This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
Sometimes it’s difficult to work out the accepted wedding etiquette. After all, you’ve most likely never had to plan a wedding before! There are so many things you are expected to know: When should you send out a save the date? Who can you leave off the guest list? Can you tell people not to bring their kids? One of the most touchy areas, in etiquette as in life, involves money and how people are asked to spend it. Specifically, can you ask people for money in lieu of gifts? Can you ask them to spend their money on certain gifts instead of others? The answer is, it’s complicated.
The reason this is such a touchy issue is that making any statement about gifts can seem presumptuous. After all, your guests aren’t obligated to bring a gift. It’s supposed to be a nice extra. A bonus, not something you can count on ahead of time. Asking people to select a gift from a registry can sound like asking for loot, and even worse, asking for money or something else instead of gifts can sound ungrateful for anything else your guests may have planned to give you.
On the other hand, of course, many guests appreciate having some guidance on what they can spend money on. They don’t want to waste money buying a gift you don’t need or don’t like, so some indication can be helpful. They may prefer to give cash, but worry about seeming rude by failing to pick out a thoughtful gift. This has become especially pertinent in a time when many couples live together for years prior to marriage, or at least live independent of their parents beforehand. People usually have the kitchenware and towels sorted years before the wedding. But of course, lots of couples would love fancy new things for starting their married life, so expectations can get pretty complicated!
Asking Guests For Wedding Gifts Of Money Or Specific Items
So what’s a bride to do? Can you help your guests out, or is it rude to do so? The answer is yes, help them out! But do it in an appropriate way. What is appropriate? Glad you asked! You have three main options:
1. Add a card to your wedding invitation suite
First things first, you should never include information about gifts, cash or registries on a save the date or on the wedding invitation itself. What you can do, however, is to include a separate card that gives your guests information about your preference for gifts. Word it tastefully. Something like “We have already been blessed with everything we need for our home! If you wish to bring a gift, a contribution to our wishing well would be greatly appreciated.” Make sure it is clear that the gift is optional, that you sound thankful, and that you use tactful euphemisms. “A contribution to our wishing well” will always sound better than ‘cash’.
2. Add the information to your wedding website
Got a wedding website to share information with your guests? This is the perfect setting for information about gifts! This can work in tandem with an information card in your wedding invitation suite, but it is also considered more acceptable to include the details of your wedding website on the invitation itself rather than specifics about gifts if you would prefer to keep it to one card.
Set up a section on your website marked something like “registry,” “‘wishing well,” or “a note on gifts.” Use the same tips on wording as above: be thankful, keep things optional, and be careful about your choice of terminology.
3. Rely on word of mouth
This is a good option if you are worried about offending certain guests or if your preference on gifts is not as firm. All you have to do here is let your parents, siblings, and bridal party know where you have registered or what your arrangements are. People who are stuck for ideas on gifts are likely to ask them (or you!) for ideas, and they can spread the word. Those who have their own thing in mind are unlikely to ask and will get you whatever they had planned on anyway. This is obviously less efficient, but is a good option if you’re not certain about how to handle it.
So that’s how to handle it. Let people know your preferences in a tactful way that is focused on helping make their lives easier rather than on making demands based solely on what you want, and people will be appreciative. Whether you’re registered somewhere, hoping for cash to put towards a house or paying off the wedding, or looking for donations to charity in lieu of presents, it’s just a matter of keeping it off the invitation and being polite.
Your Honeyfund honeymoon registry offers a tasteful way to ask for money!
Bio: This post was written by Maddison Wallace from Paperlust, Australia, where print design lovers and independent creatives unite.
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