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Whether it’s because you live together and don’t need a second toaster, or feel your student loans or mortgage are more pressing needs, you might be among the growing ranks of newlyweds who prefer to receive cash as a wedding gift than traditional registry items.
The economics are simple: Cash is the one gift you know you’ll use. But while 84% of newlyweds prefer to receive cash, according to a recent Zelle survey, only 46% of wedding guests prefer to give cash gifts over selecting from a gift list.
“The older generation has a harder time with it,” says Atlanta, Georgia-based wedding planner Gloria Schulz, who has seen an uptick in clients moving away from traditional registries. While asking for cash for your wedding is becoming more socially acceptable, there’s still a right way to go about it tactfully.
Don’t Ask for Money on Your Wedding Invitation
“There is definitely a proper protocol in place to communicate your desire for a monetary gift,” says etiquette expert and consultant Elaine Swann. That starts with picking the right time and place.
It’s considered tacky to mention gifts of any kind on an invitation, which should focus on welcoming your guests to celebrate with you. Instead, Swann recommends passing word along through your family members, close friends, and wedding party that you’d prefer to receive cash gifts for your special day.
“It’s also acceptable to convey that on your wedding website,” says Swann. Most couples do so as a note on the registry page of their wedding site, or by linking to a cash registry.
Be Careful With Your Wording
“The key is to sound gracious in your messaging,” Swann says. Rather than asking directly for cash wedding gifts, she suggests phrasing it as an option on your website, along with your preferred means of receiving the cash: “Monetary gifts can be submitted via Zelle,” for example. Just make sure you pick a cash transfer platform that older or less technologically-savvy guests will find safe and easy to use.
Be Specific About What You’ll Use the Money For
Whether you link to a cash registry or request gifts be made by bank transfer, be sure to include a short note on your website about what the money will be used for.
“You’d want to say that you’d like to build your nest egg, a downpayment for a new home, or for a dream honeymoon fund,’” says Schulz. Guests like to feel they’re contributing to the couple’s new married life together, and that’s easier if they can envision how a gift will be used like they would a traditional wedding gift.
Also Have an Online Registry
Schulz says she’s actually seen fewer couples asking for cash in recent years due to the increasing availability of non-traditional wedding registries, like Home Depot, REI, or Amazon registries. That’s partly because they’re so easy to use, and partly because they allow couples to ask for physical gifts beyond homewares they might already have.
Even if your priority is saving up for a down payment or a doctorate degree, both Swann and Schulz recommend also signing up for a few registry items.
“Some of your older relatives might not have a computer or a way to order online,” Schulz says. And while the wedding is your day, part of making your guests feel welcome is giving them a choice of gift they’re comfortable with.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the interview subjects are not necessarily those of Earnest.