Photo: Real Bella Weddings
When it comes to wedding presents, sometimes physical gifts aren’t the best option for you. If you’re throwing a destination wedding or you already have all the bath towels and bedsheets you need, then cash might be better.
Money is an awkward topic, but there’s no reason you can’t request it as a gift.
You’re about to learn everything you need to know about cash wedding gifts — what to use to collect them, where to put your money tree, and how to go about it all with finesse.
How to Ask for Cash Gifts Without Actually Asking
First thing first:
Never ask for cash outright.
Chances are, you’re going to get some cash for your big day regardless. The last thing you want to do is make people think it’s a requirement.
But if you prefer a check to a gravy bowl, there are ways to ask with tact.
You have to be a smooth operator.
If your guests don’t know what to get you, they’re more than likely going to ask your family and friends. Make sure your bridal party knows what to suggest and why.
It’s not as appropriate to ask for cash instead of gifts for your wedding shower. You’re better off focusing your requests on the actual wedding.
But hey, you do you.
The key is to let your guests know where their gift money is going.
Are you saving for a new home or trying to renovate your current home? Do you have a baby on the way? Is your honeymoon fund lacking after the wedding expenses?
Related: Bella’s Ultimate Guide to Wedding Budgets
No one wants to buy you a new pair of shoes (unfortunately). They want to know that their money goes toward bettering your life as a married couple.
Don’t spare the details! If you’re working on a project, let everyone know where you started, where you are now, and where you hope to end up. Your wedding website is a great place to put your request for cash and the story behind it.
Make sure you have a physical registry as well.
No matter how casual you are about asking for money, there will be some guests who want to get you a physical gift. Fill up your wedding registry with the things you need and nothing else.
And if you really do want a gravy boat, add that in too.
Set Out a Container to Collect Cash, Checks, and Cards
The last thing you want to have to do on the best day of your life is to keep track of a bunch of envelopes. And you definitely don’t want to lose any of them.
Put a container on or near your gift table for your guests to drop their cards in. You can even designate a member of your wedding party to check it throughout the night and move anything inside to a safe place.
Here are just a few of the creative ways to incorporate a card box into your wedding:
Photo: Sotoris Tsakanikas
Birdcages are timeless. They seamlessly meld with vintage and modern wedding themes and bring a certain charm along with them.
Grow your savings with the addition of a greenhouse box. It’s the perfect option for rustic or backyard weddings.
A terrarium would make a beautiful addition to your gift table and since it’s clear it will be obvious to your guests what it’s for when they see the cards inside.
An Actual Mailbox
Take a literal approach and place a mailbox on your gift table to collect those envelopes. (It’s much more exciting than getting bills in the mail.)
Dress your mailbox up with some shiny gold paint, flowers, or your names across the side!
Vintage Hat Box
Go on a thrifting mission and find a cute, old hat box to collect your cards in. It’s a fantastic way to complete your vintage wedding theme.
Hinged Wooden Box
For a rustic wedding, simple wood is all you really need. A wooden box with a hinged lid can easily hold all your cards during and after your special day.
They’re also very easy to paint if you feel like getting crafty!
Decorated Stack of Boxes
Tiered boxes resemble a wedding cake, which makes them a fun alternative to a traditional card box.
Plus, you can customize them to fit your theme. The boxes can be glammed up with fabric, flowers, gems, ribbon, or any way you want!
Just make sure to cut a slot in the center for the cards to drop through.
Large Glass Lantern
Lanterns make whimsical wedding decorations, but they’re also a great way to collect wedding cards. Your guests can simply open the door to slip their cards inside.
And it would look really cute in your garden afterward!
Money Tree Ideas
Another subtle way to encourage your guests to gift cash is by adding a money tree to your wedding decor.
But what is a money tree?
Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like — a tree where people can put money for the happy couple.
Money trees can be made of wood, wire, or actual tree branches. You attach clothespins, paperclips, or ribbons to the branches, which give people a spot to put dollar bills, checks, and gift cards.
They can also be used to pin up advice and well-wishes for the bride and groom. That way, everyone gets to be involved, even if they didn’t bring you money.
Where to Put Your Money Tree
The best place for a money tree is at the gift table.
Don’t put it front and center, and don’t call attention to it in any announcements or toasts. You don’t want to make it seem like giving money is a requirement.
Next to the tree, put a cute poem or explanation about what the money on it is going toward. You have a good reason to ask for cash gifts, you just have to let them know what it is.
A stack of envelopes by the tree will help eliminate any embarrassment about how much your guests are leaving.
You can also use small trees as the centerpieces on your wedding tables. If you go this route, though, emphasize that they’re advice trees and not necessarily money trees.
Include some paper, pens, and small envelopes at each place setting, then ask that everyone write some well-wishes to hang on the tree. Politely add that if they’d like to leave a monetary gift, they can put it in the envelope.
Being polite about it is the key.
Finding a Money Tree
It’s not as easy as you might think to find a ready-made money tree — especially one that fits into your wedding theme.
You can buy one on Amazon if you want to go the fast route. But if you want one that matches the theme of your wedding reception, you’ll have to do some searching.
A pine tree is great for a winter wedding. At the beach, a palm tree fits in the best. You can even get an LED tree if you want that wow factor.
If you have the DIY bug, you can spray paint your tree to match your wedding colors. Or, you can make your wedding tree from scratch. This might be the best option for you if you’re worried about finding a tree to fit your vision.
Sometimes, to do something right, you have to do it yourself.
How to Collect Cash Gifts During Your Wedding
Photo: Rachel Solomon
Even with all of these precautions — the subtle nudges, the box, the tree — some guests will still want to hand you their gift personally.
That’s okay, you’ve got this. You are the picture of grace.
If someone hands you a card while you’re at their table greeting everyone, take it discreetly. Don’t call attention to it.
Once you finish visiting that table, make a stop at the gift table to drop the card in your hand-picked container for safekeeping.
Don’t walk from table to table with a stack of cards in your hands. You don’t want to worry about losing them when you’re trying to talk to your friends and family.
The bottom line is this:
You know what’s best for you and your wedding.
Want to collect money gifts in a wishing well? Go for it. Want to stick with an online wedding registry? Do it.
But it’s always best to handle things in a refined way, especially when you’re dealing with money. No one has to feel awkward, and you’ll have the funds to retile your bathroom.