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Rising trend: Couples opting for cash funds over traditional wedding registries

Many couples are getting married later in life and therefore don't need home essentials like air fryers, cooking sets or wineglasses.
A couple during their wedding's signature ceremony
Posted at 9:24 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 21:24:58-04

Wedding season is here, and as you get those invitations, keep in mind that you're saying yes to an unspoken trade.

Yes, the couple is probably providing a delicious meal and a fun celebration, but you must bring a gift as a token of appreciation, because there's no such thing as a free lunch, even when you're celebrating love.

The only way you can get away with showing up empty-handed is if you already got something off a registry beforehand. But today's registries look a bit different.

Many couples are getting married later in life and therefore don't need home essentials like air fryers, cooking sets or wineglasses. So, as a result, they just want your cold, hard cash.

In a 2023 survey by the wedding planning site TheKnot, it was noted that 74% of couples asked for cash on their registry for either their honeymoon or other travel. Meanwhile, house funds are also becoming more popular; according to a survey by Zillow, the number of couples adding home funds to their registry is up 55.1% since 2018.

A man puts a wedding ring on a woman's finger.

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Scripps News Staff
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So as you think about your choices, there are a couple lingering questions: What's the gift-giving etiquette? How much should you shell out for a present? Thomas Farley, etiquette guru, chatted with Scripps News to clear up all these uncertainties.

"For couples, there's this kind of misconception that any guest should be at least covering the cost of their plates, and I push back on that to say that no guest should know or be terribly worried about the cost of their plate. This is not a quid pro quo," said Farley. "So really, your presence should be the number one reason why you’re invited, not simply to contribute to some sort of capital campaign. With that said, any guest, of course, should be thoughtful about what they give and should reflect the desires, wishes, and needs of the couple themselves."

Farley suggests thinking about what you can afford and how close you are to the couple when deciding on a gift budget. Generally, consider spending between $50 to $75. On average, gifts range from $150 to $180, but if you're closer to the couple, aim for $200 and more.