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October 07, 2021

Wedding rules: Is it ok to ask for cash?

Since many couples establish a household together before marriage, they often aren't in need of traditional gifts like towels, dishes and sheets.

So it’s not surprising that whether and how to ask for money as a wedding gift, without it seeming too tacky, is becoming a pressing issue for many couples formalizing their living arrangements.

The key to pulling it off without offending anyone is in how the ask is made, says Anna Post, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, and the author of Do I Have to Wear White? Emily Post Answers America's Top Wedding Questions.

Here's her take on how to set the stage.

As with registry information, the news that money is preferred should be given out by word of mouth — never on the invitation.

Go ahead and tell people what you want the money for. Who knows? If you let people know that you plan to spend the money on a down payment, rather than on a honeymoon in Turks and Caicos, they might feel their money is being better spent.

When asked, simply say, “Of course we would love anything you choose, but we could really use help with a down payment.” This wording acknowledges the guest’s right to choose the gift —while painting a picture of what the money will be used for, she suggests.

If using the words “money” or “cash” goes against the grain, phrases such as “help with” or “a contribution toward” are good euphemisms, she says.

How high should you go? While there’s no magic number, an appropriate amount for a cash gift could range as high as $500 or more, says blogger Melissa Mayntz.

What do you think? Is cash the way to go? Is it tacky? How do you arrive at the correct amount?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...