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Is it rude to ask wedding guests for money?

With wedding costs continuing to rise, more couples are looking for ways to offset expenses. One trend that has been growing in popularity is asking guests for money rather than traditional gifts. However, this practice is controversial and raises questions about etiquette.

The rising cost of weddings

According to various surveys, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is now over $30,000. This is a significant increase, even when accounting for inflation, from past decades. Some of the factors that contribute to rising wedding costs include:

  • Increasing costs of venues, food, attire, and other vendors
  • Larger guest lists
  • Couples spending more to personalize or “wow” guests
  • Wedding themes, styles, and little extras that raise the budget

For many couples and their families, this large financial burden causes stress. As a result, couples seek ways to offset expenses so they can still have their dream wedding.

The rising trend of asking for money

One popular way couples are offsetting wedding costs is through monetary gifts. According to the WeddingWire’s 2019 Newlywed Report, about 30% of recently married couples asked their wedding guests for money.

This practice gained momentum when couples began creating online gift registries. Most registries offer a money option, allowing guests to donate any dollar amount to the couple. Couples can then use this money however they choose, whether towards wedding expenses or to fund their new life together.

Today, more couples are asking for money directly on their wedding invitations, website, or through word of mouth. Some reasons this trend continues to rise in popularity include:

  • Monetary gifts are more practical – Couples can put the funds towards whatever they need most.
  • Guests prefer giving money – Monetary gifts give guests flexibility in their budget.
  • Helps couples recoup wedding costs – Money helps offset the high expenses, which couples appreciate.

The etiquette debate

Asking wedding guests for monetary gifts remains controversial. Many believe it comes across as rude, distasteful, or greedy. However, others view it as a practical request that benefits both the couple and their guests.

Here are some common pros and cons regarding the etiquette:

Reasons it may be perceived as rude:

  • Can appear gift grabby if the couple comes across as demanding money
  • Puts a price tag on attending the wedding
  • Forces guests into an awkward position if they cannot afford a monetary gift
  • Seems impersonal relative to traditional gift giving

Arguments that it’s perfectly acceptable:

  • Giving money is common practice in many cultures
  • Most guests prefer giving money over items from a registry
  • Couples appreciate money to offset wedding expenses
  • Monetary gifts are practical for funding the couple’s new life

Overall, there are good points on both sides of the argument. A key factor seems to be the execution by the couple in how they request monetary gifts. The manner and timing can either come across as polite or presumptuous.

Best practices for requesting money

For couples who decide to ask guests for monetary gifts, following certain etiquette guidelines can make the process feel more thoughtful. Here are some best practices:

  • Word invitation envelopes carefully – Mentioning gifts or money on the invitation comes across as rude. Keep the envelope focused on inviting them to share your joy.
  • Be selective in who you ask – Only request money from your inner circle of family and close friends who you know can afford it.
  • Create a gifts page on your wedding website – A separate page explaining that contributions would be appreciated is subtler than asking directly on the invite.
  • Suggest gift amounts modestly – Phrase as “gifts of any amount are appreciated” rather than listing dollar amounts that could be presumptuous.
  • Provide payment methods and logistics – Details for how they can send money makes it easy for interested guests.
  • Use inclusive wording – Say “if you prefer to provide a monetary gift” rather than “we expect monetary gifts” to avoid demanding expectations.
  • Share plans for the money – Giving wedding cost examples makes the request feel more purposeful.
  • Accept whatever gifts graciously – If guests still prefer a traditional gift, be appreciative.

Phrasing the request as an option while being transparent about intent is appreciated by most wedding guests. However, couples should ensure the monetary gifts do not become an obligation that strains guest relationships.

How much money is reasonable to request?

Deciding what monetary amount to recommend guests contribute is tricky. You want to offset your expenses without appearing greedy or triggering social awkwardness.

Here are typical gift amount guidelines:

Guest’s Relationship to Couple Average Gift Amount
Immediate family $100 – $500
Relatives $50 – $200
Close friends $50 – $150
Co-workers, acquaintances $20 – $75

These amounts serve as reasonable benchmarks. However, factors like budget, local costs of living, and wedding extravagance can shift the amounts up or down.

Rather than dictating dollar figures, best practice is to phrase the request modestly. For example, “We appreciate gifts of any amount” or “Monetary contributions in lieu of gifts would help fund our wedding and future together.” This inclusive language avoids awkwardness.

Other tips for requesting cash gifts

Besides using polite wording and suggested amounts, here are some other tips to smoothly incorporate monetary gift requests:

  • Note that physical gifts will be accepted and appreciated too.
  • Create a donations page guests can contribute to anonymously if preferred.
  • Offer multiple payment options – checks, bank transfer, online platforms, etc.
  • Send thank you notes to acknowledge the money and how you plan to use it.
  • Wait until after invites go out before following up; guests may already plan to give money.
  • Only follow up personally with very close family who promised contributions.

With mindful communication and no obligation or pressure, asking guests for monetary gifts can be completely polite. It allows you to fund the event you envision while allowing guests to gift comfortably.

Creative alternatives to requesting money

If asking for cash contributions still does not sit right, couples have some creative options to offset wedding costs diplomatically:

  • Charity donations – In lieu of gifts, suggest donations to a cause important to you.
  • Group funds – Set up crowdfunding for experiences like your honeymoon.
  • DIY projects – Ask loved ones to contribute supplies, decor items, baking goods to cut vendor costs.
  • Potlucks – Having guests bring dishes offsets catering and serves as an engagement gift.
  • Gift cards – Registries for gift cards to home improvement stores, travel sites, etc. can fund future projects.
  • Consumables – Ask for wine, baked goods, jams, etc. you can serve at your wedding and stock your new home.

With creativity and open communication, couples can offset wedding expenses in a way that feels good to them and their guests.


Asking wedding guests for money instead of traditional gifts is an increasingly common practice. While some find it distasteful, others view it as an appreciated way to offset expenses and fund the couple’s new life.

Following proper etiquette around how the request is made can help keep the process feeling thoughtful rather than gift-grabby. Tactful communication, reasonable amounts, and flexibility for standard gifts smooth over any faux pas concerns.

Weddings are expensive. So it’s understandable why today’s couples explore ways to offset costs and gain funds they can really use. Asking guests to contribute money very much has its place in modern weddings when handled respectfully.