A friend of mine recently got engaged, and while I’m thrilled for him and his wonderful fiancée (truly, she’s the best), that means daily conversations about the early stages of planning a big wedding.
How many guests should we invite? Should we invite 100? We were thinking of capping it at 90. But 100 could be great. What do you think? Is 100 too much? Probably right? But what if it isn’t????
Eventually, the conversations turned to gifts and when he said they were thinking of putting together a crowdfunding campaign for their honeymoon—a “honeyfund”—I immediately went off. The nerve! Not only was he being super tacky, but, no one actually does this, right?
As it turns, out, a lot of people do. More specifically, entitled millennials who are getting married later in life and already have everything they need. Why register for a second crockpot when you could have an experience? Sites like GoFundMe have made the practice more popular in recent years, where anyone with a Wifi connection can start asking strangers for Honeycash. Last year, searches for honeymoon funds were up 200% on Pinterest, according to the social media site.
Where does my anger stem from? My Midwest mother. She practically beat common courtesy into me growing up. And with that came the understanding that it’s just bad manners to directly ask people for money, no matter what the situation. Asking for money on a website for a lavish vacation you can’t afford is akin to charging an admission fee to your wedding.
So am I wrong? Too old-fashioned? Not keeping up with the times? I turned to the O.G. of etiquette, the Emily Post Institute, to see what they had to say. “You’re not limited just to registering for ‘stuff,'” the Institute advises, saying charities are a option (avoiding, of course, controversial causes) as well as … dun dun dun … registering for a honeymoon or a trip. But while the Institute says honeymoon registries are okay, it’s more appropriate to let guests know about any registries via word of mouth, or through your wedding website. “Don’t include any registry or gift information on the wedding invitation or any of the enclosures,” the Institute warns.
But there’s actually a subtle difference between putting together a honeymoon registry, on sites like Honeyfund, Zola and Traveler’s Joy, and crowdfunding your honeymoon. With crowdfunding there are goals. Every budding entrepreneur and charitable campaign say what they need in order to bring their product to market or make their indie film. Yet having so-called “fundraising goals” (which some sites do) for a honeymoon is just lame. The end result—”the goal”—is for you to go on vacation and chill. Not exactly the most goal-worthy ambition. Not to mention the fact that if you don’t meet the cash requirement for your trip, we, the patrons will all feel horrible that you have to settle for a jacuzzi-less room in the Poconos instead.
But I think what it really boils down to is that honeymoon funds don’t create a personal moment between you and I. Instead of thinking of me every time you dice tomatoes with those lovely ceramic knives I purchased for you, I’ll be lost in a crowd of others who donated cash to your honeymoon slush fund.
To not feel completely horrible, I asked Myka Meier, founder of Beaumont Etiquette, if there was any ways to make these honeymoon registries less awful. Now there’s nothing I personally can do, but she suggested a few things the soon-to-be married couple could do to make it less frustrating for people like me.
The number one thing? Avoid simply asking for cash, or checks … or setting up any registry (honeyfund or not) that asks for a dollar amount from people, especially those who are not even invited to the wedding. “Asking for cash can be seen as asking for a handout instead of a gift, which may be considered distasteful to many,” she says.
She also said that I would likely be comforted if I knew where the money was going, which is what a honeymoon registry (and not a campaign) allows you to do. “It’s more tactful than just listing an amount of money and makes the person gifting feel as though they have given you an experience and not just handed over a lump sum of money,” Meier says.
While I still think the idea of asking friends and family to fund a honeymoon is awful, I suppose it would make me feel slightly better to put my money toward something more tangible like a couples’ dolphin swim. That way, I can secretly hope it bites you.