Is cash an appropriate wedding gift?
EDITOR’S NOTE: We are answering questions received before news about the coronavirus and COVID-19 jumped to the forefront of everybody’s mind. In light of recent events, we would like to hear from you about any questions that address your concerns related to this crisis. What have you witnessed? What would you like us to address? Please stay well, and we look forward to the day when the current heavy news fades, and we can remember that people still face everyday etiquette questions and dilemmas that are part of our humanity.
QUESTION: I would like to give to my niece and her future husband money as a wedding gift, but am not sure if that is appropriate. Is there a maximum or minimum amount for this? Should I give them cash or a check? Do I give it to them jointly or just to the bride?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: This is however you would prefer. There is not minimum or maximum amount, I am sure the couple would be very thankful. Money is always welcome, no matter what it is!
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: I don’t think there’s a set rule about this. Cash or a check in a card full of well-wishes would work just fine. Spend on the cash what is in your budget to spend on the wedding gift. I would address the card to the couple as it is a wedding gift for both, but it would likely be easier to cash if you made out a check just to your niece.
HELEN’S ANSWER: Cash or a check is a welcome gift anytime and always appropriate. Send it in a lovely wedding card to the wonderful couple. They will be happy to receive your generous gift. There is no maximum or minimum amount. As to how much? You could give the equivalent of what you think a wedding gift should cost. If in doubt, ask some of your friends what they might give to a favorite niece.
GUEST’S ANSWER: Yvette Walker, assistant dean of OU's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and a former chair of Media Ethics at UCO: Dear worried aunt — Many cultures readily accept cash, and newlyweds often are cash poor after the wedding.
I don't think it's inappropriate, as long as you give the gift in a lovely card or even a beautiful gift envelope. You have lots of options: If your niece is registered, look at her mid-to higher priced items and give her the equivalent of cash or a gift card. If she is not registered, and you give her a regular birthday gift, double or triple that equivalent amount. If you are not traveling for the wedding, some people give more to offset the fact that you are not out of pocket in travel cost.
If you are still unsure, ask the mother of the bride for advice. She will appreciate you thinking of her.
Since 2009, Callie, Lillie-Beth and Helen have written this generational etiquette column. They also include guest responses from a wide range of ages each week. So many years later, Callie is 20-plus; Lillie-Beth is 40-plus and Helen is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email email@example.com.