Money as a gift: What is the etiquette? 319

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I had a phone call from my brother this morning. His son is having an engagement party shortly at a local club. The young couple don’t live together in the true sense, but live with the girl’s mother.

I asked the fiance at Christmas what she wanted as a gift and she told me. My brother told me they want money as a gift. I don’t know if anyone else thinks like me, but it seems so impersonal to give money as a gift when they will need other things when they are married. I told him I’m not giving money.

This seems to be happening all the time. I can understand it if they have been living together and have everything they need – but I would much prefer to pay for our own meal at the venue and give a small gift as well.

Also it would be preferable to have the option of either a gift or money.

I’m going against the most recent trend and buying the gift the fiancé suggested at Christmas.

Does anyone else feel as I do, that it is impersonal to give (or ask for) money as a gift?

Jeanette Southam

  1. My friend asked for cash instead of wedding presents – the idea was for cash to be put into pre-supplied pretty envelopes and dropped in the wishing well with no identification at all. But some people just could not resist putting the wedding card in with the money which defeated the whole purpose of the exercise..

  2. Booooo! So you are making yourself feel good and ignoring your brother’s request. How selfish! If I were your brother I’d feel angry at the way you have put your own needs before his, especially since you had asked and he had told you what he wanted.

    5 REPLY
    • why subject them to a vase or coffee set they don’t want or need. Money is a far better option as it enables them to buy what they need 🙂

    • Read the article properly Aileen. It is not my brother’s engagement, but his son’s and I didn’t ask, he just told me. At any rate the girl had already told me what she wanted. So Boooooo to you too.

    • Also Aileen you do not know me so who are you to tell me I am selfish. If you read the article instead of the blurb (which is wrong) you may get a better idea. Or cant you read?

  3. From a practical point of view, I think it’s a great idea. For my first marriage (in 1968) I think I got 3 sets of cheap plastic cannisters, and a range of rubbish items that I never used. Money would have been much more useful way back then. And i paid for my own wedding (everything – my folks couldn’t help) so the money would really have come in handy.

  4. When my first wife and I married in Melbourne back in 1967 most of our relatives were in UK. Many sent money as presents BUT that money was targeted at specific gifts and they were told what the gifts were. In later life I have often given money towards a larger expensive item as a present, something the birthday boy/girl really wanted.

  5. Cash has been an acceptable gift for many years. In some cultures money is pinned to the brides dress during the wedding dance so asking for cash is not something new, after all what is the real difference between a wedding registry at some expensive gift store or being able to stretch gifts of money further by taking advantage of buying any store specials? If it’s what they want then it should be their choice.

    10 REPLY
    • It is an Ethnic tradition, not Australian! Very crass to expect /ask for money as a gift. Ethnic traditions are different to our wedding traditions. At least get a store voucher, but not actual cash.

    • A gift is meant to say I care about you and you are important me, it’s not meant to mean remember what I gave you.

    • also a lot of couples living together b4 they marry so household already set up, so the things people might buy as gift they will already have, but with the money they can get something special or that they really need

    • I got 5 sets of saucepans for my wedding what was I going to do with all of these, money would have been a lot better & I could have bought what I needed. Giving money is also becoming an Australian tradition not only ethnic. Giving a money is better than a voucher.

    • What a nasty comment Lee Brown … and store vouchers are so limiting and thoughtless compared to cash.

    • I have seen the wishing well raided to buy grog at a number of weddings and birthday parties, so I don’t give money unless I know it is going to be used wisely. I went to one wedding where we shared the cost of the reception per head. It was very cheap and we had a great night celebrating with the bride and groom. No presents but true to form my lovely lady bought one anyway

  6. I have been to 3 weddings in the last 2 years they had a Bridal Registry with DJ’s which some of my family used I would have done the same but what was left on the registry I did not like ,I did give money against my better judgment to 2 couples & a gift from the registry to the 3 rd one .There was a wishing well at one wedding but as I live in another state sending a cheque was easier & having DJ’s wrap & deliver the gift even better but $15 for delivery it all adds up

    2 REPLY
    • Susan Podger Yes I am aware of that but it was not in my price range to start with even if the couple picked it out on the registry I have to like it too thats just me Sorry

  7. I think if they want money then give them money, but maybe include a small personal gift as well. My only issue would be the amount. If you could only afford 50 and they expected 100.00. Bit tricky

  8. i wouldn’t give money unless i knew what was it for, as you say they have not set home yet…..I actually think its a cheek to ask for money!! A gift voucher is a compromise in my opinion……

    7 REPLY
    • Gift vouchers are too restrictive in my opinion, and a waste of time. These days you run the risk of business going bust and your money going down the drain, unreasonably short expiry dates, or the store not stocking what the recipient wants or likes, and on other occasions some stores don’t allow you to purchase sale items with gift vouchers, where as if you had cash you could go anywhere, anytime, and purchase anything your heart desired.

    • Most vouchers these days do for a number of stores in that group so they have a choice…each to their own….as you say the time to spend them is prohibitive.

    • Gift cards for a store or chain of stores can be impractical, much better to give money that they can save towards their house deposit or just hang onto until they need it. Cards have a use by date and that chain store convenient to you may be nowhere near them.

    • Two of my cousins had ‘wishing wells’ at there wedding the money they received went towards their honeymoon, I think its a great idea as most young couples don’t have alot of spare cash for a honeymoon once the actual wedding is paid for.

    • No, vouchers are not the same as money in a number of different ways. When you have been caught out you tend to check the terms and conditions and not assume as I did. I was given a $50 gift voucher for a beauty salon and had an accident shortly after I received it, and when I went to use it I found that the card had a 2 month expiry and was expired when I went to use it. A $50 note has no expiry. A lot of times also the store chosen may not have an item that the recipient needs for that price and if they can’t afford to add extra funds to it they are stuck and end up wasting it on something they don’t want just so they use it before it expires, where as if 5 people give cash they can combine it to get 1 item of value as opposed to 5 little useless items form all over the place.

    • I’m with you Bonnie. I got an invitation to contibute to Flight Centre …… for their honeymoon. No way …. if you can’t afford a honeymoon, don’t go on one.

  9. Not what I would consider ‘polite’ however, Gen Y have such extravegent tastes, is it any wonder they ask for money! Plus most people live together before marriage and already have their domestic goods before the wedding. I personally would not ask, just buy a lovely vase! 😉

    2 REPLY
    • This is just an engagement not a wedding. Plus the girl told me what she wants so I’m getting that for them. My brother is the one who then threw a spanner in the works and said they want cash.

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