Once upon a time gifts were a fairly straightforward part of any wedding. People got married, typically before they struck out on their own, and then furnished their new life with wedding gifts. However this reality has been steadily changing as couples are tending to get married later and often after having already bought property or moved in together. So what do you do when you don’t need anymore toasters or tea-sets? Do you dare to ask for cash?
Well, why not? As long as you’re tactful and ask in the right way, I don’t really see the problem.
On the other hand, there is something to be said for the symbolic value of a gift. The beauty of gifts is the implication that someone has been thinking of you, which is perhaps why customised gifts are so popular. Receiving something that took time to make, find or think of tells us that the giver cares about us. Whereas simply being given the equivalent pile of cash can feel cold and removed. Your wedding day is a beautiful thing, and it’s important to embrace the sentimentality of the occasion. That is appropriate, and neccessary, and delightful. But practical issues will remain with you once the glow of the day begins to fade as normal life resumes; you might end up with a huge and useless pile of stuff you don’t need. You might regret not asking for what you actually needed, and your friends and family don’t want that for you either. So be practical about decisions that will affect you for a long time to come, and feel free to be sentimental about the more short term decisions.
If you’ve decided to go for cash, you might still be wondering ‘how do I ask for it without alienating my guests?’. And that’s a perfectly fair question. You need to be tactful. One of the best ways I know is to put the word out to those closest to you: your family, best friends, close work colleagues. Let them spread the message for you. They know you well and are familiar with your situation, they won’t judge you for wanting cash gifts and they will know to spread the word even without being explicitly told. Chances are that if you haven’t created a wedding list, these are the first points of contact for people wanting to know what to get you, and soon enough most of your guests will get the message indirectly. This way, you avoid the sometimes embarrassing problem of asking for cash, and still get what you really need more than gifts. There should be no shame in trying to get the gifts that make sense for you, but at the end of the day we have to accept gifts for what they are. They are tokens of love, respect and caring, and we shouldn’t question them too much, but receive them and be glad in the knowledge that we are cared about.