December 9, 2012. Written by Agnes Los
It’s a question asked by many brides every single year – how do I ask for cash instead of gifts without offending the guests? No need to worry! We have some stellar advice on how to tackle this etiquette problem, plus wedding money poems!
Image courtesy of Theme-Works Weddings
The first thing you have to remember is that your guests actually WANT TO (some even feel obliged to) give you a wedding present. After all, it’s a milestone in the couple’s life, and it’s an honour to be invited to celebrate with them – and the guests want to mark the occasion too!
Brides often worry whether to include the gift information on the invitations or not. The answer is – if you include it, your guests will be grateful to know of what it is you want/need to have the most. After all, nobody wants to give an unwanted or inappropriate gift!
If you do not put any gift information on the invitations, you will still receive gifts – simply because many guests will feel this is a special occasion to be celebrated and gifts are in order. Brides on the Confetti forum have reported receiving cash, cheques, and gifts even when they didn’t ask for anything! Be prepared for this eventuality, and designate a box for cards and an area at the reception venue to store the gifts anyway, especially if those congratulatory envelopes contain cash – they could be stolen!
Above, wedding receiving boxes at the Confetti Shop
Fact – if you want to ask for cash, a large majority of your guests would like to be told what you intend to spend it on – not to be nosey, but simply because it pleases them to know what contribution they are making to your future life together. That’s why it’s best to include a possible destination for the cash – i.e. honeymoon, things for your new house, new car, savings for new baby, house renovation fund, etc. – on the invitation; the guests will be happy to give towards something that will make your married life even better.
So if you are asking, think about the designated use for the cash, and include this in your invitations, even in general terms, like “house renovations” – you don’t have to say “we need a new bathtub”. Think of the opposite scenario – if you were a guest, would you be entirely happy to give cash for some unknown reason, or knowing it will go towards the couples’ debts, or even to wedding bills?
Image courtesy of Bespoke Imagery
In many countries, the accepted way of asking for cash is to write “no boxed gifts” on the invitations. It means exactly that – no gifts that come in boxes. Funnily enough, the UK guests may not be familiar with this phrase, and we’ve heard comments such as “what, do I take the toaster out of the box then?” If you use this phrasing option, be prepared to answer questions about what it means, and maybe even to receive some gifts without boxes!
If you have set up a website for your wedding, one way of asking indirectly is to include a link to your website in the invitations. Your website will have a “gift” button or a link, and when the guests click on it, they will be taken to the page with information about your gift preferences. This works really well because only the guests who are actually interested in giving you a gift will click on that button or link, instead of being TOLD right on the invitation. The drawback to this is that the guests who don’t use internet (your Granny?) won’t be able to see it, but if you have contact details on your invitations they will be able to call the designated person (usually the Mother of the Bride) and ask about the gifts.
For every couple who likes the idea of using a poem to ask for cash (see below), there is another couple who feel this is much too much. In this case, it’s best to keep the request polite and short, and to thank the guests in advance. For example:
Your presence at the wedding is all that the couple wish for! However, if you want to give a gift, the couple will be grateful for a small cash donation towards their new future/house renovations/honeymoon/etc….
While your attendance alone is what we request, if you wish to buy us a gift then we have a small gift list at …, however monetary contributions towards planning our future together would also be greatly appreciated.
Another option, one that would require cooperation of a helpful Mother of the Bride, or Mother of the Groom, or even Chief Bridesmaid, is to say simply “for gift information, please call/email Maggie/Mrs Wilson/Mrs Palmers at ……”, and have this person answer any gift questions on your behalf. If you find it embarrassing to ask for gifts or to discuss them with the guests, then delegating this task to someone else may just be your perfect option.
Above, wedding receiving boxes at the Confetti Shop
The UK brides’ favourite way of asking for cash is with a poem. Many creative couples write these themselves, or use the internet to find the perfect one to fit – there are dozens available! The poems work really well – they are usually short, sweet, with a touch of humour, and they make the asking far less awkward. Below are some of our favourite poems, grouped by theme.
General cash requests
If you were thinking of giving a gift to help us on our way,
A gift of money in a card would really make our day!
We made a commitment, some time ago,
Together through life, we were destined to go.
To save you looking, shopping and buying,
Here is an idea, we hope you’ll like trying!
Come to our wedding, to wish us both well,
And please make a donation to our wishing well.
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Our life together has already begun
And we almost have everything under the sun
So we both thought we would make a suggestion
To save you from all the searching and guessing
Instead of spending lots and lots
Just put some money with your card
And place it into our Moneybox
Large amounts are not anticipated
Any amount would be appreciated
Now that we have saved you all the fuss
We can’t wait for you to celebrate with us!
Now we are to be Mr & Mrs
We don’t need a wedding list of dishes
We have two kettles, two toasters, two microwaves
And we have dreams for which we have to save.
If you would like to give us a gift
A cheque or vouchers would give us a lift
We like to think of it as our ‘Wishing Well’
Which will be filled with your love, we can tell!
We’ve lived together for quite a while,
With all our pots and pans,
And as we don’t need homely gifts,
We have another plan!
We know it’s not traditional,
But it’s easier that’s for sure,
To have no wedding list at all,
Your attendance means much more!
For those of you who do insist,
We have a savings pot,
A small gift to add to this,
Would really mean a lot!
We’ve been together for a few years now;
We have pots and pans and linen and towels;
We have glasses and toasters, really quite a few;
So instead of more gifts, we suggest this to you;
If it doesn’t offend and it won’t send you running;
What we would really appreciate is quite simply money;
We know choosing gifts can be such a pain;
And this way there is no chance of bringing the same!
We don’t want to offend but we have it all,
All household goods and so much more.
To save you shopping, sit back and rest,
A gift of currency is our request.
Don’t go overboard or rob any banks,
Any little thing will make us smile with thanks.
We supply the wishing well,
No wrapping, an envelope who can tell.
Now that we have saved you all the fuss,
We’d love it if you would come and celebrate with us!
We havent got a gift list for all of you to see,
because as you all know we never can agree!
But if you’d like to help us start our married life,
cash or high street vouchers, would save a lot of strife!
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 our 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.
So what do you get
For the bride and groom
Whose house needs things
In every room?
When shopping for a present
Please don’t be rash
As there is always the option
To just give cash!
We hope you don’t find
Our request to be funny
But we really would appreciate
A gift of money
You’ll find more honeymoon poems here.
We know it’s traditional to write a list
But in this case there is a slight twist
Our home is complete with the usual stuff
And the things that we have are good enough
Our dream is to honeymoon in a foreign land
And walk along the beach hand in hand
We hope you don’t think of us as being rude
And that our request is not misconstrued
But a contribution to our honeymoon pot
Would be appreciated such a lot
But the most important thing to say
Is that you are there to celebrate our day!
We are sending out this invitation
In hope you will join a celebration
But if a gift is your intention
May we take this opportunity to mention
We have already got a kettle and toaster
crockery, dinner mats and matching coasters
So rather than something we’ve already got
We would appreciate money for our honeymoon pot
But most importantly we request
That you come to our wedding as our guest.
You’re invited to our wedding, when we both say ‘I Do’
And as you know we’ve been ‘I do’-ing for at least a year or two!
We’ve been together many years, and have a lovely home,
There’s not that many items we don’t already own.
So if your thoughts were on a gift, your presence will suffice;
But if you really feel the need, donations to a honeymoon would be really nice!
The choice is really up to you and we’d just like to say;
That most of all, we hope you come, enjoy yourselves, and have a lovely day!
We do not have a gifting list
Our house is set with nothing missed
We’d like to go on honeymoon
A place for us as bride and groom
We’re asking for a cash donation
To send us to our dream location
In short – no matter how the couple feel about ASKING for gifts, the reality is that gift giving is very much a part of every wedding, and the guests are grateful to receive instructions on what the couple wish for the most at the start of their joint journey through life.
Get more great advice in our Wedding Planning pages!
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