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Some thoughts on asking for money

The ever-fabulous Love My Dress blog posted an excellent discussion piece earlier this week, asking whether it’s acceptable to ask for money as a wedding gift.

The comments on the article were simply wonderful — and not only because so many people recommended our service! We’ve always felt that our job is to help couples who don’t need the traditional gifts for starting a new home, but who feel that just asking for cold, hard cash takes all the fun and romance away.

A jar of money

Lots of people in the discussion expressed a similar sentiment — that a honeymoon registry is a great alternative to housewares, while leaving room for your wedding gifts to be meaningful and special.

We know from our own experience that guests appreciate and engage with the fantastic lists our customers put together — but it was so great to read other people’s views on this too.  For example, “The New Mrs W. ” wrote:

Personally, I think the most important thing as a guest is to be able to know specifically what you are giving the couple, so that it’s personal. So for that reason I’m not that keen on people just asking for money, it just feels crass, and a bit unsatisfying.

One of the big advantages to putting together a honeymoon wedding list, is that it gives you the opportunity to divide up your honeymoon into individual gifts. You can include contributions towards your flights and accommodation, but you can also include different experiences, meals, tickets, upgrades and ideas to appeal to your guests. You don’t have to be meticulously detailed, or even to know all your plans in advance, but a little personality goes a long way.

Amy wrote:

Giving money/vouchers, a value is instantly placed on your ‘contribution’ which is I feel, disomforting for the gift-giver. How much is enough? £10.00? £20.00? More? In fact, what’s the value of your relationship to the couple? Horrible thoughts!

This really gets to the heart of it: if you’re just asking for cash, the value of your gifts can only be measured by the amount that’s spent. But with a honeymoon gift list, your gifts are the things that the money is spent on. Yes, you’ll know the cost — but you’ll always know the cost, even with a traditional registry. What you’ll remember is the great time you had.

We found this ourselves. Buy Our Honeymoon started life as our own wedding gift list, way back in 2005. Our list included tickets to the Florida theme parks, meals, a horse-and-cart ride in New Orleans — we had the time of our lives! And although I could check the dollar-value of each of those gifts, I honestly don’t remember. What I remember is the great day we had at one of the water parks, thanks to my cousin Alwyn. Or the excellent cornbread at Dollywood, thanks to Shelley’s aunt Jean.

Amanda wrote:

It’s taken me a lot of my adult life to learn that ‘stuff’ is not the most important thing in life - that memories and experiences are the most precious thing that linger long after the toaster has exploded or towels have gone ragged. … Having literally just had our first 3 wedding presents, it suddenly feels like the wedding plans involve all our friends - I love that they’ve looked at our honeymoon plans and commented and chosen stuff that they feel is meaningful.

It’s so true. Our honeymoon became shaped by the generosity and goodwill of our friends and family. We were able to do things we’d simply never have been able to do without them, and those gifts are more valuable to us than any object ever could be.

Inbal wrote:

I actually prefer giving towards a honeymoon or piano or whatever to a traditional gift list. The last few weddings I’ve been to with gift lists, I haven’t got in quick enough and the only things left are clearly ridiculous items that my friends have thrown on there to fill in the space. I’m not spending money on something to sit in the back of the cupboard.

It’s hard to get too excited about a set of spoons. And, worse, we’ve heard that sometimes people register for items they fully intend to return to the store in exchange for cash. With a honeymoon gift list, your guests know that their gift will be valued and appreciated, even if it’s simply 100 miles of your journey over the ocean.

As Lucy Stendall wrote:

Others bought us experiences for our holiday such as a meal out. We wrote to everyone afterwards to say what we had spent their gift on…it hadn’t just vanished into a hole or been spent carelessly, we wanted people to know that they had made our honeymoon happen.

I love that sentiment — that your guests make your honeymoon happen. And sending a proper thank-you really is the only golden rule of etiquette. We’ve found time and again that even when people are cautious about the idea of an alternative wedding list, as soon as they take a look, they’re completely won over by the romance of being part of your new life together.

And the great advantage of putting together a detailed honeymoon gift list is that you can offer your guests a wide variety of options, from tiny, meaningful treats all the way to once-in-a-lifetime luxuries. As our new favourite customer, Kate Rushworth, put:

I’m going down the ‘Buy our Honeymoon’ route (plus I met the couple who created it and they were lovely!), mainly because I want people to be able to feel they can buy a gift for 100 pounds or 10 pounds.

Stressing that you don’t want any gifts is fine but the truth is 99% of people attending your wedding will want to contribute in some way, and it’s only fair that you make it as easy as possible for them, and have options for people to contribute a small amount if they are really skint.

Again, we totally agree. Some of the most fun gifts on our own list were also the cheapest!

Similarly, Genevieve wrote:

It meant that there was something for all budgets and people got to pick the gift that most resonated with them - or they could suggest their own idea too. People really seemed to enjoy buying a gift and we had so many comments that it was the best gift list they had seen.

We’ll finish with one last thought, from Louise:

It was so lovely to be able to share our honeymoon memories with our guests from flight upgrades to cocktails on the beach and swimming with dophins to name a few! I don’t think there is anything wrong with not having a traditional gift list… but I do think there are more creative ways to get what you want than asking outright for a cash contribution.

That’s what we’re here for!