It appears that cash gifting has been around for centuries and that almost all countries except the United States feel strongly that cash is the best gift of all.
In China purses filled with gold are given to new brides by their mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters. The Mexican, Cuban, Spanish, Philippine, and Latino future husbands give the bride a gift of 13 gold coins, and money for the honeymoon is raised by a “dollar dance” where every man who dances with the bride has to put money in her dress.
In the Philippines the family of the bride gives a large cash gift to the newlyweds. In Japan the guests give money to the couple with the amount depending on the closeness of their relationship.
In Switzerland money is raised for the bride and groom by young girls who sell colored handkerchiefs, and in Malaysia wedding gifts to the bride are often money wrapped in origami or food delivered by a procession of children.
So why in the United States are we so hesitant to give money with many guests feeling that it isn’t a personal and caring enough gift? There is no question that most newlyweds in these economic times would actually prefer cash so that they can choose the items they truly want and need.
Why is cash gifting an excellent idea? If you give the money before the ceremony, it can help pay for the high costs of the wedding itself. Can you imagine all the places where the money could be applied? It can also be put toward the air fare, accommodations, meals, or activities of the honeymoon.
Another reason to send your cash gift ahead of time is that you don’t have to worry about its possibly being misplaced or lost if you put it into the “wishing well”, wedding gift box, or treasure chest which is displayed during the reception. Plus you don’t have to transport cumbersome gifts to the reception where the bride and groom have to likewise transport them home.
If you know where the couple is shopping for the majority of their furnishings, appliances, etc. for their new home or apartment, you can give them a gift card for that store. Gift cards are the same as cash but are safer and seem to appear more like a gift. It also saves duplication of gifts because the cards can be used after the newlyweds have gotten their other gifts and know what they still need.
If you are aware of the newlyweds’ honeymoon destination or cruise that they are going on, gift cards could be given for extras such as a spa day or excursion tour that would be fun but that they may not want to pay for themselves.
There is much to be said for the ease of giving cash or gift cards because you don’t have to shop perhaps at numerous places and stress your brain as to something they would really appreciate.
How do you diplomatically ask for cash instead of gifts? You could pass the word asking your family, friends, and wedding party to please tell others. If you have a particular purpose (such as a down payment on a home, furniture for that home, or other large expense), the grapevine can pass along the good reason why you’d really prefer monetary help.