Navigating the world of registry etiquette is tough work. To put together The Registry Rule Book, we asked some industry experts to weigh in and answer some of the hardest questions engaged couples might have.
If you've been together a while—or just on this Earth a while—you and your partner likely have all the whisks, bowls and candlesticks you need to start your life together. "I'd rather just have the $80," you whisper to yourself as you consider scanning a blender onto your registry. The very next thought is this direct-but-indelicate question: Is it greedy if we just straight up ask for cash?
WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR:
Nope! Get that Dough
If what you really want is money, you should ask for money, right? Tabitha Abercrombie, the founder of event and floral design company Winston & Main, has your back. Kinda.
"I'm a big fan of avoiding more stuff if you're happy with what you have," Tabitha said. "But I would caution you to know your audience though." What she's saying is, she and our other experts have some ideas for making the ask for cash more palatable...
THE EXPERT ANSWER:
Not as Long As You're Tasteful (and Creative) About It
Every one of our experts agreed that it is possible to navigate this registry minefield with grace. And most of them suggested the same solution: Don't ask for straight up cash, set up cash funds.
Tabitha recommends starting a honeymoon registry, where guests contribute monetary gifts towards specific honeymoon experiences. "A few of the things we had on ours were a romantic dinner for two in Big Sur, a horseback ride, and a bottle of champagne in our room on arrival," the one-year newlywed event designer told us.
But know that your cash fund doesn't have to be limited to honeymoon gifts, if there's something else you're saving up for. At sites like Zola and Blueprint Registry, you can establish cash funds for anything under the sun—from a house down payment to renovation projects and even charitable donations. Blueprint Registry's founder Lizzy Ellingson thinks your registry should reflect your real life. "At Blueprint, we support personal and unique cash registries where couples are able to ask for funds to help support their lifestyle," she told us. "We're seeing more couples who are living together before they decide to get married. These couples often times have the registry essentials and would rather enhance the time they spend together with fun activities, or even major home upgrades."
The important thing, according to Zola's Newlywed-At-Large and Director of Brand Strategy Jennifer Spector, is that you make your wishes clear up front: "If you're just doing cash, we've seen that guests respond well when you say what that cash is going towards, whether it's a new house or specific dinners while on your honeymoon."
To help the news of a cash registry go down smoother, wedding writer and Bridentity Crisis blogger Kristin Joy suggests using your wedding website to hint at your plans. "If you'd rather have money for a big house payment or an extravagant honeymoon, then mention your exciting (and somewhat expensive) future plans on your wedding website, and that anyone wishing to express their well wishes can do so via your cash registry," Kristin said. "Good options include Blueprint Registry, Tendr, and and Zank You. This removes a bit of the awkwardness from straight up asking for money."
Maybe Have One Gift Registry
Even if you have more than enough at home and have made up your mind about registering for a cash fund, know that you might still see some push back or side-eye from your guests.
"Sites that allow the couple to build a 'fund' take a little bit of the sting out of asking for cash," said Vicki Fulop, one of the co-founders of luxury bedding company Brooklinen. "But I think there are always wedding guests that love selecting and giving a tangible gift, and taking the option away completely can ruffle some feathers. It's nice to think of the newlyweds enjoying their new gift as they build their lives together, and directly asking for only cash can feel a little pushy."
So consider starting one small registry of gift options—for both your guests' sakes and for you. "If your Aunt is going to get you a tangible gift no matter what, then maybe one registry is a good idea," Winston & Main's Tabitha told us. "That way you at least get something you like and need."
Now you weigh in: Is it OK to ask for cash instead of wedding gifts?