Cash, the wedding gift of choice

By Elissa Doherty (Herald Sun, 22/11/11)

WEDDING guests can have their cake and eat it – but now, they may have to cough up for the meal.

Adrian Bartos and fiance Caitlyn Watson have asked close friends to give vouchers or cash instead of traditional wedding gifts. Picture: Darren Tindale Herald Sun

Brides and grooms are increasingly asking guests to show them the money, with cash gifts and contributions to wedding costs replacing traditional presents.

The trend is even extending to the engagement party, with many modern couples choosing dollars over presents.

The shift is being driven by couples living together before marriage, lack of cash, and newlyweds wanting help with a house deposit or renovations.

Wedding websites offer ideas to diplomatically phrase the money question, and online wishing wells are mushrooming.

But while a tactfully worded invite can barely raise an eyebrow, wedding planners warn there’s a fine line in the etiquette stakes.

Matt Butterworth, managing director of, said the site was fielding more questions from cash-strapped couples wondering if it was OK for guests to chip in for their meals.

And while it could be awkward, asking for a cash gift was becoming more acceptable.

“So many modern couples today live together before they are married that by the time they walk down the aisle they have everything, including the kitchen sink,” he said.

“How your guests will react will probably depend on your financial circumstances and their own. If guests know money’s tight for the couple or that they’re saving for something specific, such as a house deposit or a honeymoon, they’re probably not going to mind as much.”

Couples need to ask delicately and keep in mind that not everyone could afford cash gifts.

Honeymoon registries at travel agencies, money for artworks, charity donations and vouchers are other trends for couples who don’t need another platter or toaster.

Caitlyn Watson, 30, and Adrian Bartos, 35, of Ascot Vale, are setting up a wishing well for cash and vouchers for their March nuptials.

The pair, who live together, said they needed big-ticket items rather than homewares.

But they admitted they would have a small gift registry for older, more traditional guests.

“By the time you are 30, you have built up your own collection and start to need the bigger things in life,” Ms Watson said.

Click here to read Elissa Doherty’s original story in the Herald Sun

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