You may be wondering if a wedding gift is even necessary. Continue reading to find out everything there is to know about wedding gift etiquette.
Here at Zola, as the go-to resource for all things wedding registry, we get a lot of questions from visitors looking for the perfect wedding gift. The most popular question we get is, “How much should I spend on a wedding gift?” The response is determined by a lot of factors, including how well you know the couple and how many wedding receptions you’ve attended. Some of you may be wondering whether a wedding present is even necessary. Continue reading to find out everything there is to know about wedding gift etiquette.
Anyone who has ever attended a wedding can agree that there are several costs associated with celebrating a loved one’s wedding. Attending the bridal shower, traveling to the bachelorette party, and adhering to the dress code might drain your bank account before you even receive the formal invitation.
Despite popular assumption, “an invitation to a wedding isn’t a request for a gift,” according to Lauren Kay, executive editor of The Knot, one of our go-to sites for wedding inspiration, planning information, and more. “As a guest, you’re under no need to purchase anything for the pair, but chances are you’re smitten with them and want to show them some love,” she adds.
We posed all of our pressing questions to The Knot’s executive editor on how much to spend on wedding gifts, regardless of who is marrying.
Are you looking for the perfect wedding gift? You’ve arrived at the correct location!
What Does "Cover Your Plate" Mean?
Buying a wedding gift with a price tag comparable to the cost per plate (i.e. your meal) at the reception was historically considered proper etiquette. Despite its antiquity, this misleading piece of wedding advice is being passed around like gospel by wedding guests.
Here are some of the reasons why you should:
Following this advise means asking around (or directly asking the couple) how much they intend to spend on each plate at their wedding, which is a difficult topic to ask.
It suggests that, as a guest, you must spend a certain amount on a wedding gift, regardless of your financial situation (which is false).
Attending a wedding is about getting together and enjoying, not exchanging food for gifts.
This demonstrates to the couple that you are just interested in purchasing them a gift that fits inside their wedding catering budget.
How much money should I spend on wedding gifts?
In today’s society, where cost-per-plate is no longer an issue, the amount you should spend on a wedding gift is influenced by a variety of factors. Here are some general guidelines to bear in mind:
Choosing a wedding gift isn’t about how much it costs; it’s about expressing the couple how much you care about this special event by giving them a mark of your appreciation that they can keep for the rest of their life.
Find a present that is special to you while remaining within your budget.
While big-ticket items are exciting, most couples choose smaller gifts with just as much meaning, purpose, or joy in their regular use.
If you’re still looking for dollar amounts, here are some basic guidelines for how much to spend on wedding gifts (but remember that a smaller gift from the heart is just as valuable!):
Here’s what you should do if you’re a coworker, a friend, or a distant family member. $50-$75
If you’re a family member or acquaintance worth $75-$100,
If you’re a close friend, family member, or member of the wedding party: $100-$150+
If you included a +1 in your invitation, the gift will be 1.5-2 times greater.
5 Things to Think About When Choosing a Wedding Gift
Accepting a wedding invitation entails virtually a contractual obligation to purchase a gift for the happy couple, and no one wants to be perceived as a scrooge when the presents are unwrapped. Accepting a wedding invitation, on the other hand, implies accepting travel and hotel expenses, which may put a substantial dent in your budget. So, how can a visitor find a balance between all of these financial obligations while still giving the couple a nice gift?
Here are five things to think about when considering how much money to spend on a wedding present.
According to traditional etiquette, you should base your spending on the estimated cost of entertaining you during the wedding. “If you expect the couple getting married would spend an average of $100-$150 per person on their wedding, the price of your gift should be equivalent to that amount,” says Liven It Up Events coordinator Anthony Navarro. The downside of this reasoning is that it is predicated on a cost per person. That means you and your plus-one should spend $200 on the gift if you estimate the couple will spend $100 on meals and beverages for each of their guests.
Consider how much it will cost you to travel
Of course, keep in mind that you’ve already spent a significant amount of money to attend the wedding, particularly if it’s a destination wedding or during peak season. “In that instance, it’s reasonable to assume the bride and groom are aware of how much everyone is already spending,” says Jason Reid, creator of Giftagram, a mobile app that simplifies gift-giving. You can save money on the gift if you’re paying a lot of money just to be there—your presence is also a gift!
Take into account the couple’s proximity to you
Expert in wedding etiquette Sara Margulis, co-founder of the wedding registry service Honeyfund, says that a wedding guest should always gift what they feel best honors the occasion, taking their budget as well as their relationship to the couple into consideration. The average wedding gift is around $100, which is a reasonable starting point, and you can increase it depending on your closeness. If you know the pair or are related to them (and have the financial means), you could spend a little more—around $150 per visitor (or $200 for a couple).
You’ll know when you don’t have to provide a gift when you don’t have to
While gifts are frequently exchanged at weddings and bridal showers, keep in mind when you are not compelled to bring one. No gifts are expected at an engagement party, for example (though a card congratulating the couple is a nice touch). You’re also not expected to buy a gift if you’ve contributed significantly to the wedding, such as organizing the bridal shower or serving as the bride’s makeup artist on the big day. If you just bring gifts to parties where they are expected, your money will go a lot further.
Spend only what you can afford
Consider the following, which looks to be straightforward: Limit your investment to what you can afford, even if it is less than what is recommended by etiquette. If you can’t find a single item that fits your budget, consider getting a few smaller items to add up to a larger total (this is also a great opportunity to assist the couple stock their home with products that are sometimes overlooked, such as measuring spoons or cutting boards). The couple wants you to be there to celebrate with them, so prioritize your finances in any way you need to in order to make that happen—even if it means providing a smaller gift to cover hotel room fees.
We offer a thorough selection of the greatest wedding jewelry shops to help you choose the perfect wedding gift.
How Much Money Do You Have Set Aside for Wedding Gifts?
The amount you spend on a wedding gift will vary depending on your relationship with the bride and groom. Consider how close you are to the happy couple before purchasing a gift. In general, regardless of your relationship with the couple, do not spend less than $50 on a wedding gift. Using the categories below, organize your spending based on your relationship with the bride or groom:
$50-$100 for a coworker, distant family member, or distant relative $150+ for a close friend or relative $100-$125 for a friend or relative $50-$100 for a distant family member, friend, or relative.
Should you spend extra on a wedding present if you’re bringing a date?
If you’re bringing a date to the wedding, you should spend a little extra on your wedding gift to compensate for the fact that the newlyweds will be feeding and entertaining your visitor. Bringing a second person to the wedding necessitates double the attention to the gifts. You should ask your date ahead of time if they want to contribute to the wedding gift, and then you can build the perfect gift from there.
Is bringing a gift to a bridal shower required?
You’ll be asked to bring a gift for the bride-to-be or the pair if you’re invited to a wedding shower (if the shower is co-ed). If you expect to spend a moderate to large amount of money on the wedding gift, you can lower the amount spent on the bridal shower gift. Don’t feel pressured to go overboard with your bridal shower gift; it’s quite OK to keep to a budget for this occasion. A small yet meaningful gift, together with a sentimental bridal shower card, would suffice. Create a customised pillow for the bride or couple to use in their new home.
Should you still bring a wedding gift if you’re attending many events?
Whether you’re in the wedding party or have been invited to numerous wedding activities, you should get a wedding present for the newlyweds. If you’re going to multiple events that require a gift, such as an engagement party and a wedding shower, budget accordingly and assign a particular amount of money to each gift to stay under your overall budget. Keep in mind that non-wedding gifts should be limited to a minimum.
Spend 20% of your budget on the engagement gift.
Spend 20% of your budget on a shower gift.
Spend 60% of your wedding gift budget on your wedding gift.
Is a cash wedding gift acceptable?
Cash is increasingly being accepted as a wedding present in today’s wedding ritual. If the couple already lives together, you might offer them cash or a check instead of items for their house. Consider giving the couple money for their upcoming vacation if they have a honeymoon fund.
What Is Your Deadline For Giving A Wedding Gift?
You have up to three months after the wedding day to mail a wedding gift. Although conventional gift etiquette suggests waiting a year, with the ease of online shopping and a variety of delivery options, it’s best to get the gift to the couple as soon as possible. Send your gift to the couple’s address one to two weeks before the wedding (or whoever is in charge of gifts). If you are unable to do so, the three-month rule will apply following the wedding.
Other ideas for wedding presents
Make use of the couple’s wedding register. When looking for a gift, start by looking through the couple’s wedding registry. Couples utilize a wedding registry to make things easy for visitors who are unsure of what the couple need or desires. The registry gifts are sure to satisfy the couple and often include home decor, kitchen or bath needs, and entertainment items. However, you are not required to purchase a gift from the registry. If you don’t want to use the registry, consider purchasing a gift that reflects the couple’s personality or a beloved interest.
Consider how you feel about the pair before purchasing a present. It’s always a good idea to think about your relationship with your partner before spending money. Set aside money for the couple’s gift ahead of time if you’re close friends with them, so you don’t feel pressured when it’s time to shop. If you don’t have a close relationship with the couple, spend all you can to make the present memorable.
Your wedding gift should be sent via mail. Although it was once common for guests to present their gifts during the ceremony, modern wedding gift etiquette dictates that you mail your gift to the newlyweds in order to make things easy for them. Because many couples receive a great number of gifts, mailing your gift to the couple’s or gift handler’s home eliminates the need for them to transfer items from the venue to their home. You can give the couple a wedding card with money inside to the wedding’s official gift manager if you’re giving them a wedding card with money inside. Give cards to the couple in a roundabout way because they will be too engaged with greeting guests and enjoying their reception to receive them directly.
Beach weddings are highly popular. If you’re attending a destination wedding, you can subtract the cost of travel and lodging from your gift. Because you’ve spent so much money on accommodations, the couple will be more tolerant if your present is less valuable than normal. When it comes to destination weddings, give the newlyweds a present but only spend what you can afford.
Now that you’ve determined your budget, you may plan the happy couple’s wedding. Gift-giving for such occasions may appear mystifying at first, but with a little instruction and a few dos and don’ts, you can ensure that your present is suitable and beautiful for the married pair.