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Young couples want cash as wedding gifts

July 30, 2015

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Photo via Pixabay.com

With the wedding season in full swing, a new generation of couples is starting their married life. If you’ve been to a wedding recently, however, you might have noticed that this new generation is doing things differently.

Millennials aren’t rushing to get married, but when they do, they’re throwing out old traditions and tailoring the big day to fit their interests.

One of the more interesting recent trends involves wedding gifts. Some cultures have historically given cash gifts to a newly married couple, but the practice is less common and even looked down on in the United States and other parts of the world.

Millennials are changing that tradition. Instead of the classic gifts like china sets and silverware, millennials are asking for cash, gift cards and donations towards things like trips or improvements to their homes.

The trend has brought about new services that help organize and collect monetary gifts, with many young couples more interested in personal registries than retail ones at stores like Target and Pottery Barn.

The New York Times recently looked at the trend, featuring online registries like SimpleRegistry and Hatch My House as innovative ways for guest to give gifts.

SimpleRegistry lets couples create their own wedding registries, with more traditional items from websites or by scanning barcodes, but they also can list non-tangible things like cooking classes and donations to charities.

After the wedding, the gifts at SimpleRegistry are redeemed as cash. The idea allows for a crowd-sourcing of more expensive items that couples might not otherwise ask for. If they want a high-end camera to document their honeymoon, friends and family members can put money towards the purchase.

At Hatch My House, couples create a registry where their guests help fund things like a down payment on a house or any major improvement projects if the couple already owns.

These new registries also help keep guests happy. Attending a wedding is expensive, more than $600 for the average guest, according to the Times, so eliminating doubt when it comes to gifts makes giving a better experience.

Using these sites to customize their gift lists, the trend says a lot about what millennials value.

Many young people already own home appliances and don’t want to deal with the clutter of fancier items they won’t use. Laden with student loan debt, millennials often can’t afford to travel, so funding a trip is more meaningful than traditional gifts. As Jason Dorsey at the Center For Generational Kinetics told the Times, couples from this generation “prefer experiences over stuff.”

Millennials are already getting married later in life because they value financial stability and avoiding credit balances. Using things like wedding gifts to create financial flexibility earlier in life gives them some freedom to follow their passions.

For story ideas, see if you can find sources in your coverage area that have used registry sites to fund things like trips or home improvements after their weddings. You can also contact local wedding planners and ask about other popular trends with millennials that are taking place in the industry. Then, ask parents and guests what they think of these ideas.


  • Rian Bosse

    Rian Bosse is a PhD student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. He earned his undergraduate degree in English from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2012 and worked for a small daily newspaper, the Daily Journal, in his hometown o...

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