My fiancé and I have been together for several years. We have our own house and a child. We would like to ask our guests for money so we can put the money towards items we need. My friend found a poem on the Internet requesting money instead of gifts and said there were lots to choose from. What should I do?

It is understandable with all the second marriages and instances of co-habitation before marriage that many couples would prefer receiving money as a gift. But to place this request on the invitation is just plain tacky. This relays a message to guests that the gift is more important than their attendance.

So, you want money to apply toward your honeymoon or a down payment on a house? Well, there are a few things you can do to let guests know that monetary gifts are appreciated. First, let your close friends and family know that this type of gift is preferred. These people can help let other guests know that money is the best gift for your situation, similar to having them spread the word about where you are registered.

Also, if guests ask you what you want as a wedding gift, be honest. Tell them that whatever they decide to give you will be wonderful, but that you would prefer money. It is also a good idea to let the guest know what the money is going toward.

You can be sure that someone will go ahead and give you a toaster or coffee maker anyway, but these gifts should be few. And really, all you have to do is return the gift if you find you don’t need it. These days, most people include a gift receipt with their present making returns simple. At worst-and I may get flack for this-there is the practice of re-gifting. Re-gifting has been given a bad rap, but really, if you are trying to save money for a house and you have a second fruit dehydrator, here is where you can save some money by giving the gift to someone who doesn’t have the appliance. But only if they really want one, of course.

Finally, there are gift registries out there that allow guests to give money directly to a house or honeymoon fund. You can include this information on bridal shower invitations or spread the word through friends and family. References to gift registries should never be included with wedding invitations. For more information on these types of gift registries, see previous Engaging Questions articles covering the topic of bridal registries.

As for the poem your girlfriend found, I have seen such sites offering these poems. Yes, they do make the request a little more flowery, but the effect is the same. Below is an example of a verse from

We didn’t register
We don’t need more stuff
But when it comes to financial help
You can never have enough!

There are a few other more subtly worded money-only verses on the site, but I can’t imagine including any of these poems with wedding invitations.

So go out and spread the word, just as you would let guests know at which stores you are registered. Once you tell friends and family what you want, this will be passed on to other guests. You may get a few things you don’t want, but that happens even when you have a gift registry. Just remember that your guests are trying to be helpful and give you gifts they think will be useful to you. Be graceful and thank your guests, even if they give you something you don’t want, for they are trying to be generous and celebrate your day.