Can you register for a new home?

June is wedding season and with weddings come gifts and registries.  Etiquette has changed over the years and many brides and grooms have requested cash or down payment contributions for their first home as part of their wedding registry.

How does this type of thing work? Is it considered tacky or rude?  What are the pluses and minuses? Let’s take a look!

The popular wedding publication The Knot recently addressed the issue and has created their own version of a ‘digital cash registry’.  Buyers can choose to purchase small housewares and registry items, or cash in lieu of a traditional gift.

Many sites like this ask you to specify for what the funds will be used.  On the site, you can combine registries from several different vendors and request cash with a simple note declaring that you are ‘saving for a downpayment’ or ‘paying down debt’ so that friends and family can choose how to gift.

Honeyfund, another crowd favorite, lets you crowdsource for your honeymoon, wedding, down payment or purchase traditional gift items. They also have a charitable donation option.  There is no fee to you or your guests, but you do have to use your funds with one of the Honeyfund partners for your travel or have your funds transferred via Paypal where fees may apply.  Other sites charge not just for each transaction or donation, but the credit card vendor they use will charge on top of that. On the popular site Feather My Nest, a whopping 5% per donation is taken, and then a 2.9% on top of that goes to the credit card company.  You will need to do your homework and compare sites before you register.

But is all of this okay? Would Miss Manners approve? What about your grandmother or  aunt?

We checked with etiquette columnist Emily Posts’ website and her advice is to set up a registry, but to let close family and your attendants know that cash is preferred so that the matter is passed along by word of mouth. While she did not advocate setting up a bank account or utilizing one of the many sites geared toward receiving cash gifts, she did not say not to either.  It is apparently a slippery slope for even her.

Her great- granddaughter Anna however, makes no bones about it. In a recent Huff Post article she says:

“Alternatives to traditional registries such as a honeymoon fund, a bank account in the couple’s name or a charity suggestion in lieu of gifts are fine. “

Citing that most couples marry later and therefore have much of what is needed to set up a house already, asking for cash or donations is totally acceptable. And she thinks her great-grandmother would approve.  She, like Emily, caution that the decision is still up to the guest and you should be gracious regardless of whether you receive a check or a thoughtful gift the day of your wedding.  


So what is the best way to ask for money as a gift?

There are plenty of sites to help you with the wording.  From cute poems to simply stated inserts, there are a million ways to say it and the choice should be made with your guests in mind and understanding that some folks may find it a little untraditional and may take offense. 

As Realtors, we think it is a great idea.

The hardest part of home ownership for most couples starting out is gathering the funds for downpayment  If you are getting married, or are a newlywed considering a home purchase start talking to experts now. Meet with a lender and find out where you stand financially and what you need to do to be ready to make that purchase.  Ask about different loan programs that might help reduce up front costs-there dozens to choose from. And some, according to Alan Kennedy  VP, Producing Branch Manager at Banksouth Mortgage, do consider wedding gift funds like these an acceptable source of funds when applying for a mortgage (certain restrictions may apply).

Bottom line, being educated on the process before you start will help things go much smoother when you are ready. Give us a call, we’d love to help!