Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


"You're a writer! You'll solve it!"

A work associate came to me and asked a favour, the kind of favour that is like asking a doctor you know socially for a gratuitous opinion about a condition.

The lady is getting engaged and is sending out invitations. She wants to receive money instead of actual gifts; and the favour was that she wanted me to write this for her in a way that 'didn't sound tacky'.

Five minutes of online research confirmed what I already knew: there is no way you can ask for money instead of gifts. You just can't. But some people think a writer can re-write bad etiquette into something that is acceptable, via some verbal sleight of hand.

I'm at a loss, which is rare for me. What do I do? Ignore her? Tell her she can't do it? Or write some tacky nonsense about a wishing well or a money tree and to hell with it?

Sometimes I wish I were a nuclear scientist. I bet they don't get asked favours.


Cindy said...

Heh, my experience is that anyone with a science degree is expected to understand how *everything* works... Dr Karl Kruszelnicki is both an inspiration and a nuisance.

I reckon the only non-tacky way to request money is if you're forwarding it to a charity. I'd give her the choice between that and a sappy money tree poem.

Diane said...

The one time I was in this position, the circumstances were different enough that it didn't seem too tacky. The bride had been collecting household goods since she was a young teen, and there wasn't much left for a registry. She and the groom were very young, and had little money. We threw a "cleaning supply" wedding shower, with a footnote on the invitation stating something to the effect that if you wanted, you could contribute to the couples' "honeymoon fund".

As I said, different circumstances. There really is no non-tacky way to say "show me the money".

Terry Oglesby said...

I'm not sure how you handle that, but I do recall one of my coworkers made the mistake of announcing in our Monday staff meeting that we were all invited to his wedding, and he'd be sure to pin up the invitation on the bulletin board.

I replied that I'd be sure to pin his gift up on the bulletin board.

I don't think he appreciated everyone laughing at that.

As for the bride in question, I think if she's dead-set on doing this, might as well go all out and acknowlege that it's a breach of etiquette in the most blatant and unrepentant way possible. No use trying to hide it--embrace it.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

When my nephew got married they ask for money. I don't really remember the wording but it had to do with not wanting "things" so much as building a memory (honeymoon). Our thank you note was a very well written, reasonably short, with pictures note thanking us for making it possible. Some people did give things.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh, and good luck!

neil said...

I can help you but not your work colleague. Suggest that she sends a copy of the movie Jerry Maguire with her invitations, you know the one where Tom Cruise yells out "Show me the money!!!", those that don't get it can still shout to Renee Zellweger not to fall for Tom. Good Luck!

Lesley said...

It's tacky, that's all that can be said about it...but not as tacky as this.
A friend of a friend and his wife are renewing their vows soon and have sent out invitations to guests asking that instead of gifts they give them money! Very poor form!

kitekato said...

I think it depends what they want to use the money for.
I have recieved wedding invitations where is was made very clear that the money was going to be used for a particular project, eg. the building of an outdoor decking area. Although I cannot recall it right now, the bride and groom had written a little, cheeky poem about having enough material goods already, and how this would help to create memories of a life lived or some such.
I have less of a problem with that, than the wedding we attended, and were ask not to give gifts, but to pay for our own meals ($40 to be sent in with the RSVP!!)

Ian T. said...

My sister set up a bridal registry and requested the money if not an item from the list. It struck me as tacky. Sorry, there's no good way to do something so devoid of the natural goodwill and sentiment involved in real present buyging.

Janis Gore said...

I'm not so much put off by the notion that the couple would prefer cash rather than gifts, especially when couples are older and unite two households, as I am by the bride's outright solicitation of anything at all.

In the states, usually a friend or friends of the bride will throw a shower, invitations separate from the wedding invitation. Those are the occasions to give gifts, and the couple's preferences can be made known then.