The Right Way to Ask for Honeymoon Donations

By Shala Hainer

Wedding etiquette is a fluid thing, ever changing as the needs of brides and grooms change. Technology has made a huge impact on that as well – it’s now quick and simple to request money instead of physical gifts, and for friends and family to send money electronically rather than mail a check or bring one to the wedding.

It once was taboo to even think about asking for cash instead of gifts. The thought behind the gifts was to help young people set up their first home together.

So is it now acceptable to ask for honeymoon donations instead of gifts? The answer is a resounding yes.

Why Now?

These days, people are waiting longer to get married. In 1990, the average age of the first marriage in the U.S. was 23 for women and 26 for men, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2019, it’s 27 for women and 29 for men. It’s also more common for people to live together for a while before they get married.

This means that more newlyweds already have homes or apartments of their own, including all the household items they need – sometimes two of each item. They don’t need more physical gifts, but they could use some help making incredible memories on their honeymoons.

This is also true of people who are getting married for the second time (or beyond). It’s unlikely they need much for their homes, but a honeymoon donation is a thoughtful way to support the happy couple.

Proper Etiquette

Asking for cash outright is still frowned upon, so please don’t send out an email requesting honeymoon donations. Instead, create a wedding website, and free ones are available from many bridal sources online. Include basic information for the wedding, such as the date, location, time and appropriate dress. As part of the website, include a link to a honeymoon donation fund – HoneyFund is a popular one.

It doesn’t hurt to give a brief description on why you are asking for honeymoon donations rather than standard gifts, or invite them to help you celebrate your new life by starting it off with amazing memories.

Putting the actual donation link on your wedding invitation is still a no-no, but you can put your wedding website, where guests can then look for your registry information. Ask your bridal party, family and close friends to tell other guests that what you truly want is donations toward your honeymoon so it can be as special as possible.

Also, it’s still considered rude to ask for a specific amount of money – in other words, don’t say that the bride and groom hope each guest will donate at least $50 toward the honeymoon. Although you can offer several gift amount options, always leave one blank for them to fill out with their own amount.

It’s best to keep an anonymous feature on the donation page as well. The bride and groom should know who donated to the fund, but not everyone wants their name and the amount to be public on the website. Make sure they can donate privately, or let guests know they can bring a check to the wedding to be placed in the card box, or they can mail a check to you.

Breaking It Down

While asking for a specific amount of money might be considered poor etiquette, there’s no reason you can’t offer different options for your friends and family when it comes to helping pay for your honeymoon. Some guests might balk at simply giving you money, so instead, set up a list of experiences you want to try on your honeymoon.

Your friends and family might like the idea of being able to envision what they are giving you – some could prefer just a straight contribution to spend any way you want, but others like the idea of giving something specific if there aren’t any physical gifts you need.

If you’re going to a beach location, for example, perhaps you would like a champagne toast at sunset, or a snorkeling lesson. If the mountains are your honeymoon destination, add a horseback riding trip or a private wine tasting at a nearby vineyard.

Provide the full price for your chosen experiences, but make it clear that any amount they would like to contribute toward the experiences is appreciated if they don’t want to pay for an entire piece. Giving options in several price points might encourage guests to buy full experiences for you.

As an alternative, add an option for people to donate airline miles to you, and add the link to your honeymoon page. In addition to airfare, many destinations allow you to use airline points to pay for hotel rooms and certain experiences.

Saying Thank You

As with any gift, showing your appreciation is key to maintaining your relationship with the giver. When you can’t write a traditional thank-you note because the gift is not a physical item, find ways to make your outpouring of appreciation personal to the giver.

If someone pays for an experience on your honeymoon, like a sunset dinner cruise, take a photo or two of you and your new spouse on the dinner cruise. 

If it was a general donation, pick a sweet moment, or an unusual one like an underwater photo of the two of you. 

Send the photos along with a thoughtful note to the person who gave you the experience. The giver will enjoy seeing how much their gift meant to you, and it gives them something concrete they can feel good about providing as a gift. WGW

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