The best wedding gift idea for honeymooners: foreign currency

May 5 2016 | offbeatbride
Foreign currency wedding gift idea as seen on @offbeatbride
Currency napkins from Etsy seller ldvCraftStuff

When we asked readers what their favorite wedding gift idea, one of our very favorites came from Offbeat Bride reader Caroline who said:

We live in the US and went to Toronto for our honeymoon. One of the most memorable gifts we got was from one of hubby's coworkers – Canadian cash. We had registered for both traditional and cash-for-honeymoon gifts, but I loved this. In fact, foreign currency has become our new go-to wedding present for couples we know are leaving the country for their honeymoon.

How brilliant is this wedding gift idea!? It's a creative (and probably colorful!) way to contribute to a couple's honeymoon in a way that still feels thoughtful and tangible. It's not just clicking a button on a honeymoon registry (although that's awesome, too!), but taking it to the next step by making it actual cold, hard, colorful cash.

What's your favorite wedding gift to give? Let's brainstorm ideas!

  1. We did this, sort of, by accident!

    I am British and my wife is Dutch and we were married in the UK. It’s traditional in the Netherlands to give cash in an envelope, so after our protests that we didn’t want anything fell on deaf ears, we agreed that the Dutch relatives could give us Euros. Once we had done this we realised it was going to be really helpful for our honeymoon in Lesbos.

    Soon enough the British lot also began protesting that they wanted to give us something so we put the whole story on our wedsite and lots of the Brits gave Euros too! Absolutely amazingly we actually had enough to cover all our honeymoon cash spendings. Every time we paid for a drink or a meal it was like our guests were there buying it for us, it was really lovely.

    3 agree
  2. I hate to be a debbie downer on this, but this is a completely superfluous (and potentially risky!) gift.

    For one thing, in just about every country in the world, you can use an ATM to withdraw cash in the local currency. Some banks charge a very small international transaction fee, but it's such a tiny amount of money it barely registers. Last summer I spent two months in Europe and couldn't tell you how much I lost in international transaction fees. $50? Certainly less than I spent on raki in Crete. I've traveled to Canada, India, Peru, Italy, Slovenia, Greece, and Turkey and used local ATMs in every country without a hiccup, and without it taking a noticeable amount out of my travel budget. Most international airports have ATMs right at baggage claim, too, so you can get off the plane, get your stuff, hit the ATM just like at home, and hop into a cab into the city.

    Then there's the risk factor. A lot of countries have restrictions on how much currency you can bring into the country. If your coworkers all pool their leftover Euros from the last big business trip, and they give you $100 in small bills, you're probably fine. If someone tries to give you this as a major gift to fund your honeymoon, though, you could be looking at some pretty stony faces at customs. Not to mention the risk of robbery! That's a lot of cash to carry on your person in a major tourist destination.

    • I see this as more of a handy thing for those smaller purchases you'll be making in other countries. Most places that you'll be patronizing (if you're heading to a reasonably developed country) will accept credit cards, and there are lots of credit cards out there that don't charge foreign transaction fees. However, if I'm going to a local market and don't have any cash on me, it's going to be annoying to me to go to an ATM and lose $5 in fees on a $100 withdrawal. Plus if you haven't told your bank that you're leaving the country, they may flag your ATM card as potentially compromised due to fraud. This seems more useful for small local markets, mom-and-pop cafes, etc. I don't think it's realistic for someone to carry around $500+ worth of foreign currency, and I don't think that's the message of the post – I don't know many people who would do that in the States, let alone a different country.

      4 agree
    • Well one persons superfluous is another's welcome boon so perhaps the take home here is check with the persons you intend to give this to.

      For us it was great and after self funding our wedding we needed every penny and were very happy not waste even small amounts on ATM fees.

      We had no problems at customs and we didn't carry the cash with us all the time, it went in the room safe and we took only what we needed.

      Also in our case most of it was given to us by people living in Euro country so exchange fees were saved twice!

      1 agrees
    • $10,000 US is the standard amount that needs to be declared- just in case anyone is curious.

      I love using cash that I already have in the native currency, because ATM a charge fees, and also give cash at the bank's currency conversion rate, which can be significantly less than the 'street rate'. My bank (NZ based) charges $4 a transaction, but I also lost about $5/$100 on every exchange because of this rate discrepancy.

      Also, foreign ATMs often have withdrawal limits. In both Turkey and Greece (two countries you mention) the limits were the equivalent to 100 Euros per day when I was there in March 2016 and June 2015 respectively. If you're going to be traveling in smaller towns where access to ATMs is less likely, this is a problem.

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