First of all, "gift registry cards" are never appropriate. They were invented by department stores as a means of bringing in more revenue and are considered awfully tacky, akin to writing GIMME GIMME GIMME with a fat red Magic Marker all over your inner envelopes. The invitation and any enclosures therein are never to mention gifts or direct the guests toward any particular gift. Interested guests discover where the couple is registered by asking the couple, their parents, or a member of the wedding party -- all of whom have been briefed by the bride and groom.

Secondly, you can't really ask for money, at least not in any non-sneaky way. When guests ask what you'd like, you can't wink and murmur, "Got your checkbook on you?" There are only a couple of socially-sanctioned methods of extracting cash from your loved ones:

  • Tell your parents, siblings, and the members of your wedding party that the two of you have all the necessities of a household and would prefer money to purchased presents. They should understand that it is bad form to go around trumpeting unprompted of your wish to get money; however, if anyone should ask them "What would Mary and John [not your real names] like?" they are to discreetly whisper that what the two of you need most right now is cash, since you are saving for a house/car/honeymoon/exclusive, expensive graduate school. If you don't have any large purchase looming on your financial horizon, by all means settle on one now.
  • Don't register anywhere. If someone asks you where you are registered, it is permissible to say airily, "Oh, we couldn't really think about registering for things like tableware and linens when we already have everything we need after living on our own for so long." Unless the person to whom you are speaking has had a blow to the head recently, they should catch your meaning and arrive at the reception armed with greenbacks.

Bear in mind that despite your best efforts, certain of your guests will give you unwanted and possibly horrid things like cuckoo clocks and fondue forks. Some people consider cold, hard cash to be too impersonal, which is probably why cash has attached itself to the adjectives cold and hard. Others ignore all hints because they think quite highly of their personal tastes, questionable though those may be.

Ah well! To these offerings you must respond with tact and grace and realistic feigned gratitude. (Perhaps you and your husband-to-be could rehearse your reactions in advance by gift-wrapping banana peels and used coffee filters for one another, and rating one another's imitations of joy and thankfulness. Keep trying until your performances are Oscar-caliber! No eye-rolling or grimacing!) Remember that no one owes you anything at all for getting married, and therefore anything you receive is above and beyond the social call of duty. And get cracking on those thank-you notes early!

Original article by Kim Rollins.

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