It’s a fair question to be asked – how much money to spend on a wedding gift? Most likely, the couple has set up a registry either online or in a store. It is possible that you are already paying for travel and accommodations, or it is a destination wedding during peak season so your budget might already have a big dent in it. If you are, like many others, lost while trying to follow proper wedding etiquette and at the same time give the couple a great gift and balance all your financial obligations then you are at the right place! Here are a few tips to help you determine how much to spend on a wedding gift in 2020.
- The amount of money you are spending depends on your relationship with the bride and groom
Start considering how close you are to the happy couple and scale your budget appropriately before purchasing the gift. The general etiquette states that you shouldn’t spend less than $50 on a gift regardless of your connection to the couple. There are some handy calculators to help gauge the amount to gift too. We are bringing our suggested spending categories so you could see where you belong:
- co-worker or a distant friend or relative: $50 – $100
- friend or relative: $100-$125
- a close friend or relative: $150+
- Give a group gift
If a couple has a registry and the only things left are over your budget, you can join forces with a group of friends! This is a quite wise way of gifting the couple, even more so if there are other bridesmaids and groomsmen in your group of friends. They have all probably spent too much money on planning other activities and this way you all get to buy one thoughtful gift and spend less on an individual level.
- Spend a bit more if you are bringing a date
Keep in mind that if you are bringing a date, the couple will be hosting one more person in the count for food and drink. This is a nice way to thank them for their hospitality. You can discuss with your date if they want to share the expenses and then you can go ahead and plan the perfect gift!
- Cash is an acceptable wedding gift
In modern wedding tradition, gifting cash is becoming more and more acceptable. It’s possible that the couple is already living together and they might not need the gifts for their home. Gifts in cash are perfect if they have a honeymoon fund and you want them to fully enjoy their upcoming travels.
- Use the couple’s wedding registry
Couples create their wedding registries to make it as easy as possible for the indecisive guests. Using the registry guarantees you’ll buy something the couple needs. However, if things listed in the registry are on the more expensive side, you can choose not to use the registry and purchase a gift that you know the couple will love (or go with cash or even a gift card!)
- Spend what you can afford
It seems obvious, but could actually be the most important tip: limit your purchase to what you can bear the expenses to and if you can’t find anything that fits your budget consider buying a few smaller items that amount the same as one big item. This could help the couple stock their home with things that are typically overlooked and always keep in mind that everyone wants you to be there so you might prioritize the budget to make that happen!
- Buy the gift even if you are not attending the wedding
Proper wedding etiquette states that you should always send a gift (even if not attending). An obvious exception is if you have been out of touch for a really long period of time. However, if you are not in a financial position to send a gift or aren’t super close to the couple, it’s perfectly okay to just send a hand-written note of congratulations. If you do decide to send a gift, remember that you certainly can spend a lot less than you would if you were attending. It’s the thought that counts, after all!
Many etiquette experts now agree that the rule of estimating how much the couple is spending on your meal at the wedding reception is a thing of the past and are actually enforcing new rules suggesting to spend whatever you think is appropriate based on your relationship with the couple. It certainly feels better to give a gift because you love the couple and not because you feel obligated to cover your cost-per-head.