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Wedding Gift Wording: How to Politely Ask for Money instead of a Gift Registry

When it comes to asking for wedding gifts, and wording your wedding invitations, the one question which comes up the most is “How to politely ask for money for your wedding gifts.”

Photo: Perspex Wishing Well

Asking for Money as a Wedding Gift is now the Norm

When your parents got married, they probably wouldn’t have dreamed of asking for cash for their wedding present – but that taboo has long passed, and couples setting up wishing wells, honeymoon-funds and even asking for specific gift vouchers for their Big Day is now the norm.

Last year, we sent a survey out to 1000 couples, asking what their choice of Wedding Gift was, and only 22% of them used a Wedding Registry (often in combination with asking for money via a Wishing Well or Honeymoon Fund). If you’re still choosing which wedding gift to ask for, start here, or continue to read How to Politely Ask for Money instead of a Gift Registry.

Why would you ask for Money for a Wedding Gift?

For most couples, who will have already cohabited and established a home together, having to set up a traditional wedding registry of gifts of kitchen appliances and other household goods can be a waste. You might end up having to choose (and receive) a lot of things you don’t really want or need.

Will guests be upset if we ask for Money?

The way you word your request for wedding gifts, and especially a request for money, can make a huge difference to the way the message is received. Some friends and family, especially older people, may appreciate knowing what the money is going towards.

Though you can simply ask for contribution to a bank account, many couples choose for the money to go toward something specific, most commonly their honeymoon. We personally chose furniture, and let our guests know exactly what we’d be buying with it. In our thank you notes, I told our wedding guests how grateful we were for their contribution to our dining table, where we enjoyed sharing our meals each night. Choose what you’re asking for, and if it’s something more specific, let your guests know.

If you’re worried about guests turning their noses up at your request for a monetary contribution, consider that monetary gifts have long been considered proper and acceptable in different regions and countries:

  • Korea: guests often present envelopes containing cash or checks to the parents of the couple, who in turn present the money to the newlyweds;
  • China: guests usually hand the bride monetary presents in red envelopes (red symbolises luck) AND even guests who don’t attend send money;
  • Italy: has the custom of “The Grand March,” where the wedding reception ends with a receiving line in which the couple gives each guest a sweet in exchange for an envelope of money;
  • Poland: the “Dollar Dance” where guests dance with the bride and pin money to her veil or dress. it is the norm in many cultures; and in
  • Greece, Azerbaijan and parts of the Middle East, it would be seen as rude not to give money at a wedding.

So, for the nearly four-fifths of couples marrying this year will be asking for a gift that definitely won’t be gathering dust on the top shelf (aka a financial contribution), let’s talk wording.

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Photo: little white book wedding planning book

How to word your Wedding Invitations to ask for a Monetary Wedding Gift

How you wish to word your wedding invitations will be personal to you and your tone of voice, but I personally loved our friends’ wording for their Honeymoon fund.

“We are so thankful that you have all travelled to join us on our special day in one way or another, and we feel this is the best present you could gift us. However, should you wish to still give a gift and not have a small something in mind, please read on…. We think it would be special to have your gift linked to an experience or an item to make it that much more memorable. So, should you wish for your contribution to go towards any of our ideas, please write which one (or multiple) in a card and pop it on our designated box at the wedding, then we will make sure we send an appropriate selfie of us enjoying the experience with you!”

Another short alternative is this “As we have been sharing a home for some time, we have decided not to have a traditional gift list. Instead, if you would like to do so, we ask that you contribute to our married life together in the form of monetary contributions for our Honeymoon/Dining Table/Bathroom renovation, etc”

Where do we ask for the money to go? Wishing Well, Bank Account, Honeymoon fund?

Some couples choose to have a ‘wishing well’ at their wedding, whereas others will provide a bank account or use a gifting website. There are some beautiful acrylic wishing wells available for cards and gifts – you can note this on your invitation too.I love this perspex wishing well featured in the image below).

Of course, there will always be some guests who prefer to buy gifts with a personal touch, such as a special photo frame to put wedding photos in, or perhaps special wine glasses for future celebrations. You could consider having a small, ‘traditional’ wedding registry if you know there are some wedding guests who will feel uncomfortable giving money. Older family members love to give sentimental wedding gifts – like our our love story wedding anniversary journal and Celebrate Memory Book – add them to your registry.

our love story Celebrate couples gifts wedding how to ask for money for wedding gift
Wishing Well Asking for Cash Gifts Wedding Money Present Wording

28 Weeks Pregnant – Single First Time Mum

This brave 22 year old first time Mum is single and going to raise her baby herself, living with her parents and having the support of her family and friends. She generously shared with me the personal circumstances leading to this decision, and I think like me, you’ll be in absolute awe of her.

28 weeks pregnant

Baby is the size of a coconut or winter squash

Cravings have been anything sweet like chocolate or chocolate cereal and also toast.

Symptoms since my third trimester the main symptom has been heart-burn, and I’m extremely tired, but that could be because my iron levels have gotten low.

My weight pre pregnancy was 100kgs and in my first half of my pregnancy I would lose a lot of weight then started to put a little on, then lost it again. Since about 20 weeks I finally started to keep my weight on and am now 105kgs

I’ve been feeling… very up and down with emotions lately, as I’ve had a lot of time to just sit with my thoughts. Being in my third trimester is also making everything start to feel real/sink in that I’m going to be having a little human being to look after for the next 20 years that will be relying on me. 

My partner has been absent ever since I told him I was pregnant. We weren’t fully together, but he left the picture completely when I told him, and then came back in the picture at about 20 weeks (but his mindset was still the same wanting to not be a part of our child’s life). That’s okay with me, as I have a lot of support around me but I just wished he would decide whether he wants to be involved or not, as I don’t want him to come in and out the picture when he wants.

We had been seeing each other around a year, stop seeing each other and he already had a new girlfriend before I discovered I was pregnant. He had blocked me, so I had to message a friend of his to even be able to tell him that he was having a baby.

How I chose to have this baby on my own… I would say wasn’t really to much for me to think about as I’ve always wanted a baby. Three years ago I had an abortion, the decision never fully felt like my own, and ever since that I have kind of have grieved – and felt like a little part of me had made the wrong decision back then.

This time round when I found out I was pregnant, I still thought about my options but for me having this baby really outweighed all the cons and this time around I’m in a better situation to be able to have and raise a baby I did take in what it would be like to be raising a child alone as I knew in the back of my mind that telling the father wouldn’t make him want to stay and play “happy families” especially as I knew he already had another child to someone else and he doesn’t play much of a part in his life unfortunately.

Support of family and friends… With my decision I knew I had a stable environment and place to stay to bring up my child in the start and I knew this time around I had friends and family support. This time my situation with the father isn’t a sticky situation like it was with other man I was pregnant to before – and also at the time I found out I was working full time and had sustainable income coming in.

My work situation…About 14 weeks into my pregnancy, the nausea and headaches were so bad that I couldn’t be at work for more than an hour without being sick. I was working for my dad’s painting company so it wasn’t ideal being up and down ladders, inhaling fumes, and generally doing quite a physical job. Of course later in pregnancy I wouldn’t be able to be up a ladder anyway. I went to see my doctor and was put on the benefit because my symptoms were so bad that I couldn’t do much work. This is part of why I dislike being pregnant and don’t see it as a beautiful thing like most do.

Also answering question about if I have any friend with babies, in my close friend circle I don’t I’m the first one to have a baby but I have old distant friends that are pregnant now or have just had babies in the last year who have started to reach back out to me which is nice but it’s a shame most of them don’t live in the same town anymore. 

This week I’ve learned that the way people tell/ show what pregnancy and parenting is like is just a little snippet of what it’s like and usually only the good things. I’ve learnt there is so much more to parenting and pregnancy then I thought there was and not going to lie but I’ve found pregnancy to not be beautiful like most people play it out to be.

In preparation for the baby I’d like to get the last view things on my list for baby and me and I would like to start getting the nursery ready for baby’s arrival as well as next few weeks pack my hospital bags for baby and I so I feel prepared as I have no idea when this baby could come as it’s my first so who knows if I’ll come early or come on time or come late. Always would like to make my list of 6 names for baby down to at least 3 names.

The funniest thing that has happened so far is the other day I went into the bakery to get my mother something for lunch and I paid with coins which was fine but right after I gave the gave them money I turned around and started to walk out without the food I just brought and luckily the guy said excuse me you’ve forgotten your food and I turned around and felt like a right muppet.

What I love most and value most about my partner or in this case sperm donor is that he’s blessed me with a child.

What I’m anticipating with the most apprehension is most likely birth because I feel like every persons experience is different and can go different so in a way I’m diving into the unknown in a way and that kind of scares me. Also looking after a newborn scares me like yeah I’ve been around looked after my nieces and nephew but I feel like there’s just so much you need to know and do and that freaks me out slightly and I feel a lot of pressure as I’m young so I feel everyone that’s older around me is looking down on me and going to give me grief if I don’t want to do things their way. 

How I’m going with diet, exercise, sleep, stress and other health goals. I would say this whole pregnancy I haven’t done much exercise apart from the odd walks and same with diet I haven’t exactly stick to a diet just kinda eaten what I crave/ want to eat but the things I’ve craved have been like toast, porridge and some fruits etc then I also eat my bad treats as well without feeling guilty but I don’t feel bad as I feel my diet is a okay balance of things.  My sleep has been kinda crap since being pregnant I would wake up a few times in the night and constantly waking up to try get comfortable and now in last trimester also been getting really hot in my sleep also which isn’t fun but I’ve noticed I can’t stay away longer then 10:301/11pm the most and then I will wake up two to three times each night and then fully wake up about 9 but start of pregnancy it was about 6:30/7 I’d wake. With stress I haven’t felt to stressed in my pregnancy but the times I’ve felt stress it’s felt a lot more then it usually would but could be cos of my hormones doing that also noticed I get irritated with people way more especially with eating and breathing I can’t deal makes me so mad inside. 

If I could say anything to my baby right now it would be that everything is going to be okay with us and I will always love and look after you no matter what and goes to ends of the world for you to protect and take care of you. It may be rocky at the start while we get use to each other but then everything will be more than perfect. 

If after reading this you’d be happy to share your own experience of pregnancy, please email me at to send you one of these pages (or you can send a photo of your own pregnancy journal).

35 Weeks Pregnant – Second Pregnancy

35 weeks pregnant

Baby is the size of a Pineapple

My Weight: 66kgs (11kg gain)

Cravings: None – still everything tasting a bit blah. Could do with some fresh watermelon though.

Symptoms: Heartburn, lightning crotch, shortness of breath, increased discharge (TMI?)

I’ve been feeling: Emotional, sick and drained this week. Pregnancy has been far from top of mind.

I’m most nervous about: I worry a bit about how my first born will adjust to the big transition.

When I need to relax I listen to my labour music playlist

I can’t wait to be able to sleep lying down (even if it will be interrupted)

When I see my body I feel proud & confident, it’s quite incredible what it can handle

In preparation for the baby we are doing quick fire name suggestion evenings (to no avail)

If I could say anything to my baby right now it would be: As much as I’m getting more and more excited to meet you, please stay put for a few more weeks – there’s a lot to do still to prepare for your arrival, plus we need to agree on a name and I need to shake this cold! Keep up the kicks, each one is comfort and reassurance for me. Also if you could shimmy your way into prime position too that would be much appreciated. See you soon enough little man, you’re super loved and a big part of the family already.

If after reading this you’d be happy to share your own experience of pregnancy, please email me at to send you one of these pages (or you can send a photo of your own pregnancy journal).

20 Alternative Wedding Venues For Unique Couples (at Every Budget)

If you feel like you’ve attended the same 6 wedding venues for friends’ nuptials over the past few years, it’s time to think outside the square. Whether it’s an industrial space, backyard wedding, high-country lodge, or the middle of nowhere, this list of 20 alternative and unique wedding venues is sure to inspire you. Bonus, many of these are public spaces which are also very affordable – great for the wedding budget (wait til you see the $100 wedding venue!)

Grab your wedding planner book and take note about everything you love about these fantastic, unique wedding venues.

1. Museum

A museum holds hands with an art gallery when it comes to the cool kids of weddings, and with so many fantastic museums in New Zealand, both rurally and in the big city, there is a size and style to suit everyone. We love this Brisbane wedding at The Old Museum.

& implore more Auckland couples to have photos at the incredible Auckland War Museum…. we love this Auckland Domain wedding (and YES you can actually get married in Auckland Museum too!)

2. Public Gardens

Our little land is abundant with public gardens, showcasing both botanical beauties and native giants… usually for free. Check (or don’t) with your local council, as there may be a small fee for your fun. Either way, it is an affordable way to celebrate your wedding in an oh so pretty setting. Emily & Tuaine got married for $5000 (total!) in Dunedin Botanic Gardens – get inspired here.

Garden Wedding Dunedin Botanic Gardens

3. Wildlife Park

Lions & Tigers & Bears, oh my! A wildlife park makes a great setting for the animal mad. And the perfect inspiration for your big day. My Pick? Paradise Valley Springs near Rotorua, Orana Wildlife Park near Christchurch and Auckland Zoo.

4. Bar/Cafe

Have a favourite cafe or bar that you just love, love, LOVE? Find out if you can hold your service or function (or both) there, and celebrate your day in a way that truly reflects who you are. Kathryn + Rupak got married with a wedding budget of $17,000 at the Wintergardens followed by Tribeca Restaurant in Parnell.

5. Industrial Space

Want something a little bigger with an inner city industrial feel? A wedding in an industrial space can be an affordable way to host a supersized shin-dig in an oh so cool setting, you just have to go on the hunt for one! Charlotte + Mike Church had a brilliantly cool industrial space wedding at By George followed by Kingland’s Hopetoun Alpha.

An Industrial Chic Kingsland Wedding - Auckland Wedding Photography - Wonder Ferris_0034

6. Rural Barn

Love all things rustic? An old barn is the perfect rural venue and the decoration options are endless (but affordable if you brush up on your d.i.y skills) There are so many fantastic barns around New Zealand, it is just a matter of finding one that suits (with power is even better) Ask around, put an ad in your local paper, or simply be cheeky and go door knocking… you just never know, who knows someone who knows of a good barn, if you get my drift. See this Vintage Chic Matamata Barn Wedding for inspo!

7. Art Gallery

An art gallery has to be one of the most modern and swanky pants venue ideas on this list. Whether you surround yourself with contemporary art or hang out with the old masters, a gallery wedding is a very cool way to wed.

9. Winery

Wine & Cheese is a match made in heaven, and a winery wedding has to be the perfect excuse to enjoy both. My tip to save money? Do your research, and don’t rule out the little less commercial guys (It may save you thousands!) See this Markovina Vineyard wedding for inspo.

Markovina Vineyard Kumeu Wedding

10. Campsite

Us kiwi’s are camping mad, and most of us have enjoyed a holiday or two in a tent or caravan during our lifetime. I am a huge fan of a campsite wedding, and caravans are the picture perfect backdrop. Beachfront or lakeside among the mountains, there is a campsite to suit all styles and budgets.


Bit of a bookworm? The library can make for a very cool (and quiet) venue for your big day. Don’t forget the little guys… a small local library is often just as unique, especially if you are counting pennies.

12. Rooftop

Know of a fabulous cityscape or a unique rooftop garden? This idea is very cool indeed, so best to do it in summer me thinks. The Auckland District Law Society Rooftop is very cool (Chase Wild Photos)

13. Backyard

Know of someone with a fantastic backyard. Ask, bribe or tie them up, so that you can enjoy your big day backyard style. The perfect venue for those on a shoestring budget! Even luckier if the backyard is a farm like this amazing Waiorongomai Farm wedding.

14. Local Hall

I love a quirky local hall and in New Zealand we have loads of them. A little decoration and a little imagination, and this humble venue will have a little less sparkle, but a lot more soul. Of course everyone loves Old Forest School which has hall vibes!

15. Golf Club

You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy this venue. Golf courses are always picturesque and can provide some amusing guest entertainment also (think a guest challenge at the driving range) Again, do your research, as so many smaller local clubs can be just as perfect for your pictures, and your pocket.

16. Boat Club or Wharf

Ahoy me matey! Go quaint and quirky or go all out in a fancy pants venue… or why not hire a boat and have the ceremony on the water with the reception at the club house. Cool huh. See this Otago Peninsula Wedding.

17. Ski-field

A little bit brrr, a skifield wedding doesn’t have to be in Winter. A summer ski-field wedding would be just as spectacular, and you would have the whole mountain to yourself, well maybe! Take a look at this Wanaka wedding for inspiration.


18. High Country Lodge

Luxury or rustic, there are high country venues to suit everyone in this country. With a roaring fire, wild mountain flowers and fresh game on the menu, this venue idea is wedding perfect. Sigh. See our Fowey Country Lodge Wedding for inspo!

Fowey Lodge

19. The Beach

New Zealand is chocca with beautiful beaches and rugged coastal landscapes. Make the most of it and say I do with the sand between your toes. You will love this Hahei wedding.


20. The Middle of Nowhere

Have a special spot that means so much to both of you? Go all out in the middle of nowhere! It is amazing where caterers will go, and with amazing ‘glamping’ specialist. Take a look at this (slightly wild weather) marquee wedding on a family farm.

Relaxed Rustic Boho Farm Wedding - Auckland Weddings - The Official Photographers_0034

Did you get married in a unique, alternative or totally wild location? Please share! Looking for more wedding inspiration? Check out Real Weddings!

Considering a “Prenup” in NZ – Relationship Property (Contracting Out) Agreement

For most engaged couples, the idea of a prenup is less champagne and roses and more like a cold shower. But while it’s not the most romantic thing to discuss before the big day, a Prenup or “Prenuptial Agreement” (most often called a Contracting Out Agreement or CoA in New Zealand) can be a seriously essential wedding planning move.

With many NZ couples getting married later in life and having more time to accumulate wealth and assets, it’s worth thinking about what will happen to those things if the relationship ends, or even if someone dies. Though neither is a pleasant thought – especially when planning your wedding, it’s worth taking the time to consider the benefits of a prenup.

Why is it called a Contracting Out Agreement (CoA)?

In NZ it’s called a “Contracting Out Agreement” because it refers to an alternative contract to what would otherwise be governed by the Property (Relationships) Act 1976. Generally speaking, the Act states that all relationship property including the family home (regardless of how or when it was purchased) will be open to a claim for equal sharing between the parties in the relationship. 

In New Zealand, the law assumes that partners contribute equally to their relationships in various ways, and thus have mechanisms in place to divide assets fairly in the event of separation or death. However, couples have the option to make their own agreement (CoA) to determine what happens to their assets and liabilities if their relationship ends. Although it may not be the most romantic thing to discuss, a CoA allows couples to record which assets and liabilities are considered separate or relationship property according to their own terms.

Why and when should you discuss a Prenup?

Approaching the topic of a prenup with your partner can be difficult, but there are many times you may have to have difficult conversations with your partner. Firstly, it’s important to explain your reasons for wanting to discuss it.

Prenups can be useful for any couple, regardless of their respective financial situations. They allow you and your partner to have a transparent conversation about your financial expectations and how you would like your assets to be distributed in case of separation or death. Rather than leaving these decisions to be made by the courts and laws that may not align with your specific circumstances or preferences, a prenup lets you take control of your future and protect your assets. It’s a way to consciously and proactively decide how you want to share your property with your partner.

Try to approach the conversation as an opportunity to plan for your future together. Discuss your shared goals and aspirations, as well as any concerns you may have about the potential end of your relationship. It’s important to emphasize that a prenup is about making conscious decisions as a couple, rather than relying on generic legislation that may not be suitable for your specific circumstances.

Lastly, remember that having an open and honest conversation about a prenup can actually strengthen your relationship. It shows that you both value transparency and communication, and are willing to work together to plan for your future. By approaching the topic with care and respect, you can help ensure that your relationship stays strong and healthy for years to come.

Ensuring your Prenup or Contracting Out Agreement is Valid and Legal

It’s important to understand that the rules of equal sharing apply to a wide range of assets, including things like shares in a jointly-operated company, personal savings, vehicles, and even your KiwiSaver. This means that the total value of assets subject to equal sharing can quickly become significant.

Even assets that you owned prior to entering into a relationship can be subject to a claim, although the specific factors that determine the entitlement and share of your partner will vary based on your unique situation. As always, seeking advice that is tailored to your specific circumstances is recommended.

If you and your partner agree on how you want to deal with your relationship property, it’s a good idea to record your agreement in a Contracting Out Agreement. This document allows you to create your own private agreement, rather than being subject to the rules laid out in the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.

However, it’s important to note that in order for a Contracting Out Agreement to be legally valid, it must be in writing and signed by both parties with each signature being witnessed by two separate lawyers or law firms. These lawyers will provide independent legal advice regarding the implications and effects of the agreement, and must certify that they have explained the agreement to their respective clients. The preparation and execution of a Contracting Out Agreement is therefore not a simple process, but it may be an important one for you. See also Awkward Conversations Every Couple Should Have.

Take advantage of the conversation to delve into other critical aspects of your future together, including career aspirations, family planning, and financial goals. Engaging in these discussions can establish a mutual understanding and trust between both partners. By addressing any possible worries and expectations, you can collaboratively work towards building a more resilient and secure relationship.

For more information, see advice given by LawCom, talk to Citizens Advice Bureau or a Relationship Property lawyer to get started.

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