Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?

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tx09 Posts : 11 Registered: 9/3/09
Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 11:13 PM

Basically my cousin and her fiance are in the air force and are stationed in Japan. They don't have room over there for anything more than what they already have, and don't have anywhere in the states to keep gifts - unless they rent a storage unit. Even then, they won't know what they'll need until they actually get a permanent location. So, my cousin was wondering if she and her fiance could ask for those wishing to give gifts to give monetary gifts instead of a physical item. However, she isn't sure if this is polite to do, and if it is (given their circumstance) how she should word it.

So, what is ya'lls opinion on the matter? In her situation would it be all right to ask for money instead of gifts, or should she just make a wedding registry and graciously accept the gifts, even though currently she has no use for them?

We're asking this question because within the family we all agree that it sounds logical, and none of us think it sounds rude, but we're all biased because we're family. We certainly don't mean to sound rude or greedy, which is why we're asking if this is acceptable, before they ask. Please don't think ill of my cousin, she is a dear and would never do anything rude on purpose.

Thanks,
Jane

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 11:32 PM Go to message in response to: tx09

Dear Jane,

It's rude.

It's rude to direct anyone to give you a particular item, and this is especially true with wedding guests.

(Sure, within an intimate family circle, broad hints can be acceptable. I'm assuming the wedding guests are outside that intimate family circle.)

Here is what I suggest. Recognize that the wedding guests are smart people. Once they know the situation of an overseas assignment, they can figure out for themselves that giant fluffy pillows might not be a great idea.

Let everyone know, through The Grapevine, that they are stationed in Japan. They have little space there, and transporting household items back from Japan will be problematic. Then, let the wedding guests draw their own conclusions.

"Hi, Jane, I got your sister's wedding invitation. I'm wondering what they might like for a wedding present."

"To tell you the truth, transporting household items to and from Japan is a real hassle. With that in mind, a lot of our family are just giving them cash."


"Hi, Jane, do you know where Marge and Homer will live after the wedding? Aren't they both in the Air Force right now?"

"Yes, you are right, they are in the Air Force in Japan now, and will be stationed there for at least two years after the wedding. For that reason, I will be giving them a cash gift. The logistics of getting stuff to Japan and back to the US are really difficult."

If I were a wedding guest, I might consider giving them cash or, if I had my heart set on some tangible gift, I might offer to store the item in my house until they return from Japan. If I had space, I might offer to store any other wedding gifts they might receive in my house, as well, as a favor to friends.

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tx09 Posts : 11 Registered: 9/3/09
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 19, 2010 12:04 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Thanks, that really helps. I'll let her know, and we'll go from there. Since you said it is rude to ask for any gift directly, does that mean she shouldn't create a wedding registry with specific items marked on it? I've recieved them before in wedding invitations, and just thought of them as common place. Is that actually not acceptable?

I'm glad I am not having to deal with this yet, I've never realized how much actually goes into a wedding. Some of the time its like walking on egg-shells. 'Oh, but you have to invite Great Aunt Ellen! She'll be terribly offended if you don't!'

Sad to say, but when the time comes I might just elope! (Just kidding, but seriously, right now, it seems like the sane thing to do.)

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 19, 2010 12:32 AM Go to message in response to: tx09

Dear Jane

" Since you said it is rude to ask for any gift directly, does that mean she shouldn't create a wedding registry with specific items marked on it?"

Any engaged couple can certainly set up a wedding registry, with particular items. No problem with that.

The trick is you cannot TELL people proactively that you prefer this or that gift, or that you are registered here or there.

Don't ask, don't tell! People in the military should understand that one!!!

If someone asks about the registry, then certainly you or anyone can answer their qeustion, just as you can mention that they are in the service and would find household goods as gifts to be a problem.

Lots of people put registry inserts into their invitations. Why? Because the retail stores love having free advertising. Many people, including myself, find that to be sub-par. You're telling me about your gift registry without my having asked.

I might have an entirely different gift in mind, and I might be annoyed to have a gift registry shoved in my face.

"I'm glad I am not having to deal with this yet, I've never realized how much actually goes into a wedding. "

There are all kinds of land mines out there. (Another military analogy.)

The problem is that a wedding is just about the only time in an ordinary person's life when it's appropriate to receive gifts from people you barely know.

Think: on your birthday, you usually get gifts from only your closest friends, your boyfriend and your parents and sibs. Great. Those are the same poeple you give gifts on their birthday. You all know each other very well, and within the dynamics of an intimate family circle or that of close friends, you can drop hints, leave catalogs open on the breakfast table with !!!! next to certain items.

On your birthday, however, you don't normally receive gifts from your next door neighbor, your dad's boss or your second cousin. If you invite these people to your wedding, you most likely will receive gifts from them. Thus, you have to be very careful about how you "direct" gift-giving to yourself from these people you don't know all that well.

In other words, you learn and follow Etiquette.

Good luck.

Eloping isn't really that bad an idea.

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PharmToxGirl Posts : 5,446 Registered: 8/30/07
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 19, 2010 2:52 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I would love AOTB's opinion on this as well, but in my opinion, if the couple is not registered any where, then I might even get the hint that much more that 'objects', even household one's might present a problem.

So I'd be inclined to not register in their situation. But that's just my take.

And mind this - when my Mom got remarried, they didn't register (that would have been to the side of ridiculous in their minds), told everyone who asked that they didn't want gifts and made it known that they were selling their house and living in a 5th wheel (type of Winnebago).

Some people, like my aunt (my dad's sister who was invited to the wedding - long story, but awesome) wouldn't take no, so when I asked my Mom, because my aunt asked me, she said well, a GC to Penney's or something would be nice because I always need clothes.

Therefore, my aunt got her something that was great for my Mom.

Other friends of theirs bought them a wine fridge - they like wine, but where would they put it in the fifth wheel (aka winnebago). They ended up selling it to a friend of mine who LOVES it - so it worked out, but it was completely inappropriate.

So having those close to your cousin be able to guide guests is very very helpful.

 

 

 

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 19, 2010 10:39 AM Go to message in response to: PharmToxGirl

dear PTG,

"I would love AOTB's opinion on this as well, but in my opinion, if the couple is not registered any where, then I might even get the hint that much more that 'objects', even household one's might present a problem. "

It's totally OK not to register. Registries were originally invented so the couple could get a complete set of expensive china or silver. They've morphed into the price gun monster we have now, where even toilet brushes are "directed" gifts.

If a couple has not registered, I would assume one of two things. First, obviously, they want people to get the idea they want cash. The second assumption would be they like to be surprised.

So, if I hear that the HC has not registered, I would take a few moments to think about what that might mean.

Young, broke, struggling couple who can barely make the rent payment every month? Cash.

40-something widow marrying a widower combining two complete households? They don't want to clutter up their house even more. I would get them something consumable. Depending on their tastes, I might get them a cheese-of-the-month subscription or something like that. Have flowers delivered each month on the calendar number day of their wedding.

In the OP's case, two people in the military stationed overseas? No registry? I'd give cash or if I gave a tangible gift for some reason, I would offer to store the gift in my house until they returned to the US. If I'm close to the couple, I might offer to store any other tangible gifts they might receive, just as a nice favor.

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MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 19, 2010 12:02 PM Go to message in response to: tx09

In this case, I'd strongly suggest that you not register at all, unless you feel certain you can comfortably register for enough items at various price points that the couple will actually use.

That doesn't sound like it's the case, so I wouldn't register. Like Aunt, if I hear that a couple isn't registered, the first thing I would think is Why? and I would probably understand that the couple really would just prefer cash, for whatever reasons.

__________________________________________

"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson

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tx09 Posts : 11 Registered: 9/3/09
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 19, 2010 2:19 PM Go to message in response to: MsDenuninani

Thank you all for the advice. I have directed my cousin to this site, so I expect she'll be around sometime, so I don't have to be the go-between - especially since all our contact is via e-mail. Hehe. From what I've told her, she sounds to agree with all of you. She sounded relieved that she didn't have to make a registry full of stuff she doesn't need. She's really appreciative of all the help and advice, but I bet she'll come around and tell ya'll herself.

I, personally, feel like I've had a big "duh!" sign, stamped to my forehead. I can't believe I missed that obvious statement about registries. I always assumed you just had one. It is true though, a friend who recently got married had all sorts of trivial items on her registry. It is a "Let's go crazy with a price gun!" thing. (not always, I am sure.)

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 19, 2010 2:27 PM Go to message in response to: tx09

Dear Jane,

". It is true though, a friend who recently got married had all sorts of trivial items on her registry. It is a "Let's go crazy with a price gun!" thing. (not always, I am sure.)"

Remember, the store people are not your friends. They have only one motivation: To increase sales at your store. That's why they encourage a giant registry of all kinds of things, then give you little cards so you can advertise their store in your invitations.

They also push high-end stuff for the registry by telling you that you can get a discount, later, if no one buys you a flat screen TV or expensive mixer. That puts the expensive stuff out in front of the guests, and makes for a slightly discounted sale later.

I know someone who put a Wii balance board on her Toys R Us Baby registry (yes, baby registry) just because she could get a discount later.

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tx09 Posts : 11 Registered: 9/3/09
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 19, 2010 9:11 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Wow, but really, I don't find it that hard to believe. Stores will do anything for free advertisement. I mean, look at those young girls wearing Abercrombie and Holister and American Eagle shirts which just have the store's name on it. Seriously, big bold letters spelling out "HOLISTER" and I am sure they pay an arm and leg so that the store can advertise.

It is decided, when I get married (not in the plans right now, though I am in a serious relationship), I will not have a registry unless I want the same set of cooking pots, silverware, or of the such. As AOTB stated, it was originally for that purpose, right? If I don't elope that is. Hehe.

About 9 months ago I was dead set on getting engaged around the time I graduate. Now however, I am graduating college and am thinking... what's the rush? My boyfriend and I are both on the same page too, which is great, but I don't see it happening in the near future. I want to get acclimated to work before I agree to something so big. (Just a little snippet about myself =D)

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 19, 2010 10:03 PM Go to message in response to: tx09

Dear Jane,

I was in more or less the same situation as you are now. I had a serious boyfriend, but we decided to take our time and get married at the "right" time instead of following someone else's time schedule.

However, as you have gathered, wedding planning is a giant task. There's nothing wrong, now, with educating yourself on the subject and getting an idea of what you are up against should you, someday, decide to have a wedding.

I did exactly that, back in 1976, in those pre-internet days. Starting about a year before I actually got married, I bought Brides Magazine and it was a bit help. I sent away for invitation samples and started to think in concrete terms about what I wanted, as well as what I did not want.

You don't have to break the bank to put on a nice wedding. Much of the stuff pushed by the giant Wedding Industrial Complex is completely optional. Pick and choose what means the most to you and ignore the rest. You don't need personalized engraved toasting flutes.

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tx09 Posts : 11 Registered: 9/3/09
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 19, 2010 11:10 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

AOTB,

I guess it doesn't hurt to start gathering information now, and I am already learning a ton through first-hand experience helping those around me plan for their weddings. And by plan, I mean, "Ohh, green and brown would look lovely together." or "Those BM dresses are a little too short, perhaps something longer would look better?" But I do see how stressed they get, and it is my goal to avoid it. Also, since this is an etiquette forum, do you think it would be bad if I asked to use hand-me-down decorations whenever I get married? Not sure I'll even have the option to borrow things, but it just hit me as a way to save money. How did I save money going back to school shopping? Raided my sister's closet and took anything she didn't want or couldn't wear anymore.

I'm not at the point where I've started buying Bridal magazines, but when I feel like I am getting closer to being ready I probably will. If I hadn't been told (by ladies on these forums actually) to relax and let things happen at a natural progression, I probably would have already purchased an entire magazine stand. I can sometimes get a bit obsessive.

However, like I said, not gonna happen any time soon. I'm 22, 23 this year, and am just now getting to the point where I can stand on my own two feet. I don't need the pressure of planning a wedding (because I am sure even the least stressful weddings put pressure on the bride) nor do I think I am ready for a husband. When I talk to my girl friends about this they always seem to misinterpret and think I am not certain about the man I am with. That is not the case though. I just have seen what marriage can do to younger couples - believe it or not it puts way more strain on a relationship than just being boyfriend or girlfriend. I can definitely see myself married to my boyfriend, and certainly want to be... one day, just not yet.

Does that make sense? I mean, I am surrounded by women around my age and they are all pinning to get married. Are girls suppose to want to be married by now? Maybe I am just behind the curve, because like I said, several months ago - while the reality of it all was more an illusion than anything - I was thinking I would get engaged/married around this time, but now that it is here, I don't feel as ready as I thought I'd be. Does me not being ready reflect negatively on my relationship?

I've had many a conversation about this with friends and family, and I hold my ground. When we are ready we'll get married and not a day sooner. Can't people (and by people I mean those around me) just accept that a young couple wants to be more than college sweethearts before they get hitched? Granted, my guy has been in the real world, making his money, paying mortgages - but I haven't. Is there something so wrong with wanting to be able to support myself too? My boyfriend and I agree on the matter, but I can't seem to express myself to those around me that I care about. "You're great together, just get married. You already know you're compatible!" Yeah, I know that. Right now, the me that is a college student is compatible with him, a college grad who is now working. And as cynical as it might sound, I don't want to get married and then find out a year later that working + relationship + life in general has made us not-compatible. While I don't think it'll happen, I don't like jumping into things before I am ready.

Is it normal to be 22 and to want to get married, one day, but to be not ready to get married, yet? Argh, I sound pathetic. Not to mention I just hijacked this thread...

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 20, 2010 12:28 AM Go to message in response to: tx09

Dear Jane,

"Is it normal to be 22 and to want to get married, one day, but to be not ready to get married, yet? Argh, I sound pathetic. Not to mention I just hijacked this thread..."

I wish I could talk to you face to face.

Let's pretend, for a moment, I am your older sister. I sit you down and hold your hands in my hand, look into your eyes and tell you something very profound:

"You are OK."

You are following your own internal schedule of life's events and, thankfully, your wonderful boyfriend is more or less on the same schedule.

Here is my suggestion to you, and remember I'm your older sister who loves you:

Make a date with yourself to reevaluate the situation each time you have a birthday. It's your own private, personal promise to yourself. On your birthday, look at yourself in the mirror and say to yourself "Am I on track? Am I happy with my life? Am I finding fulfillment with what I am doing now?"

Give yourself some honest answers and, if you like, share those reflections with your boyfriend. Then, once your birthday passes, go back to just making it through your every day life. Get to work on time, bank your paycheck, get the laundry done and try to get to bed at a decent time each night.

One year, you'll look at yourself in the mirror and say, "Hey, it's time."

Let's address some of your questions:

"But I do see how stressed they get, and it is my goal to avoid it."

Knowledge is power. Keep your eyes and ears open as you see others around you plan weddings. Make mental notes about what "works" and what doesn't. Remember being a high school junior and hearing of others' experiences in college? You learned from their successes and failures. ("I should have gotten a roommate change right away, instead of suffering for months." "Spiral binders are just perfect for class notes.")

"Also, since this is an etiquette forum, do you think it would be bad if I asked to use hand-me-down decorations whenever I get married? "

Sure, why not? So long as they look nice, I don't have a problem with that. Besides, you can always change a look with a new ribbon or fresh candles.

". I'm 22, 23 this year, and am just now getting to the point where I can stand on my own two feet."

Learning to take care of yourself is hard enough. Once you have a couple of years of looking out for Number One behind you, you can consider looking out for One and Two. I had two years of being completely self-supporting between my undergraduate degree and my marriage. That time was invaluable.

"When I talk to my girl friends about this they always seem to misinterpret and think I am not certain about the man I am with."

Of course you are certain. You just have things to do, first, like paying your own bills, doing your own taxes and building your own IKEA furniture.

" I mean, I am surrounded by women around my age and they are all pinning to get married. Are girls suppose to want to be married by now?"

A lot of it is all the wedding reality shows around. It's kind of like when The Love Boat came on TV. Suddenly, the cruise industry exploded in popularity because people saw cruises on TV every week.

"Maybe I am just behind the curve"

You're on your own schedule. Your own brain and your own common sense is setting the pace. That's a heck of a lot better than letting Bridezillas TV show do it for you.

"Does me not being ready reflect negatively on my relationship?"

Not at all. In fact, it reflects POSITIVELY on your own mental stability as well as the mental stability and goodness of your boyfriend, as he is not pushing you into something you are not ready for. It sounds like you and your boyfriend of of the same mind, which is excellent. Very very positive. You want to go through life with someone who sees it the same way you do, more or less.


", but I can't seem to express myself to those around me that I care about. "

I care about you, and you have expressed yourself beautifully. They have their agenda. They want to validate their own choices, possibly poor choices. They are threatened by the idea that a couple can see each other exclusively, for a good long time, without an engagement.

You are not pathetic at all. You actually remind me very much of myself, 34 years ago. And, guess what. I married my guy and we are both, still, in our one and only marriage. No divorces. Parents of great kids. Entering our "senior" years still happy together and in love.

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ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 20, 2010 11:13 AM Go to message in response to: tx09

I also wish I could talk to you in person, because there's so much going on in your post that's worth addressing! I'm just going to comment on a small-but-important portion of what you've said. I'll check back if you want to chat more or about something else in your post. :)

Does that make sense? I mean, I am surrounded by women around my age and they are all pinning to get married. Are girls suppose to want to be married by now?

Yes, your feelings make plenty of sense. As for whether you're 'supposed' to want to get married, there is no right or wrong answer because it's a very personal question.

Personally, I was like you. I met my now-husband when I was 19, and I had no interest in getting married young. We both had tons of stuff that we wanted to accomplish before settling down, including finishing college (as we met in college), living abroad a couple times, getting professional degrees, moving to new cities, and basically pursuing any worthwhile career or education opportunity that came up in our early and mid-20s. For us, that meant often living in different cities, if not different countries. Our opportunities did not always coincide - but neither of us wanted the other to give up an opportunity for the sake of our relationship. Marriage and living together could wait, but these opportunities would not. Those were our formative years as adults and I don't regret one decision that we made. We finally got to a point where opportunities had stablized and we were certain of our future paths, at least for now - that was when we sat down and figured out how to merge everything into a life together. We got married a couple years ago after 8 years together - I was 27 and he was 29. I don't regret a thing. We're just as married as we would have been had we gotten married years ago, and we started off our marriage as much stronger individuals. Instead of being two struggling kids sacrificing opportunities to be together (that I know we'd regret eventually), we started our marriage as two confident professionals. That was the best decision we could have made for ourselves and our marriage.

So I understand how you're feeling, even if our circumstances are different. It's not about the relationship - it's about the timing. The best thing you can do for yourself is to follow your own instincts, not what other people think or what everyone else is doing. Your own instincts are what's best for you and your relationship.

Maybe I am just behind the curve, because like I said, several months ago - while the reality of it all was more an illusion than anything - I was thinking I would get engaged/married around this time, but now that it is here, I don't feel as ready as I thought I'd be.

Honey, it's called getting older. When you're younger, it's all well and good to say, 'I want to get married by the time I'm 23,' or 'I want kids by the time I turn 30.' When you're younger and saying that, 23 or 30 seems so old, wise, and mature, so you think you'll DEFINITELY be ready by that age - you know, since it's so old, wise, and mature. ;) Then you get older, and as you approach that age, you don't FEEL any older, wiser, or more mature! You just feel like the same person, and you might not feel ready. That's perfectly fine, and that's exactly why we all need to adjust our 'life timelines' to fit our feelings as we get older.

If it helps, I'm feeling the same way right now, except it's about having kids, not marriage. I'll turn 30 by the end of this year, and I always figured I'd have kids or be thinking about kids by 30 - but I can get over that. As I mentioned, you have to adjust your timeline, and I know that and have done it. But we celebrate our 2nd anniversary next Monday, and when we got married, we said that we'd wait 2-3 years before having kids. Well, 2 years have passed, and where are we? Erm, still saying we'll be ready in 2-3 years. :) It turns out that we're not as old, wise, and more mature as we thought we'd be 2 years into our marriage. And it turns out that 2 years wasn't enough 'us time' that we feel we need before starting a family. I could go on and on about this topic, but we're both at peace with our decision to wait, and that's what's important.

Does me not being ready reflect negatively on my relationship?

Of course not! Did my desire to be a confident professional woman on my wedding day instead of a young kid with no experience or prospects mean anything about my relationship? Of course not - it meant that I was being smart and realistic, and wanted to give my future marriage the best possible chance to succeed.

And as much as your friends talk about wanting to get married, I'd be willing to bet that at least half of them are not ready any more than you are. They may just be taken in by the romantic idea of marriage, or by the idea of planning a wedding. Or they might be caught up in peer pressure or what everybody expects of them. The best thing you can do for yourself (and this is true for MANY subjects in life, not just this one) is NOT WORRY about what other people are doing or thinking. Do what's best for YOU.

DaisypathWedding Ticker

Vice President and Guardian of the Toilet Brush of POOP: People Offended by Offended People

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08divabride Posts : 831 Registered: 11/17/07
Re: Asking for Money Instead of Gifts?
Posted: Apr 20, 2010 12:27 PM Go to message in response to: tx09

Hello, IMO I think its rude to ask for money as a wedding gift. I can understand why you would want to, but to me it's just not right.

I have a question, what happens if I don't have the money to give when it comes time for the wedding, do I just show up empty handed because that's all the bride and groom wanted? Or do I go to Macy's because I have a Macy's credit card and buy a nice gift? You see? I don't think its right to put limitations on your guests.

 Lilypie - (8e8A)

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