Gift Registry or Cash: How to Handle your Wedding Gifts

Jun 17, 2016 | The Big Day

Wedding gifts can be a social minefield as the bride and groom try to find a balance between what is polite and what they actually want.

wedding gifts

These days, many couples live together for quite a while before they get married, which means they already have all of the items they need to make a house a home – or you know, cook toast.

Back in the olden days (the eighties), wedding gifts were practical, given to help newlyweds kit out the house they were moving into. Dinner plates, linen, kettles – these were all essential if the new Mr and Mrs Murphy wanted to avoid sleeping on the floor of a bare room.

Nowadays, wedding presents are a luxury and are seen as a way to mark a happy occasion. With this has come the rise in couples taking control of their wedding list to avoid seven people giving them wine glasses when they already have a set of 12 at home.

wedding gifts

Some will argue that you should accept any gift you’re given with a good heart, but that means you either end up with a lot of duplicates you don’t need or you have to spend a lot of time returning items.

Wedding Gifts: What are my options?

When it comes to wedding presents from guests, these can be divided into two categories – gift registry or cash.

Gift Registry

If you feel cheeky asking for cash, but you don’t like the idea of having a blender for every day of the week, you can set up a gift registry.

The benefits of a gift registry

  • Many people feel awkward giving cash as the amount they spend is so obvious.
  • It means you won’t receive items you already have.
  • It means you won’t receive items you really don’t want.
  • It lessens the likelihood of getting the same gift twice.
  • It gives people helpful guidelines and takes the stress out of gift buying.

wedding gifts

How to ask guests to buy from your registry

First of all, don’t mention gifts on your invite. Regardless of whether you want ‘Cash Gifts Only’ or you have a registry, mentioning gifts at all on your wedding invite is considered tacky.

Yes, we know it’s practical, but etiquette is not always about being practical…

If you have a wedding website, add the link to your invite and include a link to your registry there.

wedding gifts


There are people who will tell you that actually asking for cash is the ultimate breach of good manners, while others will say giving it is the best thing a wedding guest can do, considering the amount of money couples spend on weddings.

The benefits of cash gifts

  • It helps a couple recoup some of the money they spent on the wedding.
  • You won’t run the risk of giving a couple a gift they already have.
  • You’re giving them something that everyone likes.
  • They can buy something they really like or want rather than giving them a gift that requires the mantra: ‘It’s the thought that counts.’
  • If there’s nothing they want now, they can put it away for something they want down the line. Like the latest games console…
  • It can really help them build their future together if put it into a rainy day fund or towards a mortgage on their own place.

wedding gifts

How to ask guests for cash

Your best bet is to spread the word to close family and friends. Anyone else attending the wedding will ask one of them if they’re unsure about what to get you and that person can say they’re just giving you money.

Another alternative is to set up an account for something in particular, like Ikea if you need new furniture or an airline company if you guys want to travel over the coming years. That way you’re still getting money you can use, but your guests feel like they’re getting you something specific.

Wedding Gifts: The best solution?

A combination of both a gift registry and the option to give cash.