Is Skipping the Gift Registry and Asking for Cash Rude?

A few weeks ago I posed a question on Facebook and Twitter to see if anyone thought it was rude or uncouth to ask for cards and cash instead of setting up a traditional gift registry for wedding guests. And man did people have some opinions!

For the most part people said that they didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but there were also quite a few people who said it was just downright rude to ask for cash. Personally, I’m still on the fence about the whole thing. I’ve read a lot (and I mean A LOT) of books on wedding planning and etiquette lately, and in all the books I’ve read the thing to do is to set up a gift registry.

That’s just how it’s been done for generations, and it’s what guests expect upon receiving their invitation. Hey, I’ll include myself in that group. When I get an invite, I can’t wait to find out where the couple is registered so I can buy them a rice cooker or blender!

That being said, this year I’ve attended three weddings who all did things a bit differently from one another. One had the traditional gift registry, another asked for cards and cash, and the third didn’t mention anything about gifts or a registry (but we just gave them a card and cash anyways). They were all pretty easy to do (either buy the gift online or write a cheque) and I honestly didn’t feel slighted in the least by the couples who asked for money.

What’s the difference between spending $100 on a kitchen appliance or giving the couple $100 in cash? How is picking an item from a curated list online and paying for it with a credit card any more personal than putting a cheque into an envelope? It’s not like you get to wrap the present or bring it with you to the reception. These days, most registries are set up so that once your credit card has been charged, you’re done. After the wedding the couple goes to the store to collect their loot and you may never actually see the present you bought them in person.

Another reason I’m not completely sold on this whole wedding registry idea is that, let’s be honest, most couples are already living together before they get hitched and thus already have everything they need for their household. What’s the point in buying a couple a new toaster when their current one is just fine? Personally, I’d rather give them cash that I know they’ll use for either their honeymoon, down-payment fund, or a nice dinner out.

And just before you comment about how there are things like Honeyfund, Our Wishing Well, WeddingRepublic, and eHoneymoon, which are ways to accept cash from guests online, I’ve looked into all of them and they all ding you with fees, either through their site or via PayPal. Just because those sites let guests choose what to contribute their money to (like snorkeling in Cancun for your honeymoon), to me it’s still just as impersonal as writing a cheque.

So, with all that being said, I think I’m just going to have to go against the grain and ditch the registry for my wedding. My BF and I have lived together for almost two years, have plans to do more traveling and possibly move, so getting a bunch of stuff just does not make sense for us. Call me uncouth, but I’d honestly rather get a card with no money in it (remember, wedding gifts of all sorts are optional after all) than get a Breadmaker I’d have to return or sell on Craigslist later on.

Do you think skipping the gift registry and asking for cash instead is rude?

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