Faux Pas or Not: Money as a Gift

Gift box made of money

While just attending the wedding is the best way to show the happy couple how much you care, wedding gifts come in at a close second. But with all of the multiple wedding registrations, wish lists, and personal preferences of the couple, is it tacky to just give some cash? Every couple is unique, and every wedding has different requirements so it’s important to know what the expectations are before you stuff some money into an envelope. Here’s how to assess whether or not giving out cash is a faux pas.

Did the Couple Register?

First things first, did the couple in question register for gifts? Many couples are choosing to forego registration if they have lived on their own for some time and don’t really need anything to complete their household. However, if they have registered for some items around the house, then you might want to stick to the list. There’s a reason why they picked what they did, and part of the fun of giving a gift to a couple is to present it all wrapped up in beautiful wrapping paper and a big white bow. Though many couples wouldn’t mind getting cash, there’s just something fun about ripping open a stack of presents once you get home from the wedding.

Utensils, wine glasses, and plates

Are Most of their Registry Items Checked Off?

If your couple registered and you are thinking about giving cash, take a look at the registry and see about how many items are left on there. Have all of the inexpensive items like the plates, cups, and silverware been bought up? If the answer is yes (and all that’s left are the $300 Dyson vacuum and the expensive comforter set they want), then let grandma take care of the pricey items and give them cash to go toward their big ticket items.

Are They Moving into a New House?

Many brides and grooms who haven’t cohabitated before the wedding are going to be living in a brand new space. A new home requires a lot of setup and new things to buy, which is why gifts from thoughtful wedding guests come in handy—they help fill the space immediately and make it feel more home-y. Whether the couple registered or you just happen to know the perfect thing they’ll need for their kitchen, a physical gift will be remembered and cherished for a long time. Cash is appreciated in the short term, but the beautiful set of candlesticks or the wine glasses that you bought for them are the things they build their life with in some small way.

Think About the Couple and Whether or Not they Would Like Receiving Cash

Every couple is unique. This is why they wanted to have a wedding beneath the elm trees at their local park, why they chose to have an E.E. Cummings poem read at their ceremony, and why they picked a taco truck for their reception food. Because every couple is unique, you can’t just treat them all the same. Cash can be a bit generic, and some people would prefer their guests to give them something more meaningful. Of course, it’s doubtful that most couples would be offended that you brought cash, but it’s a good idea to ask around and see what other guests will be bringing to honor and celebrate the happy couple. Some couples also don’t want any gifts from their guests and would prefer that a donation be made to their favorite charities or organizations. Just be sure you’re paying attention to the wedding invitation or the wedding website for important information like that.

wedding guests with the bride and groom

How Well Do You Know the Couple?

Personalized and meaningful gifts are a great pick for close friends and family of the bride or groom, but if you only vaguely know one of them from work or you haven’t seen them since they were a kid, then it’s probably not necessary to get too elaborate with a gift. Giving a gift card or cash to a couple you don’t know well is probably your safest bet. If you’re not close and you want to buy them a physical gift, be sure to stick to the registry so that you don’t buy them something they don’t want or need.

Most of the Time, Cash is King

The truth is that many couples planning a wedding are in need of some cash. Gifts are great and they will be treasured, but with expensive wedding plans, a tentative honeymoon, and maybe even a down payment on a house looming over their heads, a gift of cash is welcomed and appreciated. If you decide to give cash, write something meaningful in the card about how you hope they spend it (like on drinks during their honeymoon or on a tool kit for their new home) so that they don’t think you just stopped at an ATM on the way to the ceremony.

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