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How to ask for cash gifts without it being #awkward

Just as a bucketload of other things to do with getting hitched have changed, so too has the gift registry – just ask your mum or nan. 
A registry often falls into the love-or-hate-it category. Some are all for picking up those barcode scanners and running riot in the registry department of Myer or David Jones; others think it’s an out-of-date tradition where you run the risk of ending up with three toasters you definitely don’t need. And as more and more couples are turning to the internet to plan their nuptials, it’s no surprise that the wedding registry has gone digital too. The traditional registry's modern makeover hasn't stopped there though – enter honeymoon funds, wishing wells and online registries where guests put money towards experiences rather than homewares. So, does that mean the wedding gift registry as your parents or grandparents might have known it is becoming extinct?

The old-school registry

First up, a quick history lesson (we promise it’ll be short). The gift registry was originally introduced as a way for close family and friends who wouldn’t be able to make it to the wedding to send a gift to the newlyweds. It then grew into a way for other guests to know what to give the happy couple – because picking an outfit isn’t the only thing guests have to plan for. To register for gifts, you’d pop into your closest registry, pick out any items that caught your eye (cue those barcode scanners) and compile a final list. Through word of mouth or a card in your invitation pack, you’d then let your guests know where you’ve registered and from there it’s over to them. To put it simply, a registry was for the convenience of the guests, not for the couple to score a high-definition sound system or a weekend getaway. 

Items on the registry were also intended to help the newlyweds furnish and kit out their new home, because, way back when, the bride and groom wouldn’t have always lived together before tying the knot, so they’d need things like an iron, electric beaters or a decanter. Now? It’s a pretty different story, so most couples probably have all the cutlery and coffee mugs they need. Of course, if you don’t have some household items or maybe just have a weakness for designer salad bowls and Egyptian cotton linen, a registry could work for you – just remember your guests don’t have to give a gift from your registry (technically, they don’t have to give anything... #truthbomb). 
A registry was for the convenience of the guests, not for the couple to score a high-definition sound system or a weekend getaway.
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Is it really okay to ask for money as a wedding gift?

Here come the new kids

Enter a different kind of gift registry, where, rather than asking for smaller furnishings or homewares, couples request straight-up cash, a donation to a honeymoon fund or chipping in to a larger, exxier item like a couch or outdoor furniture set. To pull off this contemporary registry you can do two things. Option A: having somewhere where guests can make a direct donation at the reception. Option B: create an online registry or website where guests can contribute or transfer money. Want to get better acquainted? Let us introduce you...

The wishing well

The idea behind the wishing well is pretty straightforward, but how you pull it off is up to you. You could have an old-school wishing well (you know, like the kind in Disney princess movies), a card box or an oversized glass jar labelled ‘gifts’. Decorating your wishing well – or jar or suitcase or box – is your opportunity to unleash your inner creative. Think decking it out to fit in with your overall theme, making it a statement piece – enter a craft shop's worth of glitter and art supplies – or keeping it understated and subtle. 

The digital switch
Go with an online registry and your guests can say hello to easy street, because they won’t even have to get off the couch (bonus!) to pick out a gift they know you’ll love. Asking for cash can be pretty cringeworthy and that’s where an online registry can also come in handy – it will eliminate those #awks conversations, while still giving you the opportunity to request contributions for anything that takes your fancy. Check out platforms like Not Another Toaster, Wedding Gifts Direct and Wedding List Co. To prevent guests feeling uncomfortable about making a direct cash deposit, some registries allow the donation amounts to remain anonymous.

The travel fund
Sure, you can have a ‘honeymoon fund’ jar at your reception or some other kind of deposit box, but collecting funds to go towards your next trip can also be done through a travel agency or online. Organising your fund-come-registry through a travel agent is a great option, especially if you already know where you're headed. Your agent should be able to set up your online registry (read: less work for you), as well as provide you with cards instructing your guests on how to contribute. If you're up for a bit more legwork, there are sites, like Travel Registry, where you can choose different experiences for your honeymoon - think a bottle of wine on an Italian beach, a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower or a scuba-diving lesson in Fiji - and create your registry from there. 

The moment collector
Looking for something that's not strictly honeymoon or homewares? That's where registries like Envelope come in. Started from an idea co-founder Simon had when planning his own wedding, and designed with the help of Tom, one of Simon's groomsmen and second co-founder, Envelope is intended to eliminate those cringeworthy conversations that come with asking for money. How? Couples set up their own page and then fill their registry with 'moments' from a list topping more than 250 items. If you can't find a moment or item, Envelope will create a custom one for you. "It reflects a bigger shift in society in that couples are more interested in creating experiences rather than collecting stuff," explains Simon. "We focus on the memories and the experiences these items will bring. Rather than talking about buying a barbecue, guests will contribute to the number of meals cooked on that barbecue." That means if you want help to renovate your kitchen, buy seedlings for your veggie patch or hire a vintage car for a road trip across America, Envelope has you covered. 
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