Controversial Query: Wedding Gifts vs. Cold Hard Cash

Your friend is getting married. She’s 31, has lived on her own for the past 10 years, and likely has a toaster.

And a few spatulas, a rice cooker, a mini cupcake pan, and a trendy set of silverware she found at a Flea Market in ’07.

She simply doesn’t need the same amount of home-goods as your little sister’s 20 year old, high-school-love-story BFF.

So, what do you do? What do you do if you’re a bride who has already built her life and doesn’t need her guests help? What do you do if your bride friend asks for cash only on her wedding invite? Let’s discuss.

(PS – In case you’re wondering… here are some things I must have on my registry).

Yellow KitchenAid Mixer (duh)

His & Hers Bikes :)

Comfy Blankets via Pottery Barn

Cool Art – How amazing is this piece by Jennifer Sanchez?

If You’re a Bride:

Believe it or not, it’s somewhat impolite to blatantly ask for cash. Understandably, you may have a lot of the things average couples put in their registries, but you still have other options. You can ask guests to donate to a honeymoon fund, donate to a charity, or help you build other aspects of your life (besides your kitchen).

Don’t forget to think outside the box with your registry. At stores like Macy’s, Crate & Barrel, etc., you can get a lot more than you think. Candles, mirrors, cool new cushions, you get the gist. Your registry doesn’t have to be huge, but be sure to give your guests some options.

If You’re a Guest:

If a bride + groom ask for cash, you have to give cash. Sad, but true. A lot of people say that you should match the amount of money you give with the amount the couple spent on having you. This is a great proxy (about $70-$80 per person), but isn’t set in stone.

As a general rule of thumb, though, just give what you can. Whatever you’re comfortable with. I would say don’t dip under $100 for couples who you consider acquaintances, and adjust upward as people climb in friend status.

But here’s the catch. If you’re in the wedding party and have spent tons on attending bachelor/bachelorette parties, flying out for bridal showers, and buying duds for a couples big day, the rules change. Here, give whatever you can afford. It’s appropriate to take into account the amount you’ve already spent. The couple will completely understand. If you’d feel more comfortable, team up with other people in your situation to give a larger sum/gift. But don’t over-think it. Your love and support through this process is likely pretty priceless to them.

In a few words: Don’t be stingy, but don’t go broke.

I’d say that’s about right.




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