On the Evolution of Asking for Cash Wedding Gifts: Meet the New Envelope Registry



Feelings have changed on the whole requesting-cash-for-wedding-gifts thing even since I have been hanging out here at Philadelphia Wedding. I feel like way back when, it was still super gross to convey in any way that you’d prefer checks over blenders. Then, slowly, it was fine if people knew, via your mother or best friend, that the two of you were saving with all your might for a down payment on a house—though this was in addition to still having a full registry set up, from serving platters to guest towels. (I’ve always agreed with and referenced this Post-sanctioned philosophy on the subject.)

Today, couples registering on sites like Honeyfund, where guests can “buy” particular parts of a couple’s honeymoon are de rigeur, and it’s more widely accepted as reality, even among the great-aunt set, that many couples are marrying both later in life, and after having lived together, where they acquired all the toasters they feel they’ll ever need. However, out-and-out just asking for straight-up cash, with nary a requested linen or place setting in sight, has still been generally frowned upon.

Well, we feel that starting to change, too. Enter the newest addition to the online registry world: Envelope.

The Australian-based site allows couples to “register” for experiential gifts even beyond the honeymoon—say, wine tastings or cooking classes or concerts—despite the awkwardness the site even admittedly references in asking people for money as a gift. The site collects the cash in whatever currency it is given, and transfers it over to the couple. Envelope co-founders point to research suggesting that a) gift-givers’ satisfaction actually increases when they know they’re fulfilling a specific want or need, and b) (according to UPenn!) giving experiences, instead of 12 highball glasses, better pleases both the giver and the receiver.

Personally, I can see both sides on this—why some might feel it’s still a little icky; how on the other hand, it’s really just a sign of the times—and so I checked in with Philly wedding planner Lynda Barness of I Do Wedding Consulting to hear her thoughts, and she had an interesting one: In short, that it’s not so much that a site like Envelope is rude—it’s just that it’s redundant.

“I don’t think that a new website {for this} is necessary at all,” she says. “It’s become a joke with my team that the couple will get five gift boxes, and that all the other gifts will be cash—so we actually plan for a small gift table with a large card-catcher on it!” Because of this, it’s not the wanting or giving of cash for a wedding gift that raises her brow—it’s the asking. “I am seeing the majority of gifts as something that fits in an envelope, ” she says. “And the couples don’t have to ask for it or direct their guests to it, which is just another way of asking. It is already happening.”

And that makes sense, too. So it seems to me, there are now ways to do whatever makes you most comfortable on this front, should you wish for your wedding gifts to cover your financial, if not domestic, needs: Plan a small traditional registry, and confidently expect that you will still receive many a generous (literal) envelope on your wedding day. Or, go for broke and set up shop with one of these fund-requesting websites. Either way, we have no doubt you’re going to get off to a really good start.

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