Skip to content

On Etiquette, Cash, & The End of Wedding Gifts?

This summer we have three wedding invitations – an oddity since we are mostly past the life space of our peers marrying, but not yet into the time where our friends’ kids begin to marry (and hopefully, not for a while yet!!)

One of our invitations mentioned, “A gift of currency is all we ask, to help us on our life long task.”

How do I feel about it?

Conflicted! [and not just because our kantha quilts make a great wedding gift! ;)]

The prim & proper in me thinks it is tacky, straight up. Fancy up the language however you like, but suggesting what type of gift you would like before being asked (even if wedding gift-giving is an accepted social norm) is improper!

To the cynic in me, it communicates:

“we already have a lot of stuff, and we don’t trust that whatever you would give us is something we’d actually want.”

As far as simple living and minimal “stuff” collection goes, I like this attitude. But… it’s rude!

Practically-speaking, I totally get it. Most couples test-drive living together prior to marriage, and couples are marrying later in their life. The idea of providing them with needed furnishings for their kitchens & linen closets is, in many cases, irrelevant. Maybe the money will help towards a home down payment, or the honeymoon. From a pragmatic perspective, it makes complete sense.

But, is that the point? Are wedding gifts about provision? Are they about thoughtfulness? Are they more about the gift-giver or the recipient? These aren’t entirely rhetorical; I’m legitimately wondering!

Maybe it is just because we are too-polite Canadians, but my other concern is that a suggestion of cash somehow translates to many guests as an imperative. Wayne, upon reading the invite, said, “Well, I guess we can’t give them a blanket as a wedding gift, then.”

What? It’s a gift! A suggestion is not a mandate. And my response to this was the same as to my daughter, whose school friend noted that she “only wanted Shopkins” for her birthday gift:

Any gift recipient who mandates the gifts they receive doesn’t deserve any! Ok, ok, I didn't say that; that's a bit harsh for a second grader :) But, I did say that a gift is a gift. It's not about entitlement or desert; it's about a sharing of the wealth, a generosity of spirit, and receiving what we are given as such.

Gifts can be about more than utility and function. And, they can provide an opportunity to pick a beautiful or thoughtful item that could be meaningful to the couple or to your own relationship with them.

So... What to do?

Give cash. Give something from a registry. Go rogue and give something nobody ever asked for (but something good, obvs, our standards are still high, here!). Give whatever you want!

But, don’t do it because a little piece of paper suggests something. Do it because you want to, because you can feel confident and proud and pleased with what you’ve given.

What do you think? Do you like giving cash, or are you a die-hard present-giver? What about when you (or if you) were on the other end of the equation? Share your thoughts below!

Also: our craziest wedding gift!

Leave a comment

Your cart is empty