Wedding presents versus cash: what would you choose?

Posted by
Stylist Team
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

A new study has found that couples getting married are increasingly asking for cash donations in the place of traditional gift lists - and the usual haul of salad bowls and glassware.

In a survey of 2,167 newlyweds by discount website, 26% said they asked for a financial contribution for their big day instead of a gift. A further 37% said that they asked for money towards their honeymoon, compared to the 21% who opted for a conventional retailers gift list.

Of those who did choose wedding presents, 47% of people admitted that they were given unwanted gifts - the most common being toasters, kettles and saucepans.

26% of newlyweds asked guests for a cash contribution instead of a gift

With the average cost of a wedding in the UK now coming in at around £18,244*, it's unsurprising that more and more people are opting for cash instead of gifts. This trend is enhanced by the fact that a majority of couples now live together before getting married, so already have all the goods traditionally given to set up a new home in years gone by.

Websites such as Honeyfund and The Alternative Wedding List have sprung up in recent years to cater for this growing appetite to do something a bit different - be it cash donations to a honeymoon or charity gift-giving.

Over on The Mint List, spouses-to-be can sign up to a present list with a twist. All the gifts here are unusual and unique, from original art prints to vintage lamps and flea market knick-knacks.

Home ware - or cash?

Of course, giving cash to newlyweds is commonplace in other cultures. At Greek weddings, different groups of guests traditionally pin together strings of £20 - £50 notes to pin on the bride and groom. This usually takes place in addition to a conventional gift list and in modern ceremonies, some couples opt for the cash in an envelope rather than as a chain. Showering the happy couple with money is also a tradition at Iranian weddings.

But gift-giving remains a notoriously tricky area (the internet churns out a regular spate of stories on ungrateful couples complaining about low-value presents) and some people still object to the concept of using cash as a gift.

Mollie McGuigan, deputy editor of Stylist's sister email Emerald Street, opted for cash donations when she arranged her London wedding - but found it wasn't all plain sailing.

"My husband and I married last year and since we had no need for homeware (we’ve lived together for years) or a honeymoon fund (we went to Cornwall) we asked guests to contribute to our wedding," she said. "Initially we fixed it at £20 because we didn’t want guests to feel obliged to give lots of money but it became complicated – some guests wanted to give gifts, others wanted to spend more money.

"In the end we said: do what you like and we ended up with a mix of money and gifts and some guests gave nothing. In hindsight, we should have said nothing – it’s up to guests what they do or don’t give and it became a stressful subject, which is the last thing we wanted."

What do you think - would you go for cash instead of wedding presents? Or is the toaster/kettle formula still the way you'd like to roll? Let us know on Twitter @StylistMagazine or in the comments below

Photos: Rex Features

* According to a 2013 survey by Sheilas' Wheels home insurance

Share this article


Stylist Team