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How to Correctly Make Out a Wedding Check to Newlyweds

Don't let a generous gift go to waste.
man writing a check
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maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
by Maggie Seaver
maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
Maggie Seaver
Wedding Planning Expert
  • Maggie Seaver is an Associate Digital Editor at RealSimple.com.
  • Maggie writes about life, career, health, and more.
  • Maggie was an editor at The Knot from 2015 to 2019.
Updated Apr 30, 2019

Newlyweds love receiving monetary wedding gifts—they always have, and always will. Cash gifts, whether given physically or digitally through a cash registry like The Knot Newlywed Fund, can help finance something the couple truly loves or eagerly needs (or both). Depending on the couple, that could mean anything: a dreamy honeymoon in the South of France, dinner at a Michelin-star restaurant or saving up for adoption fees. Tucking cash or a check inside a card and bringing it to the wedding reception is still totally acceptable though—but if you bring a check, it needs to be made out correctly. Otherwise, the newlyweds might not be able to cash it.

If that happens, you'll have essentially given them an awkward situation as a wedding gift. They'll either have to ask you to reissue the check or write a thank-you card for a gift they'll never use—it's a lose-lose for the whole gang. To avoid a scenario like this, heed these handy wedding check pointers.

1. Use both of their pre-married or maiden names.

You'll want to do this for several reasons. Though one or both of them might be planning to change their last name after the wedding, they may want to cash your check before saying "I do" to help pay for wedding or honeymoon expenses. But even if they cash it postwedding, the name-changing process takes time, so the couple could hit a snag with the bank if your check is made out to their not-yet-official new name(s).

2. Stick to the word "or."

This teeny-tiny conjunction packs a punch on a wedding check. Using the word "or" instead of "and" between their two names (for example: "Kim Jones or John Smith") will ensure they're able to cash their check—even if you spell one of their names wrong, one of them will still be able to deposit it. If you write "Kim Jones and John Smith," the bank might require them both to be present at the time of deposit, or for the account used to be in both of their names (aka how it's written on the check).

3. Ask—don't assume.

If you know for a fact the couple has already starting using their legal married names, double-check to make sure you're in the loop. Don't assume the bride has gone the traditional route and taken her husband's last name, or that a couple who hyphenated their last names did so in alphabetical order. Ask their parents or someone else close to the couple to clarify their official new names.  

4. Write it out to one person.

Instead of (incorrectly) guessing, consider making your wedding check out to the member of the couple to whom you're closest. This could make it easier for them to deposit and eventually combine separately gifted funds down the line. But tread carefully if you do—some couples aren't huge fans of receiving cash gifts separately, so it's worth it to consult their family or wedding party to learn their preference.

5. Still lost? See if they have a cash registry.

Why sweat writing a physical check if you don't have to? Head to the couple's wedding website to see if they've included a cash gifting option as part of their wedding registry (psst, your save-the-date will usually include their website link if they have one—otherwise reach out to someone in the wedding party for a link.) If the couple has a Newlywed Fund with us, they'll have linked their bank account to it, so your contributions can be transferred directly to their account (with no wedding check name snafus in sight).

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