A READER ASKS: Are 'Money Showers' Appropriate?

Dear Lily,
My brother is getting married in the summer to a really great girl that my entire family loves. My mother, older sister and I are hosting a bridal shower for her in a couple of months and we have run into a little problem. My future sister-in-law has been living on her own for a few years now and since she has most household items that you would get at a shower, she has suggested that she would prefer something she called a ‘money’ shower. Basically, instead of a bridal registry, it is added to the invitation wording that the guests bring gifts of cash instead of the usual toaster, iron, pots and pans, etc. The issue my family is having with this is that we don’t feel comfortable putting the word ‘money’ in the invitation (my mother is actually appalled by this suggestion, says that it is totally ill-mannered but has promised my brother that she won’t say anything to upset his fiancée). When we tried to bring up the shower subject with my future sister-in-law, she mentioned that she has gone to a few showers lately that were money showers and sees nothing wrong with having one herself. Before we speak to her about our discomfort with this again, I was wondering what the proper etiquette is on bridal showers, what you can and can’t say in an invitation and if this ‘money shower’ deal is in as bad taste as we think it is?

Thank you,

Dear Nicole,
I can understand your discomfort with this touchy situation. Wanting to avoid any upset for your brother and his fiancée during what should be a happy and memorable time for them is very considerate of you and your family, not to mention how dear it is to welcome your brother’s fiancée into your family by hosting a bridal shower for her. Keeping that in mind, it is never appropriate to strongly impose upon your guests as to what they should or shouldn’t give as a gift, especially when the word money is involved, regardless of what some like to excuse as a current trend. What a guest chooses to bring as a gift to a bridal shower, wedding, etc., should solely be left up to their discretion. Mention of a bridal registry on a separate slip within the envelope is fine as long as it is not referred to within the main body of the invitation.

In this instance, to appease the hosts of the shower and the guest of honour, my suggestion would be to try and combine the two approaches. Since the bride-to-be would prefer gifts of cash and it has become quite common for guests to give money envelopes at bridal showers and weddings, there is nothing wrong with family members letting it be known subtly that the couple would probably prefer gifts of money as opposed to household items. Even then, these gift ‘suggestions’ should only be given to anyone who asks the question directly. Also, a bridal registry, traditional or otherwise, could be set up by the bride and groom with a variety of items in different price ranges for the guest who prefers to go that route over a monetary gift. A gift registry is still a great idea and quite helpful for guests who don’t know the
couple very well or don’t have the time and inclination to pick out the ‘perfect gift’.


  1. Hi LL - The idea of a money shower is completely obnoxious! I would be horrified to receive an invitation like this & would NEVER host a shower where I indicated that money was the gift of choice. The point of a shower is to help fill in the items you need for a household. If you don't need anything then why have a shower?! Just have a lunch, brunch or tea to fete the bride and allow her to meet the relatives which I believe are the secondary and tertiary reasons for a shower. If you wanted to make a point (to the clueless bride about the idea of asking for $)you could suggest that ppl donate to a charity in the name of the bride and groom. Be creative! Obvs LL's suggestion of a registry at various price points is ideal. Otherwise ppl can just give cash at the wedding if that is their desired gift.
    Keep up the good work LL!
    Best regards,

  2. Just like the mother, I am appalled at this. I've never heard of a money shower and I have not been invited to one (thank, God). I hate to think that this is a growing trend. If someone offers to throw a shower for you, kindly accept and then let them plan it. If they allow input, offer up a theme (stock-the-bar, gardening, etc.) or suggestions of items, but DO NOT suggest money. So crass, so very crass.

  3. This is NOT appropriate. Someone in the family got married last fall and had a money shower and dollar dance to "raise money for the honeymoon." When my Nana flat out told her that "this was simply not done" my cousin replied that it is common in certain parts of the country. Unbelievable! I refused to give a gift of money and had a keepsake item personalized for the couple.

  4. Lily, such a graceful and well-crafted answer. I agree with you completely. Other cultures treat these things differently, and we can keep our structure in place overtly, while discreetly supporting the other ways.

  5. A well constructed answer, but the what else would one expect from you.