Dear Carolyn: My daughter would like to request cash versus the usual wedding gifts.

How would you go about wording this request? We are trying not to sound too harsh. I thought I read about this idea in one of your previous columns.

– T.

A: Trying to soften me up?

Dearest T. The phrasing you seek is as follows: “The bride and groom don’t want your stuff, they just want your money.”

“Too harsh,” right? That’s the point: There’s no polite way to bill guests for liking you, pat their pockets for loose change, or coerce them into paying your bills. So, please don’t try. Thank you.

If you read about this in my column, then you read some version of this. My answer hasn’t changed; I just repeat it occasionally since the question won’t die.

When couples have a good reason not to want vases and candlesticks, then their proxies can say so when asked for registry info: “Heckle and Jeckle are combining two households/downsizing/relocating overseas, so your presence is present enough.” Because it is, right?

Or, to your friends, good ones, when they ask: “Cash always fits.”

Stop fretting over weddings

Dear Carolyn: Two cousins are engaged. One cousin has been planning a lavish wedding for over a year, and sent out “save the date” cards nine months in advance. Cousin 2 became engaged days ago. The grapevine buzz is that Cousin 2 plans to marry in haste (no, she’s not pregnant), squeezing her affair in before Cousin 1’s wedding. I’m offended; Cousin 2 will “steal the thunder” from Cousin 1.

Am I “acting old” by being offended? I’m stressing over what should be joyous family celebrations.

– Acting Old?

A: You are acting old, but only by inserting the “no, she’s not pregnant” parenthetical (and by putting two spaces after the periods in your letter, but I fixed that).

The rest is just fretting where there needn’t be any, and that’s ageless.

I suppose there’s the slightest of slim chances Cousin 2 is actually trying to get under Cousin 1’s skin. If she is, then, well, imagine what her marriage will be like; it will punish her for her childishness so effectively that any family censure will just be piling on.

But if Cousin 2 is not otherwise an attention-grabbing twit, then please assume Cousin 2 merely wants to get started on married life without delaying it for a wall calendar’s worth of event-planning. As long as she’s not forcing guests to choose one wedding over the other, call this a tale of two styles and raise an untroubled glass to them both.

Email Carolyn at or follow her at