(Closed) Asking For Money To Pay For Wedding – Tacky or Smart?

posted 10 years ago in Money
Post # 3
4566 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I know some people set up registries like http://www.honeyfund.com but unfortunately, there’s no polite way to ask for money. Gift giving isn’t a compulsion- guests don’t HAVE to do it and they do it out of generosity and love so you’re basically at their mercy unless you have a registry. Even then, they could choose to ignore the registry completely. Target and a few other places lets you register for gift cards, so that might alleviate the pressure a little bit.

Post # 4
18628 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

We had mostly money given to us at our wedding.  I think it happened because we didn’t have showers or parties before, most of the guests were out of town, and we didn’t register for a lot of gifts.  There isn’t any polite way to ask for money since people don’t HAVE to give you a present just because you are getting married.

Post # 5
64 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

So I have to throw in my psychology grad student perspective on this: I wondered exactly the same thing when I got engaged. So what did I do? I read the journals, natch. (I know, I know – I’m a dork. There, I said it.)

Basically what I read was that people (aka your guests) will spend more money on a gift (e.g something you register for) than they will give you in cash. If someone planned on spending on/giving you $50, but they saw a $75 gift, they would buy it. But if they were writing a check, they would only give you $50. I didn’t believe it at first, but I saw it over and over in different experiments.

Based on that, I would say your best bet is to register for lots of gifts (that you may or may not actually want) at somewhere that has a really awesome return policy, like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and just return the gifts you are given. You will probably”get more” total that way.

Post # 6
414 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I, too, wish that we can simply ask our friends and family to give us cash for our wedding shower so that it could alleviate our wedding planning expenses. Unfortunately, gift giving isn’t obligatory. We don’t want our loved ones to feel that they’re expected to give gifts, especially cash gifts. We want them to give gifts by their own accord, if it makes them happy to contribute to our wedding/marriage either by buying us a Kitchen Aid blender or inserting a hundred bucks in an envelope, then that’s fine. Whatever they want to give should be fine, we want it to be their choice. If we had put the message out there that “We’d prefer cash to help towards our wedding” this would most likely make our loved ones feel “forced” to give money, and therefore turned off by the whole event. We don’t want people to be turned off by our wedding. This is supposed to be a happy celebration of our union, and the coming together of both families. It’s not a fundraiser. On a happier note, my experience is that the majority of guests prefer to give cash at weddings anyway, because they don’t want to carry a huge box while the’yre all dressed up for the reception. Envelopes are more convenient to carry. So, we thought we’ll just let our guests think it’s their idea to give us cash. At least this way there’s no pressure or bad feelings.


Post # 7
414 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Just wanted to add that: bkgrahamwedding – you are a genius!! And you’re right, speaking from a guest’s perspective, if my budget for a couple was $50 and I browsed around the store, I usually found that $50 items are too dinky, so I step up my budget just a notch to afford that fancy $150 George Foreman grill that I’m sure the couple will love. But if they had asked for cash, not only would I be turned off, I would also just give them the $50 flat. I think we’ll do what you suggested, lol, it’s brilliant, lol. Now I just have to make a list of stores with amazing return policies, lol.

Post # 8
2470 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

hmmm… well, its one thing to hint by word of mouth that wedding gifts as money are preferred and quite another to plan a wedding with hopes that monetary gifts can be used to pay for it.

I view registries as “gift preferences”. No one says you need to get a gift off a registry, but it just eases shopping frustrations (like askign someone to make a Christmas wishlist).

I prefer to give cash gifts for wedding presents however not all people do and it may be viewed as presumtious to ask for cash.

Again, I also see it quite different to relate that money will be easier for your future, but I don’t think it is wise to count on cash gifts to pay for the actual wedding celebration.

Post # 9
13563 posts
Honey Beekeeper

On the bright side, a lot of people give cash as gifts even if you do have a registry, so there’s always that to look forward to!

Post # 10
1084 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I think it would make me very worried as a guest and feel extremely guilty and would honestly make me less likely to go if money was being requested to pay for the wedding.  It would trouble me that the couple chose to have a wedding they couldn’t afford rather than having a lower key wedding.  I’ve been to several backyard bbq and even  potluck weddings that were more fun than more extravegant weddings.  I’m way more for that kind of contributing then feeling like I’m making the couple go into debt if my monetary gift isn’t large enough.  Which is why I’d be less likely to go, thinking this couple doesn’t need two more mouths to worry about feeding on the wedding day.  Part of the problem is it’s a gamble, you don’t know how much $$ you’ll end up with at the end of your wedding, so how can you plan a wedding around the unknown like that. 

Post # 11
2029 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

If I were invited to a wedding as a guest and the couple asked me for a donation to fund their wedding, I would be so offended I would not attend and would give them only a card. I figure if you want me to pay to attend your wedding then you don’t really want me to attend after all.

Post # 12
687 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I don’t think asking for money for the wedding is appropriate. I think it’s like asking someone over for dinner (without telling them it’s a potluck) and then expecting them to pay for their own food.

That said, although I don’t care for it, I think that asking for money for a honeymoon in lieu of presents is appropriate.

Post # 13
166 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

I don’t think its ever appropriate to ask for money for your wedding, and even less so to ask for “donations” for the wedding PLANNING, as opposed to your life after the wedding.  Its okay if you let people know AFTER they ask you DIRECTLY what you want to say “we don’t really need anything but money would be wonderful” but asking is not appropriate.  However, I think this applies to non-moneytary gifts and regstries, too–you can’t announce your requests, you can only make them known after asked or discreetly through the grapevine of family and friends.

Additionally, I don’t think you should plan a wedding you cannot pay for.  I would much rather give you a gift for your LIFE together, not for one DAY.

To answer your questions directly:

* Are there any written rules that determines the type of gift a couple is allow to ask for?

No there are no written rules.  However, all versions of etiquette of which I am aware, whether listed in books, taught in a formal class, or handed down from parent to child, include something along the lines of “it is never appropriate to ASK for a gift of any kind.  Gifts are always optional, and to ask presumes that you expect to receive one.”

* What exactly does gift giving really mean?

Gift giving is a means for people to show their love, friendship, appreciation, or congratulations to other people–family, friends, associates, etc.

* What is the difference between a wedding registry / gift certificate and a donation to help a couple with their planning expenses?

Assuming the gift-giver is freely making the choice, not much.  But many people, myself included, feel that a wedding present should be something to celebrate your NEW life together, however that may be. A gift of money “for the wedding planning” would not meet that goal.  A gift of money “for the new house, or honeymoon” is different.  Also note that you donate to charity.  Money given to you for your wedding, whether it be for the planning or for the life after, is a gift, not a donation.

Post # 14
1580 posts
Bumble bee

Another question that comes to my mind is: What is a wedding reception?

I think most people feel required to have a reception, so then they feel like the guests should help out financially. But really, the wedding reception is a party that you are hosting and inviting all of your friends and family to.

I think it has become acceptable to register for gifts for practical reasons (how would anyone know what everyone else got you or what you need? you could end up with 5 toasters).

Post # 15
613 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

ive seen this a couple of times on the boards and different websites. frankly, i hope this is a trend that doesnt take off.

its one thing to prefer cash gifts to a set of dishes or blender. its another thing entirely to put on the invitation or website that guests will be making donations to help fund your wedding. if you prefer cash, you can discreetly spread the word through parents, aunts, bridesmaids, etc. If you are requesting donations to help fund your wedding, expect people to be offended.  Since gifts are optional, guests should not feel like they have to pay to attend.  I have received an invitation that listed the price of the dinner.  It was awful and I was embarrassed for the couple.  Different cultures, regions, countries have different norms, but I think in the US, its pretty prevalent to treat your guests to a celebration.

Please, please dont do this.  I dont want to sound too harsh or snarky, but this is such a bad idea.  If you end up taking the cash gifts to pay off your credit cards, thats one thing.  But it is a totally different animal to directly tell people that you need their help to pay for the wedding.  In this economy, I think you will rub a lot of people the wrong way by soliciting cash for a wedding.  Bring a gift for the happy couple?  sure.  pay for them to go snorkeling through their honeymoon fund?  ok.  Receive a request for $150 to cover my seat at the wedding?  I probably wont attend.

You compare this donation to a gift. But it really isnt a gift. I can give you whatever I want if its a gift. If you request money to fund your wedding, I feel pressured to give you $x dollars.  again, Im so sorry if this sounds harsh.  But this really rubs me the absolute wrong way.  Just a question, if I donate to the wedding fund, would I have to purchase a gift too?

Post # 16
1064 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I just have to say that while I don’t think it’s polite to ask for gifts, you should be prepared to answer the question of what you want because most wedding goers will ask you or your bridal party what you would like. In anticipation of this, people set up registries. I also think that most people want cash, need cash, hope they get cash, and most gift givers know this. So you can go around telling people, some will give it to you, some will ignore it, but most people know that what you really need is $$$$$

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