Ask any bridal couple what they want most as a wedding gift, and you’ll get one answer: money. Is it rude? Actually, no. Asking for money is rude in this culture, but expecting to receive some as a wedding gift is not, according to the Emily Post guide to wedding etiquette. As a guest, how do you know that giving the gift of money is really in the couple’s best interest? Here are a few reasons why the gift of money is the gold-standard in wedding gifts.
1. They can’t return it. Rather, they can, but they most certainly won’t give it back to you. Giving money as a gift is a sure way to know that your gift will bring delight to the bridal couple.
2. It allows the couple to purchase big-ticket items they would otherwise not be able to afford. They can pay down debts, pay off school loans, buy a house, or go on a honeymoon with money you gave them. This is a very good feeling for a practically-minded gift giver.
3. It never goes out of style. You don’t have to worry about figuring out what the best gifts are, because you know your recipients will go ahead and do all that research for you. It takes the effort out of gift-giving, but not the heart.
4. It can help a young couple get off to the right start together, and possibly stay that way. Many newly-married couples are starting out with no credit and no savings. You can gift them money through CDs or bonds and know that they will have an emergency fund later on when they need one.
1. It is impersonal. Chances are, the bridal couple won’t look at a dollar bill twenty years down the road and think of the money you gave them on their wedding day. They may forget exactly where that money went, but giving them the means to have what they really desire is something that can give you pleasure for a long time. When you see how happy they are in a new home that you helped purchase, you will feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
If you feel like the couple will think that money is an impersonal gift, don’t worry. This isn’t like Christmas, where gift cards can seem, to some, like a thoughtless gift. Money is something the couple really needs and will be grateful to receive. Including a heartfelt letter along with the money will give them something tangible to treasure for years to come.
2. You have no control over how they spend it and you are worried they’ll spend it poorly. This is the only reason why money might not be a good option. If your intended recipients are very young or have a poor track record with money, it might be best to give them very practical household gifts or very sentimental ones. Once you gift someone money, you have no control over how they use it, and it can be very hard to see your loved ones spend their entire cushion of money in one week’s honeymoon, or on one splashy car, when you thought they could use it for years as a safety net. If you have specific ideas about how the money should be used, you might consider gifting them a CD or some bonds, but it is probably a good idea not to give money at all in this case. Money should never go to someone you love with strings attached. Let the couple make their own decisions and, yes, mistakes. It is part of life and marriage. If you don’t want to see them spend your hard-earned money in a way you don’t approve of, make sure they get a nice wedding ring quilt from you, instead.
3. Sometimes it is hard to pick the right amount. If someone outspends you for a cash gift, then it will make your gift appear less valuable. Plus if you give too little, it may seem unexciting to the recipients. Give too much and they may feel uncomfortable with your sizable donation. Your decision must be based on what you know about the couple’s financial condition and perhaps the value of the gifts on their registry.