How to Ask for Money Instead of Gifts for Your Wedding

Here's your sign to register for what you really want: cash.
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Jul 14, 2021

We'll let you in on a secret: When it comes to wedding gifts, you can register for just about anything you want. Today, wedding registries have evolved to be more inclusive and personalized than ever, which means you and your S.O. can ask for anything from patio furniture to a margarita machine to Airbnb gift cards or even money for your next date night. In the past, asking for money instead of gifts for your wedding was seen as taboo, but that couldn't be farther from the case now. In fact, cash funds and honeymoon donations are some of the most popular registry additions. Your guests want to purchase things that'll get plenty of use over the years, and there's no denying that cash would make for a perfect gift to kickstart newlywed life.

So, if you're wondering if you can use your wedding registry for money, the short answer is yes. But how do you ask for money politely? Don't stress. Below, we break down everything you need to know about how to ask for cash as a wedding gift. You'll find practical tips from finance experts, along with six easy ways to politely ask for money for your big day.

In this article:

Is Asking for Money as a Wedding Gift Rude?

Nobody wants to come across as rude when asking for wedding gifts. While making a registry for presents might feel awkward at first, it's actually a huge help for close friends and family members as they start to shop for your big day. And, luckily, asking for cash gifts has become the norm in recent years, meaning it's not rude at all to include cash or honeymoon funds on your registry. "With each passing generation, money, in general, is becoming less taboo and more of the norm than the exception," says Carmen Perez, personal finance expert and contributor for Varo Bank.

Plus, using a cash registry website (like The Knot Cash Funds) is a great way to prepare for life after the big day. "Cash funds are a great vehicle for saving up for big wants like a home purchase or renovation, vacations and starting a family or funding your favorite charity," says personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi. "There's no better way to start your marriage than with a clean financial slate."

In fact, monetary gifts have long been considered proper and acceptable in different regions of the country, as well as among couples of different cultures. Guests invited to a Korean wedding often present envelopes containing cash or checks to the parents of the couple, who in turn present the money to the newlyweds. Guests at a Chinese wedding often hand the bride monetary presents in red envelopes to symbolize good luck. There's an Italian custom called The Grand March, where the wedding reception ends with a receiving line in which the couple gives each guest a sweet in exchange for an envelope of money. And during the traditional Polish Dollar Dance, guests dance with the bride and pin money to the veil or dress.

As you add gifts to your registry, you might realize that you'd rather have a lump sum to put toward your first home. Or, if you already live together and have a fully stocked house, you might benefit more from a rainy day fund instead of traditional gifts. No matter the case, cash is a great wedding gift and can be used in so many facets of your newlywed life.

How to Ask for Money Instead of Wedding Gifts

So, how do you ask for money instead of traditional wedding gifts? We've got you covered. Below, we've outlined six easy ways to use your wedding registry for money. These ideas are gracious and polite, and they'll ensure that guests know money is at the top of your wedding wish list.

Register for Cash Funds

The best—and most polite way—to ask for money for your wedding is to set up a designated cash fund on your gift registry. "Cash registries provide couples with purchasing power and money they can pool and apply towards the bigger goals and experiences they truly want, like buying a home or funding their honeymoon," says Torabi.

Start by creating your wedding registry on The Knot. We simplify the registry experience by allowing you to register for any item you want (including cash!) on one list. Not only is this the most convenient way for guests to shop, having one list is also easier for you and your S.O. to manage in the weeks leading up to the big day.

Even if wedding money is a top priority, we recommend also registering for some physical gifts too. This will give guests plenty of gifting options, especially those who may want to buy you a traditional present. "Having multiple gift ideas puts less pressure on guests," explains Perez. "Providing them with additional options is a great way to be as considerate and accommodating as possible."

But, even with physical items on your wish list, guests will still feel inclined to give cash wedding gifts if you have multiple funds set up with descriptions, which we explain below.

Use Your Wedding Website to Share How You'll Use the Money

Your wedding website is a powerful tool for guests. Creating a custom site is an essential part of the wedding planning process because it'll include all of the important day-of details guests need to know, giving them an easy point of reference to answer their common questions. In addition to sharing things like the wedding day transportation logistics and dress code details, you can also use your website to expand upon your cash gift requests.

Use your site to explain why you've registered for cash and how you'll use the funds. "Attaching a cash gift request to an actual goal helps gift-givers feel like their money will carry more meaning," Torabi explains. "At the end of the day, guests want to feel like they're supporting you, and knowing their $100 contribution will, say, support your new home, is a nice touch."

Avoid Putting Gift Requests on Formal Invites

This is one traditional wedding etiquette rule that's essential to follow today. While your registry information can go on your wedding website and bridal shower invites, it should never go on formal wedding invitations. Since wedding gifts technically aren't required from guests, putting your gift information directly on your wedding invites can come across as rude. Instead, place an insert in the card with your wedding website address. This will indirectly guide them to your registry, which will help them see that you've registered for cash gifts.

Register for Gift Cards

Looking for cute ways to ask for money as a wedding gift? Consider adding gift cards to your registry. This discreet way of asking for money will help you and your S.O. stock up on funds for your favorite restaurants, stores, and online brands. We've partnered with plenty of great companies to help you get gifts you'll really use, so don't overlook the convenience of adding a few gift cards to your wish list.

Ask Your Parents and Wedding Party to Spread the Word

If guests aren't sure what to buy as a wedding gift, there's a good chance they'll ask your close family members or wedding party for help. After you set up your registry, tell your parents, siblings and close friends if cash funds or honeymoon contributions are important to you. Then, in case they're approached by wedding guests for gift inspiration, they'll be able to spread the word and help you get what you really want for your wedding.

Place a Box for Cards at the Reception

While some guests will use your wedding registry to shop for gifts, others might prefer to bring a check on the big day. To accommodate cash donations in person, set up a box for cards at the reception. This cash gift idea, often called a wishing well, is a great way to keep track of all the monetary donations received on your wedding day. Plus, having one spot to compile cards and cash gifts will make writing thank-you notes much easier.

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