'Don't be afraid to ask for wedding cash instead of gifts' blog discussion

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.




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  • minerva_windsongminerva_windsong Forumite
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    Personally I think it's up to the couple what they ask for, but I would feel really uncomfortable asking guests to pay for my wedding. I've always been of the 'if you can't afford it then don't buy it' school of thought and would hate for my guests to think they had to 'pay their own way', or even not come because they felt they couldn't afford to do that. Similarly, I would rather get (and give) vouchers than cash, because I'd feel like it was too easy to fritter away cash whereas vouchers, particularly if they're to go towards a big purchase, feel much more concrete.

    However, hypocritical as this might sound, I could definitely get on board with the honeymoon fund idea - I've seen a few people on the Weddings board who've had honeymoon wish lists and then people have bought them specific events like a candlelit dinner, scuba diving etc, which is how I'd prefer to do it. I think because the honeymoon is not an essential part of the wedding and because it's just for the couple it feels more like an actual gift than paying for the wedding itself.
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  • MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
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    Personally I think it's up to the couple what they ask for, but I would feel really uncomfortable asking guests to pay for my wedding. I've always been of the 'if you can't afford it then don't buy it' school of thought and would hate for my guests to think they had to 'pay their own way', or even not come because they felt they couldn't afford to do that. Similarly, I would rather get (and give) vouchers than cash, because I'd feel like it was too easy to fritter away cash whereas vouchers, particularly if they're to go towards a big purchase, feel much more concrete.

    However, hypocritical as this might sound, I could definitely get on board with the honeymoon fund idea - I've seen a few people on the Weddings board who've had honeymoon wish lists and then people have bought them specific events like a candlelit dinner, scuba diving etc, which is how I'd prefer to do it. I think because the honeymoon is not an essential part of the wedding and because it's just for the couple it feels more like an actual gift than paying for the wedding itself.


    Im not anti-vouchers conceptually - as I put in the blog they're not a bad way to do it. Yet there is a major safety concern over substantial cash - and we have seen wedding gifts and voucher companies go bust leaving everyone at a loss. So care is needed.
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
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  • ErrataErrata Forumite
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    With our current life patterns, asking for cash is fine

    No it isn't, it's extremely rude.
    .................:)....I'm smiling because I have no idea what's going on ...:)
  • We got married just 9 days ago and we included the following in our invites:

    "As you all know we have lived together for many many years now and so have all the possessions (kitchenware, bedding etc) that we can make good use of. Therefore, we are not intending to produce a gift list. The one thing which we are working to save towards is a memorable honeymoon, so if you did wish to make a small contribution to that fund then we would be very appreciative.

    Ultimately, just attending our wedding is an expense for everyone who is travelling from far and wide and so we really do only wish for you to join with us and share our special day."

    We were blown away by the generosity of family and friends/work colleagues. We did still get some lovely photo albums/picture frames, but I think having mentioned the honeymoon fund meant people were more happy to give towards this. We hadn't decided where to go and so couldn't have an itemised list, but I could see how that might be nice for an attendee to select from, somewhat like a traditional gift list?
  • I agree with Errata, it's rude. Wedding gifts shouldn't be expected, they are a nice surprise - like a birthday present. While Wedding lists are pretty much redundant these days, as couple live together prior to getting married and probably have the furniture, kitchen equipment etc they already need, I still think specifying you want cash is still not right. Unfortunately, we live in a pretty mercinary society and I actually listened to a recently-married friend complain that one guest had only given her £20 as a wedding present. We don't know each other's financial positions, that may have been all this person could afford - but asking for cash can lead to your guests feeling unsure how much to give in case they're viewed as 'tight' or feeling pressurised into 'keeping up with the jones' (I know feel I have to give each of my friends in the same set the same amount because I know they all discuss what they get. This could lead to some people getting into financial difficulty because they've been asked to a wedding. At least with a present you have no idea what it costs unless you asked for it, or you go round checking!

    As for paying towards the bride and bride groom's day, I find this awkward too. Originally the point of inviting friends to a wedding was so they could witness you making a commitment to each other, not paying fortheir own meal. I find this part even harder to swallow after being a bridesmaid several times recently (you try saying no I can't be your bridesmaid!) and attending a number of weddings (I'm nearly 30 - so all of my friends are getting hitched!) I totalled my 'duty' as costing me around £1,000 for the last time. You may get your dress and hair paid for, but your expected to pay for your own shoes (which must be the same as the other bridesmaids and approved by the bride first and likely a colour you'll never wear again) as well as having your make-up done. Then there's the cost of the hen do, both abroad (as has become sooo popular these days - four days in a known party isaldn in the balerics) and the smaller local one (you're expected at both after all) the cost of buying L plates, veils and willy-gifts to dress-up and bestow on the bride, as well as fancy dress for your own themed night, personalised t-shirts for the airport, etc etc etc. Inevitably the wedding isn't going to be at a venue close to your home, so you'll be expected to stay the night (after all you can't drive yourself there). Doubley worse, when you're a single gal but the hotel only had double rooms available. On top of all that I had to listen to the bride banging on about how single people (inc me - not that I asked, I had more sense not too) could not have plus ones as she was not 'paying for their meal'.

    Sadly, its rarely possible to do what my parents did for their reception (church hall, mother of the bride did the buffet, mates and family ran the bar and best man drove the pair to the airport) with venues charging you corkgage if you supply your own wine, stating you can only use their caterer and charging you to hire tables and chairs) but asking your guests to pay their way is a bit off.
  • At the end of the day there has been a shift in society from many years ago.

    Years ago most people didn't live together before getting married so the gifts from a wedding often helped to set up the marital home.

    These days more and more couples have been living together before they get married therefore often already have many of the traditional gifts that would have been given from weddings years ago such as towels, crockery set etc.

    So personally I don't have any issue with people asking for money for a wedding present that they can maybe combine to buy a larger present.

    Ultimately I suppose it is a traditionalist view versus a more modern way of thinking.
  • GraciePGracieP Forumite
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    Tbvh, I think asking for gifts is incredibly rude as you should never make the assumption of getting a gift. Just like we teach our children to never ask relatives for their birthday/christmas presents but to wait until they are given them. It's a gift, not a payment, it's up to the giver to choose what and if to give. The only time you should ever mention gifts in your invite or unbidden is if you don't want any and wish to suggest a nominated charity instead.

    On the otherhand if someone asks you what you would like, then it is ok to tell them. Whether it is cash, honeymiles or whatever you are hoping for. Because in that instance they are telling you they are planning on giving you something.

    If I ever got an invitation from someone so rude as to directly ask for a gift in their invitation I'd turn the invitation down and drop them in my estimation. Significantly. I do however generally give cash as a gift, whether I can attend the wedding or not, as I'm not paying for my dinner, I'm giving people I care about a gift that will best start their married life.
  • edinburgheredinburgher Forumite
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    Completely agree with Errata - asking for money from most people is damn rude.

    It may be acceptable in the circumstance where a couple have lived together for a while, have everything they need to run their house and don't really need 'stuff', but only for parents/grandparents etc. who know this and want to give as helpful a gift as possible.

    Expecting cash payments from friends/peers/work colleagues is such a poor idea it makes me blush :o

    One of my siblings is going to a wedding where the groom has asked for cash gifts and there has been quite a lot of complaining coming from guests.
  • But Gadget_Girl no one is saying everyone expects a gift and you could argue wedding gift lists are ruder because I know when I've looked at them I've often thought 'how much?'

    At the end of the day what is the difference between spending say £20 on a cup and saucer set that may well find itself shoved to the back of the cupboard and giving someone a nice crisp £20 note that they can spend on whatever they feel necessary?
  • annie-cannie-c Forumite
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    This topic has been discussed on the forums many times and always gets polarised responses.

    I agree that it is exceptionally rude to ask for any sort of gift, ever. The clue is in the name - they are called 'wedding gifts', not 'wedding rights'.

    Personally, I think it is OK to prepare a gift list, or have those involved (bridesmaids, parents etc) ready to offer suggestions that cash might be appreciated, if asked, but I don't think it is ever OK for the couple to make the first move and solicit particular gifts.
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