Setting up your wedding registry is a fun activity for many couples. It’s almost like going on a shopping spree, but without having to open your own wallet. While it can be fun to pick out fun things for your home, it’s also easy to forget that a lot of money is going to be spent on you. Are you making the most of it? When I’m invited to a wedding, I usually just write a check in lieu of a gift. While some people prefer to give a physical wedding gift, I like to think that my gift is contributing toward a solid financial future for the couple.
Are there ways that money spent on wedding gifts could be put to better use?
For instance—when we got married, we registered for some beautiful Wedgwood china at $150/per place setting. (I really don’t know what were we thinking!) We just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary and have used that china… umm… never! At the time we registered, we pictured ourselves throwing elegant dinner parties, or hosting holiday meals at our house. In reality, our parties are usually more casual affairs—like backyard barbecues where people eat from paper plates and drink beer from a cooler. In retrospect, the thousands of dollars that guests spent on our fine china could have been used as a down payment for our home, or to get a jump on our retirement savings. If I could go back in time, I would have asked for cash knowing what I do now about finances.
…we registered for some beautiful Wedgwood china at $150/per place setting. We just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary and have used that china… umm… never!
Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly a place for wedding registries!
A traditional wedding registry is a service provided by a website or retail store to assist engaged couples in the communication of gift preferences to wedding guests. Couples select items that they want from the store’s products and then wedding guests can then access those registries and select a gift to give the couple. This is great for young couples who are setting up their first home together, and is necessary to ensure that the couple gets useful items that they need instead of a bunch of random stuff. But what if you don’t need a bunch of stuff? Maybe you have already established your household and have most of what you need. Maybe you have no use for a full china set or a bunch of kitchen gadgets. Whatever the reason, some couples would rather have cash. Unfortunately, most books on wedding etiquette will tell you that asking for money is technically a rude thing to do. So how do you ask for money instead of wedding gifts politely?
So the real question is—how do you POLITELY ask for money instead of wedding gifts?
Asking for cash is tacky, and you definitely don’t want to risk offending your guests, so try one of these approaches instead.
Online Registries with Cash Work-Around
A service called Depositagift.com that has figured out a sneaky way around the money/wedding gift predicament. This service allows you to create a gift registry, and then share the link with your guests. You can set up a registry with items you need (or don’t need for that matter) and then guests can “purchase” items from your registry. But, instead of purchasing the actual gift, they are really just depositing the amount of the gift into your account. What you do with that money is up to you. You could go out and buy the gift, but you could also put the money in the bank, or buy something else. This way your guests feel like they have given you something more than money, but you get the money to spend how you please.
There are many online sites that allow you to set up a honeymoon registry (www.honeyfund.com is a popular one). A honeymoon registry makes it easy for your friends and family to contribute to whatever purchases you have in mind after your wedding—honeymoon or otherwise.
Have Friends and Family Spread the Word
It’s tacky to ask directly for money from your guests so use your family, wedding party, and friends to help spread the word. Guests will be talking to other friends and family before the wedding to ask what you as a couple really want. Have them tell your guests that you would really like cash. It might also help to be clear why you’re asking for cash. For instance, down payment toward your first home, or you’d like to establish some joint savings. The truth is, money will probably be the most useful, and appreciated gift that you receive.
Whatever the case, give your guests the option to purchase a physical gift if they prefer. You don’t want them to feel obligated to give you cash. And it goes without saying that ALL gifts should be accepted with great appreciation!