April 12, 2004

Can't Buy Me Love, But Can Buy Us A New Car!

While L and I have made no secret of our desire to buy an apartment in the coming year and our plan to save money to finance that desire, we have not made any out-and-out requests for cash in lieu of physical gifts. We are first and foremost happy that people are coming to celebrate our wedding. We're also not about to snub our noses at shiny new All-Clad pots, and I don't think there's anything on our registries for which we don't have a legitimate need. L is a little tired of sleeping on the pillows I've had since college and I agree that it would be nice to get new ones.


Most people understand how important money can be to a couple just starting out but also feel slightly uneasy being on either end of a cash exchange. Short of living in a Martin Scorsese movie, is there ever an appropriate way to ask for cash?

Wondering how other couples have dealt with this conundrum, I turned, naturally, to the Internet. My search lead me to Greenwish.com, which bills itself as "the new wave in online gift registries." There, couples can set up accounts so that friends and relatives can give money securely online.

According to the website, Greenwish.com was conceived by a couple in the midst of planning their wedding. While registering for housewares, they realized that people often have greater needs than just glassware and bedsheets. With no acceptable way to ask for cash, they decided to create Greenwish.com, a online gift registry that would allow engaged couples and other people in their financial infancy to start off on the right foot.

So let me get this straight. They didn't feel comfortable asking people for cash, but they did feel comfortable asking people to visit a website for the sole purpose of giving cash? Me confused.

In exchange for this "quick and easy" service, Greenwish.com charges gift givers a transaction fee ranging from $5 for gifts up to $100 and 4% for gifts over $500. Somehow I fail to understand how paying $24 to give someone $600 is any easier than writing a check, stuffing it in a Hallmark card and handing it to the recipient.

Many people have turned to sites such as Honeyluna.com and TheBigDay.com, which allow couples to register for pieces of their honeymoon. Well-wishers can send the couple off to Tahiti by paying for dinners, resort activities, airfare and hotel accommodations. I see no problem with something like this, although I do imagine that it creates a thank you note writing challenge, given the typical model for expressing gratitude on paper:

"Dear Aunt Martha and Uncle Maurice, thank you for the generous gift of one night's stay at the beach resort. We will certainly think of you when as we consummate our marriage on the room's comfortable bed."
Posted by The Groom at April 12, 2004 12:02 AM

Excuse me, aren't you going to have two separate rooms?

Posted by: MOB at April 12, 2004 11:50 PM

registering for cash is super tacky.

Posted by: steve at April 13, 2004 03:31 PM

and the trick on thebigday.com is that the couple can actually use the cash - there's a disclaimer at the bottom saying that they can't guarantee the money will be used for what is advertised. They just give the couple the total amount of $$ that is given.

Posted by: Karen at April 13, 2004 10:41 PM

There's a great site
that gives you the best of both worlds- you can register anywhere that has a website and they offer a variety of choices for the gift buyers. People can buy the items outright, choose to use the 'partial payment' option which alows them to put money towards more expensive items (which bride/groom can apply towards the object or felicite cuts you a check for the amount) or you can donate to things like a Honeymoon Fund or Downpayment Fund etc. Its very easy to use and keeps track of all the gift buyers' info, so thank yous are quick and easy.
I don't know what we're going to do about the non-web savy, though....but would they really use a registry anyway? Or just get what they think you'd like/need?

Posted by: Kourtney at May 12, 2004 08:43 PM