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IS IT OK TO ASK FOR MONEY AS A WEDDING GIFT?

No

O

nce upon a time, a newly married couple needed wedding gifts and bridal showers to set up their house hold. Today people tend to be getting married a bit later on in life and most of us have lived with our other half for years before setting a wedding date. So is it okay to ask for money as a gift or just tacky? This has sparked a debate here at the office:

I can’t think of a “polite” way to ask for money from your guests. In my humble opinion, it’s tacky to ask for cash; actually, it’s not cool to ask for any kind of wedding gift.

Yes I think its perfectly acceptable, and totally reasonable to indicate that you would prefer cash to help you start your married life. Maybe you feel like you have plenty for the kitchen. Or maybe the one thing that would help the two of you set up a new home would be cash towards a down payment on a new home. Whatever the case, let’s get this out of the way once and for all. It’s totally normal to want and prefer cash to a blender! Now for the hard part How do you actually communicate this to your friends and family? My advice… You should never directly ask for specific gifts, monetary or otherwise.

Laura - Weddings & Services

Instead, let them know (if they ask) that you would prefer cash gifts. Let your parents, siblings, wedding party, and close friends know too — and if guests ask them, have them relay your preference. If you are keen to send the message along with the invites the classy way to do this I would suggest is to not-ask outright but to steer guests in the right direction for example you could say something to the effect:

“We’re getting married, but as we’re both grown-ups, we already have sufficient toaster ovens and knife blocks. The best gift you could give us is your sincere wishes for a happy future together, however, if you really want to supplement that with something tangible, cash or vouchers for store X will certainly be appreciated” And of course, be sure to accept and acknowledge every gift gracefully (that means send out thank-you notes). As for monetary gifts, let the giver know how you intend to spend their gift in a thank-you card.

1 | WEDDINGS & SERVICES Issue 01

Tina - Weddings & Services

My personal feeling is that people who think cash is a great gift don’t need to be told to give cash, they’ll give it no matter what you say. People who are on the fence will give cash when they see there is no registry. People who don’t like to give cash won’t change their mind because someone they know is getting married, asking for cash is only going to offend that group of guests. So really, there’s very little to be gained by outright *asking* for cash, it might nudge a few guests in one direction but it has the potential to annoy many more. Even the “cash is a great gift” crowd doesn’t necessarily want to hear the bride and groom ask for it.

However, it occurs to me that it will most likely occur to the majority that two people who have been living together prior to the wedding , are not “setting up household”, and thus do not need the stereotypical blender and toaster that most young couples used to have on their registry. I’d bet that a lot of couples would get a high percentage of cash and gift cards without saying a word about it.

O

ur advice on getting the gifts you really want without causing offence: The key is simple: don’t ask, but do tell. What I mean is this: Let your closest friends and family members know — and then share — your preferences with your befuddled friends who will be asking, “What can we possibly give them? They’ve been together forever. They must have everything!” In turn, they can reply: “In fact, Laura and Dave don’t need anything, but they are saving for a rainy day (….or a honeymoon…. or a baby). I know they would love if you could help them.” The same answer works equally well if either of you is prompted: “Well, we have pretty much everything we need, but we’re saving up for ‘X’ from this shop. If you’d like to contribute, then a gift card would be amazing. But more than anything we’re looking forward to seeing you.”

No matter what, however, you two must maintain the pretence that you don’t expect a gift from anyone. If you wouldn’t ask someone outright for the quesadilla maker of your dreams (and you wouldn’t, since that would be, well, cheesy), you certainly wouldn’t ask them for cold, hard cash. Still, over here on the “manners desk,” I took the temperature of our trusty, snarky and usually wise Facebook friends and fans. I wanted to double check that the culture, thanks to one recession and perhaps another. Alas for you, 100% of the respondents said asking for cash was “distasteful,” “tacky,” and “so very not OK.” OK, back to basics — and reality. First off, remember that weddings are not about gifts but having your loved ones witness your union.

(Thus the adage: “Your presence is our present.”) And second, gifts are never required and shouldn’t be expected. They are voluntarily given as a (small or large) token of our affections. But the reality is that gift-giving is traditional (and mannerly) for anyone invited to a wedding. The registry business owes its existence to couples who want to “manage” those gifts. So your situation is a good example of why I love manners: They provide us with so many ways to work around this to get what we actually want. Finally, guests, please take a hint from me. If you have friends who are planning a ceremony, step up and ask them (or their best friends) the question directly: “Is there anything in particular that you might like for a gift?” And when in doubt, it’s always acceptable to give cash, a gift card, or a cheque. Issue 01 WEDDINGS & SERVICES | 2

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