How Can You Ask for Money Instead of Wedding Gifts?

Wedding jar filled with pennies.

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For years, it was common that young newlyweds needed wedding gifts and bridal showers to help set up their household. But in today's culture, the average marrying age is rising. Many couples have already established their home and some feel that more stuff—much less a second (or third) toaster—is the last thing they need. Money can be more beneficial and appealing to a couple trying to cover wedding and honeymoon expenses or save for a house down payment.

The question then, is how does a bridal couple let guests know that they prefer money instead of gifts? It's a difficult situation because you don't want to be rude by bluntly asking for cash. However, if this is your preference, you can enlist the help of your bridal party, family, and friends to pass the word or use a honeymoon registry or similar service.

A Wedding Invitation No-No

Some couples have come up with creative ways to ask for gifts, money, or charitable donations on their wedding invitations. The truth of the matter is that doing so is rude.

Proper etiquette says that wedding gifts of any kind should never be mentioned on an invitation or even sent with the invitation. To do so implies that a guest is required to give you a present. A wedding invitation should simply convey that you would like someone to be at your very special occasion.

Your Messengers

Your bridal party, close friends, and immediate family will likely know where you are registered. They can also be prepared to inform your guests that the happy couple is saving up for a house, the honeymoon, or something similar. Many guests will already know to ask these key people for your registry information. Usually, if you are close enough to have someone in your wedding party, then you can be honest with them about your hopes for money over wedding gifts.

Gift Registries

If you're hoping to collect more cash than gifts, do you even need to register for gifts? There will always be guests who believe that giving money is tacky. Others may simply feel uncomfortable giving cash; it may seem like they're putting a definitive value on your happiness.

The easiest solution is to put together a modest wedding registry for your gift-buying guests. Even if you have your kitchen and entertaining needs covered, there are many different kinds of places to register for wedding gifts, from camping stores to fine art galleries, and lots of options in between.

Cash Registries

A "cash registry" is an alternative to the conventional gift registry. This is a cross between a wedding registry and a crowdfunding website, except the "crowd" is made up of your invited wedding guests.

Many companies are catering to the rise in demand for cash registries from bridal couples who prefer to receive money for a variety of expenses. There are honeymoon registries that focus specifically on your travel plans. Other registries are not as specific, allowing the newlyweds to use the money collected for a home, donations to a charity, or other expenses. Some of these websites allow you to simultaneously use a more traditional gift registry, which can take care of most guests' gift-giving preferences in one place.

For example, at a honeymoon registry, a guest can give you the gift of a nice dinner out or tickets to a play. You receive the cash, minus the website's fee, and can then use it for your honeymoon expenses. This can be a nice option if you have a very specific honeymoon itinerary planned. It allows guests to feel like they are giving you a memorable wedding gift and not just writing a check.

While these registries can help a couple out with their cash flow or wedding expenses, you do need to do your research. Pay attention to the fees associated with the service and make sure you understand exactly how and when you will receive your monetary gifts. You also want to read plenty of reviews to ensure it's a reputable company—in the past, some mortgage registry companies have gone out of business within a few years.

Are Cash Registries Tacky?

Though cash registries are becoming more popular, the verdict is not in yet whether these are considered tacky or appropriate. Quite often, the way that they are perceived by guests depends on the generation: younger people like the idea and older people tend to prefer physical gifts. It may be best to register for both, adding only things you need to the gift registry and allow your guests to choose for themselves.

Once upon a time (and even still, to the most etiquette-picky in the world), any kind of wedding registry was considered taboo. As different registries become more common to use, this stigma will likely become a thing of the past.

Watch Now: How to Avoid Getting Gifts You Don't Want