Wedding Cash Registry 101

You know the old saying: cash is king. Continue reading for everything you need to know about having a cash wedding registry.

By Anni Irish

Everything You Need to Know About a Wedding Cash Registry
Photo by Zola

You know the old saying: cash is king. Well, when it comes to a cash wedding registry, this rings truer than ever. A cash registry has become an increasingly popular option, and there are a lot of advantages to it. If you’re considering having one or are in the process of setting one up, our 101 guides will help you with all aspects, including the delicate etiquette rules you need to know.

Table of contents:

Part 1: What Is a Cash Wedding Registry? And How Do You Set One Up?

Here you'll learn the ins and outs of a wedding cash registry.

What Is a Cash Registry?

A wedding cash gift registry is one that’s entirely monetary.

When it comes to wedding planning, the conversation every modern couple eventually turns to is what will be on their wedding registry. For many, this is the most fun part––you get to pick out a wide range of items you both want and need. But what if you already have everything you need? A cash registry may be a good option. A cash registry is just what it sounds like––it’s a money-based registry. The money is designated to a specific goal that the couple has: a honeymoon, home down payment, or even charitable donations. Over the last decade, there’s been an uptick in couples who are choosing to organize their registries this way, because cash registries are very versatile. They offer a wide range of options and they can be used for a variety of financial goals.

How Do You Set One Up?

Setting up a cash registry is easier than you think. Here are some tips to help you create one.

Usually, couples create a profile through a gift registry service, like the ones that Zola offers. Once the profile is set up, the couple will input information, including their financial goals.

Often, couples will ask for big-ticket items like help for paying for their honeymoon or assistance with getting the downpayment for a house. People sometimes even ask for money to help pay for aspects of the wedding, such as the dress or tuxedo. For something like a trip, a couple can even choose to break down the information, so guests can pay for specific things like airfare, train tickets, accommodations at various hotels, day trips, and more.

Some couples may even go all out and create a customized cash fund that can go towards things such as home renovations, classes of some kind, a new business, or something else of their choosing. Whatever the goal of your cash registry is, setting it up is the next big step. Zola offers a variety of great options. By answering just a few quick questions (name, wedding date, cash money goal, etc), your registry will be up and running.

Part 2: Why Are They Growing in Popularity?

Here we’ll look at some of the reasons more and more couples are choosing cash registries.

If you’ve attended a wedding lately, you may have noticed that the couple in question opted for a cash registry. Why? Today many couples are older and have lived together prior to marriage. As a result, they may already have the big household items they need. According to the Department of Commerce and the US Census, the average age for women getting married is 28 and 30, respectively, for women and men. This is vastly different than a century ago when the average age was 22.

Part of this shift may also have to do with a change in people asking for what they need versus what they want. Having a cash registry can help potentially alleviate some financial issues like student loan debt. Social media and the popularity of traveling is also a possible motivator. Many couples want to travel and see the world before settling down to have a family.

Part 3: What Are the Kinds of Cash-Based Gifts People Commonly Register For?

There are a lot of items couples choose to ask for on their cash registry. Here are some of the most common ones people ask for.

The sky's the limit. According to a 2018 survey from Nerdwallet, the average wedding guest spends about $128. That's a decent amount of money, and depending on how well the guest knows you, they may even spend a bit more. While traditional gifts are great, being able to take that money and put it towards something you really need or want could be even better.

It's very important that you and your partner have a conversation about this, so you’re on the same page. Make a list and rank it. From there, you can make a decision about what you want the money to go towards.

If you’re unsure about what you might want to use your registry for, don't worry. Here are some of the most common items couples have asked for on their registries:

  • Home repairs
  • Home down payment
  • Charitable contributions
  • A trip/a honeymoon
  • Costs to cover the wedding

There are a lot of ways to think about your registry. For example, if you’re looking to purchase a new home, coming up with a downpayment can be a lot of pressure. Home repairs are another thing that can really add up. Depending on the project, people can easily spend thousands of dollars. Putting the money towards that is an investment in your future and can help improve the home you are trying to build. Other times, couples choose to use the money from their cash registry to fund wedding day-related expenses, like the dress, wedding venue, and wedding vendors.

Whatever you choose to put on your registry, the most important thing is that it’s something you and your partner want or need—you just have to decide what works best for you.

Part 4: What’s the Etiquette of a Cash Registry?

Here are some dos and don'ts to consider when putting together your wedding cash registry.

Once you've made the decision that you want to move forward with a cash registry, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Some people think asking for money can come across as rude or uncomfortable, but cash wedding gifts are more common than you might think. Still, you’ll want to follow the right etiquette when requesting monetary gifts.

  • Use a cash registry site
  • Remember to be polite and don't ask for cash wedding gifts on your wedding invitations
  • Be upfront about what the money will be used for
  • Ask your parents and in-laws to spread the word about your registry

Use a Cash Registry

If you want to set up a cash registry, online options reign supreme.

Even if you’re a tech-savvy person, using a website that has all the bells and whistles already worked in is the best way to go. With the increased demands of many people using cash registries today, there are many options that exist online for you. Zola offers one of the best registries out there, and it comes with various easy-to-use features. It allows you to ask for a variety of gifts, such as cash, a honeymoon fund, and even physical gifts, making it the trifecta of wedding registry websites. It is easy to use, and once it's up and running, your guests can simply go to the website and search for you.

Remember to Be Polite and Don't Ask for Cash Gifts on Your Invitations

Being courteous is the key to everything—especially when asking for cash gifts.

Another big thing to keep in mind with your cash registry—and with your wedding in—is to remember to be polite. Minding your manners and asking for things at the appropriate time goes a long way. You never want to ask for gifts or cash anywhere on your wedding invitations—it will come off as rude to your guests. This also includes any mention of your registry in general. Instead, you can have a link to your cash registry on your wedding website. The most polite and efficient way is to include the address of your wedding website on the invitation or include it as an insert. This way guests will have a hub of information for all your wedding updates that will also clue them into what you are doing gift-wise.

Be Upfront About What the Money's For

Being transparent about what you intend to use the money for is important and will also make your guests feel included.

However, your guests choose to give money, whether it be cash, electronically, or via check, it may all feel a bit impersonal. To avoid that, being transparent about what the money will be going towards will make your guests feel included and also make them feel like they’re helping to contribute to something you and your partner want and need. If you’re working on a huge renovation, or want their money for a downpayment, say that. And be sure to give updates via your wedding website.

Ask Your Parents and In-laws to Spread the Word About Your Wedding Registry

Asking for cash gifts yourself may seem impolite, so getting your parents and future in-laws to help can help make it easier.

When you’re setting up your cash registry, it’s important to get everyone on the same page, including your parents and bridal party. When it comes to getting the word out to the rest of your guests, however, this may take a little more finessing. One of the most delicate approaches is to ask your parents to let guests know what you want. The odds are guests will ask your parents and members of your bridal party what you want, so having them be in the know about your cash registry will really help move things along. You’ll also want to clue this group into what your goal for the money is. This way they can explain to guests why you’re asking for monetary gifts.

Part 5: Not Sure You Want to Go for an All Cash Registry? Mix It Up and Add Other Kinds of Gifts

If you’re unsure about having a completely cash-based registry, that’s alright. Feel free to mix it up and add other gifts.

For some couples, having a completely cash-based registry may not be the way to go. If you find yourself in that position, that's fine. Plenty of people do a combination of both.

It can also offer you the best of both worlds. If you’re trying to save up for something big but also still really want specific gift items, doing a hybrid may be the best solution. It also offers a middle-of-the-road approach for some people who are uncomfortable with just asking for money. And for guests and relatives who may have an opinion on an all-cash registry, this also gives them more options to consider.

Using Zola's registry system to set up your cash registry is fast and easy. You can choose what your funds are going towards, have different tiers for people to give various amounts, and include updates about your wedding all in one place.

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