Shower Me With Money

There is an advice column I read in the Seattle Times called “Ask Amy”. This past Sunday’s advice seeker stated he and his wife received a wedding shower invitation where not only was a cash gift requested but a dollar amount was specified. “Perturbed in Seattle” felt it was very bad etiquette, while his wife felt it was more acceptable this day and age. Amy stated they were both right.

Asking people for money, especially a specific amount is rude and in bad taste. It says “I’m greedy and I only care about you for your money.” Wedding showers, baby showers and bridal showers are held to “shower” the guest of honor with gifts, but to blatantly ask for money is not appropriate. Instead, those attending the party should ask the host if the bride (and groom) have registered somewhere or if they need anything in particular.

And, speaking of hosting, a mother or close family member should never host a bridal shower, as it would appear greedy for the family to ask for gifts for their own family members.

Unlike a wedding, If you decline a bridal shower invitation you do not need to send a gift.

It may be the 21st century where things are a little less formal, but it will never be proper to ask for money or gifts in a shower or wedding invitation.

Readers, what has been your experience with this? Have you been the recipient of a shower invitation asking for money or gifts? How did you feel about this?

Please note: We have a new method of delivering blog posts to your inbox. If you have previously received these blog posts through Feedburner, please subscribe to receive these blog posts through the form below and unsubscribe to the posts you receive through Feedburner.

Feel free to share:


Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>


  1. Lauren on October 17, 2010 at 12:28 am

    I have not been specifically asked for money – although one wedding said that contributions to their house down payment fund would be greatly appreciated (and they had registered at Home Depot too). I wasn’t offended.

    What I do want to comment on is that while I do understand the logic behind gift registries, I absolutely can’t stand to buy things that are on the list. I want to pick the gift. I want to choose and be creative and give something that expressed my wishes for the recipient. I don’t think it’s bad for people to register for gifts, but I hate the feeling that I am supposed to pick something off that list.

    I want to ask if it’s bad etiquette to get what I want to get them…and I am interested in your answer, but honestly, I don’t think it will change my feelings even if you told me that I should get things on the list. I don’t want people to get 4 toasters for their wedding, but I also want the freedom to get whatever expresses my gift giving love.


  2. Arden Clise on October 17, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Hi Lauren,

    No, it’s not bad etiquette to purchase a gift that’s not on the registry. If you know the couple well and want to get them something that feels more personal than that’s fine. The registry is there for two reasons; to let people know what they need and to keep from getting duplicate gifts. But, registry gifts can be boring, so it’s perfectly acceptable to purchase something else that you know they will like.

    Thank you for your comment.

  3. Patty Foley on October 27, 2010 at 9:55 am

    OK, here’s a related, but somewhat off-topic question for you, Arden. 🙂

    I had a nonprofit client chewing on the issue of whether it was appropriate to ask for a minimum suggested donation at their luncheon. I’ve been to some nonprofit fundraising events where they say the suggested donation for lunch is $125, but then the table captain told me that that was just a suggestion and not what I had to commit to. I felt that was a nice way to approach it.

    This client feels awkward suggesting a minimum, but at their recent event they had over 1/3 of their guests donate far below what they expected – which was at least $100 per person.

    Maybe this is fodder for another article. 🙂



  4. Arden Clise on October 28, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Hi Patty. I think stating a minimum is really a good idea and not in bad taste at all. People know they will be expected to give something and setting a minimum gives them some parameters to work with.

    Non-profits are in the business of raising funds so there is no shame is asking for a minimum.

  5. Judith Little on December 1, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Hi, we’ve received a save the date card for my husbands step nieces wedding next August. My problem with the wedding is that she has been Iiving with her boy friend for several years and now they are having a large wedding that most of us are going to ttttThave to drive hour and a half to get to.

    What is the rule on gifts for the shower and wedding for someone who already has a home set up. I feel like they are asking for money or gifts for their home.

    I would love to know your thoughts on this.

  6. Arden on December 2, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Hello Judith,

    More and more couples are marrying after having lived together for a while and typically have everything they need. But not always. Some couples have a wedding or honeymoon fund they invite guests to contribute to. While I’m not a big fan of asking guests for money, I know it is becoming more common. Does the couple have a registry? if so, I would suspect there are items they need. If you attend the shower and wedding a gift, either an item or money, is a way to celebrate the betrothed. If you don’t attend one or the other a gift is not necessary. I hope that helps.

  7. Cathie on January 28, 2020 at 10:20 am

    My daughter is going to be living in a travel trailer after she gets married. Therefore she will not need toasters, coffee makers, oversized cook ware…So what do you suggest we do for her

Leave a Comment