Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cash Wedding Etiquette

Whether you've been invited to a wedding or are preparing your list of desired wedding gifts, it's important to learn the right way to give and receive cash as a gift at the wedding reception. Following a few rules of etiquette will take the awkwardness out of giving or getting cash.

Asking for Cash

    Instead of indicating that monetary gifts are preferred in the invitation, it is best for the couple's parents to inform guests of the bride and groom's desire to receive cash instead of gifts. This can be done by word of mouth or over the phone when guests ask about wedding details. If members of the wedding party are aware of the couple's preference for monetary gifts, it is appropriate for bridesmaids and groomsmen to spread this information to guests as well.

Preparing for Cash Gifts

    If a couple only wants cash as gifts, it is best to have a "wishing well" or decorated bird cage at the reception for guests to drop their gifts into. Making the gift space very small at the reception site will encourage guests to present the type of present that the bride and groom have asked for. If the couple don't mind receiving a few traditional gifts as well, it is appropriate to have a larger table set up at the reception. The well can be placed on the table to indicate that more than one type of gift is acceptable.

Organized Cash Gifts

    Some couples already know what they will be using their wedding gift cash for. When this is the case, it is acceptable for the bride and groom to request that guests deposit their monetary gifts into a specific fund. For instance, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has set up a wedding registry; the parents of the engaged couple can ask guests to send their gifts to this fund before the ceremony. A honeymoon account can also be created, so that the couple can cover their travel expenses without having to spend a large amount of their own money.

How to Give Cash

    It is best to give monetary gifts in the form of a check. This will lessen the chances that the money will be lost, and makes for better presentation. The check should be in a sealed envelope, or inside a card that is designed to have money placed in it. The money can be placed in the decorative wishing well or basket that the couple has designated for cash gifts, or the money can be given to the parents of the bride or groom during the reception. Since it is appropriate etiquette to present a gift to the couple up to a year after the wedding, it is also acceptable to mail the check to the bride and groom. However, it's best to bring a cash gift to the reception, as most guests forget to give a gift after this point.

How Much to Give

    There is no specific amount that guests should give to the bride and groom as a monetary gift. However, some individuals recommend giving at least $50 to the bride and groom. The amount of money that is given should depend on the guest's relationship to the couple; for instance, family members may want to give $200 or $300, while casual friends or coworkers may give $50 or $100. It is also helpful to consider the amount of money that would have been spent on a gift, and present this amount of cash (in check form) to the bride and groom.

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