Many a newlywed has been turned away at the bank after trying to deposit a well-intentioned check. Sometimes the bank honors inaccurately addressed checks, but occasionally the couple has to make an embarrassing call to the gift giver, explaining that a wedding check couldn't be deposited. So before writing yours, see if any of the categories below apply to your situation.
You are friends/family of the groom: This is probably the easiest scenario. Usually the groom does not change his name, so just write the check out to him- done! If he has changed his name, see the next option.
You are friends/family of the bride: Some people think it's cute to make the check out to the bride's new name; others just think it's insulting not to. But the fact is that changing one's name takes a lot of time, so while the bride may begin using her new name right away in social situations, she will have to show up in person to the social security office and then the DMV to even begin the process of changing her name at the bank. So do her a favor and write the wedding check out to her maiden name! Same goes for grooms who change their names: use the original.
You are friends of both: The easiest thing to do is to write the check out to the groom. The couple is married now, so unless they have an extremely unhealthy marriage from day one, they are going to share the money anyway. But if it's important to you to make the wedding check out to both, remember to use the bride's maiden name and use "or" instead of "and," so that they do not both have to sign the check or be present to cash it. Example: John Doe or Jane Smith.
No matter what: No matter who you write the check to, spell the names correctly! Sometimes a guest only knows the bride or the groom, but look over that wedding invitation and get it right, so the couple doesn't have to argue with a teller. While you're at it, write a brief message on the check, even if it is just "Congratulations," to make it seem more like a gift.
Sending cash instead: There are definite pros to cash. It can be deposited by anybody, used immediately, and for some reason, seems like more money. Personally though, I prefer checks because there is less incentive to steal them. The choice is yours- many people prefer the simplicity of just throwing a few bills in. (Of course, if you are mailing the gift then it should be in check form.)
Note for newlyweds: Some of your guests are not going to follow this advice, so bring your marriage license to the bank with you; this will often resolve issues with different names on your checks. Remember that if the check is written out to "him and her" instead of "him or her," you will both have to endorse it.
Finally, be grateful for all of your gifts. Even if someone misspelled your name on the wedding check and then spilled food on it, this person was thoughtful enough to attend your wedding and/or send a gift. So be polite and gracious if you have to call!
Published by Patricia Dee
I am an after school teacher (previously a high school English teacher) who loves to read and write. I like to write what I know, so weddings have been my main topic this year, since I recently got married. View profile
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