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Gifts vs. Cash -- Wedding Etiquette Q&A

Sep 3, 2007
Q: My daughter is getting married in October 2008. Her and her fiance have everything they need for their home. Is it okay to ask for money instead of a gift? If it is okay, how do we word this?
stumped in texas
Answers below:
JW stated: :My advice for money hungry: "No, it is not okay to ask for money instead of a gift. It shows poor manners. The wedding should be a celebration of love, not an expectation of gifts or monetary compensation. A guest's presence at your special event should be enough, and if they bring a gift, even money, that's great. But one should not expect it either."

From W: I have a response to the wedding question: I do believe we have progressed in "correctness". However, I still live by some older, respectful manners. It is not tacky to ask for money and it is more prevalent now than ever. I have seen the decorated money chests at weddings that guests drop an envelope in. The best way to make this wish of your guests is via word of mouth. Never, in my opinion in writing (on the invite) Let family and close friends know that the couple is not registered and that money would be appreciated. Although not expected.

They will have to forgive those old fashioned minded who feel ill at ease by not bringing a gift. So they will get some hoaky gifts that can't be returned for cash but our society has not fully grasped the cash value yet! Not to be too long winded, but for example when my husband and I got married we eloped. But we had a wedding shower. I did not need gifts but I had a good friend dying from cancer. I did put on the invite "no gifts please...if you wish to make a donation for Cynthia. Please make payable to ... I had one couple bring us a gift. A set of silver goblets with our names and date inscribed. I cherish those as they are a fond memory of our beautiful shower and our marriage.

JW sent this information from an article: There are formal and informal rules governing gifts of money to help newlyweds buy a house. First, the informal rules: Is it OK to ask one's wedding guests for money?

"It's not rude to request money as a wedding gift," says Peggy Post, author of Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette. "However, it's extremely important to ask politely."

Peggy Post is Emily's great-granddaughter-in-law, the wedding etiquette expert for WeddingChannel.com and the main spokesman for the Emily Post Institute. She says one of the most common challenges that couples face is how to request money as a wedding gift. Doing so is acceptable, if done politely.

If you seek down-payment money, get the word out through family and friends, Post recommends. Just don't include that info in the same envelope as a wedding invitation.

"If you are asked point-blank what you would like for a gift, you might say, 'Whatever you choose will be
wonderful, I'm sure, but money for a house down payment is on the top of our wish list,'" Post says.

"You should always accept any gift graciously, and remember that the choice of what to give really belongs to the gift giver," Post says.

Putting all this information together, I say that you could let people know that you are saving for a down payment on a house (or whatever) in the same way you let them know where you are registered for gifts. But then, never mention money again, except to close family and friends.
About the Author
Carolyn Bushong, a Denver,CO licensed therapist, helps
couples and singles in her office, on-line, by phone.
Author of: Loving Him Without Losing You, Bring Back
the Man You Fell in Love With, The 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes. Has appeared on Oprah. http://www.carolynsays.com 303-333-1888
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