Important Tips for Giving Cash as a Wedding Gift:
- The thing that makes cash such a great gift also makes it very attractive to thieves. I actually wrote my Master’s on this topic. The majority of weddings these days will have something called a card box (or birdcage or wishing well, etc), as a designated place to put cards to keep them safe. Usually someone in the wedding party or a parent has been designated to collect up the contents at some point in the evening. Make sure you put your cash gift in the appropriate place.
- eMail Money Transfer: By far the most secure way that we received money was via eMail money transfer. Pretty much every financial institution in Canada provides this option and most accounts will be allowed a few for free per month. You set up a question and answer for the recipient to verify the transfer. In your card, indicate the $$s you will be sending and give them the question and answer. This is a good spot to add some flare and personality in for the couple, by making the question personal and funny. At an appropriate time, send the eTransfer from your online banking to the recipients email. This may be once they have returned from a honeymoon, before the wedding, the next morning, or whenever makes the most sense. Most transfers are valid for 30 days or so, before expiring. The recipient simply clicks on a link in the email, logs into their online banking and deposits the money. It massively reduces any chance of cash or a cheque going missing. Cheque canceling fees can be pricey! [Yes, I’m Canadian, we use cheque not check.]
- Write a cheque – when doing this, make sure that you are using names that won’t cause any problems at the bank. For example, not everyone changes their name when they get married and it may be tough to deposit something in a name that isn’t theirs. For a complete list of tips, read Cheque Mate! Wedding Check Writing Tips
- In general, be careful when gifting cash in cash form, as it is the easiest to go missing. Also, these days it’s not very common to carry very much cash, so you may make the new couple feel a tad uncomfortable stashing all this money until they can get to a bank. Also remember that any amount over $10,000 must be declared when crossing into Canada or the United States, so it could cause problems as a destination wedding gift.
More On Giving Cash as a Gift:
Once upon a time I went and saw a comedian at Yuk-yuks in Vancouver. I have remembered part of her sketch ever since (of course I have no idea what her name is, to properly attribute this). She was up there on stage talking about gifts. She wanted to know what was wrong with a nice ol’ $20 bill. I mean, no one ever looked at cash and thought, “Wow, what a piece of crap, what am I going to do with THIS?” Unless you’re living in the backwoods somewhere and have been handed the wrong currency, cash is king. Conversely, say you open up a card and there’s a $20 gift card for Walmart. Oh great. Your thoughtful gift giver has already decided that you want crap. [This was part of her routine, I know that Walmart may be exactly where some of you fine folks would like to spend some dollars.] You see, gift cards are not terribly convertible, but cash spends very well, pretty much anywhere. Buying food on WestJet is not one of those places though, you need some plastic for that. And I don’t mean the new Canadian plastic money.
But wait – Cash is so impersonal, cash is so specific, cash doesn’t have any thought put into it, etc.
These are the common concerns of a gift giver. From the point of view of the recipient, cash allows them to add up all of their gifts towards one big thing. That may be paying off their wedding, going on a trip, saving for a couch, paying off some student loans, buying a new bed, couch, silverware, flat screen tv or any other myriad of things. Additionally, in many cases your money may actually go further if you give it as cash than as a gift card. For example, there is a registry completion discount at the Bay which can also be combined with signing up for an hbc credit card… saving the couple ~22.5% from the list price! Gift cards only result in a savings of 10%, so giving cash goes much further to filling a house full of nice new trinkets.
Also remember portability – is the couple traveling to or from the wedding? Do they have limited luggage space? Guess what – cash is the winner again!
For another opinion on cash and gift cards as gifts, read what Daisy @ When Life Gives you Lemons: Add-Vodka has to say.