These tips on how to ask for cash for wedding gifts will help you communicate tactfully with loved ones as you ask for their help toward buying a home.
Figuring out how to ask for cash for wedding gifts is probably simpler than most couples realize.
Talking about finances can be emotional. But when it comes to wedding etiquette, honesty really is the best policy – especially if you’re planning a wedding and you’re also hoping to buy a home. This article aims to help you understand how to ask for cash for wedding gift.
Why are couples opting for cash instead of traditional wedding gifts?
Many couples these days have lived together before marriage, so they already have a lot of the housewares and decorative items they need. Others take a more minimalist approach to possessions, while some value experiences or long-term investments over traditional wedding gifts.
And one of the biggest investments most people make is the purchase of a home.
Your wedding shower and the wedding itself are opportunities for your loved ones to support you as you start a new chapter of your life. If homeownership will be part of that chapter, why not include your friends and family by being straightforward about what will be most helpful to you?
4 ideas on how to ask for cash for wedding gifts
A big fear among engaged couples is whether asking for cash as a wedding gift is rude. But it’s not at all – as long as you make the ask tactfully.
Here are some ways to find the right balance between being direct and being mindful of wedding etiquette.
Start with parents and close relatives
Some couples are fortunate enough to have parents or other close relatives who offer to help them pay for their weddings. If you are saving for a house, you might ask them openly whether they’d mind if you used some of that money toward your down payment. They’ve already decided to give you a cash gift, so this is a perfect opening to have that discussion.
Perhaps you’d prefer a smaller or more low-key wedding so you can prioritize becoming a homeowner. Your relatives may be elated by such a practical decision. Or, they may have certain expectations about how the funds will be used. Start these conversations early in the planning process and make them feel included by sharing your hopes and dreams for your new home.
Sharing your homeownership goals and communicating your preference for cash gifts with your close relatives and friends has another benefit as well.
“Even though gifts are an assumed part of weddings, if the couple behaves as if gifts are expected, it sends the wrong message,” says Karen Cleveland, an etiquette advisor. “Plant the seed with people you're closest to, like your parents, wedding party, and best friends so when people inevitably ask, ‘Hey, what should we get so-and-so for a wedding gift?’, your closest circle can suggest a cash gift. It is a more nuanced, subtle, and tactful way to inform your guests that you're really hoping for cash gifts.”
Share your homeownership goals on your wedding or registry website
Lots of registry and wedding websites these days allow you to include a cash fund to which guests can contribute. Asking for cash will seem a little less taboo if you include what the fund is for.
Debbie Mahoney, a Fairway loan officer, suggests including language that doesn’t make guests feel pressured but does let them know that their gift is going to a special purpose.
She offers this example: “Your presence at our wedding is the best gift of all. However, if you wish to give a gift, we will gratefully accept a small contribution toward our house fund.”
Including the word “small” is a good idea because it signals that you don’t expect people to give hundreds of dollars as a gift. Sometimes the idea of giving cash for a wedding, or helping someone with a house fund, causes people to assume they have to give a large sum.
But assuring guests that even a small amount is appreciated may encourage them to send whatever amount they planned to spend on a more traditional gift. And when it comes to saving up for a down payment, every little bit counts.
Make people feel like they’re part of your journey
Guests may be more inclined to contribute to a cash fund if they feel connected to your story. Sharing why you want to buy a home or even photos of the house you hope to build or plan to buy can get them excited about helping make your dream come true.
Fairway loan officer Katie Beam suggests including guests in other ways, too.
“On the invitations, tell them in lieu of a gift or card please write on this (provided) note card advice you wish you would have received prior to getting married,” she suggests. Alternatively, you can ask them to write down tips on homemaking, lawn care or home maintenance.
Then, if someone was only able to contribute a small amount to the fund – or they weren’t able to make a cash gift at all – they still feel like they’re supporting you and your spouse as you settle into your new home.
Beam also suggests having a “New Home” themed shower rather than a traditional wedding shower. That would signal the importance of this purchase to guests, and they could focus on contributing to your house fund or giving useful homeownership gifts, such as tools, housewares and gift cards to home improvement stores. All of those may come in handy after you move into the home.
Once you’ve bought your house, be sure to share the big news with everyone. Send photos from your closing or of your newly decorated home. If your loved ones live nearby, throw a housewarming party and thank them for helping to make your home purchase a reality.
Include a mix of cash funds and traditional gifts on your registry
However tactfully you ask for cash for a wedding gift, some guests may still prefer to give something more tangible. Honor your loved one’s different preferences by including some more traditional gifts on your registry so that people feel comfortable giving whatever makes sense to them.
Including traditional gifts alongside the cash registry can also make the cash ask seem more tactful since you’re giving everyone options rather than solely requesting cash.
You don’t have to register for things you don’t want or need. But maybe your everyday salad bowls have some chips in the ceramic or you’d enjoy having a nice new set of glassware. Maybe you’ve been meaning to buy a new set of spatulas or to replace your bathroom towels, which have seen better days. Those are all great, relatively inexpensive items to add to your registry in addition to your cash fund.
Work with a loan officer to document your cash gifts for your mortgage
Once you’ve received money for your shower and wedding, you want to make sure you can use those funds to purchase your home. Most loan programs allow you to use gift funds toward your down payment and closing costs, but they need to be documented properly.
Your loan officer can advise you on the best way to do this, including showing proof of your marriage and any transaction records of money being deposited into your bank account. That includes check and cash deposits, as well as transfers from Zelle, PayPal, and other popular cash apps.
If you’re not working with a loan officer yet, now is a good time to apply for pre-approval with a mortgage lender. They can tell you how much you may qualify to borrow and can advise you on the best way to document your wedding cash gifts so you can use them toward your new home.
The bottom line on how to ask for cash for wedding gifts
Asking for cash for wedding gifts is becoming less taboo as more couples embrace this trend. The key is to share your intentions for the money with your loved ones and help them understand that this money will help you establish a strong foundation for your married life and build a legacy with your partner.
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