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13 April 2005 @ 06:47 pm
cash as wedding present?  
I'm quite sure you can help me. I'm invited to a wedding (people I like but not my closest friends) and on the invitation card they ask, instead of presents, for a monetary contribution "to buy a piece of art" without specifying what it is.
To be honest, I guess they just want cash instead of household stuff they don't need, and put the art in to make it sound nicer.
My questions:
1) How do you give cash as a present? Any ideas to make it look less, um, "cashy"? Just putting it into an envelope with a card seems weird to me.
2) How much, approximately, would you give, for me and my boyfriend together? All of us, the wedding couple and us, are financially somewhere "in the middle ground", neither rich nor broke.
I have not much experience with weddings (so I have no idea about the "normal" price range for gifts), and I never gave cash as a present before.

EDIT Wow, thank you so much for your input! I tried to somehow combine your suggestions, and I think I write them a check over 99.99$ (to be just a little, well, funny, and not too cheap, after all my bf and I are completely separate entities, financially ...) and put it into some artsy little box with an artsy little card.
I'm glad to read that my slightly weird feelings when opening this invitation were not due to some Victorian mindset:-)

And when I have figured out what to wear, given the fact that I have to ride a motorcycle 20 miles to the church and another 20 miles from church to reception without a real chance to change apart from the open field somewhere, I‘m good to go. *sigh*
This here is my juke joint.wyliekat on April 13th, 2005 05:03 pm (UTC)
It's very standard in my part of the world to give cash - we refer to it as "presentation" to make it more classy.

Most of the time, it's simply tucked into a card, either in cheque or cash form. Some cards even have a money shape and corner tuck spots to do this.
see me down to the edge of the wildfaecat on April 13th, 2005 05:06 pm (UTC)
Yep. Card of congratulations with a check tucked inside.
(no subject) - 4q on April 14th, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wyliekat on April 14th, 2005 05:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wyliekat on April 14th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 4q on April 14th, 2005 05:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wyliekat on April 14th, 2005 05:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Kristenwyllow42 on April 13th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
I have seen money trees done with rolled up dollar bills. You could do it with $1 bills and it would look really pretty and like a lot of money.

If you know the people really well, I would say that $50 is a good gift from a friend.
Jesus H mutha fuckin' boom boom Christbeanochavez on April 13th, 2005 05:15 pm (UTC)
I love money trees... so cute. I'm sure you can get pretty creative with it, too.
(Deleted comment)
Queen Shebaqueensheba on April 13th, 2005 05:06 pm (UTC)
Inside a card with a nice personal message is perfectly appropriate.

If it were me, I might give approximately $50 (from my husband and myself). However, if I bought a present, I might buy one that cost slightly less than that or significantly more, depending on how well I knew the people.
Wendymogingham on April 13th, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC)
I haven't heard of that before but hey, to each their own!:) I would say just include a check in a card. For someone who wasn't a super close friend but you still liked I would say that $25 or $30 would be appropriate. Some of that will depend on where you live. I live in the south where things aren't usually as expensive but if you live in New York City or something you may want to up the amount a little.
Retrospective Introspectiveciri on April 13th, 2005 05:08 pm (UTC)
I read somewhere that you are "supposed" to give at least as much as it is costing them to have you at the wedding/reception. But I don't know how the hell you're supposed to find that out.

We usually spend around $50 on a gift depending on how well we know the couple.
tattooed❤girl: 4-leaf cloverhullo_lani on April 13th, 2005 05:16 pm (UTC)
lol.......I'm sure that's just a guideline. I hope so at least.
My cousin was married at the Ritz in Paris. The reception was $500/person. Ain't no way my husband and I were shelling out $1000 for a gift! hahahaha..... Then again, with plane tickets, lodging, etc... we spent a LOT more than that $1K to share the day with them.
(no subject) - cme2694 on April 13th, 2005 08:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Jensobriquet42 on April 13th, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
Leave a check instead of money. My friends wedding presents were all stolen and all the money went with it. People who wrote checks simply cancelled the checks and wrote her a new one.
Gone!strong_survive on April 13th, 2005 11:29 pm (UTC)
oh my, did they ever find out who did it? i think i'd notice someone hauling a big garbage bag full of gifts, was it kept in a separate location?
(no subject) - sobriquet42 on April 14th, 2005 03:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
emmyemmycantbemeeko on April 13th, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
For my part, once somebody asks for ANYTHING on the invitation, I'm pretty much not interested in going to the wedding. That's not just not normal, it's rude as hell. The whole point of inviting people to a wedding is to have them there. Bringing a gift is traditional,and in very good taste, and it's fine for the couple to tell people who ask them what they would like. But it's NOT something that should ever ever ever be on the invitation, ever. That's just... wow. Greedy. I mean, you'd be appalled at a birthday party invitation that specified what present to bring, right? Weddings, same deal.

But if you're still going to the wedding and interested in giving them cash, you can do it in a card in an envelope (at many weddings, and I'll be dimes to dollars at this wedding in particular, they have a box at the reception for such envelopes), you can give a check in a card, you can send it through the mail (more secure) or you can give an american express gift check or visa gift card.

As to how much, it's really up to what you feel comfortable spending. Many people calculate it based on an amount of their choosing over the amount they estimate was spent per capita on the wedding reception, but you're under no obligation to do that, especially if you can't afford it, and ESPECIALLY given that the couple is being so horribly greedy in the first place. Give what you're comfortably able and want to, and don't let the demands of the couple influence you, especially not under the circumstances.
pants.onepart_lullaby on April 13th, 2005 05:30 pm (UTC)
I agree, and everything I've ever read on wedding etiquette (example if you scroll down here) would agree too. Money as wedding gifts is rude, and, to be blunt, tacky.

That said, I would also agree with the above suggestion to go with what you are comfortable with and what you can afford. Absolutely don't feel like you must give a huge amount. Another option would be to consider something you would have bought for them if they had not asked for cash, and give the monetary value of that item.
(no subject) - emmycantbemeeko on April 13th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - amandahuginkiss on April 13th, 2005 06:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - onepart_lullaby on April 13th, 2005 06:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - beewee on April 13th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meig on April 13th, 2005 06:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - brn_eyd_grl on April 13th, 2005 06:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shortsweetcynic on April 13th, 2005 08:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
lemniskatelemniskate on April 13th, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC)
you should be able to buy a card specifically for money; though I'd do a check just so that it's easier to keep track of.

and I'd just figure out how much you would have spent on a gift, and give them that much. :)
Photurispatagonia on April 13th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC)
Call up the place they are having the reception at, or just look the place up online. Try to find out approximately how much it costs them per person and give atleast enough to cover the cost of you and your bf.
Amanda Huginkissamandahuginkiss on April 13th, 2005 05:24 pm (UTC)
It's very common in many cultures to give cash gifts. The whole idea is to help the couple get started and also to help them recoup some of the expenses of the wedding.

It's fine to just put in a cheque or cash inside a card. However, in my culture (Chinese), we put the cash gifts in little red "lucky envelopes". Maybe you could consider that, if putting cash in an envelope seems a little weird to you.

I think that the amount that you give depends on how close you are to the person, and how much you can afford. I think $100-$150 for you and your bf is a safe amount. However, if you're really close to the bride and/or groom, and you can afford it, you might want to bump that up to $200.

As an aside, I personally have always felt that asking for cash outright is somewhat tacky. However, I realize that it's a common request. But then in some cultures (including mine), it's just assumed that people will give you cash so I guess it's all relative. Nevertheless, telling people to give you money just seems a little.... grabby? :)
Amanda Huginkissamandahuginkiss on April 13th, 2005 05:27 pm (UTC)
whoa.... I just read the amounts that other people listed.

I think that:

a) I've been too generous!
b) people were really generous at my wedding!

(no subject) - kayranord on April 13th, 2005 05:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - amandahuginkiss on April 13th, 2005 05:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rarah on April 13th, 2005 06:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rissainthesky on April 14th, 2005 01:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 4q on April 14th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - amandahuginkiss on April 18th, 2005 06:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
I'm undercover cool: calmshanin on April 13th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
Personally I think its tacky to ask specifically for money but thats just me. But when I do give money I give it as cash in a nice card.
the dudeange420 on April 13th, 2005 05:41 pm (UTC)
You could also buy an Amex giftcard. I would also say $50.

My sister is getting married to a Vietnamese American and, according to him, money is the only present his side of the family will be giving. In his culture, they often use the money to help pay for the wedding.
tattooed❤girl: flamingoshullo_lani on April 13th, 2005 05:41 pm (UTC)
Here's my story...
A very good friend of ours was getting married last fall. I had been waiting 15+++ years for this day and was SO excited to be able to hunt down just the right gift to show them how loved they were and how happy we were for them. Then the invitation came. Included was a card explaining they were hoping to buy a house soon and asking for monetary gifts to go to their "mortgage registry" and a card of their realtor was included. I WAS MORTIFIED! Not only did I think it was extremely rude and tacky, but I was also really disapointed that I wouldn't be able to go shopping. My husband gently pointed out that it was their wedding, their registry, their gifts, and although we didn't have to give them money, shouldnt' we give them something they really want?
We compromised. I got them a pretty wooden "treasure" box and filled it with gold and silver chocolate coins, beaded necklaces, and at the bottom, a card with a $100 check in it.

And just as the shock of the mortgage request was wearing off (4 months later), we recieved a pre-printed thank-you note that they just signed their names to; no personal message at all! OMG! Even my husband had to shake his head on that one!

Use your own judgement. =T
emmyemmycantbemeeko on April 13th, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC)

Seriously, that is one of the tackiest things I have EVER heard. You have to submit that to etiquettehell.com.

Pre-printed thank you notes. Unbelievable.
(no subject) - hullo_lani on April 13th, 2005 05:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - sinca on April 13th, 2005 05:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - hullo_lani on April 13th, 2005 11:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - meig on April 13th, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - onepart_lullaby on April 13th, 2005 06:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - hullo_lani on April 13th, 2005 11:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - majolika on April 13th, 2005 06:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - hullo_lani on April 13th, 2005 11:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - patagonia on April 13th, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - hadattack on April 13th, 2005 07:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - hullo_lani on April 14th, 2005 12:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - magenta_girl on April 13th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - cme2694 on April 13th, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - odiedragon on April 13th, 2005 09:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - hullo_lani on April 13th, 2005 11:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Re: Here's my story... - hullo_lani on April 13th, 2005 11:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Here's my story... - dreamalynn on April 14th, 2005 03:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
*kaonamai on April 13th, 2005 05:52 pm (UTC)
i would do a check for $50. :)
amanda descendinglistenshesings on April 13th, 2005 06:00 pm (UTC)
I think my dad usually does $50 if it's family. anyone else I think it depends on how close he is with who is getting married, so that one is your call. I personally don't think $25 would be out of line.
Kmunchkin1616 on April 13th, 2005 06:13 pm (UTC)
first, I guess consensus is $50, which sounds fair to me if you can afford it.

next, while I agree it reads tacky to ask for money, I understand it. Think about it, not only can they buy what they want/need, they're not stuck returning 3 toasters or trying to find room for a set of china with a pattern they hate!
ellebeelbsassybelle on April 13th, 2005 06:30 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's tacky to ask for money. It could be, like other said, to get caught up from the wedding, especially now-a-days when less "parents of the bride" are paying for the wedding. Also, in some cultures, it's expected to give cash, but if one is marrying cross-culturally, and you would rather have cash, it might be nice to ask the other side, since they might not know to give money. Also, I really don't think that it's innappropriate to specify what it's going for--perhaps I don't agree with the piece of art, but what if it was for a nice bedroom set or dining set or sofas? No one guest could afford to give the couple a bedroom set, and I don't think that rude or anything to specify that! While it's not the same exact scenario, when I graduated for college, I asked for money, and I specified the things that I wanted--like a PDA and a nice SLR camera. When I saw the people who had given me money, they were really excited to see what I ended up buying, and they were happy that they could help facilitate me getting something that a) I wouldn't normally be able to afford, b) something that they wouldn't be able to afford and c) something that I would enjoy and be able to pick out myself.

Just my two cents. On the other side, though, even though they request that you give money, you could always give them a gift, or donate money to charity or whatever. Just because they request it doesn't mean that you have to do it.
Somewhere Betweenwait on April 13th, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC)
My family's tradition is to give money in multiples of 18. Eighteen is considered good luck in Judaism.
Gingerdewgirl on April 13th, 2005 07:55 pm (UTC)
!!!! Wow, you just solved something for me that I'd been wondering at for months.

We got married in September, and in among the standard checks/bills for even amounts like $50, $75, $100.... there was one for $72. We thought that was the strangest thing....now I understand (maybe) why that was!

The random things you learn in hip_domestics
(no subject) - wait on April 13th, 2005 08:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Melliethespis_mellie on April 13th, 2005 09:01 pm (UTC)
We didn't ask for cash in the invitations (we had a wedding in the US and a blessing in the UK) but rather spread the word when people asked that we wanted cash. Of course, for the wedding everyone knew I was immigrating to the UK and couldn't afford to ship a bunch of stuff, so most people just gave us money.

Cash is probably easiest as if you write a cheque it can become a hassle -- for example, my friend wrote a cheque to Mr and Mrs M *lastname*. I had closed my US bank account, so we went to her bank to cash the cheque. They had to see ID from both of us -- and my husband didn't have photo ID on him because British driving licenses used to not have photos. It was a HUGE pain just go get the $25. Everywhere I went to cash cheques, I had to bring my signed marriage license and my passport because some were made out to my maiden name, some were made out to both of us, etc. I was so, so grateful to everyone for their gifts, but because I had the added craziness of flying to a different country four days after the ceremony, the cheques made it difficult! :)
Merissainthesky on April 14th, 2005 01:21 pm (UTC)
I just address a check to "cash" to make it easier :)
rita0373 on April 13th, 2005 09:12 pm (UTC)
I am in the midst of reading everyone's reply so I am probably repeating what has been said.

It is very tacky and inappropriate to flat out as for a gift on your invitation. Even worse to ask for money. It is assumed the attendees will give a gift, you needn't remind them. Anyway, you are supposed to invite people because you want them there, you shouldn't be inviting them for a gift.

I think $50 is a fine gift. I think people spending $200 for a wedding gift is ridiculous.
Merissainthesky on April 14th, 2005 01:20 pm (UTC)
not if the wedding costs $150-$200 a plate-- thats the norm in some regions in the US.

$200 is standard per couple here- I'd be embarassed to give LESS.
(no subject) - rita0373 on April 14th, 2005 11:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rissainthesky on April 14th, 2005 11:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Merissainthesky on April 14th, 2005 01:23 pm (UTC)
As to how much, make SURE you ask around what is common to give in your region. In my area it is very poor taste to give less than $75 a person-- $100 is more common. This is because weddings cost at least that much a head. So dont just follow the advice of people here and give $50-- ask people what is typical for where you live.

Wednesday Addams in Grad School: Dancing through lifelittlewings04 on April 14th, 2005 05:29 pm (UTC)
Lord, I can't imagine outright asking for anything on the invitation to our wedding, never mind asking for money. Then again, I am the girl who had to be talked into a registry and the most common phrase out of my mouth was, "oh, no, don't put that, that's too dear by half, we can't ask for that!"

I think your $99.99 is a good figure, and it is cute. Bit more distinctive than just an even one hundred.