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Blog: Why I hate giving cash as a wedding gift

Nearly half of us are being asked for cash instead of wedding gifts, finds new research. A sign of the times or plain bad manners, asks Sue Hayward?

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We all know weddings aren't cheap: the average wedding bill comes in at around £20,000.

But how do you feel about having a whip round for the happy couple?

Turning up armed with a present is somewhat out of fashion these days it seems, as nearly half of us are being asked to stump up hard cash in place of gifts.

This is according to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme - so is asking for money a sign of the times or just plain bad manners?

Cash has the cringe factor 

I've been a guest at two weddings where the bride and groom asked for cash.  

The first time round it was towards a deposit so they could buy their first home; second time round the couple asked for donations towards their honeymoon.    

Okay, so both requests came with a friendly, chatty note and there was no threat of withdrawing the invitation if you didn't stump up.

But the thing is, whatever way you dress it up, asking for cash just makes me cringe.    

What's wrong with a honeymoon fund?

Couples' feet by a poolOn a practical basis, if a couple are already struggling with trying to pack their duplicate possessions into one home, a honeymoon may well be the biggest thing on their wish list.

"I don't get why people don't want to pay for someone's holiday but are happy to give a gift they may not want," says Caroline Wilson, 38, a journalist from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.  

"I think it's all about the way you ask, as most guests want to give something and if you don't give some sort of clue you can easily end up with a billion white towels or grim vases."  

But the cash factor brings with it the added issue of how generous to be.  

How much cash do you give?

"I'm currently facing this dilemma with a 'cash donations' invitation to an ex-colleague's wedding," says Louise Cavendish, 45, a writer from Gloucester.

"I could have bought a nice 'housey' gift for £20 to £25, but sticking two tenners in an envelope seems mean, so now I'm not sure how much to give."

I understand where Louise is coming from yet, when you think about it, if you go down the traditional wedding list route chances are it's still obvious how much you've paid for your gift.

I know when I got married our delivery from John Lewis included a list of the gifts bought, complete with the price tag and name of the person who'd bought it.

Is cash common?

Giving money may be the done thing in other cultures but etiquette expert Diana Mather says that in this country we simply aren't comfortable talking about money.

"I don't like the idea of giving cash. I find it very uncomfortable."

"I think a lot depends on how you ask, but if you're sending guests your bank account details then that's just awful."    

Asking guests to give to charity 

However not every couple asking for donations is planning to stash the cash in their bank account.

I spoke to one groom-to-be, a writer, aged 30, who lives in Cardiff, Wales, and is tying the knot in Morocco next year.

The couple have specifically asked guests not to give gifts but if they wish to give something, to donate to a charity providing education for girls in rural areas of Morocco.

The anonymous groom says: "I'd feel awful asking people to shell out for a gift or give us cash when they've already spent money coming to see us get married abroad.

"But the charity is a great cause and we like the idea of giving something back to the country we're visiting."

What do you think?

Asking for cash instead of a wedding present a sign of the times or just plain bad manners?

We want to hear from you! You can share your views on the message board below.

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Sue Hayward

Carl Chambers

Sue Hayward is a personal finance broadcaster, journalist and author. Sue talks and writes on money matters including chatting on BBC Radio & TV as well as contributing to magazines, websites and newspapers. Sue's also written two books; the latest of which is 'How To Get The Best Deal'.

View more from Sue



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