Everyone loves the gift of money, but how do you get it? Read on for the history, etiquette, and how-to of getting wedding gifts of cold, hard cash.
Engaged couples are always talking about it — cash gifts. The little-known secret? Many definitely prefer money for their marriage over traditional registry items like china, silver and crystal. Everyone loves the gift of money, but how do you get it? Read on for the history, etiquette, and how-to of getting wedding gifts of cold, hard cash.
Maybe you’re getting married for the first time and would rather have a lump sum to put toward your first home, or you’re remarrying and have long since set up house. The truth is that quite a few of us have already accrued all kinds of appliances and amenities to outfit our lives. But there are very few who couldn’t use a helping hand toward buying a home or new car. That’s when money may be the most useful, thoughtful, and appreciated gift of all.
Give guests a choice — some may really want to give you something material, rather than just writing you a check.
Time was when the mavens of manners turned up their noses at the thought of giving money as a gift. But today, there are plenty of people who can’t think of a more appropriate present for two people just starting out in their new, shared life. In fact, monetary gifts have long been considered proper and acceptable in different regions of the country, as well as among different cultures. Guests invited to a Korean wedding often present envelopes containing cash or checks to the parents of the bride and groom, who in turn present the money to the newlywed couple. Guests at a Chinese wedding often hand the bride monetary presents in red envelopes (red symbolizes luck). There’s an Italian custom called “The Grand March” — the wedding reception ends with a receiving line in which the couple gives each guest a sweet in exchange for an envelope of money. During the traditional Polish “Dollar Dance,” guests dance with the bride and give her money as a gift by pinning money to her veil or dress.
How to Spread the Word
If you decide to set up such an account, or simply want your guests to know that you’d prefer checks — let your parents, close relatives and friends, and wedding-party members know that when guests ask, they can tell them that. But don’t completely forego some sort of traditional registry. Give guests a choice — some may really want to give you something material, rather than just writing you a check.
If anyone asks, checks before the wedding should be made out to the bride OR groom (i.e., they should use the bride’s maiden name, even if she’s planning to change it). After the wedding, checks should be made out to bride AND groom. This just makes cashing ’em easier, and it’s also the traditional way it’s done. As far as checks brought to the reception — put someone in charge of collecting them. The best man is a good choice. You might want to make him and the maid of honor responsible for keeping the checks for you while you’re on your honeymoon.
It’s the Thought That Counts
The one potentially awkward thing about a cash gift is that there’s no hiding how big or small that present is. But the thought behind each one remains the same — and your thanks shouldn’t vary in size, either.