Is Asking For Money As A Wedding Gift Acceptable Or Not?

This last weekend, my Mum shared a little paper clipping with me – a friend had passed it on to her having recently attended a wedding.  It was one of those little clippings that couples pop inside the invitation to their wedding, the one that goes a bit like this…

More than just kisses so far we've shared,
Our home has been made with love and care,
Most things we need we've already got,
And in out home we can't fit a lot!
A wishing well we thought would be great,
(But only if you wish to participate),
A gift of money is placed in the well,
Then make a wish but shhh don't tell!
Once we've replaced the old with the new,
We can look back and say it was thanks to you!
And in return for your kindness, we're sure,
That one day soon you will get what you wished for.
Please don't be offended at this type of request,
As our day is complete having you as our guest


These poems have been around a while now, I remember discovering them when I was planning my own wedding back in 2008, but reading the little clipping this weekend got me thinking.  Aren't most couples already co-habiting by the time they marry these days? And if so, isn't the idea of this quaint little poem pointing out that they don't require any household items as gifts a little outdated?

Wedding gift lists or registries were initially set up to genuinely assist the soon to be newlywed couple in setting up home together and acquire those all important domestic items…

"The practice of a bridal registry {wedding gift list} was first instituted by Chicago-founded department store Marshall Field's in 1924 at its Marshall Field and Company Building as a means for the engaged couple to indicate chosen china, silver and crystal patterns to family and friends. US-based Target stores were the first to introduce an electronic self-service gift registry in 1993, using a service provided by The Gift Certificate Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.[1] The technology was invented and subsequently patented by William J. Veeneman et al., the founder and CEO of The Gift Certificate Center.[2]

Reference – Wikipedia


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In our modern day times, couples are mostly already living together and so have no need for the items they might once have done years ago {toasters, kettles, Kitchenaids – actually, I'd quite like a Kitchenaid}.  Companies like Etsy, Zankyou and Notonthehighstreet are utilising this change in culture to make business out of the wedding industry, by establishing their own wedding gift lists and registries, where you can add all kinds of cute, funny, personal, meaningful, retro, designer items to your desired gift list. I think that's great, in that a helpful service is being offered to guests who can decide if they'd like to purchase a gift or not {let's face it, they usually do} and if the bride and groom has been sensible, the gift list will feature a range of products to suit most budgets.

According to a survey by Wedding Magazine however, almost half of all couples now ask for money rather than a physical gift as a wedding present. {Reference}

But there's the rub; no matter how directly, or indirectly, the idea of asking for money as a wedding gift never really sits quite right with me.  I'm not saying it's wrong, or even right and I don't make judgements on anyone who does – BUT – it irks me somewhat. To me, a gift is something especially made, or a particular item or product purchased with the couple in mind, that will mean something to them, that reflects who they are, that will look pretty or do something functional – funny even! It needn't be expensive, or it can be expensive as you like – I'm much more of a 'it's the thought that counts' kinda gal.  The idea of replacing this friendly loving gesture of 'gift giving' with 'cash donations' to me however, seems a little uncouth and lost in translation.

Many guests have to fork out a fair bit of expense even attending a wedding – a new outfit, a hair do, travel and accommodation, time out of work etc.  Doesn't the idea of then being asked {sometimes quite directly} to make a cash donation to the bride and groom seem crass?  

I recall having a conversation with an old colleague a couple of years ago – her relatively well off friend, with relatively well off parents, had had a big wedding and the bride had actually spent time after the big day crossing off a list of who had left a cash gift. She and her new husband had been gifted over £7k in all, and the bride was bemoaning the fact that a couple of friends hadn't left a cash gift.

Sure, this is a one-off example of crassness taken to the extreme, but I have been made aware of other couples who have literally relied on cash gifts from their guests to help them cover wedding costs or honeymoon bills that have already been booked and paid for on credit in advance – that's kinda scary!

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When we got married, we sent a note out in our invitations saying something on the lines of 'we don't expect any gifts, we really do just want you to be there and celebrate with us, however, we appreciate some guests may appreciate guidance on gift buying and all we'd say is we'd appreciate anything you may wish to make or bring along on the day'.  It didn't rhyme.  I remember that much, and the note was left at the very end of the information sheet we sent out with our invites – in small font, as if to suggest we felt this information much less significant than the other information being shared about how our guests could safely travel to our venue, and where they could get a reasonable evenings B&B etc. 

It felt awkward sending that note out, no matter how tiny – I really didn't want our guests to feel they were obliged to get us anything.

I guess that reading through the little poem that my Mum shared with me this weekend raised a few questions for me and I wanted to put these questions to you my readers to see how you feel;

Heart Are you having/did you have a wedding gift list?

Heart Did you just ask for money – if so why? {were you wanting to fund a honeymoon or home improvement or was it just that you would have appreciated the money?}

Heart Is asking for money/cash as a wedding gift perfectly acceptable and if not, why not?

Heart Is there actually a polite way of asking for cash?

Heart  And if you do give money as a wedding gift, how much do you give?

Heart  Are there any gift list registries you would recommend?

As it happens, most of our guests ended up giving us money as gifts, others made things {we know several talented artists, two of whom created beautiful art for us}, and others provided delightful home decor items. We were grateful for everything of course, but it wouldn't have mattered to us if we'd have received nothing.  I'm not fibbing even the tiniest bit when I say, all that mattered to us was that our guests were able to join us on the day and celebrate in our joy.

Before signing out, I thought I'd share a few online resources for couples considering the money as wedding presents thing;

Asking for money as a wedding gift, via Moneysaving Expert

How to ask for money as a wedding gift, via You & Your Wedding

Asking for cash instead of wedding gifts, via The Fizz

Let's get some comments rolling in peeps! I look forward to hearing from you, I'd love to hear from both sides of the fence on this one – and am happy to be challenged on any opionion or feelings I've shared in this feature – I value the opinion of every person who reads this blog.

You can add your much valued and appreciated opinion to many more discussion posts here on Love My Dress.

Much love,




Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.