While traditional wedding etiquette says it’s a no-no, here’s why it is now acceptable to ask for money instead of having a gift list, and the many ways you could do it. As Confetti’s wedding expert I have answered thousands of your letters over the years, and now I’m sharing my advice to help others with the same dilemmas.
Q. Is it acceptable to ask for money instead of having a gift list?
I am writing to enquire about wedding gift lists. I wondered if you thought it would be acceptable to ask guests to make bank transfers to an individual bank account? It would mean we could afford a honeymoon and that’s what we would like more than a new toaster and table linens. Both our parents are a bit more traditional and seem to think it’s not very customary to ask guests for money. Do you think we should forego the idea, or stick to it, and if we do go for it, what’s the best way to go about it ?
A: These days yes it is, and here’s how you could do it:
While traditional etiquette dictates that a couple should not have a gift list at all, the modern view is that it is your wedding and therefore your choice, and there are ways of making sure your guests know of your wishes without offending anyone.
Most guests will be expecting to get you something and would certainly rather give you what you want than a token gift. Whether you would like contributions towards your home or honeymoon, you could put a little note into each invitation, explaining your position and most guests will be only too pleased to contribute.
You could open a new wedding bank account for guests to pay directly into and put a wishing well or post box out at your wedding reception for guests to put their cards and cash/cheques into. Ask the best man or ushers to look after the box if it is in a public place, just in case.
There will always be some guests, particularly family and close friends. who would rather give you a keepsake gift, and so for those guests it is worth adding to the note, something along the lines of:
‘What’s most important is that you are there to share our day with us. We don’t expect gifts at all, and so do not have a formal gift list. We are saving for a honeymoon, so if you would like to give something, we’d appreciate any small financial contributions.’
Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.