Wedding Gift Registries: Thinking Outside the Gift Box

Mortgage and Lending with NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 IL Lic 031.0006220/WI

Wedding Gift Registries:

Thinking Outside the Gift Box



     A recent post entitled "Crowdfunding your down payment?",  written by fellow ActiveRain member, Alan May (Coldwell Banker Residential, Evanston, IL) raised the topic of:

     Engaged couples establishing a Wedding Gift Registry for the purpose of raising funds for a downpayment on a future home purchase ...

     Now, before you form any opinion on this, consider these wedding/registry statistics I found in 2 recent articles ...

     The first stats come from the Pew Research Center article, "How Millennials today compare with their grandparents 50 years ago":

  • The average age of grooms in the U.S. is now 29 years.  It's 27 years for brides


     The second set of stats come from a article, "Wedding Statistics in the United States": 


  • The average number of invitees to a wedding:  178
  • $19 Billion per year is spent on Wedding Gift Registries
  • 91+% of marrying couples register for gifts
  • Guests spend an average of $70 to $100 on a gift

     A few obvious conclusions can be drawn from the articles and statistics mentioned above:  

  1. Weddings are a big business  
  2. Today's couples are older than their counterparts of even a decade ago  
  3. They (and their guests) are spending more on their weddings  

     Consider this too:  Wedding Gift Registries (reported above at 91% participation) have increased in popularity over the years and are welcomed by both the marrying couple and wedding invitees.  The gift suggestions provided via these registries have evolved too.  They now reflect the needs and tastes of today's older marrying couples.  

     As pointed out in Alan May's post, the likelihood of modern wedding couples still needing household gifts (such as small kitchen appliances, towels, etc.) at the time of their wedding is becoming smaller.  There are other contributing factors, but the establishment of households by older brides and grooms during the years leading up to the nuptials has certainly reduced or eliminated those needs.

     As a result, CASH is now reported by American Express Spending and Saving Tracker to currently be the most popular gift given (33% monetary vs 32% registry) and received (49% of couples prefer monetary gifts vs other gifting).  

     While Wedding Gift Registries remain popular ... many engaged couples have begun to brainstorm and expand upon the concept. New and different Gift Registry options are now taking shape. 

     While these many wedding-related changes have been taking place, other new changes and challenges have also been on the rise.  Those revolve around home buying.

     It's no secret ... saving money for any reason has become increasingly hard over the last decade.  That's especially true for down payments.

     Recognizing that challenge as it relates to marrying couples, it then becomes much easier to understand the growing popularity of wedding registries established for this unique gift giving purpose ... a home's down payment.   

     But consider a couple using the following math equation with the statistics found above:  

                                   Average number of wedding guests (178)

Amount of average monetary gift ($70 - $100)

     The answer reveals a healthy down payment ... or savings to place toward a home's Closing Costs ... being gifted.

     Feel differently about the wisdom of putting this type of Wedding Gift Registry to work on your behalf now?


     Does it change your initial reaction? Could you suggest it to clients?

     For those marrying couples saying "YES" ... and considering the establishment of this unique gift request, please take note: 
     Documentation and handling of gift monies received is vitally important.  Mortgage Underwriting rules regarding the receipt of monetary gifts are strict and need to be adhered to closely. 

     "Verifiable" funds ... and a corresponding paper trail into account(s) established for down payment purposes will be required.  That means every check received and placed into an account(s) towards down payment (or Closing Costs) must be copied, then provided to the Lender.

     Marrying couples utilizing this type of Gift Registry must keep in mind: Underwriters will need to know WHERE the monies used for their Down Payment and Closing Costs come from.  They'll want to know the "source" of all funds received.  Couples need to establish simple bookkeeping steps prior to the first receipt of gift monies.

     It must also be pointed out to couples utilizing this type of Gift Registry:  An Underwriter may request a copy of your Wedding Invitation.  If formal invitations were not issued, an engagement notice or copy of the Marriage License will typically suffice.  

     This particular request sometimes takes my newly-married couples by surprise, so I mention it here to remove any surprise element in the future.  

     With all the above-mentioned needs in mind for documentation and verification, you can see why I strongly suggest that couples contemplating the establishment of a Gift Registry for down payment purposes meet with me prior to Registry set-up.  

     It just makes sense to seek and gain the correct advice and instructions to record gifts properly prior to their initial receipt than it is to backtrack and try to correct the documentation later.  And it definitely saves time and avoids frustrations during an already stressful time ...

*      Hoping to Buy or Refinance a home in New Lenox, Will County, or elsewhere in the Chicagoland area? Contact me! I'll put my 40+ years of Mortgage experience and expertise hard to work on your behalf. 
     I can be easily found at:

Gene Mundt
 Mortgage Originator - NMLS #216987 - IL Lic. #031.0006220 - WI Licensed

American Portfolio Mortgage Corp.

NMLS #175656


Direct: 815.524.2280

Cell/Text: 708.921.6331 

eFax: 815.524.2281


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Gene Mundt

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Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Roy Kelley 08/05/2016 07:00 PM
  2. Karen Feltman 07/14/2016 02:54 AM
  3. Lynn B. Friedman 07/14/2016 06:50 PM
  4. Gabe Sanders 08/18/2016 04:45 PM
  5. Winston Heverly 10/15/2016 01:58 PM
Lending / Financial
Illinois Will County New Lenox
Chicago Area Real Estate BUZZ!
1st Time Buyers
down payments
saving for a down payment
wedding gifts
wedding trends
buying a chicagoland home
wedding gift registries

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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

This is important information for agents to pass along to couples on the verge of marriage. 

It still bothers me. I'm some kind of a throw back to ... something. I find hitting friends up for gifts OR money to be distasteful. 

I know, I know - it's the way things are done. But I would still never do it. 

Jul 14, 2016 01:30 PM #33
Diana Dahlberg
1 MONTH REALTY - Kenosha, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Great information in this post Gene. There is no doubt that times have changed over the years, however, saving up for a down payment is still a challenge and the idea of gift giving in this way just makes good sense.

Jul 14, 2016 01:38 PM #34
Donika Parker
Maximum One Greater Atl. REALTORS - Roswell, GA

I loved this post! I had already read Alan's and thought 'gifting' cash to help with down payment was a great new idea. Thank you for the practical advice on how to handle those gifts correctly! Too bad I can't send some soon-to-be weds your way looking to buy in Atlanta, GA.

Jul 14, 2016 03:11 PM #35
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

My nephew is getting married, the guest list is 125. I was shocked to learn the cost of the wedding is $250 per attendee. That's about $31,250 for about 8 hours of activity. Why not spend $3,500 and set aside $27,750 to start saving for a home? 

Let's say most guests are couples, say 60 and crowd funding registry at $100, so another $6k, a sum of $33,750 to start saving for a home downpayment. Invest the sum for two years and the sum adds up to $43k but that  would probably not occur because it's too pragmatic.


Jul 14, 2016 04:59 PM #36
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi 
"Documentation and handling of gift monies received is vitally important."

Our Client had done exactly what the LO directed and still the Closing today was held up for 3 hours because of an inexperienced Underwriter. Person had a problem matching a Wire Deposit to Attorney with the Gift Letter! We did Close in the end --- YEAH!
All the best - Lynn

Jul 14, 2016 06:23 PM #37
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I had no idea how much documentation is necessary if you use gifted money. Great post!

Jul 14, 2016 07:49 PM #38
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Ahhh...the famous gift trail rears it's grateful head...won't be surprised if this is a hip and trendy kind of more....blanket, toaster, dish, appliance....older, wiser...and best to meet with the Lender FIRST about designing an easy to use, government endorsed GIFT KEEPER Gene....?

Jul 14, 2016 11:53 PM #39
Donna & Larry Johnson
Keller Williams Real Estate - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County

The yutes of our world are spending way to much money on their wedding. They should register at my website and have everyone donate to there new home that I will help them purchase!

Jul 15, 2016 12:06 AM #40
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

I have a niece who is getting married in a few weeks...and they already own a house but it does need a paint job and some fascia / soffit work.  I am sure we will be giving money as that is what we normally do.

When my wife and I were married 29 years ago (next week on the 25th)...I lived in Orlando and she was relocating there...virtually every gift we received was cash.  We used it to buy a washer/dryer and bedroom set.  It was fantastic.  We took photos of the "gifts" and sent them in our thank yous. (Remember those days when you took pictures with an actual them developed in a week...then got dozens of reprints in another week?)

We drug those wedding gifts from Florida to Nebraska and then to Colorado Springs before the washer/dryer finally wore out. We still have the bedroom set...which is back in Nebraska for the second time!!

Jul 15, 2016 12:33 AM #41
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

An idea that is sheer genius! What better way to help a new couple get started, by making a gift that is absolutely meaningful.

Jul 15, 2016 02:02 AM #42
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi 

I love this post...just linked to it about buyers starting a "house fund."

Jul 15, 2016 03:34 AM #43
Dawn Horras
The K Company Realty - Westminster, CO
Your Front Range Expert in Colorado

I really appreciated your post with all of its helpful information.  Thank you, Gene.

Jul 15, 2016 03:39 AM #44
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

This is an awesome idea for newlyweds.  I have seen a few posts about this over the years, but of course the rules change.  Thanks for keeping it fresh!

Jul 15, 2016 01:21 PM #45
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Gene, even if every guest spent $100 on a present, the take might not cover the cost of the wedding and reception!  And remember that a lot of them are Plus Ones!  But you’re right.  A gift registry for cash makes a whole lot of sense – even if presents are a lot more fun to open up! 

Jul 15, 2016 05:03 PM #46
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Very smart stats and reasons for cash gifts to marrying couples.  This reminds me of the bride wedding dance.  After the wedding, during the "dance with the bride," it's common practice to give cash to the bride for a dance.  I've seen this at countless wedding receptions and for good reason.  But I like the idea of cash instead of a gift.  At least this way, if the guests don't "dance with the bride" they can be assured of the cash gift.  

Jul 16, 2016 03:34 AM #47
Thomas McCombs
Century 21 HomeStar - Akron, OH

Thank you for a valuable post. This is what AR is all about.

I have not had this come up in my experience, but I am now aware of the situation and may be able to help some folks plan for their futures.

I wonder, should gift givers be required to provide proofs of citizenship or visas or green cards to legitimacise their rights to give? We can not be too careful! 

Jul 20, 2016 10:40 PM #48
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Very neat idea for those about to get married and thinking of buying a home.  Makes good sense.

Aug 05, 2016 08:27 PM #49
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA

I agree with the idea. I learned it from my kids. From about 12 y.o. they do not want any gifts, but gift cards or cash. Kids are very clever these days. 

Aug 18, 2016 06:01 PM #51
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA

I'm glad this post is featured. 


Aug 18, 2016 06:04 PM #52
Daniel Dominguez
Realty Connect USA - Hauppauge, NY
I'm an RE agent serving Nassau & Suffolk County

Great post

Apr 26, 2018 06:30 AM #53
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