creating a good honeymoon fund, but couples that put in the time find that their guests are more willing to contribute and excited to talk to the couple about their honeymoon. They feel respected and appreciated, and couples using a honeymoon fund have more success — and happier honeymoons.