How to Ask for Money on your Gift Registry (And Should You?)

The short answer? Yes, we think it’s okay.

We shouldn’t forget that a wedding isn’t about collecting presents. It’s about celebrating your union with your friends and family. You should want to have the same ceremony and celebration even if nobody brought gifts at all. But, of course, people want to bring gifts, so is it a wedding faux pas to list a gift registry anywhere on your wedding invitation? Yes. It probably belongs best on your wedding website (but it’s more common here in South Dakota to see a gift registry on an invitation. Our down-home brides aren’t being defiant by listing a gift registry…just practical and helpful). But what about asking for money instead of gifts? Is that a double rule breaker? We think not.

It’s 2014 and the hard truth is that most couples live together before they get married. Once again, it’s not rebellious from past decades’ etiquette rules — it’s just financially sensible and a little more common. Because we are getting married later in life (mid 20’s to early 30’s), couples who have already combined living necessities (two mixers, two sets of towels, two table & chair sets) don’t really need a third iron or dish set.

Call us South Dakotans crazy and reckless, but asking for money on your wedding website is not as bad as it sounds. In fact, some guests would think it’s great to contribute to a bigger goal for you. Politely explaining that “your dream is to purchase a house and you’ve been working on saving towards that goal” is not unreasonable. Or maybe this is your second marriage and you have three teenagers at home and the best gift anyone could give you is some husband and wife time on a beautiful honeymoon, since alone time is few and far between. Maybe you’re moving shortly after your wedding and want fewer boxed items to take with you and cash would be easier. Or the trip of a lifetime would be to fly to Austria for your honeymoon and see your new husband’s distant relatives so they can share in the celebration of your newlywed marriage also. Any number of reasons can add up to asking for monetary gifts. With a polite explanation and a link to a honeymoon fund (hint, hint), we don’t think it’s rude at all.

In a great post about sending/getting cash gifts at weddings, says this about “the most practical wedding registry of our generation”:

With the median age for marriage the highest it has ever been — 29 for men and 27 for women — and with more couples living together before marriage, chances are brides- and grooms-to-be already have most of the things they need to run a household. So why not register for a down payment or retirement? 

A company called Present Value is trying to change the gift registry game by shifting the focus away from bakeware and linens and onto your financial future.

The New York-based gift registry service, through its website, offers couples a place where friends and family can send money as gifts. With the average wedding coming in at close to $30,000, it’s no surprise that couples are hoping to recoup a little bit of what they spend on the wedding, get help funding the wedding or put the money towards a down payment on a home.

To read the entire article about this growing trend or to read other cash-based gifting sites, click through these:

We’re not big fans of the lengthy poems about cash put on your , but here is some very well-written sample wording from a reader at and what she put on her wedding website about the gift registry:

“Many of you have generously asked about our wedding registry. Though your presence is what would make us smile the most, if you are so inclined, we’d appreciate your help in making our dream home a reality. Each day that we have the privilege of coming home to our own place, we will think of you and how you enriched our lives. We have created an online wish registry for those who prefer to donate online. Please note that the website charges a small processing fee. We understand that some of our guests may have financial obligations with a higher priority than a wedding gift. If that’s the case, please refrain from purchasing us a gift…but please still come to the wedding! We’d love to have you there. Thank you and we love you!”

Consider registering for things like a camping set (tent, chairs, coolers), or a BBQ grill, fun board games, beach towels, or a nice 6-piece tableware set (it’s great for having guests over, even if you don’t think you need new dishes) to at least have some items on your registry list even if you think you don’t need anything. Or simply register at Bed Bath & Beyond (where you can return your gifts for cash!) AND a honeymoon fund website. It’s as simple as that and most people will choose what they know fits your situation best. 

A well said insert card asking for money might say something like this: “If finding a gift is hard to do, OUR WISHING WELL is just for you! A gift of money is placed in the well, then make a wish for us but do not tell! If it is however, a gift you find, please feel assured we will not mind.”

Have other opinions or suggestions about this touchy situation? Comment below…

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