Wedding Registry Language
February 24, 2014 12:00 PM   Subscribe

“Cash is an option too! Don’t forget that!”. Help us come up with proper cash gift language to put on our wedding registry website.

We are putting the finishing touches on our wedding website and we could use help with the registry section. The issue we’re facing is that…we simply don’t need a lot of stuff. We’re in our early 30s and had already established ourselves before we met each other so we have pretty much everything we need. We have a few items on an list but now we’re stuck.

We’re probably going to move sometime this year and the household items we do need are too large/expensive to put on a registry (furniture, etc). Cash gifts that could be put towards those items would be extremely welcome. I’d like to include some language on the registry section of the site that reads “hey, here’s our Amazon list, here’s some charities that mean a lot to us, and cash would also be appreciated to help us start our household.” But, you know, better than that.

We’re aware that “sponsor our honeymoon/house/etc” sites exist but we’d rather not go that route.
posted by SeparateAccountForWeddingQuestions to Human Relations (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You don't have to mention it. Everyone knows newly married couples love cash (in fact, everyone loves cash!). Just post the small registry and the charities.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:02 PM on February 24, 2014 [17 favorites]

Is not mentioning your registry at all an option? Just send it as a link to your parents for anyone who really wants to buy off a registry?

I say that because we didn't register+listed some charities and got some very thoughtful presents and quite a bit of cash.
posted by muddgirl at 12:05 PM on February 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would not mention cash, because I'm a curmudgeon that way. But it would be fine to say "Since we're planning to move soon, small and portable gifts would be preferred." Ain't nothing more portable than cash.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:05 PM on February 24, 2014 [18 favorites]

"We are saving for [Large Thing] and any contributions towards that would be welcome."

Trust me, a lot of people will not want to think of what to get you and will be more than happy to contribute a certain amount to whatever it is you're looking to get.

We registered for a canoe, knowing damn well nobody would buy us one, but we got a ton of cash (and REI gift cards) with notes to "use it towards the canoe."

It's a pretty awesome canoe.
posted by bondcliff at 12:06 PM on February 24, 2014 [10 favorites]

Everybody knows that cash is an option. People who want to give it will. People who want to gift a tacky photo frame will give that. People who want to buy off a registry will buy off a registry.

Variations on this have been asked here many times and the responses make clear that there are not good ways to request $ unless you are part of one of any of a number of cultures where that is accepted, and if you are in one of those you would already know that and know how to do it. I think the other thing made clear by the tenor of replies to this sort of Q is: the people who say "Cash? Okay, great idea!" will be overshadowed by the number of people will be so disgusted by the request that they will go out of their way to give you nothing or the ugly frame.
posted by kmennie at 12:06 PM on February 24, 2014 [36 favorites]

YMMV on whether this is entirely kosher, but for what it's worth, places like Bed Bath and Beyond and Macy's offer extremely easy returns for cash on items listed on your registry. So if you think a lot of guests will insist on getting a physical gift, you could theoretically register for some appropriately-priced large items, then discreetly return them after the wedding.
posted by Bardolph at 12:06 PM on February 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

kmennie's answer says everything you will ever need to know about this one day in a hopefully long journey of days.
posted by k5.user at 12:08 PM on February 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

A practical wedding had a thread about this, if you want more opinions/suggestions/ideas for specific wording.
posted by quaking fajita at 12:09 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

The whole gift registry thing is supposed to be a secret. Technically it's not supposed to even be hinted at on any of the invitations.

People either ask you directly where you're registered or they go through your family.

So you're either going to have to make your peace with the whole "dictating the gift" thing, or you're going to be wondering where your Aunt Gretta bought that hideous lady with a clock in her stomach statue.

Smartypig, isn't all cutsey like some of the Honeymoon sites.

And it can go on your site thusly:



Like that.

It's no more tacky asking for cash than it is registering for a gift. If anyone asks about gifts wave your hand and say, "Gosh, you know I've already got a full compliment of stuff, as it is, we lost more in the converging of two households than we actually have now. Frankly, we're hoping that we can scrape enough together to replace our old sofa. We started a Smartypig for it! Have you seen the site, it's TOO cute."

You have to be as shameless about that as you would about registering for china. (Honestly, I have my mother's set. Who uses china? Who registers for it in the 21st century?)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:09 PM on February 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

So if you think a lot of guests will insist on getting a physical gift, you could theoretically register for some appropriately-priced large items, then discreetly return them after the wedding.

I would be upset if I found out somebody sent me on an errand to pick up a very specific thing they said they wanted at the store but it turned out they never wanted it. I guess if I never found out I wouldn't be upset, though.
posted by ftm at 12:10 PM on February 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

the people who say "Cash? Okay, great idea!" will be overshadowed by the number of people will be so disgusted by the request that they will go out of their way to give you nothing or the ugly frame.

Maybe that's true but I personally fall into the first category. I appreciate it when a couple makes it clear that cash would be an appreciated gift. I have a friend who managed to ask politely, I thought: they had links to their registries, and also had a note (on the wedding website, not on the invitations) that said, "Contributions to our 'new-family fund' to help us start our life together are also welcomed."
posted by aka burlap at 12:20 PM on February 24, 2014

There isn't a proper way to do this, sorry.

There are schools of thought that it isn't proper to have a registry at all because of the way registries have been misused. But, experts in the field disagree.

If you are going to have a registry, the proper way to do it is to let someone else have custody of it and direct inquiries to that person.

Definitely don't, ever, proffer your registry information. Never, never, never, ever put your wedding registry info on any invitation of any kind, nor in the same envelope with any invitation of any kind. Don't give out wedding registry info unless people ask for it. Don't.

If your registry has only a few things listed on it, that's fine. People who would have been moved to give you cash won't be prevented from doing so.

It's also okay if it has large/expensive things on it. You might not get those things, but then your situation won't have changed - you won't have those things. Maybe a group of people will decide to go in on a big thing together, you never know your luck.

You can't really ask for cash for charities either, sorry. Except at your own funeral, because then you wouldn't be the one asking for them.

Now you did ask about the PROPER way to do this. So, I have told you the proper way to do it, which is basically "don't do it". I know it's not what you want to hear, but...
posted by tel3path at 12:30 PM on February 24, 2014 [32 favorites]

Regardless of the etiquette re: putting registries on wedding websites or invitations, if I wanted cash as a gift, I definitely wouldn't say anything about charities.
posted by lyssabee at 12:34 PM on February 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

On a Macy's registry there is a way to add a gift card like component where you can show the picture of a sofa or some other large item that you want, that guests then contribute towards. You don't actually have to use the money to buy the sofa in the end, to my understanding. The problem is that then you have to buy the item from Macy's.
posted by cacao at 12:36 PM on February 24, 2014

Just put a link to this in your registry (assuming you're in the U.S.)
posted by canoehead at 12:40 PM on February 24, 2014

tel3path has it. Everyone knows cash is an option, there's really no reason to ask for it.

While yes, there are probably going to be people who don't mind a well-worded or cutesy request for cash and write you a check. But there's still no proper or polite way to do it, and you still run the risk of looking like you're trying to shake down your family and friends for cash. Even if it doesn't bother everyone, it's definitely going to bother some, so why risk that?

(And yes, I'm one of those people that if I was attending the wedding of a person who put this on their registry, they would definitely be getting a donation to a charity from me.)
posted by inertia at 12:55 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you want to be subtler than "Cash please!" but still mention it, you might put something like these envelopes on your registry, with a comment along the lines of "Hint hint ;)".

I don't know if I'd specifically recommend Chinese New Year red envelopes, but maybe you can find something similar that's suitable for weddings?
posted by WasabiFlux at 1:07 PM on February 24, 2014

My cousin once wrote "Can't wait to see you there on XXX date, and we will rock the cash bar!"

I laughed because it was funny.

And then I thought: wait, what? Cash bar? Jeezus.

The same thing with any cute way to say it "cash please" but you could have a registry and then put next to nothing on that registry. As in, 10 items or less. Then everyone will see it's all bought up and put it to cash.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:09 PM on February 24, 2014

I agree with those who say there is no way to tactfully do this. People who are cash inclined will give you cash.

I also want to mention that I got married last year and registered at Bed, Bath & Beyond. After our shower/wedding, I was unable to return gifts for cash, despite being told I could do exactly that. I ended up with loads of credit there, which I am slowly using. I did use some of the credit to purchase generic gift cards so that I could use that money elsewhere, but it is a far cry from walking away with actual cash. I shared that overly-long anecdote to let you know that they are tightening up on their return policy, though it could depend (to some degree) on the person behind the counter when you walk up with your goods. Just FYI.
posted by heathergirl at 1:34 PM on February 24, 2014

You can register for gift cards for Amazon.

Not cash, but Amazon does have an awful lot of useful stuff including groceries and cat food.
posted by sciencegeek at 1:49 PM on February 24, 2014

Best answer: You know, we got married relatively late in life (I was in my mid-30s, he is more than 10 years older). We had adult lives already so we didn't register and we didn't say anything about gifts unless people asked- in which case, we said, if pressed after an initial "your attendance is the best gift!" that we were saving for a kayak, because we were.

Most people gave us gifts anyway. This meant that our wedding gifts were either 1) incredibly thoughtful and personal 2) bizarre (just one or two, hello ionizing salt lamp!) or 3) cash or REI gift cards with notes that we should throw the money toward at a kayak. The third category was probably 75% of our gifts, the first 20% and the weird stuff just 5%.

So, based on my experience, just don't register for crap you don't want. Don't put it on your website unless you genuinely are interested in that stuff. If people ask you or whoever your RSVP point person what the registry information is, they can point towards a registry of the few things you actually want or just say *when pressed* you will be moving soon and are saving for X and Y. This is how it is done in my circles; your own registry and wedding mileage may vary.
posted by charmedimsure at 2:07 PM on February 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

We didn't register. Anywhere. And of the wedding gifts we received, half were cash (which we then bought furniture with and sent thank you notes indicating as much) and half were wonderful, thoughtful gifts of things we would never have bought ourselves but use and love.
posted by darsh at 2:58 PM on February 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

I think you could include a note with your registry information that says something like, "the reason we have only chosen small, portable things is that we are planning to move soon", or if you aren't putting the registry on the invitation but hoping for your parents to spread it by word of mouth, ask them to mention the same thing.

People will get the hint. Small, portable = cash.
posted by lollusc at 3:24 PM on February 24, 2014

There's also a geographic component here as well. I was raised in the South, and most of the folks I know would sooner show up at the wedding stark naked than give money as a gift. It is Just Not Done. But then I moved up to the northeast and saw that folks are much more relaxed about cash gifts -- hell, with some of the weddings I've been to, cash is more common than actual presents.

So basically I'd follow the advice given here: don't ask for it, definitely don't put a link or hint or anything even remotely gift-related in your invite because that's tacky, and know that where you live will probably have an impact on how much cash you get as a gift.
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:11 PM on February 24, 2014

My spouse and I didn't want gifts, so we didn't register anywhere. I told my parents that if anyone asked about gifts, direct them to a local charity. In the end, everyone gave us cash and gift cards (and no one donated to the charity, unfortunately). This happened in the midwestern US.

The comments above are right: people don't need to be told that cash is an option. They'll assume it if you don't have a registry (and they may assume it even if you do). And if they're the types who will buy off-register, they'll do it regardless of whether you hint about cash or not.
posted by neushoorn at 1:35 AM on February 25, 2014

I disagree wholeheartedly with the people that say Cash shouldn't be an option.
I think it's becoming more and more acceptable to just ask for cash, especially if you are already somewhat set up. People can still give gifts if they want, I for one know I would rather give cash, but if it's not specifically an option then I feel kind of weird giving cash rather than a gift!

One of my very best friends phrased it in a way that said "Since travelling is our passion rather than material things, we would love to put your cash gifts towards the following:
$10 - a Mai-Tai on a beach somewhere
$20 - A 3 course meal in Thailand
$50 - an hours massage in Mexico
$100 - Entrance to a Theme Park in Orlando
$200 - upgrade to a phenomenal honeymoon suite in Malaysia"

Etc. etc.

I felt good knowing that I had given her money that she was going to put towards something she would enjoy! (whether or not she used it how she said she would use it is entirely up to her and I have NO problem with that!) If you phrase it in that kind of way, I think it at least gives people an idea that no matter how much money you give, you'll put it towards something useful!
posted by JenThePro at 9:21 AM on February 25, 2014

I think it's becoming more and more acceptable to just ask for cash, especially if you are already somewhat set up.

The OP asked for the proper way to do this, and it is still considered extremely improper to ask for cash.

I agree that it's becoming a more widespread behaviour, but it isn't proper.
posted by tel3path at 2:49 PM on February 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

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