So, you’re getting married. Congratulations, how fabulous for you.
By now you’re probably realising that planning a wedding isn’t the walk in the park you expected it to be.
There’s a lot to think about: venue, dress, car, the political ramifications of choosing a bridal party, and the cake.
As if that’s not enough, you do realise you also have to tell your guests what to give you.
Yes, apparently couples are required to provide their guests with a little guidance on the gift front.
So, what are your options?
Well, the trusty old gift registry is always an option.
Pick a bunch of stuff at your favourite store and then get your friends and family to buy it all – hardly an original idea.
More to the point, presuming you’re a working, functioning and independent member of society, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already visited the store and bought all this stuff yourself.
These days, many couples have already been living together for a while; they might even own a house together.
So the last thing they need is another toaster, kettle, cutlery set or tablecloth.
However, what people do need is cash.
Cash to put towards the cost of the wedding; a deposit on a house or a car; cash to start or finish renovations; cash to just spend on their honeymoon.
Far from being a tacky or uncreative gift, when it comes to wedding presents – cash is king.
Of course, a lot of people get their panties in a twist over the whole cash/gift dilemma.
Some people believe that while cash is a perfectly acceptable gift, it is simply unacceptable for a couple to specifically request it.
According to the flawlessly logical argument, it’s actually rude to straight out ask for money.
Surely in this day and age such an antiquated belief is irrelevant.
If you think about it, by asking for cash, a couple is really saving their guests a lot of time and money.
Instead of spending hours running around trying to find the world’s most perfectly hideous vase that will no doubt be ‘accidentally’ dropped the next time the couple moves house, guests simply write a nice card, chuck some money in the envelope and be done with it.
It’s quick, it’s painless and everyone is happy.
The next issue is the amount – how much cash should you actually give?
Too little and you might look tight, too much and you wind up looking like a “show-off”.
Clearly this depends on the couple, your relationship and how close you are.
The simplest solution is to figure out how much you would spend on a gift (i.e. the hideous vase) and then give the equivalent in cash.
If you’re still feeling weird about handing over some plain old cash as a gift, then why not get a little creative?
Put the cash in a great book, make a lovely card, put the money in a frame, or why not even try your hand at a little cash origami?
Trust me, a fifty-dollar note looks far more impressive once it has been subjected to some complex Japanese folding techniques.
If you’re planning to ask for cash as a gift, but are not sure how to do it, a little humour could help.
The key is not to take it too seriously and to always give your guests the option of buying you a gift if that would make them feel more comfortable.
Some couples choose to have a Wishing Well. While it is a bit of a hideous American tradition, the idea is actually very simple. A mini Wishing Well is set up at the reception venue and guests drop cash-stuffed envelopes into it.
I suppose you don’t have to have a Wishing Well ; you could have a box or a basket if you preferred – but the idea is the same. Include a little note with your invite such as this one I found while trawling the Internet:
“Because at first we lived in sin,
We’ve got the sheets and a rubbish bin.
A gift from you would be swell,
But we’d prefer a donation to our Wishing Well.”
There is simply no need to feel weird about asking for, or giving cash, as a wedding gift any more.
Be honest and ask for what you really want – people will be happy to oblige, it’s your wedding after all!