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Is it tacky to ask for cash instead of wedding gifts in the wedding invite?

Discussion in 'Hangout' started by zhuzhu, May 4, 2010.

  1. zhuzhu
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    by zhuzhu » May 4, 2010
    A friend of my friend is a Chinese bride-to-be. She is marrying a non-Chinese American but wants her wedding party guests to adhere to her hometown wedding tradition - giving cash gift in "red envelope" instead of wedding gifts. Since American guests prob have no idea that that is, she is thinking of writing out her request in the actually wedding invitation, so her guests know "what they expect".

    My personal opinion is that it is rather tacky to do so. How common is it for American bride-to-be to ask for cash gift directly in the wedding invitation? Do you also find it a bit too "direct"?
     
  2. Anastasia
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    by Anastasia » May 4, 2010
    zhuzhu,

    It is considered very tacky to ask for cash as gifts. A gift is just that - a gift. It should not be expected, or demanded. In fact, it is considered tacky to discuss gifts at all in an invitation.

    Different cultures have different traditions, but that doesn''t mean that a bride has a right to demand that her guests folllow her traditions.

    Where is the wedding being held? If it is in China, and guest feel inclined to find out what the traditions are as far as gift giving goes, that is up to them. If it is in the US, in certain areas of the US, it is more commonplace to give cash than gifts anyway.
     
  3. violet3
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    by violet3 » May 4, 2010
    Goodness! I think she should NOT do this. it won''t be received well....
     
  4. Indylady
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    by Indylady » May 4, 2010
    It is tacky.

    Since its a tradition, her Chinese guests will most likely give cash in a red envelope. Isn''t that enough?

    I understand the importance of tradition, but not with it has to with gift expectations.
     
  5. beezygal
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by beezygal » May 4, 2010
    that''s so true.. I guess.. she can just let her husband''s family get watever they want... it''s kinda hard to ask someone to give cash instead of gift...
     
  6. MichelleCarmen
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    by MichelleCarmen » May 4, 2010
    Oh, that is so tacky. If someone sent an invite saying, "give me cash," I''d get them a potato peeler or something like that. [​IMG]
     
  7. zhuzhu
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    by zhuzhu » May 4, 2010
    Thank you for your feedback.
    I am glad I am not alone in thinking how inappropriate this will be. It is too bad that I am in no position to share my concerns with her. I worry how pressured her fiance''s friends/relatives will feel after they receive the wedding invitation/cash request.
     
  8. iheartscience
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    by iheartscience » May 4, 2010
    Can''t you just mention that it''s tacky to her? If she''s talked to you about it, why not just tell her it''s considered tacky to mention gifts at all in an invitation? That''s what I would do!
     
  9. zhuzhu
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    by zhuzhu » May 4, 2010
    She asked us (on a forum setting) if she should put an "empty" red envelope in the wedding invitation, and include a note on what to do with the envelope (basically for the money to go in). I was like "no way", and someone else said they should make that a "cash registry" instead of putting in an envelope.... I should prob tell her it is tacky to ask for money at all.....
     
  10. Anastasia
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    by Anastasia » May 4, 2010
    I think that since she asked you whether she should put the envelopes in the invitations, you have been given your opening to tell her that it is considered tacky. If she is asking, it sounds like maybe she thinks it might not be right to do.
     
  11. yssie
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    by yssie » May 4, 2010
    Whoa! Not a good idea!


    It can be difficult, when two cultures are being merged for whatever reason, to keep everyone happy. I think the point here is that she is getting married in America, her fiance's friends and family are American, and therefore something that they would consider rude/offensive (and flat-out-soliciting cash definitely qualifies) should be avoided, even if it's tradition in her hometown culture. Something that their Chinese guests would consider rude/offensive, but might be par for the course in an American wedding, is also something to be avoided. Most likely her family/friends will adhere to tradition.
     
  12. VRBeauty
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    by VRBeauty » May 4, 2010
    Perhaps you could explain to her that it''s not the custom here, and that it''s considered tasteless and rude. Tell her that right or wrong, some of her guests will judge her (and her husband) poorly if she asks for cash -- even if it is the custom back home -- and that some of those guests will remember that faux pas in the future, so it might impact their social and professional opportunities.

    If necessary, figure out what would constitute a faux pas of comparable magnitude in her home town so that you can help her understand how her non-Chinese guests might react to this move. (At the last traditional Chinese wedding I attended, many of the guests gave the bride gold jewelry -- so much so that much or it ended up pinned to her dress rather than on her arms or neck. So maybe a comparable faux pas would be giving the bride silver or costume jewelry?)
     
  13. zhuzhu
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    by zhuzhu » May 4, 2010
    Believe it or not, giving NOT ENOUGH Red Envelope MONEY to cover for the cost of the reception meal will be considered a faux pas !!
     
  14. Dancing Fire
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    by Dancing Fire » May 4, 2010
    no such thing as too much [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  15. vip0802
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    by vip0802 » May 4, 2010
    oh no, that''s totally tacky IMHO!

    i''m of Chinese/Vietnamese descent myself, and even though giving money in those lucky red envelopes (i love them!) is a traditional wedding gift, i would never ask my guests to do so. i agree with IndyLady that her Chinese guests will give her money anyway, so i think she''s getting the best of both worlds. i mean come on, cash AND presents?! man, i can''t wait until my wedding!

    even if she doesn''t get enough money to cover the cost of the reception, isn''t it worth it to celebrate with family and friends?
     
  16. Dancing Fire
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    by Dancing Fire » May 4, 2010
    a note to all PSers...
    don''t invite MC to your wedding unless you needed a potato peeler. [​IMG]
     
  17. zhuzhu
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    by zhuzhu » May 4, 2010
    DF,
    Since your will some day marry your daughters off to nice young men, what would you suggest her do for wedding gifts?
     
  18. Dancing Fire
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    by Dancing Fire » May 4, 2010
    i won''t make any suggestions since their friends will most likely to buy them gifts and the friends i invite will gift them red envelopes.
     
  19. zoebartlett
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    by zoebartlett » May 5, 2010
    I would definitely mention this to her -- yes, it''s very inappropriate to ask for cash.
     
  20. megumic
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    by megumic » May 5, 2010
    She might as well sent an insert listing where she''s registered: Bank of America, HSBC, TD Bank...lol.

    I understand her desire to have the Chinese tradition at her wedding, however I think she''s going to have to just go with the flow here. When you marry someone of another culture you have to expect that side of the family will do things differently and that''s the beauty of marrying someone of another culture.
     
  21. elrohwen
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    by elrohwen » May 5, 2010
    Absolutely tacky. I think it''s tacky to ask for any gifts in your invites - no registry or gift information should be printed in the invite and should be word-of-mouth or on the website. Even then, telling people you only want cash, even if it''s not in the invite, is still tacky. [​IMG]
     
  22. butterfly 17
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    by butterfly 17 » May 5, 2010
    If the guests are from the same culture, then they will probably give what would be expected in their culture anyway, but to ask for money in lieu of gifts is extremely tacky.
     
  23. janinegirly
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    by janinegirly » May 5, 2010
    tacky. Maybe there are a myriad of reasons why, but still tacky.
     
  24. Laila619
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    by Laila619 » May 5, 2010
    Definitely an etiquette no no! You're not supposed to mention gifts anywhere on an invite. I read that you're not even supposed to write, "No gifts please."

    It's very common at American weddings for people to give cash + card to the bride and groom, so she may be pleasantly surprised (though I doubt they'll be in the red envelope).
     
  25. Hudson_Hawk
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    by Hudson_Hawk » May 5, 2010
    Yea definitely an etiquette no-no. Is her entire wedding traditionally themed? If so, then she could consider adding a leaflet to the invitation that gives a general run-down of the traditions that will be celebrated. I''m saying take an educational approach to the entire situation so her guests know what to expect (she can talk about the unique elements of the ceremony, the symbolism of red, her dress, etc). Yes, she could approach the subject of the traditional gift giving practice as well. However, this is still very thinly treading the line of faux pas.
     
  26. vc10um
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    by vc10um » May 5, 2010
    Does she have a website??? If so, on her registry page, she can list something to the effect of "Traditional Lucky Red Envelopes will be provided at the reception for those choosing to partake in the tradition." And then provide a link to a wikipedia page or something to that effect that explains the tradition. I think that might be less tacky, and actually somewhat educational. Friends of ours did this and I didn''t find it tacky so much as an opportunity to learn a little about a different culture.
     
  27. gemgirl
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    by gemgirl » May 5, 2010
    It would be in very bad taste to ask for cash as gifts in her invite. That would most certainly be inviting trouble
    (negative thoughts and gossip) into their lives before they even get married and experience more normal in-law problems.
     
  28. RaiKai
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    by RaiKai » May 5, 2010
    It is tacky to ask for gifts or put the expectation forth at ALL on the invite - cash or otherwise. A gift is something that a giver freely chooses to give after all. To put the expectation that they will give a gift....and a cash one at that...is bad etiquette and downright tacky.

    If she does not register anywhere many people will probably give cash anyway, except for those who are die-hard gift-givers. I always give cash when I go to weddings. Mainly as I hate shopping!

    Send your friend over to The Knot forums - I am sure they will set her straight on this one [​IMG]
     
  29. lyra
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    by lyra » May 5, 2010
    I have an opposing viewpoint. [​IMG] Where I'm from, it was quite common to ask for cash instead of gifts. For the life of me I cannot remember what the phrase was that was put on wedding invitations to let guests know it was the preference. You could give a gift if you wanted, but it was clear if the couple appreciated envelopes instead. It was not a cultural thing either. I'm in Canada. It was rather common. Now, I would not choose this option, and didn't, because even 27 years ago I didn't even *care* whether we got gifts or not. Didn't even enter into my wedding equation. I hadn't even registered anywhere. So I wouldn't say it was tacky, as this *can* be a cultural thing. It's just something I would not choose. I wouldn't knock someone elses wedding traditions.

    ETA: I think the term used on the invitations was "Presentation". Just the one word.
     
  30. RaiKai
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    by RaiKai » May 5, 2010
    Also in Canada...and yes I agree this is done with the word "Presentation" and everyone basically knows what it means around here. Usually it means there will be a basket or a box at the reception where you can drop your cards/envelopes with the cash.

    While it is common and I have been to many weddings where the invite included it.....I still find it tacky. After all "wedding socials" are extremely common where I am from, have been around that area for as long as I remember and even considered a tradition there, but I still find them tacky (as do most not from around that area).

    .
     

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