Wedding Etiquette: How to Ask Your Guests for a Cash Gift (Tactfully)
"Times have changed since people got married and moved right out of their parents’ house, without a dish to their name, into their new home together," says Valarie Falvey of Kirkbrides Wedding Planning & Design, and we can't help but nod in agreement. The truth is that by the time you and your S.O. tie the knot, you may already be in your 30s, living together, and in no need (though always in want) of a new Le Creuset Dutch oven.
Setting up a traditional registry, and the house full of boxes that follows, may be the last thing you want. But asking directly for cash can be considered as a little tasteless or impersonal, too.
VIDEO: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: All About the Royal Ring
Fortunately, there are a few tactful ways to get what you want—and make your guests feel good about their gift.
"We think the best options for couples avoiding the traditional wedding registry are a honeymoon registry such as Honeyfund or a digital cash registry, like The Newlywed Fund from The Knot," adds Falvey. "Guests can gift cash through the site, and it’s easy for everyone. Additionally, there are websites where you can still register for some material items but also request cash all on one site, such as Newlywish."
If you are certain you are going down this road, Falvey suggests including a short message on your wedding website explaining to your guests why you need the money and how you are planning on spending it.
"If people understand where this money is going, it may make them more likely to chip in," says Jolene Peterson of event planning firm Laurel & Rose. "You can graciously explain that you have merged your kitchenware, appliances, and towels, and are saving for a truly special trip together."
Another way to sway those less inclined to give cash gifts is to give back.
"Make a promise to your guests that you will give back a percentage of your wedding money to a charity or cause that is near and dear to your heart. You can explain why you feel connected to the cause and how you plan to make an impact. Perhaps it can even turn into a group activity if your guests share the same passion," Peterson suggests.
Don't be shy to ask your family and friends to spread the word since, very often, guests will reach out to them before the wedding. Just make sure you brief your parents on what it is they should say—maybe they can mention that you have been saving up for a down payment and can use a little help with that.
The most important thing is to be honest—but specific—with your guests. They'll be happy to know that their gift, whatever it may be, has contributed to your newlywed life in a positive way.