Cash and checks are the second most common gift given at weddings, but there is still little common knowledge about how to address a wedding check with such high popularity. Many people address a wedding check to “Mr and Mrs [Last Name]” without a second thought, not realizing the headache it can cause for the new couple.
Addressing the Check: Bride, Groom, or Both
Overall, the best method is to address the check to one person. When a couple first gets married, they may not have a joint bank account. In this case, a check addressed to both people will probably be challenging to cash under many banks’ strict policies.
You’ll likely feel more comfortable writing out the check to the person you know the best, but be sure you use the proper last name.
Many women choose to keep their maiden names, so don’t assume the bride’s name will change. Writing a check to the wrong name is the same as gifting one to a joint account that doesn’t exist. If the “Pay To” line doesn’t exactly match the account holder’s name, it can be difficult or even impossible to get the bank to accept it.
So, even if you are closer to the bride, it may be better to address your check to the groom.
Just remember, in some cases, men take their wife’s surname or hyphenate. Other couples combine their last names to create an entirely new one. Ask the couple or someone who would probably know (possibly their parents) what name is appropriate if you aren’t sure.
For same-sex unions, the rules are generally the same. Ask the couple or others close to them what their surnames will be after the wedding.
Finally, if you feel awkward making out the check to one person, you can always share an inclusive note in the memo line. A few suggestions include
- “For the happy newlyweds.”
- “To Monica and John”
- “To my good friends.”
Delivering the Check
You’ve probably heard the advice never to send a check through the mail. This wisdom is passed around for a good reason, too: if someone intercepts the bill, they may be able to deposit the amount even if it is not in their name. Although federal law often protects citizens in this situation, no one wants to go through the hassle of dealing with a stolen check.
To prevent a check from getting misplaced, you may want to forgo bringing it with you on the big day. Weddings are often chaotic and full of people, so the chances of your money falling into the wrong hands isn’t much of a stretch. Deliver your check on another day, or send the money through a legitimate online service, so there’s no chance of anything getting lost.
If you’d instead bring the check to the wedding, hand it directly to the bride or groom instead of placing it in the gift pile or card box.