Money Rules: Can the Bride & Groom Ask for Cash?

anna-postQ: I'm planning my wedding and I'd like to ask for cash gifts instead of doing a traditional registry. My fiancé and I already live together—we don't need china or a blender—but my mom says that's tacky. Is it?

A: Good etiquette has always said it’s okay to give cash (or a check) to the bride and groom; a modern twist says it’s now okay for the couple to signal that gifts of money would be welcome.

After all, money is often the most useful gift a newlywed couple could receive. Life isn’t cheap these days, and neither are weddings, let alone putting together a household together.

The key to pulling it off without offending anyone is in how the ask is made.

As with registry information, the news that money is preferred should be given out by word of mouth—never on the invitation.

When asked, simply say, “Of course we would love anything you choose, but we could really use help with a down-payment.” This wording acknowledges the guest’s right to choose the gift—while painting a picture of what the money will be used for.

If using the words “money” or “cash” goes against the grain, phrases such as “help with” or “a contribution toward” are good euphemisms. Coach immediate family and close friends to help them tactfully answer the inevitable guest questions they’ll receive about where the couple is registered. Your personal wedding website is also a great place to post this message, along with your registry information or online money gift sites—as long as that's not the only information there. And it is best to have a few items on a traditional registry for guests who prefer a gift wrapped with paper and ribbons.

Get engaged. What do you think about giving money instead of a gift?

Anna Post is the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, the co-author of "Great Get-Togethers" (William Morrow, 2010), and the author of "Do I Have To Wear White? Emily Post Answers America's Top Wedding Questions" (Collins, 2009).

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