Cash – not home wares, is what most newlyweds need.
“Three toasters, two identical electric frypans and at least half a dozen casserole dishes”. That was the inventory of wedding gifts Nicola Wood* received when she tied the knot a few years ago. “I don’t want to appear ungrateful” she explains, “but my fiancé and I had been renting a place for years, we already had everything we needed – except our own home.”
It’s a dilemma facing the growing number of newlyweds who have lived together before getting hitched. And the solution can lie in asking for gifts of cash rather than the standard wish list of home wares.
Plenty of positives
It’s an idea that may not please the traditionalists. But in practical terms giving cash has plenty of upsides. It’s a lot easier for guests to dip into their wallets than visit department stores, and for the bride and groom it’s a chance to start married life in their own home.
Moreover, giving cash is quite the norm in many countries. Red envelopes full of the folding stuff are often handed to newlyweds in China. In a number of European cultures cash is pinned to the bride’s gown.
Tacky or tasteful?
Here in Australia, we’re still learning to bridge the gap between tradition and necessity, and the challenge lies in making requests for cash appear tasteful rather than tacky.
Some couples hire a wishing well for guests to deposit gifts of cash. Well hire fees start at around $40, and many suppliers will toss in a poem or script to make the idea more palatable for guests.
Or you could choose online registries like hatchmyhouse.com, which allows guests to pay for a specific item in a newlywed’s home – anything from a plant pot to a window. The funds are deposited into a PayPal account and each transaction comes with a 5.9% fee (couples can choose to wear the cost themselves or ask guests to pay).
Contributions of cash will be a lot more helpful in funding a first home than Aunty Edna’s hand-crocheted blanket, but there is a downside. Lenders want to see evidence of genuine savings, usually over a period of three to six months. So be sure to deposit the money into the same high interest savings account that you’re making regular contributions to. Or speak with your Aussie Broker about the best way to save for your first home.
*Real name changed for privacy reasons.