How Tacky Is This (A Wedding Question)

My addition to the proliferating wedding threads around here - my guy and I are both in our thirties, we have two complete households full of stuff, and we really don’t need the usual wedding gift kinda stuff. I’m sorta thinking that what we really need is help getting a down payment in the bank for a house purchase (we both work, but we don’t make huge salaries, and the cost of living here eats up almost everything we make).
I’m afraid it would be horribly tacky to suggest to people that we would rather receive cash than wedding gifts, if they want to give anything at all. What are your thoughts on this, people?

Sorry, but Miss Manners says this is terminally tacky. To be truly correct you aren’t allowed to hint at the possibility of receiving gifts at all (this includes gift registration.)

However, there is no etiquette rule against returning the gifts you do receive. Stores are usually quite lenient about this if you explain that it is a wedding gift.

Not too tacky at all. I am doing something similar. I already have a house and bunch of crap to fill it with. what I really nead is to remodel the inside. Instead of cash we are asking for Lowes gift cards. I hear Lowes knows.

When my wife and I got married about six years ago, we were planning on moving out to a new state a month or so after the wedding.

We made our own invitations, and as one of the inserts, we simply put a card that read:

“In that the bride and groom plan to relocate shortly after the honeymoon, they request that gifts, if any, be made in the form of contributions to moving and relocation expenses. Thank you for your understanding.”

No one complained (not even to my mother-in-law), and we averaged around $120 per guest.

I’m in the “it’s so tacky it makes my hair stand on end” camp. Please don’t request specific gifts; feel lucky that you have friends and family who will support you in your marriage and completely forget the presumption that anyone would want to buy you something (although they will). Also, trust the people you’ve invited the wedding to know you well enough that they’ll be able to figure out an appropriate gift.

If you really can’t bear the thought of getting a nicely wrapped crystal platter, at the very most hint to a few well-chosen friends what your preferences are. Then, when people ask those friends for advice on what to get, they can subtley hint that you probably have a lot of household items and would probably really appreciate something else.

My husband and I were in a similar position to you - we’d lived together for several years and were well out of the nest, so we had a complete household. We didn’t request anything at all, but we received some really beautiful, sentimental things that we’ll treasure forever: an elegant silver handmade cheese knife, our wedding invitation in a beautiful frame, a painting done by my husband’s aunt that depicts the farm he grew up on, and many more.

I think if I was told by a bride or groom that they preferred money (or anything else) for their gift from me, I’d choose a very nice card instead.

I’m with C3. Anyone who puts a note inside the invitation telling me what kind of present they’d like me to give them gets nothing. “We are registered at . . . “ is bad enough, but to go so far as to specify in the invitation that the couple wants me to buy them specific items they already have in mind?

Oh my god, that is so incredibly tacky tacky tacky. Don’t do it. While the people who don’t think anything’s wrong with your request won’t remember it one way or the other the day after the wedding, the people who correctly are disgusted by your presumption will never, ever, forget it.

Unbearably tacky

It’s partly a cultural thing. There are some places where you don’t breathe a word about gifts and others where pinning cash to the bride’s gown is an expected part of the festivities.

I think the basis for Miss Manner’s decree is that, traditionally, people getting married were setting up their first household and could be expected to actually need things. What people object to is older, established couples taking advantage of this tradition. The feeling is that their festivities should reflect their greater maturity.

Sure, you could use the cash–who couldn’t? But a gift is something that is chosen for you by a friend, not payment for the hors d’oevres and champagne.

(Sorry for the strong feelings, but once it becomes the norm, tackiness knows no bounds. My sister-in-law considered it perfectly normal, not only to ask her guests to give money, but to ask them to pay for the wedding itself. We–two graduate students scraping along–were supposed to pay for the photography. And this was a second wedding. She wanted a big white lace church wedding because she had eloped the first time. Uh–sorry, Sal, don’t think we’ll be able to make it.)

Nobody probably will complain, but, trust me, a good number (especially older people) will think it’s tacky. Whether you care about that or not is up to you.

Sorry, but I have to wade in with another vote for tack-o-rama. (And with all due respect to all other posters, the fact that the guests do not mention to the bride or her mother how tacky it is, doesn’t mean they haven’t been gleefully mentioning it to each other.)

In a related topic, what do you think about this?

My office assistant came in the other day and said that a friend had asked her to throw a baby shower for her.

I don’t know, but to me that sounds a LOT tacky.


Sorry to tell you that no matter how reasonable your request for cash and how nice it might be for you, it is still tacky. A gift is what a person chooses to give you. You are not allowed to take that choice from them and not be considered rude.

Yeah, the whole climate of ‘expectation’ of gifts, money, showers, gimme, gimme, gimme has gotten way out of hand of late, from what I’ve seen. I always do select a nice gift, or cash if the couple could use it, as a wedding present. But I’d never dare ask for cash (I agree, the whole “here’s where we’re registered” thing in invitations is bad enough) as the bride/groom-to-be. Same with asking for showers and whatnot.

I’m sure I’m even further afield than the rest of the posters, but I hate even the fact that bridesmaids, etc., are “expected” to shell out hundreds for: dress and/or tux rental, parties/showers, and whatever else they’re supposed to do these days. I mean, fer cryin’ out loud, to me it’s an honor that the friend, sister, whoever, is taking the TIME to be there and stand up for the other person… I’ll stop now before I go off on a rant about what parents are expected to pay for.

Just put me in the “tacky” camp.

Another vote for tacky…for the reasons stated above…it does seem to be getting away from what the concept of a feely given “gift” is…

As tempting as it is, I think that asking for money is a no-no. It goes without saying that just about all of us could use some cash, but many guests are likely to perceive your request as a nice way of saying, “We don’t want that naff junk you were planning on giving us; just fork out the cash.” I feel the same way about wedding lists, to a slightly lesser extent. I concede they’re convenient for the couple and some of the guests, but I can’t help feeling that it goes contrary to the spirit of gift-giving. We got married last year (after two years of living together and accumulating household goods) and yes, we did receive some presents that we’ll probably never use. We also received some very unique and wonderful things, like a 4000 year-old piece of Canaanite pottery. And we received some cash as well, which helped us out. We thanked everyone profusely. Even the people who gave us a set of neon-green dishes.

On a related note, some of you may get a kick out of this website. It was a link that came up often on the wedding forums I frequented while in the planning stages, and is a source of much amusement!

If I were close enough to ask someone what they wanted as a gift, no little card would be necessary. Otherwise I would be insulted by it.

Yeah, that was pretty much what I was thinking myself. Oh, well. Back to the drawing board. Thanks for the input, people.

(As for the baby-shower asker, I don’t know the exact etiquette of showers, but I don’t think I would like to be asked to put one on, either. I believe the sister, mother, sister-in-law, or best friend takes on that particular responsibility {of their own free will}.)

I will just add that dear Miss Manners believes the tackiness is in the assumption we are entitled to, or even expecting, any gifts at all. She makes no exception for what the money might be used for; even if the B&G request donations to charity it’s still a big “no-no.” She’s even none too thrilled with including in funeral notices “in lieu of flowers, the decedent’s family requests donations to the American Cancer Society/charity of your choice/Pomeranian Rescue/whatever.” That she allows, if reluctantly; the wedding thing, never.

And thanks for the Etiquette Hell link; hi-larious! :slight_smile:

Etiquette Hell is really funny! I found it while planning my wedding and it sure helped me laugh through some rough spots!

I vote for tacky. You never should even refer to being registered in your invitation, much less outright ask for cash. The best thing to do is tell your mothers and wedding party members what your preferences are or where you have registered, and rely upon them to spread the word.

Hey, I think that Twiddle has a great idea! Just tell your close friends and your family your preference, and they can spread the word to anyone who asks. And trust me, if you both already have fully stocked homes, people WILL ask. I always do in these kinds of instances.


I also think it is a mistake to request specific gifts or money, but sometimes people do ask and then you can politely say that you already have a lot of stuff, blah, blah, blah… word will spread that you would be better off with cash.

On a humorous note, Squid and I were asked by many relatives before our wedding “What do you really need?”. We knew we were going to wind up with duplicate gifts and we were already prepared to do the exchange thing, so I came up with a brilliant idea – whenever anyone asked what we needed, we would tell them they should get us a toaster. My reasoning was that 20 or so toasters could be traded on a pretty nice TV (this was a long time ago).

We did get lots of duplicate gifts, sets of tableware, crockpots, etc, etc… but not a single toaster.:rolleyes: