We’re not in the business of pretending that gifts aren’t one of the best parts of weddings. And, while we love traditional gifts and registry staples like kitchen appliances and crystal barware, there’s no denying the appeal of cold hard cash. It may sound a bit unrefined but you wouldn’t be the first couple to make money a major part of their registry.
In fact, gifting money in lieu of gifts for weddings isn't a new concept. It's common at Indian, Italian, Jewish, Muslim, and Chinese weddings. However, the cash registry trend is still technically newer (but seriously gaining popularity) in America. It started with honeymoon funds and has since grown to accommodate all of a new couple’s wants and needs—literally. Onboard? Here's why you should have a wedding cash fund—and how to use it.
Why should I have a wedding cash fund?
Wedding cash funds are a great option for anyone but they’re especially beneficial for couples in the following situations:
- You and your fiancee already live together and have most of the home and decor items you need or want.
- You live in a small space—with no plans to expand soon—and simply don’t have the room for a lot of physical gifts.
- You have an ambitious business plan, project, or new hobby that you want to invest in.
- You want to make a large impact by donating funds to a charity of your choice.
- You simply want to raise money for your honeymoon or new life together.
I still feel strange asking for money as a wedding gift.
That’s super normal. The cash fund wedding gift trend is gaining in popularity, but it’s still a relatively new concept, especially for older wedding guests. That said, there’s no shame in the cash registry game—you should feel good asking for the gifts that work best for your lifestyle. If you’re still feeling a little off about it, here are some cash fund etiquette tips.
- Make cash an option, not a mandatory gift. And by that we mean, pair your cash fund with a traditional wedding registry. Create a standard registry filled with more traditional home, decor, and travel items—even if it’s just a few things. Then, add a few cash fund options to round it out. With Zola, you can easily blend your physical gifts and your cash fund gifts into one easy-to-use registry.
- Consider all budget sizes. One of the best things about traditional registries is that they typically include large- and small-ticket items. This is ideal because it allows guests the freedom to really give what they can. So, when you’re creating your wedding cash fund, be cognizant of this. Incorporate both expensive items and experiences (honeymoon airfare) and items that fall in line with standard registry gift prices (cooking class).
- Create fixed amounts for your cash funds. An easy way to account for the above is to divide your cash funds into set amounts that multiple guests can purchase. With Zola, you can easily divide up a higher-end gift to create a handful of smaller more affordable gifts. For example, if you have a cash fund for a new puppy estimated at around $500, you can ask for five fixed amounts of $100 instead of the lump sum. This makes your cash fund registry more accessible for all of your guests.
- Tell your guests upfront. Be sure to include links to your honeymoon fund or other wedding cash funds on your wedding website and consider shouting it out on your wedding invitations too (the same way you might mention a standard registry). On your wedding website, you can include a few sentences about why you chose a cash registry that may help wedding guests better understand your thinking. For example, you want to raise money for an emergency fund, you have educational or personal loans to pay off, or you just want to prioritize a dream honeymoon.
OK, I’m in. How should I use my cash gift?
The beauty of cash funds is that they’re yours to do with whatever you please. In theory, you could just make one large fund without any decided upon purpose. However, your wedding guests probably prefer to have a tangible idea of where their money is going (again, cash funds are still a newer concept for many). So, it’s nice to give your monetary gifts some direction. Here are just some wedding fund ideas on how to use your cash gifts.
How to Use Your Wedding Cash Fund
Honeymoon Expenses. As we said, this concept really picked up steam thanks to the honeymoon fund. This can cover everything from your airfare and your lodging to your meals and excursions. Break these funds down into a few different categories to make it easy for guests to contribute to your specific needs. It’s even easier if you have an idea of the activities you and your spouse want to do during your honeymoon. Cash fund ideas:
- “Honeymoon Round Trip Airfare”
- “Day Trip to Amsterdam for Two”
- “Chef-Hosted Sushi Dinner for Two”
- “Snorkeling Lessons for Two”
New Home Fund or Home Renovations. Your guests will be happy to help pay for an eventual new home or help make your current home one that you love. Plus, many of them already probably know how expensive home care can be. Cash fund ideas:
- “Kitchen Remodel Expenses”
- “Upgrade to Hardwood Floors”
- “New Kitchen Appliances”
- “New Entertainment System”
- “New Washer and Dryer”
- “New Window Replacements”
- “Monthly Landscaping Costs”
New Car Fund. If you and your partner already know that buying a new family car is part of your long-term planning, ask for a cushion to get you started on saving.
New Pet Fund. Whether you want a puppy, kitten, or something more exotic, pets don’t come—or stay—cheap. Cash fund ideas:
- “New Puppy Fund”
- “Veterinary Expenses”
- “Year Supply of Cat Food”
- “Dog Treats Monthly Subscription Box”
Hobbies and Culture. You may have a hobby that you already love to do together as a couple or you may be looking to try something new. Use your cash funds to help support the cost of your new ventures or your old favorites. Cash fund ideas:
- “Cooking Classes for Two”
- “Weekly Dance Lessons”
- “New Camping Gear”
- “Monthly Yoga Membership Fees”
- “Museum Membership”
Romantic Ventures. The love doesn’t stop once the wedding is over. Ask for cash to keep your weeks full of events to spend quality time together. Cash fund ideas:
- “Date Night Fund”
- “Wine Tasting for Two”
- “Concert Tickets for Two”
- “MLB Season Tickets”
- “Monthly Couples Massage”
- "Broadway Tickets for Two"
Subscription Services. Make cash funds to cover all those monthly fees for anything from hobbies to streaming services. Cash fund ideas:
- “Beer of the Month Club”
- “Book of the Month Club”
- “Netflix Subscription”
Collections. Build upon established collections or finally become the collector of your dreams with a cash fund dedicated to your favorite things to save. Cash fund ideas:
- “Wine Collection”
- “Art Collection”
- “First Edition Book Collection”
Pre-Wedding Appointments. Yes, you can even ask for money to cover any beauty or grooming appointments ahead of your wedding. Use these funds as bonding and relaxation time with your soon-to-be-spouse. Cash fund ideas:
- “Wedding Mani & Pedi”
- “Couples Facial”
- “Couples Acupuncture”
- “Wedding Hot Shave”
- “Private Trainer Appointments”
Wedding Vendor Fees. This one may feel a little less couth than other expenses, but anyone who’s thrown a wedding knows just how expensive they can become. If you feel comfortable, ask your guests to help you cover any of your wedding expenses or services. Cash fund ideas:
- “Wedding Photographer”
- “Wedding Venue Fund”
- “New Custom Tuxedo”
- “Dream Wedding Heels”
- “Custom Wedding Centerpieces”
Charity. Using your wedding registry cash fund as a way to give back to those in need is a popular and wonderful route to take. You can collect money to donate to a particular charity (or charities) of your choice. Your guests will be more than happy to know their money is going to support the causes dear to you. Cash fund ideas:
- “ASPCA Donation”
- “Support for NAACP Fund”
- “GLAAD Fund”
- “United Way Donation”
Investing. Your cash funds don’t need to be attached to physical gifts or experiences—you can also direct your money to future financial goals. Use your cash funds to help set you and your partner up for long-term success. Cash fund ideas:
- “Our First Joint Bank Account”
- “Our First Joint Investment Account”
- “Refinancing Our Student Loans”
The point is that you can literally use your cash funds however you and your partner decide. It’s essentially fundraising but for your life—accept those donations! Zola makes it easy to customize your cash funds just about any way you want. Don’t feel weird about requesting money. Weddings, experiences, and life are all expensive. Your guests will be happy to support your new life together however they can.