In western societies, it was once considered to poor etiquette to ask for money instead of wedding gifts. The practice is gaining acceptance as the way people approach marriage has changed. The subject must still be approached with some tact and delicacy, but there are several ways to request money instead of wedding gifts without appearing crass or tacky.
Traditionally, the couple lived apart before marriage. Their respective parents covered the cost of the wedding. Wedding gifts were given by guests invited to the marriage as a form of assistance with starting a new life together. Gifts included household items and articles needed to build a home. Nowadays, the couple may already be living together prior to the marriage, or already have established homes for themselves as independent singles. As the average age of people getting married has risen, the couples often already have most of the items traditionally given as wedding gifts. Couples are now expected to pay for the wedding themselves, and their focus is on defraying the costs of the wedding and making down payments on a new marital home.
As the landscape of marriage has changed, the etiquette of requesting wedding gifts has also changed. It was once considered to be in poor taste to request any sort of wedding gift. It is still considered inappropriate to ask for money directly. Older guests, especially, might find being asked for money offensive. It is important that the approach taken to asking for money instead of wedding gifts be tasteful and preferably indirect. The couple does not want to be seen to be as charging admission to their wedding or trying to get guests to defray costs. There should always be an option of bringing traditional gifts for those guests who think monetary gifts are inappropriate.
Requests for money instead of wedding gifts should not be included with the wedding invitations. Bear in mind that wedding gifts are optional, and you do not want your guests to feel obliged to give you gifts or money. A more subtle approach is required. You can spread the word to friends and family that you would prefer cash to gifts and ask them to spread the word on your behalf. You can gently mention to your guests that you would prefer cash to gifts.
Bridal registries are a good option for making tasteful requests for gifts and money. You can register with a traditional bridal registry, and opt to receive cash instead of gifts on your list. Some financial institutions offer bridal registry accounts, where guests deposit money directly into an account created for the couple. The bank will print gift deposit slips which you can send to interested guests who opt to pay into your registry. You can also sign up for a wedding site, where you can post interesting facts about the couple, pictures, videos and hints about what you wish for as gifts and details of your registries.
Some companies offer wedding gift cards with a redeemable cash value. You can let your guests know about their services by word of mouth or by posting details on your wedding website.
Wedding Wishing Wells
Wedding wishing wells are an increasing popular option for getting cash gifts. You make available an attractive well at the wedding reception, into which guests can deposit envelopes full of cash or wedding cards. Let your guests know by word of mouth or by your website that you will have a wedding wishing well available at the reception into which they can deposit cash gifts.
Keep Guests Informed
It is a good idea to let your guests know how you intend to spend their money prior to asking for cash gifts. When dropping hints, you can mention the expenses you wish to defray. This will cause your guests to understand how giving you money is a helpful contribution and will help to relieve any potential awkwardness that could go with being asked to contribute money instead of wedding gifts.