Gimme Money! Lots More Money!

by admin on January 23, 2013

This isn’t really a story, it’s more of a question. I am now engaged to my BF of 6 years. We have a home together and now we feel ready to take the next step.  I desperately want to avoid the situation my friend had, where the gifts were all she cared about (another story for another time), but at the same time, I know that most of my friends and family are so excited about this wedding (first in my generation) and will most likely want to give gifts.

How would the readers of EHell put it out there that we don’t expect gifts, but if people want to give them then money would be best in our situation? I know I sound really tacky and trashy, but we really do have everything for the home we need and have a LOT of antiques passed through the family to myself (the oldest and only girl). What would you guys do in this situation?  0120-13


1.  Do not register for gifts anywhere.  That includes any crass money registries.

2. When friends and family start asking what you would like for a wedding gift, you are free to tell them you prefer money.   Pass the word among your parents and siblings so they can discreetly pass it as well to anyone who asks.

3.  There will still be people who will want to give you a tangible wedding gift and you may be pleasantly surprised at how creative and welcome many of them are.

4.  And yes, you will definitely appear trashy and tacky if you do anything to manipulate your guests’ gift giving to achieve your desired results of more income.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Girlie January 23, 2013 at 10:58 am

I think the best way to go is to just not register anywhere and then tell people like your parents, etc to tell people who keep asking what present to get to just give money if they really want to give something, but that the couple isn’t expecting gifts. I feel like not registering anywhere is the best way to get the message across.


Tara January 23, 2013 at 10:59 am

We got married abroad and preferred cash since it was easier to transport home. Where my husband lives (and where we got married) it is incredibly unusual for people to give cash. In fact it’s heavily frowned upon. In our circumstance my inlaws were kind enough when people inquired to say “you know they really want crystal glassware but it’s too delicate to purchase abroad and transport so if you would like to give them money toward that, I know they would greatly appreciate it”. This way people understood exactly what they were giving us and we didn’t have to figure out how to get it home. What ended up happening was that we had enough cash to purchase crystal many times over so we were able to purchase that plus other items on our registry that we needed as well.

That said, perhaps you could communicate via your parents and siblings, something that you are saving for and that you would probably appreciate money toward that – could be something to do with the new house or a particular large ticket item you don’t have – new bed, furniture of some sort, etc. People who might not like to send money may be more inclined to do so if they feel there’s something specific they’re contributing to your married life.


Lola January 23, 2013 at 11:02 am

If you truly do not care about the gifts, then make it clear that your invited guests’ presence at your special day is the best gift there is. And mean it.

Admin is correct — when people select the gifts based on their knowledge of you and what you might enjoy, the results can be much more thrilling than if they simply get stuff off your registry. From my own experience, it was lovely — for I would have never registered for a picnic basket full of goodies, for instance, or a set of hand-painted martini glasses that didn’t come from a big-box store (lord only knows where they found it, but I’m glad they did.) There was some cash and gift cards, too, but they were unexpected and thus all the more appreciated.


Alexis January 23, 2013 at 11:40 am

Not registering (or not advertising a registry) will go a long way. I had an intimate wedding of 25 guests, and we made a small Amazon registry at my mother’s insistence and told our moms where it was. So my mom told her side of the family when they called. I got s couple gifts from the reg, a great towel set from my grandma, and mostly cash and we were happy as clams. That’s the non-tacky way to get cash.

Whatever you do, don’t write a poem on the invite about wanting cash lol. Those stories make me shudder


spyderqueen January 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Yeah, when my sister got married they created registries at a few places (Macy’s and Amazon) at the insistance of his family (he is the only grandson in the whole clan). But unless you specifically asked (or randomly thought “Hey, let me put their names into this Macy’s list”), you wouldn’t know about it. My sister is *horrified* when she sees invites with registry links included.

They also would happily tell people “we just want to see you at the party!” Which was true. (It wasn’t a reception. They didn’t have a “wedding”, they had a quick marriage ceremony with only like 7 people, and then a month later they threw the party to celebrate, which, BTW, my sister says reduced the hell out of her stress levels. Never mentioned gifts, never called it a wedding or a reception.


Mae January 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I agree with the Admin but be prepared that you will receive non-money gifts. For my wedding, that was especially true for the older generations of our families. Some people will be glad to give cash because they know you need/want it and no worrying about if you like it. As long as it is passed discreetly by word-of-mouth, as Admin stated,it should be fine.

I do have a question regarding money presents and thank you notes- What would be a good way to word a thank you note when the gift is money? Is it appropriate to mention the amount? When my oldest graduated 2 years ago and someone sent him a presentm he promptly wrote a thank you saying ” Dear Uncle X and Aunt Y, Thank you so much for your generous gift of $50 for my graduation. I very much appreciate it and plan to deposit it into my savings account to use towards the purchase of a car. I am looking forward to seeing you on graduation day”. Was that an acceptable TY note from a 17 year old?


LovleAnjel January 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm

That sounds like a pretty good thank you note to me. I just would not mention the amount of money or giftcard value.


LadyLelan January 26, 2013 at 8:47 am

@ Mae: To me, the TY note your son wrote to his aunt and uncle is very nice. I might not have specified the sum he was gifted, but this is really, really minor compared to the graciousness of the note he wrote. It was polite, it showed his gratefulness and maturity. A very fine lad indeed.

I wish more people had this good behavior (even older people, that is). 🙂


gellchom January 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Yes, it was fine.
I like thanking people “for helping us get off to a good start” or “for helping me to save for college” and so forth rather than “for the check/money/generous gift.”


Lo January 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm

If you truly have everything you need why not simply spread the word that you do not expect gifts and make no mention of money at all?

This is a win/win. Either people will not give you anything or they will probably gift you with cash. So you can have what you want or at least end up knowing the satisfaction of hosting a wedding that wasn’t a gift grab.

I found out the hard way that in my own family, not registering is basically saying “I want cash.” I had to register so we wouldn’t look like I was asking for money. I actually had people tell me that no one would know what to get me if I didn’t ask for it specifically. As if you can ever have too many towels, salad bowls, or sheet sets…

Still, we got cash from lots of people. Which I was grateful for, but wouldn’t ever have dared requested.

You *can* pass the word around that you would prefer money but I’ve yet to see anyone look good doing this, even if it comes from family. I would go the “no gift” route. Not on the invitation, obviously.


manybellsdown January 23, 2013 at 6:31 pm

My stepmother told me I was a “bad hostess” if I didn’t register. Even though I didn’t want any gifts. And even though she and my father were hosting the reception.


June First January 23, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Admin knows best. As a newlywed, I’d recommend also:

1. Don’t be pressured into a “gift opening” the morning after the wedding. One guest actually thanked us for scheduling our honeymoon flight early the next day. He was excited he didn’t have to go to a gift opening.
2. Send thank you notes, even if you receive things you don’t “need”. If you want cash, then maybe you can think of something you’re saving for. Mention it in the thank you note.
3. We had people give us creative (and unexpected) gifts: framed scrapbook-designs of our last name, framed wedding invites, photos from a friend’s honeymoon of letters that spelled “L-O-V-E”. The unexpected ones are sometimes the best.


Library Diva January 23, 2013 at 4:00 pm

People actually hold “gift opening” gatherings after weddings and expect their guests to attend? Good lord, that’s the best incentive for scheduling a red-eye flight I’ve ever heard.


sv January 24, 2013 at 8:30 am

Library Diva – In my neck of the woods ( Nova Scotia, Canada) gift opening gatherings are very common. However, it is something that is attended by family and close friends ( generally just the wedding party) and is more of an opportunity to say goodbye, relax and enjoy the company of those you love after the wedding is over. It is hosted in one of the family homes. Usually a buffet meal is served and it is very laid back and low key. I have never attended one that included random wedding guest, just family and those you would choose as your family. It is actually one of my favourite parts of a wedding, as you have a chance to speak to everyone involved and simply enjoy the day.


Melly January 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Gift openings are standard in Newfoundland, too. Ours was at our house the next afternoon (the reception didn’t end until 3:00am). Just immediate family, the wedding party, beers and BBQ. It was really nice. Best present: a Troy ounce of gold from an eccentric uncle. It was so unusual that we passed it around. Most people hadn’t held an ounce of gold before.


sv January 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm

What an awesome gift!!!

June First January 24, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Library Diva,

I have only been asked to attend one gift opening, when my college boyfriend was an usher at his friend’s sister’s wedding. (Follow the relationships there?) I barely knew anyone there. Otherwise, I’ve been invited to late-night after-parties and brunches the next day. And sometimes it seems like the weekend simply will not end.

Truth be told, we did have a gift opening of sorts at the in-laws’ when we returned from our honeymoon. But they had stored the gifts while we were on our honeymoon, so it seemed natural to open them there.


Patti January 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I am getting married in March after living with my man for 20 years. After 20 years, we have more “stuff” than we will ever need. For those that have asked what we would like as a gift, I have suggested that they donate to one of four animal charities that I support.


BindarDundat January 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm

We hoped for cash at our wedding, so we didn’t have a registry, but most people interpreted that to mean we didn’t want gifts. We actually did want gifts, (but of course we were fine with it if we didn’t receive one).


Kate January 23, 2013 at 8:31 pm

That’s the approach my fiance and I are taking – not registering anywhere, not including one of those horrible poems about money in the invitation. I suppose if people actually ask us what we want, we’ll just say ‘if you’d like to give a gift we will love whatever you choose’.


AnnaMontana January 24, 2013 at 2:38 am

I am the poster of this question, and just wanted to clear a few things up. 1) I live in the UK, in a very, very rural area. Where I live, registries are not considered ‘polite’ and I wouldn’t dream of having a registry anyway. 2) I really don’t want gifts! Its more important to me that the party is fun, I’m married to my dream guy and that my friends/family have the best day. Memories are better than gifts! 3) A LOT of people have been ringing me, saying ‘what do you want for your engagement/wedding?’ I reply with ‘Nothing, we just want to know that you are going to come and have a great time.’ (Which is the truth) Thanks everyone, at least I know I’m (sort of) doing this right!
Secondary question:
What do you do when people send (admittedly gorgeous) engagment cards, with ‘Tell us when to buy a hat’ but they’re great-aunts or my grandmother’s stepsisters etc. (Whom I call Aunty whatever and Uncle whoever) They’re not in our original plans for our guest list! Help! Thanks


Carol January 24, 2013 at 5:45 am

I had a similar situation – I got married in May and we wanted to keep it small for various reasons. It’s never easy but I just tried to be honest but gentle, and would tell the people (or my mother would tell the people) that we were having a small wedding that was just immediate family and a few close friends, and as much as we wish we could share the moment with everyone, it just wasn’t feasible. We diddn’t have anyone give us a hard time.


Lo January 24, 2013 at 7:55 am

Clear the misunderstanding up as soon as possible. Write them back saying how much you appreciate the card and that you haven’t worked out the final details of the wedding yet. Hint that it’s a small affair.

Or better yet give them a call. Most people will understand that there’s no ill intent.

Make sure you’re not excluding anyone who ought to be invited, though. Take a hard look at your guest list before you make the call.


Bint January 24, 2013 at 8:01 am

I’m in the UK too (and from a very, very rural area!). I just think that waiting to be asked is the way forward. I did have a registry, although I only told people who asked. If anyone pushes after you’ve said you don’t need anything, say that it’s entirely up to them, or something like that. People will give you what they choose.

For the cards? Just ignore the angling for the invitation. You may get a lot of this. We got, “I can’t wait for YOUR wedding!” from some random cousin who definitely wasn’t invited, and I just smiled then ignored it.


Sally January 24, 2013 at 12:14 pm

It’s actually not very nice manners to assume you’re invited to a wedding unless you know for sure. It’s for you to decide whether these people are being a bit cheeky and presumptuous or just making an honest mistake. If it’s the former, I would just ignore them unless there’s a serious risk of misunderstanding/them turning up uninvited and you really want to nip it in the bud. If it’s the latter, I agree with the above – “we haven’t really made any plans yet, it will probably be very small” etc. You could even say that it might just be the two of you at the courthouse or an elopement if you need to make it very clear.


Kate January 24, 2013 at 5:56 pm

When people asked us what we wanted for the engagement (haven’t had any questions about the wedding yet), we said something similar – ‘no presents necessary, we just want to see you!’. Almost everybody still brought something, usually cash, so expect to be writing out thank-you notes even if you say ‘no presents’. I’m very glad I stocked up on thank-you cards just in case!

With the hints about attendance, just bean-dip if it’s asked of you in person and put something about not having worked out the details in a card, like Carol suggested. My mum’s got a huge family and not all of them can come, so I’ve been making it clear that it’s a small wedding due to the fact that my fiance and I are paying for it entirely by ourselves. There have been no hard feelings so far.


LJ Briar January 24, 2013 at 9:21 am

I just got married in October after living with my boyfriend-turned-fiance for almost three years. So we, of course, had everything we needed to set up house, and money was the best option for us as well. When my mother asked what she should tell people to get us as a wedding gift, I told her to say, “Money is the best option, but any gift at all, or just your presence on the day, will be very appreciated!” That seemed to work. And yes, we did get a lot of non-monetary gifts (and also some EXTREMELY generous guests who gave us both money and non-money, which was way above and beyond), and honestly? They were wonderful, and made us feel extra special and loved, which was an amazing bonus.

I would say, if my experience is any indication, be prepared for people getting ticked at you for not being registered somewhere. I do not understand this in the least, as I find essentially compiling a shopping list as a grown-up for your also grown-up guests is tacky and gross, but some people don’t seem to know what to do without a registry.


Bint January 25, 2013 at 10:53 am

“do not understand this in the least, as I find essentially compiling a shopping list as a grown-up for your also grown-up guests is tacky and gross”

Tacky I could get according to taste, but ‘gross’? Eh? How is a registry any different as a ‘shopping list’ to your making it known that you’d rather have money? Both cases are optional. Both let your guests know what you’d prefer. The only difference I can see is that your request was verbal and your ‘shopping list’ was shorter.


Rebecca January 24, 2013 at 10:39 am

Since many family members let us know that they would be uncomfortable if we didn’t, we registered. However, we didn’t put much on it or mention it unless somebody asked. We also knew that our parents would be approached a lot, so we asked them to let people know that we would prefer cash (or a Walmart gift card which we mostly used for groceries). This was if and only if they were directly asked. My mother can be a little tactless, so I had to remind her that under NO circumstances was she to bring up the topic herself.


Kimstu January 24, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Another gracious way to handle those people who want to give a wedding present but seem bewildered by the non-existence of a registry is to set one up on a “charity registry” site like or People can use the website to make a donation in your honor to one of the charitable organizations you’ve selected.

And yes, people who fish for wedding invitations should be politely deflected or ignored, just like bridal couples who fish for gifts.


Caros January 26, 2013 at 9:34 am

Isn’t it about time a new set of rules was created that adapts to the fairly common situation now where couples are already set up for a new home together? Judging everyone by the rules relating to 1950’s lifestyles where it was far less likely for couples to co-habit or women to be still living with their parents and in possession of a ‘bottom drawer’ is more & more unrealistic in the 21st century.

The attitude of damning the preference for non-physical gifts (whether vouchers or cash) effectively penalises those who have spent their own hard earned money on setting up a home prior to marriage as opposed to encouraging those who are happily spending the hard earned money of others in order to do the same thing.

Surely anyone giving a gift to a couple in this situation hopes that the gift they are giving is one the couple will actually like and want. How is giving vouchers that a couple can use towards a needed item, possibly at a later date, a dreadful idea compared to giving them something from a fake registry created in order to cash in gifts or giving an item that the couple neither likes nor needs which is then destined to be shut away in a cupboard to lay unused until disposed of in whatever manner at a later date?


Patti January 29, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Library Diva….the only next day gift openings I have been invited to are only for family and the bridal party. Normally the host has a simple brunch buffet. It is more of an informal, family type gathering.


Enna February 7, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Admin’s ideas are good.


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