The average age for couples tying the knot has increased, and the need to kit out a house has decreased seeing as so many couples cohabit before getting hitched. The traditional gift list is slowly becoming a rarity, with only 18% of couples in 2018 using them according to 2018 Bridebook survey.
If you’re not wanting to upgrade your kitchenware or kit out your home, then you’re not alone.
Many couples are asking for money, with 52% of couples asking for contributions towards their honeymoon. John Lewis reported in 2018 that requests for their Kuoni Honeymoon gift lists has increased by 375% since 2011.
It's perfectly acceptable to ask wedding guests for money as a wedding gift instead of a physical wedding present. Most would much rather give you something you'll make use of than a second kettle you don't really need, but it's not always easy to ask and can make you feel awkward.
Firstly, what do you want the money for?
We already know just over half of couples want money towards their honeymoon, but what about the rest of you? Many couples don't stick with a list but don't really know the alternatives, such as...
Do you want to save to buy a house? Do some DIY? Extend your home? Tell your guests you want money towards building your future and their money will help buy bricks and mortar to do this, you could even ask for vouchers for your chosen DIY or home furnishing store.
Do you know a gift list doesn’t have to include physical gifts? If there are a few different things you want, there are websites out there to help with this. John Lewis will let your guests buy specific gifts or vouchers so you can save up for something impressive.
Honeymoon websites such as Patchwork allow your guests to buy parts of your trip, from cocktails at the beach and spa treatments to days out and room upgrades. You can also speak to a travel agent who can help plan your honeymoon and accept payments from your guests towards your travel.
Website www.whattogive.com allows you to create your own list made up of anything you want. You can add items from stores by inputting the URL from their websites so you can mix and match several stores. You can also ask for cash but give examples of what it is for-for example £50 would pay for a night out on our honeymoon.
Charity donations can be made in several ways by you or your guests. You can ask for donations to be left at the wedding or simply leave details of your chosen charity in your wedding information.
So what if none of those are any good, and you could just do with clearing a couple of credit cards from the extra spend on your plans. If you still feel money in the bank would come in handy then tread carefully when asking. Truth is, admitting it’s to pay off debt or pay back the wedding won’t always sit right with your guests - plenty of forums with disgruntled guests will tell you this. Instead, you could use your honeymoon fund to help clear your debts and then ask for money towards your honeymoon.
So how do you actually ask for money?
Firstly, etiquette says you shouldn’t discuss money in your invite. Instead quote your wedding website and direct guests there for all further info. Wedding websites are fab, many are free to set up and allow you to give far more information to your guests such as how to get to your venue, local accommodation and how to let them know about any dietary requirements. You can even add photos, wedding planning updates, menu choices and perhaps even a story of how you met!
Secondly, let your family and bridal party know what you want. That way when they have people chatting about what to get you, they can point them in the right direction and steer them away from buying you a kettle. Some friends may even club together and do a collection for you.
Thirdly, in person. Be prepared for people to ask straight up what you want. Be clear in your answer and remind them you don’t want to waste their money on things you don’t need.
Be prepared for the people who will insist on a gift-how many of us turn up to weddings with an envelope with cash in and see gifts on the table?! Either accept this will happen or take some control and add a small gift list with things you want or need so those who want to buy something know what to get.
Keep it safe
Make sure you have someone responsible for the cards and gifts you receive on the day. They can either take them up to your room throughout the day and at the end of the night or ask the hotel to store everything in a safe overnight (if they have one). The last thing you and your guests want is their generosity going missing!