A few years ago, August eclipsed June as one of the most popular months for weddings. If you have a wedding on your calendar this month, you may discover another growing trend. Many couples are now asking for cash rather than traditional registry gifts.
Anna Post — great, great-granddaughter of Emily Post — says not only has cash always been an acceptable wedding gift, but it is now okay for the couple to let guests know that is the gift they prefer. Of course, as with asking for any gift, it is best to be discreet by letting guests know that any gift is welcome and offering at least some traditional registry items for guests who don’t feel comfortable giving money.
The average age of marriage (for men and women) has increased quite a bit in the last 20 years to almost 27 (26.6) for women and 29 (28.6) for men, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The older couples are, the more stuff they probably own. For many of them, registering for kitchen tools just doesn’t make much sense.
“Cash is the oldest, most popular wedding gift in human history. (Couples) want cash, but it is a hard thing to talk about,” says Jeff Beil, founder of Tendr, a website that helps couples manage cash gifts.
Some guests may be worried about how much to give. The average cash gift is around $120, says Beil, but Post says the amount you give should be based on three factors: your relationship to the couple, what you think they’d like to have and how much you feel comfortable spending.
Two of those factors will vary depending on the individual doing the giving, but a recent survey from Tendr offers a bit of insight on what the couple may like to have. Of 4,000 couples surveyed, more than half (56%) said they would use wedding cash to pay for their honeymoon.
Other top uses for cash wedding gifts included:
Paying off debt: 34%
Pay for wedding stuff: 20%
Save for a house: 18%
Home renovations: 14%
Buy things that are hard to register for: 14%
So keep this in mind when deciding how much to give, but never feel pressured to give more than you can afford.