There are many reasons you might like to avoid traditional wedding gifts – perhaps you’ve been together for a few years and already have all of the household items you need, or you’re getting married abroad and don’t want your guests to bring physical gifts out with them. Maybe you just find department store gift lists uninspiring. Whatever the reason, asking for money for your wedding is a practical alternative.
So if you’ve decided you’d prefer cash gifts, the next thing to do is decide how you’re going to go about asking for it. This can be a delicate subject and you are going to want to make sure you approach it in the right way. Asking for monetary wedding gifts can still be seen as taboo, and although a few of your friends may have been asked this before, some family members – especially the older generation – may not have come across this request and may feel a little bit put out. But if you let people know your request in a thoughtful way, you should be able to avoid putting anyone’s nose out of joint. So what are your options when it comes to asking for cash?
Put your bank details on the invitations
This is without doubt the most straight forward and to the point way of asking for money. It’s as simple as it sounds, just include yours or your partner’s bank details in the wedding invitations when you send them out, and ask your wedding guests to transfer whatever they would like to.
There are pros and cons to this approach, but one thing to be aware of is that, as people will give gifts over a 3-6 month period, it can be a little bit difficult to keep track of who’s sent what, which can make it tricky to thank your guests. In our experience, most people don’t tend to add a useful reference (such as their name!) when sending gifts this way, instead writing lovely but useless ones like ‘HAPPY WEDDING’. This means you’ll have to spend a little more time digging around to find out who’s sent you what.
One of the downsides to this approach is that it can be perceived as being a little bit cold and impersonal leaving guests feeling awkward and often confused about how much to give. To avoid disgruntled wedding guests, explain why you’d like the cash and what you’re planning to use it for in your invitation alongside your bank details and make it clear that any contribution large or small will be appreciated. A growing trend is to include what we call a ‘money poem’ – a little poem about your wishes. There are a few websites that provide versions of these that you can copy and paste into your invites, but it’s much more personal to try and come up with your own. That way you can include aspects of your lives and your friends and family are bound to connect with it more.
One really good thing about asking for money this way is that neither you or your wedding guests are dealing with any physical cash. Your friends won’t have to hurriedly stuff some notes in an envelope 10 minutes before leaving for the wedding, and your gift money will be easily accessible in your account, when and where you need it, rather than in 100 different cards.
Collect cash on your wedding day
Another option is to simply ask your wedding guests to bring money on the day itself. You could set up a dedicated area for gift money, with a little sign telling people to leave their gift. This could be a box, a treasure chest, or you could even just leave a hat on the bar, and guests can contribute as they order their drinks.
This option means that your guests will need to be prepared and relies on them remembering to visit a cash point before they arrive. If they don’t remember, you’re not leaving them with any options for sending a late gift, which could leave them feeling terrible about not contributing! There can be an awkwardness involved when dealing with cold, hard cash, so some of your friends and family may feel too uncomfortable with this request to do as you’ve asked. This is when people tend to go rogue and pick something else to give you instead – say hello to new picture frames & vases.
Asking for cash on the day can make saying thank you tricky – if you receive the money in a card, make sure you take note of who sent it, the amount that they gave, and if they wrote anything specific, so that you can thank them properly. If it’s a case of cash in a hat, there’s no way of thanking people individually, but you could send out general thank yous to everyone for coming.
Although this option may seem the easiest, it’s also the riskiest, as it’s so easy to lose track of where your money is. We’ve even heard about one couple who left their jar full of money on the bar when the wedding was over, never to be seen again. Sad times.
Make an online cash gift list
With an online gift list you can show people exactly where their money is going, and you can be really personal in your approach. Most people who ask for wedding money online tend to go down the honeymoon fund route, and there are a few different sites that will allow you to do that – some are connected to particular travel companies (so in fact these are more like travel vouchers rather than cash) and others allow you to collect contributions into accounts that they hold for you.
With a Patchwork registry you can ask wedding guests for cash to put towards anything, not just honeymoons, whether it’s a kitchen makeover, a new bed or a house deposit. Whatever it is that you feel you truly want or need. You can collect cash direct into your PayPal account so you can spend it whenever you’re ready.
The best thing about using an online cash gift list
like Patchwork is that you can show your guests the things you want to fund as a collection of individually priced images so people can choose exactly what to treat you depending on their budget – £10 for honeymoon cocktails, £50 for a romantic dinner or £100 for a night in a hotel. Your guests can leave you messages with their gifts and you can keep track of everyone’s contributions in your account so it’s easy to send your love and thanks.
Your wedding guests will be excited to give you a gift, and grateful for any guidance you want to give them. So whichever path you decide to go down when it comes to asking for cash gifts, don’t let it be a source of pre-wedding anxiety, as your guests will more than likely be pleased they’re able to give you something you really want or need.
Just remember to make it personal and be explicit about where their money is going – that’s what everyone really wants to know.