How to Ask for Money Instead of Gifts for Your Wedding

Yes, you can (politely) ask for cash.
Guest giving money as a wedding gift
Photo: We Are, peterspiro, Francesco Carta fotografo | Getty,Graphic: Natalie Romine for The Knot
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 Dec 07, 2023

ABBA said—er sang, it best "Aha all the things I could do, if I had a little money..." (You're still channeling Donna from Mamma Mia, aren't you?) Newlywed life can be so expensive. After all, it starts with a big celebration and a vacation. And when it comes to planning for your future together, you're probably looking to buy or renovate a house, purchase a new car or save for future date nights. Well, we have good news: When it comes to wedding gifts, you can register for just about anything you want and—yes—that includes "money, money, money." Below, we break down everything you need to know about how to ask for money as a wedding gift. You'll find practical tips from finance experts, along with six easy ways to politely ask for cash for your big day.

In this article:

Is it rude to ask for money as a wedding gift?

This may be surprising to hear, but it's not considered rude to ask for cash as a wedding gift. "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. In fact, according to The Knot's 2023 Wedding Registry Study, cash funds—most commonly in the form of honeymoon funds—are some of the most popular registry items today. Above all, your guests want to give you something that you'll get lots of use out of. If you already feel well-equipped with traditional wedding gifts like kitchen appliances and home goods, it's A-okay to think outside of the box when making your registry. "Cash funds are a great vehicle for saving up for big wants, like a home purchase, vacation, 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."

Monetary gifts actually have a long history across different cultures. Guests invited to Korean weddings often present envelopes containing cash or checks to the parents of the couple, who in turn present the money to the newlyweds. Likewise, guests at Chinese weddings often hand the bride monetary presents in red envelopes to symbolize good luck. There's also 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. Plus, during the traditional Polish Dollar Dance, guests dance with the bride and pin money to her veil or dress. Basically, what we're saying is that there's no reason to feel uncomfortable adding a cash fund to your wedding registry.

What are some ways to request cash wedding gifts?

Let's get into the nitty-gritty. How exactly do you ask for money instead of traditional wedding gifts? Below, we've outlined six easy ways to use your wedding registry for money. These ideas are gracious and polite and will ensure guests know cash is at the top of your wish list.

Create a cash fund wedding registry.

A cash fund is our preferred way to ask for money as a wedding gift. "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. So what does that mean? While couples can have multiple cash fund registry ideas—all with a specific name so guests know what they're contributing to and thus feel more autonomy with their wedding gift—it'll all still go to the same bank account. Thus, couples have more freedom to spend the money as they see fit, unlike other types of monetary contributions like gift cards. (But more on that later.)

To make a cash fund, start by creating your wedding registry with The Knot. As an all-in-one registry, you're not limited to just cash funds or just traditional wedding gifts. You can have both on one convenient list for your guests to shop and for you and your fiancé to manage. This is extra important since, even if money is a top priority, we recommend registering for some physical gifts too. This way guests have 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." Don't worry, even with some serveware and linens on your wish list, many guests will still feel inclined to give cash wedding gifts.

Add gift cards to your wedding registry.

Looking for cute ways to ask for money as a wedding gift? Consider a gift card 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. The Knot has partnered with plenty of great companies to help you get things you'll really use, so don't overlook the convenience of adding a few gift cards to your wish list. Passionate about travel? Add an Airbnb or gift card along with a Delta or Southwest airline voucher. Planning home renovations? Prepare for some DIY projects with a Home Depot, Lowes or Ace Hardware gift card—and don't forget to add a Home Goods one for decorations. The possibilities are almost as endless as a cash fund.

Don't ask for money on your wedding invitations.

It's okay to ask for monetary wedding gifts, but it's not okay to do so on your formal wedding invitations. Regardless of what you're asking for, traditional wedding etiquette states that you shouldn't put your registry on your invites. Since wedding gifts technically aren't required from guests, putting your gift information directly on your wedding invites can come across as greedy. Instead, put information about your registry on your wedding website and add a link to your wedding website on the invite or include an insert 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.

Word your wedding website thoughtfully.

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 your guests need to know, giving them an easy point of reference to answer their common questions instead of hassling you (*phew*). 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."

Examples of what to write:

  • Your presence at our wedding is enough of a gift, but should you wish to buy us something, we'd greatly appreciate a contribution towards our [insert cash fund].

  • Thank you for being a part of our special day. If you feel inclined to give us a wedding gift, a contribution towards our [insert cash fund] would greatly help us start newlywed life off right.

  • The most important thing to us is that you're able to come and celebrate our wedding. However, if you wish to give a gift, we would graciously accept a contribution towards our [insert cash fund].

Let family and friends spread the word.

A wonderful part of having a wedding party is that they'll be able to filter some of your guest's questions. If attendees aren't sure what to buy as a wedding gift, there's a good chance they'll turn to close family members or friends for help. After you set up your registry, tell your parents, siblings and/or wedding party that 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.

Designate a place for cards at your reception.

Not all your wedding guests will feel comfortable sending their monetary gift virtually. Instead, they may want to give you a congratulatory card with a check inside at the wedding. To accommodate cash donations in person, set up a wedding card box 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 so nothing is misplaced. Plus, having one spot to compile cards and cash gifts will make writing thank-you notes that much easier.

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