I tend to err on the side of old-fashioned, but I thought this was a really cool idea. But after talking to some others and doing some research online, I'm having second thoughts. Let me explain why.
Many of the websites that offer to manage a honeyfund actually charge a fee for withdrawing the money. So when the married couple goes to collect their check, it's probably going to be short about 7 percent of what their guests contributed. Some would argue that's less than sales tax, but I'd rather write a check and know they're receiving the entire amount as opposed to using the site and them having to pay a fee.
Next, the sites themselves are deceiving. For example, let's say the happy couple had purchased a cruise and was hoping their guests would help enhance their travel experience. They could list things like excursions, breakfast in bed, spa services onboard, beer tasting and the list goes on and on. I think this is pretty amazing. I would love to give the gift of an experience as opposed to utensils. However, most sites simply cut one big check. So you aren't really buying "beer tasting" you're just contributing another $50 to the honeymoon and the couple can spend it however they wish. You could argue it's their money so why shouldn't they spend it on whatever they want. To which I'd argue, if I wanted to give cash, I would give cash. My intent was to purchase a beer-tasting experience.
Truthfully, that's why I've decided against honeyfunds in general. You aren't really getting what you pay for. I'm sure some sites are the exception - so it would be wise to check out the one the couple registered with - but for the most part, this seems like standard operation. And of course, most couples are probably very honest and actually use the money where it was intended, but they aren't required to do so.
I did read up on some comments from others and another big complaint is that it's rude to ask for cash. Etiquette frowns on that for sure, but I don't really see it as all that different from a regular registry. Now, if the couple wanted me to pay for their entire trip I think it would rub me the wrong way. But to say, hey if you want to give us a gift we'd love some enhancements to the honeymoon we've already booked. I don't have a problem with that at all.
What are your thoughts? Is a honeyfund completely tacky or is it an acceptable registry addition? Does it matter if the registry also includes a traditional big box retailer? What if it included a way to give a charitable donation in the couple's name as well?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!