Invited to a “Money Shower” — Now What?

Kim asks: I received an invitation to a “money shower,” and I’d like to know how to present my gift.Because the money shower (or money tree shower) is still a little esoteric and brings up a slew of thorny issues, we’re going to answer a few more questions Kim didn’t ask: What’s the proper etiquette for monetary gifts? Is it ever appropriate to ask for them? Are “money trees” and “money showers” considered in bad taste?

Asking for Monetary Gifts at a Shower

You’re planning a bridal shower, and let’s face it — the bride and groom have been living together for three years, already accumulating at least two blenders and a toaster oven. What they could really use is some extra cash (they’ve been dying to remodel their 70s-era bathroom).

However, blatantly asking for specific gifts — monetary or otherwise — is in poor taste. Just imagine an invitation that reads: “I could really use some new shoes — please send me some strappy sandals.” (Just because Carrie Bradshaw got away with it does not make it okay!)

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What you can do is let guests know (if they ask) that the bride prefers cash gifts. Send shower invites without registry information; inquiring guests will ask where the couple is registered, presenting a perfect opportunity to respond with the bride’s preference. Some guests will still prefer to give a tangible gift, so the couple should register for a few items.

Avoid drawing attention to the cash with a “money tree,” or other cash-displaying gimmick, so guests bringing tangible gifts don’t feel awkward. Simply display all cards and gifts together for the bride to open and acknowledge. The happy bride-to-be should always remember to feel privileged, not entitled.

What If I’m Asked to Bring a Monetary Gift?

You’re sorting through your mail, and to your dismay discover a shower invitation with a cutesy rhyme such as —

To make it easy for you
and avoid a shopping spree
We thought that we would have instead,
a little money tree

Although this presents a clear breach of etiquette, it also doesn’t justify an uprising of the etiquette police. Pointing out another’s faux pas is just as rude as the original blunder. Here are your options:

Bringing a Monetary Gift

If you choose to participate with a cash donation, give whatever you feel comfortable giving. The shower host will start the tree off for guests by tying a bill or small envelope on the tree, and guests will follow suit. There’s usually no way to tell who gave what amount. In this instance, bring a card separate from the cash for the bride.

Bringing a Tangible Gift

I say this with caution, because you don’t want to appear as if you’re protesting the shower theme. That said, if you’ve put a lot of thought into selecting something memorable for the bride, take pride in presenting her with a thoughtful gift to acknowledge her upcoming nuptials.

The Expert

Cori Russell is editor-in-chief for Elegala Magazine. Elegala is a new wedding planning resource offering the most comprehensive portfolio of superior wedding reception sites and wedding vendors, with the planning tips to keep brides in the know on today’s wedding trends and styles. For a complete guide to creating an elegant and memorable wedding celebration, visit, your ultimate wedding planning resource.