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Gift Etiquette

Gift Etiquette

The money question

Long gone are the days when it was considered in bad taste to have a wedding registry. A subtle note included with a wedding invitation is more often than not appreciated by guests, who may well be at a loss to know what to give the newlyweds. Now though, with the average age of newlyweds increasing and more couples living together before they marry, a registry is not so necessary and some couples are instead choosing to request cold hard cash as a gift. But is it acceptable?

Close friends and family know your circumstances and will probably understand exactly why you would prefer a cash gift. True friends will be happy to accommodate and know that you will truly appreciate a gift you can use.

Unwanted gifts are not only, well, unwanted, but they pose an awkward problem. What do you do with it? The newlyweds are then left to remember which ugly platter Aunty Beryl gave them and make sure they serve dessert on it when she next visits! Storing and using unwanted gifts can just be a big hassle.

In some cultures (Greek, Sicilian, Chinese) it is acceptable and even expected that guests will give money, so surely it comes down to personal preference and whether the couple getting married think it is a good idea to request money.

There’s no denying it’s a little bit cheeky. But worse than that, it’s completely impersonal and may make your guests feel like a bank instead of someone you wanted to share your celebration with. Guests often take pride in choosing a gift they think will suit you, and by asking for cash, it takes away any thought or effort they might have wanted to put into gift selection.

People who don’t have a lot of money may feel embarrassed giving cash. Thrifty shoppers may have found an inexpensive but valuable gift, which won’t compare to the cash they can afford to give.

Asking for money may make your guests think you’ve lost sight of the whole point of a wedding. It’s a celebration of the love two people share, and the promises they are making to each other. The gifts are simply an extension and a way of your guests showing they support and love you.

Making it work
Don’t ask your guests flat out for money. Even in a poem. Rhymes can’t disguise cheek. This means you’re expecting guests to give you something, and while most people will want to, it should never be a given. Instead, spread the word amongst friends or family.

Allocate the gift money towards something big (like a honeymoon, furniture, carpets, a house etc.) and send your guests a thank you with a note explaining where their money went. Avoid the temptation to fritter it on clothing or bills.

If someone does choose to give you a gift instead, thank them graciously, no matter if you like the gift or not. If you don’t get a gift at all from guests, send them a ‘thank you for coming’ card after the event. After all, gifts are not compulsory!


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