5 Creative Ways to Give Money as a Wedding Gift

Because there's more to it than stuffing cash in an envelope.
Wedding guest putting wedding gift money in an envelope
Towfiqu ahamed barbhuiya/Shutterstock.com
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
by Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Associate Editor
  • Sarah is an Associate Digital Editor for The Knot, with special focuses in fashion, pop culture and wedding trends.
  • 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 Aug 20, 2021

While there are so many great wedding gift ideas out there, no one can deny that money is about as good as it gets. If you're shopping for a couple and they've indicated that cash takes precedence over physical items, it's perfectly acceptable to give the wedding gift of money. Although giving a cash gift was once seen as taboo, that's hardly the case today. "Now, more couples have established households before the wedding, so traditional gifts are not as necessary," explains Heather Wiese Alexander, etiquette expert and founder of Bell'INVITO. "Pair that with the growing trend of younger couples valuing experiences over things, and you have two very good reasons that money makes a great wedding gift."

In fact, according to The Knot 2021 Registry Study, 60% of all couples add money to their wedding registry. So, not only is cash an easy wedding gift idea, it's one of the most highly coveted options according to real couples.

But since you can't necessarily wrap up a wad of cash in shiny wrapping paper with a big bow, you might wonder how to creatively give money as a wedding gift. Not to worry: As experts in the wedding gift space, we're breaking down five creative ways to give cash at a wedding—because there's more to it than just stuffing money in an envelope.

Contribute to a Cash Fund on Their Registry

Consider this the easiest way to give money as a wedding gift. If the happy couple wants cash in lieu of physical gifts, they'll likely create a cash fund on their registry. Whether they want to use the monetary gifts for a down payment on a new home or they plan on putting it toward a honeymoon fund, donating to a cash fund gives the couple plenty of flexibility for newlywed life.

Plus, one of the biggest perks is that donating to a cash fund allows you to gift what you can comfortably afford. "Deciding the amount you give is based on primarily two factors," Alexander explains. "The first revolves around how well you know the couple, and the second is how much you can afford to spend." You can certainly give a larger cash gift if you're celebrating a close friend or family member—or, if you're already spending a lot on travel and prewedding event gifts too, it's okay to give a smaller gift that aligns with your budget. (If you're sure how much to give for a wedding gift, we explain how to find the magic number here.)

To find a couple's cash fund, search for their registry information on TheKnot.com or on their wedding website. If you're unable to find where they're registered, you can always ask their wedding party or family members to share additional gifting details.

Buy the Couple a Gift Card

The golden gift-giving rule for wedding guests is to use the couple's registry for guidance. And, believe it or not, registering for gift cards is definitely a thing you can do. In fact, sending the to-be-weds a gift card is one of the most creative ways to give money as a wedding gift. While cash fund donations can be used for just about anything, gift cards are a thoughtful way to personalize your present. The Knot Registry Store has partnered with plenty of buzzy gift card retailers like Airbnb, Delta Airlines, HomeGoods and more—so whether the couple always plans cross-country vacations or they love redecorating their home, you can help fund their favorite activities by buying them a gift card as a wedding present.

Put the Cash or Check in a Thoughtful Card

If you're interested in giving the wedding gift of money, you can always put the cash or check in an envelope and bring it with you to the big day. If you plan on doing so, etiquette experts recommend writing a brief note in the wedding card to accompany your present. "If you're giving money as a wedding gift, it's a two-part play: Give both money and thoughtfulness," Alexander explains. "A note with some genuinely thoughtful words should accompany the gift. Forget formality and write whatever is genuinely you. Be funny, sentimental or witty—just write something they can keep and look back at fondly." And, to be sure you're following proper wedding gift etiquette, don't forget to sign the card with your name so the couple knows exactly who to thank after the big day. (Check out our guide on what to write in a wedding card for more help.)

When you arrive at the reception, look for a designated gift table to drop your card. Some couples might also have a wishing well or designated card basket too—just be sure to leave your card in the appropriate spot so it doesn't get lost at the venue.

Donate to the Couple's Favorite Charity

If you're not sure how to give cash as a wedding gift, you can always donate to a charity in the couple's name if they've requested it. Some to-be-weds might set up a charity registry through platforms like JustGive or Crowdrise, especially if they don't want physical gifts. Charity registries are a great alternative to traditional wedding presents, and we highly recommend making a donation if there's an opportunity. Simply follow the couple's directions on their wedding website or registry page, and donate any wedding gift amount to the organization of their choice.

Send Money Through a Virtual Platform

Some to-be-weds may prefer to receive cash wedding gifts through a third-party app, like Venmo or Zelle. While this is often a last-resort option, you can use these programs to give the wedding gift of money—though we only recommend using these sites if explicitly requested by the couple, especially since this is the most casual way to give a wedding gift. Start by checking the couple's registry and wedding website to learn how they prefer to receive monetary gifts, and follow their directions to ensure your gifts are received in an appropriate (and timely) manner.

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