Already Owns Enough Toasters has written into our Problem Pal advice column with a worry a lot of couples have:
Can you ever ask for money for your wedding or will everyone think you’re being rude?
My fiancé and I have been living together for a long time and we already have everything we need.
We’re getting married in France and we don’t want our family to have to bring presents with them. And we don’t want to haul them back, either!
Can we ask for money without it coming across the wrong way?
Yes. Yes you can.
The etiquette books haven’t caught up – but that doesn’t mean it’s rude to ask for money as a wedding gift
It’s quite common nowadays for couples to live together before they get married. When we left the fifties, we left behind the idea that a wedding was the first, necessary step for a life together for every single couple, and no one would make any kind of life decisions, like buying a home or starting a family, before they said, ‘I do’.
But we didn’t bring the etiquette books out of the fifties with us.
People are still told to buy married couples glasses and tableware and expensive appliances – things and stuff to fill their empty newly wed home with.
People want to give you a gift to celebrate your wedding. Sure, maybe not your fifth cousin who you’ve never met who you’re inviting purely to stop your Auntie Jeanine (it’s always Auntie Jeanine) insisting the snub would somehow kill your grandmother. Even though your grandma hasn’t met that cousin either.
But the people you want there will want to celebrate this milestone with you with a substantive gift – something you’ll need and appreciate.
And they’d rather you told them what that was than rolling the dice on you not already having a gravy boat.
You can ask for anything without it seeming rude – just don’t be rude
The thought of asking for certain presents or money makes a lot of people cringe. You don’t want to come across as rude and you don’t want people to feel obligated to buy you anything.
But your friends are going to give you a gift anyway. They would rather know what you want. (And if you don’t tell them, believe me, they’ll ask you. They’ll all ask you. At uncannily inconvenient times.)
The best way to make sure asking for cash doesn’t seem rude is not to ask for cash directly; explain what you’ll be spending it on, so your friends feel they’re paying for your honeymoon or that new couch you’ve been aching to buy – not your electricity bill or the wedding caterers.
It’s only a big deal if you make it one
Pop a line on your wedding website explaining that all you want is your friends’ company but, if they do want to get you something, you’d appreciate some money towards your honeymoon or to buy some new furniture for your home.
A website is better for this than an invitation – being a step removed helps it feel more casual, where being one of the few things included in the tight space for an invitation does carry a bit of an air of an expectation with it – but as long as you word it simply, it will come across the right way.
You could use wording like:
All we want is for everyone to show up and have a good time, but if you would like to get us a little something to celebrate our wedding, we’d appreciate any contribution you could make towards our honeymoon.
You absolutely, positively, definitely and definitively aren’t expected to bring a gift to our wedding. (And since we won’t be able to bring any back from France, if you bring a present with you, it’s going back with you too!)
But we would be incredibly grateful for any contributions towards the new couch we’ve been saving for. (On the condition you break it in with us with a movie marathon!)
You can make jokes but don’t have anything out of character for you here, like a cutesy poem. It won’t soften the blow of asking for money, it’ll just draw more attention to it!
Or use a service so people feel like they’re giving you more than just cash
If you’re still worried people will take asking for money the wrong way, don’t.
Services like Honeyfund and Patchwork create gift registries for experiences. Your friends will have fun picking out what they want to give you – like champagne at your hotel or trashy books for the beach. It will feel more personal than giving money. (Even though that’s what you wind up with!)
Do you have any wedding worries you’d like some advice and perspective on? Leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for actionable, anonymous advice on your wedding planning.
Until next time, pals!
Your Problem Pal,
Photo by Okssi68.