Asking for cash has always been a delicate topic in the history of weddings. In the past, it was considered presumptuous and rude: presumptuous because doing so assumes that the guests will be giving a wedding gift which has always been voluntary); and rude because it puts your guests on the spot to give a hefty sum, lest they would look cheap.
But times change and nowadays more people are open to asking and giving cash as wedding gifts. There are many reasons why couples prefer cash gifts. Some couples already live together and don’t need any more appliances or gifts to clutter their home. Other couples prefer cash so they can buy the specific household items they want. And some couples would prefer to receive money to put into other expenses like for their honeymoon, first home, or starting a family.
Whatever their reason, asking for cash is still a sensitive wedding subject, especially in Philippine culture. Not everyone may be comfortable with giving cash gifts, but what are the best ways to ask for cash as a wedding gift from your Filipino guests? Here are a few.
Never Address It Directly on the Invite
Rule number one for tactfully asking for cash gifts: never print it directly on the invite. While you might be spending a lot on your wedding (the average Filipino wedding with 150 guests can cost a minimum of P247,750), it does not mean you should expect all your guests to bring a gift. The fact that they took the time to attend and celebrate your marriage should be a gift enough.
So, for some, adding a cash gift caveat on your actual invitation can come off as rude because it’s implied that, by accepting the invite, they are obliged to give a cash gift. Not everyone will think this way, but the more traditional and personal guests may take offense at this.
There are other ways to indicate your gift preference when your guests receive their invite. It’s common for wedding invitations to come in an envelope with other cards like the list of your bridal party and a map to the wedding venue. You can include a small card that has a sweet poem indicating your preference. You can make your own short poem, or you can choose from these wedding poems asking for cash gifts.
Opt for Both Gift Registries and Cash
No matter how your word it or where you put it on your invite, there will always be some people who think money gifts are tacky and refuse to give cash for a wedding gift. To please your more traditional guests, consider adding a separate card to your wedding invite which has a wedding poem but also a link to your gift registry. That way, those who don’t like giving cash presents can opt for gift registries, but your poem makes it clear that you and your future spouse prefer cash.
There are various gift registries available in the Philippines. Some stores that have it include SM, Robinson’s, Rustan’s, and Crate and Barrel. Depending on how many guests you’re inviting, select around 5 to 20 items you want so that your guests have more options when choosing which gift to get you.
Get Your Bridal Party to Spread the Word
Probably the best way to spread the message about your preference without explicitly saying it to your guests is with the help of your bridal party. Back when asking for money gifts was an absolute no-no, a couple would assign members of the bridal party to spread it through the grapevine months before your wedding.
Your friends will spread through their designated circle of friends (specifically, those invited to the wedding, of course) that you prefer cash gifts. But remind them to be subtle about it, because it just seems bad form when it’s obvious that they’ve been sent to tell your guests to give cash.
To make it seem more consistent, tell them to mention what you and your partner want the money for. This is so they can mention that you prefer cash gifts so that you and your partner can put a down payment on a house or start a family fund. Not only does it make the bridal party’s grapevine more consistent, but it can make some guests more comfortable giving money gifts since they know where their money will go.
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Receiving Cash Gifts
It’s one thing to ask for cash wedding gifts. It’s another thing completely to receive it. Some people are uncomfortable with giving cash gifts because of their size. A high-end oven toaster can cost P2000, but it’s less likely to get lost or stolen compared to a small envelope carrying P10,000 because it’s bulkier. There’s also the act of handing the money to the couple, which can be awkward if you and your partner don’t know how to act accordingly.
Have a Wishing Well
The easiest way to receive cash gifts is to have a wishing well on the gift table. This is basically a fancy dropbox where guests can safely leave their cash gifts. It’s usually big, so it will be difficult for anyone to run away with it unseen. At the end of your wedding reception, you and your spouse (or whoever is in charge of handling the wedding gifts) can simply take the wishing well along with the other wedding gifts to your home.
Personally Receive the Money
The second option is if you and your partner will personally accept every cash gift. If you’re doing this, you need to know the proper etiquette that won’t make your guest feel uncomfortable.
When they personally hand you an envelope with cash, they’ll do so discreetly. Don’t make a big scene or draw other guests’ attention to the fact that they’re giving you money, as it might make them uncomfortable. Otherwise, if your guest is the one who makes a big scene out of giving you money, just be polite and go with it.
Thank them for the money. Do not open the envelope or count the money in front of them. It looks greedy if you do and your guest may feel like you’re judging their worth. Let them know that you appreciate the gift and how they took the time to be present at your wedding. Make small talk – don’t just say thanks and walk away because it might offend some people for thinking you’re only after their money.
The verdict of whether or not wedding couples should ask for cash gifts is still undecided. Personally, I don’t mind giving money if I know the couple prefers it and will appreciate it more than a toaster. But I know there are some who would prefer to still give physical gifts. So, if you’re still thinking of asking your guests for money, just remember to tread lightly.