Etiquette for Money Wedding Gifts

Updated February 06, 2018

Millions of couples walk down the aisle every year, and with weddings comes an entire set of etiquette rules, especially in the area of gift giving. Traditionally wedding gifts are intended to help the happy couple start their new life together. Money is a common gift, as it allows couples some flexibility when they start life as Mr. and Mrs. Both the giver and the recipient should follow etiquette guidelines when it comes to monetary wedding gifts.

Asking for Money

According to the Emily Post website, it is perfectly acceptable for couples to ask for money as a wedding gift. Although it is in poor taste to send a note in the wedding invitation indicating this preference, if a wedding guest asks what you would like for a gift, it is fine to answer the question honestly and directly. Mention how you plan to use the money, such as for a down payment on a house, but also reiterate that it is the guest's choice what to give you for a gift and that you appreciate the thought no matter what gift she gives you.

Thank-You Notes

If you receive money as a wedding gift, you must send a thank-you note, as you would for any other gift. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have a year to write thank-you notes; proper etiquette dictates that notes should be sent within 3 months of the wedding. It is optional whether you mention the amount of the gift, but it does confirm to the giver that you received the right amount. Always mention what you plan to do with the money, even if you just plan to add it to your savings account.

Wedding Gift Amounts

According to the website Wedding Channel, the average wedding gift costs £48 to £65. If you choose not to purchase an item from the couple's gift registry, either purchase a gift card to the store where the registry was created for that amount or give a gift of cash. If you are giving a cash gift, it is acceptable to bring the gift to the reception; all other gifts should be shipped directly to the address listed on the registry before the wedding. This prevents the bride and groom from having to worry about transporting the gifts.

Addressing the Gift

When you are giving the gift of money via check, make the check out to either the bride or the groom if you're sending it before the wedding. If you're sending it to the bride, use her maiden name. If you're giving the check at the wedding or after, make the check out to both the bride and groom, using the married name, unless you are sure the bride is keeping her maiden name.

Cultural Considerations

In some cultures, it is traditional to give money as a wedding gift, and giving the couple money is an important part of the reception. For example, in Italian, Polish and Puerto Rican weddings, guests pay for the chance to dance with the bride, generally by pinning cash to her dress or placing money in special envelopes or other containers. If you attend a wedding based on a culture that incorporates money into the reception, fulfil your role as a gracious guest by participating in the ritual.

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About the Author

An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer on topics including lifestyle, education, and business. She is the author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), and her work has appeared in Lewiston Auburn Magazine, Young Money, USA Today and a variety of online outlets. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.