Cash, the wedding gift of choice

By Elissa Doherty (Herald Sun, 22/11/11)


WEDDING guests can have their cake and eat it – but now, they may have to cough up for the meal.

Adrian Bartos and fiance Caitlyn Watson have asked close friends to give vouchers or cash instead of traditional wedding gifts. Picture: Darren Tindale Herald Sun

Adrian Bartos and fiance Caitlyn Watson have asked close friends to give vouchers or cash instead of traditional wedding gifts. Picture: Darren Tindale Herald Sun

Brides and grooms are increasingly asking guests to show them the money, with cash gifts and contributions to wedding costs replacing traditional presents.

The trend is even extending to the engagement party, with many modern couples choosing dollars over presents.

The shift is being driven by couples living together before marriage, lack of cash, and newlyweds wanting help with a house deposit or renovations.

Wedding websites offer ideas to diplomatically phrase the money question, and online wishing wells are mushrooming.

But while a tactfully worded invite can barely raise an eyebrow, wedding planners warn there’s a fine line in the etiquette stakes.

Matt Butterworth, managing director of, said the site was fielding more questions from cash-strapped couples wondering if it was OK for guests to chip in for their meals.

And while it could be awkward, asking for a cash gift was becoming more acceptable.

“So many modern couples today live together before they are married that by the time they walk down the aisle they have everything, including the kitchen sink,” he said.

“How your guests will react will probably depend on your financial circumstances and their own. If guests know money’s tight for the couple or that they’re saving for something specific, such as a house deposit or a honeymoon, they’re probably not going to mind as much.”

Couples need to ask delicately and keep in mind that not everyone could afford cash gifts.

Honeymoon registries at travel agencies, money for artworks, charity donations and vouchers are other trends for couples who don’t need another platter or toaster.

Caitlyn Watson, 30, and Adrian Bartos, 35, of Ascot Vale, are setting up a wishing well for cash and vouchers for their March nuptials.

The pair, who live together, said they needed big-ticket items rather than homewares.

But they admitted they would have a small gift registry for older, more traditional guests.

“By the time you are 30, you have built up your own collection and start to need the bigger things in life,” Ms Watson said.

Click here to read Elissa Doherty’s original story in the Herald Sun

Tell us, is it ok to ask for cash on your big day?

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Comments 9 comments

9 responses to “Cash, the wedding gift of choice”

  1. Renmcleod says:

    we are having a wishing well, but we are paying for meals, alcohol and entertainment, our guest are invited as a guest, It was our decission to get married and invite them it should not be their problem to pay for any  part  of our february wedding

  2. feistyangel says:

    We were asked for our engagement party what we would like and after stressing that we didn’t need anything and didn’t want presents if people really felt strongly about it that vouchers to Harvey Norman would be appreciated as we knew that next year we would be needing white goods. At our Wedding we asked that if people wanted to get us something that a donation to our Honeymoon would be greatly appreciated. We still ended up with 2 cutlery sets for the engagement party and we had only bought our set 6months earlier so we now have 3

  3. Guest says:

    I think by expecting present for either an engagement party or wedding is rude. your guests are your guests and they should be invited without expecting anything back from them. However in saying this I understand that the majority of people want to give gifts for your special occasion. 

    There is definitely an etiquette to it though. I don’t think any sort of registry or wishing well should be present or in place for an engagement party. I believe a lot of people these days use an engagement party as a cash or present grab. To ask for money for this and then your wedding on top of that is down right rude. If you need this to help fund your wedding you should either wait until you can save the money yourself or downgrade your budget to something you can afford. 

    We put at the very bottom of our engagement invites that we didn’t want any sort of gift, some people still felt the need to buy gifts, so we got wine glasses, some beautiful towels, platters etc. This was fine by us but in no way did we expect anything what so ever. Our wedding will be the same. We are paying for the whole thing ourselves (i.e we have not and will not accept money from ANYONE to fund our wedding) and asking for no gifts/money in return. We are by no means wealthy, we are just having a beautiful simple wedding & honeymoon that is well within our means.

    By putting wishing well/gift registry details with your invites you are basically telling them they need to buy you a present or give you money. For the people that are strapped for cash themselves they find this very uncomfortable. How do you turn up to somebodies wedding with a card only or a gift that isn’t on their registry when you’ve already been told what is expected.   

    That’s just my two cents worth. I do believe way too much is expected of guests these days. 

  4. Wedding Reception Venues says:

    There are huge expenses that weddings may create. From wedding attires, foods, and

    Wedding Reception Venues
    newlyweds may be burdened with too much costs so giving cash as gifts may be appreciated even more.

  5. Wedding Cars says:

    It is really good ideas!!!!!

  6. ninaskye says:

    I’m not going to directly say to my guests that I’d prefer to recieve cash gifts but surprisingly, a large number have offered cash/voucher gifts rather than the traditional gift… Being 23, alot of my guests are younger and beleive that cash/vouchers are an easier alternative and allow us to go out and choose the things we need/want rather than have them stress over it… I’ll have a registry though so I don’t end up with 5 toasters and 3 kettles and a mountain of towels and cutlery from my family and older guests….

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