Couples who want to get married spend a lot of money when holding a grand wedding ceremony with guests. But surveys show that being invited to attend a wedding can be costly, too. Wedding guests may spend not only for the wedding gifts, but also for travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and their attires. Many would not want to appear cheap, especially if the people getting married are their close friends, relatives, or co-workers. Wedding attendees are therefore wondering how much to spend on wedding gifts, without going over their budgets.
How Much Should You Spend on Wedding Gift?
For a Relative or Friend: $100 to $125 is reasonable for people you care about and want to be happy.
For a Close Friend or Relative: $100 to $175 is not too much for dearest relatives and friends, especially if your present will be remembered many years from now.
For a Co-Worker or Your Boss: $75 to $100 is a good investment for maintaining a long working relationship with people you see every day.
For a Casual Acquaintance or Neighbor: $50 to $75 is acceptable, but you may give more if you want to.
Exceptions to the Rules
If you’re broke, start looking for a gift that costs about $50. If you're attending the party with a date, give a little more to acknowledge their hospitality. Try to find creative ideas for inexpensive, but meaningful wedding gifts.
For Out-of-Town Weddings
If you have to spend money for travel and accommodations, a couple may understand that you cannot spend much on a gift. However, you should still give them something, maybe at a range of $50 to $100. After all, if you are willing to travel for them, then they must be important to you.
When You Are Part of the Wedding
If you are part of the wedding, you will probably be spending for the bridesmaid’s dress and attending the shower and engagement party. Your friend/relative will not mind if you do not spend much on a gift, so you can probably give the couple a personal gift or a creative piece that shows your thoughtfulness. It is also possible to agree with the other members of the bridal party to get just one big gift. Some people prefer to give money, which is also acceptable.
Additional Rules on How Much to Spend on Wedding Gift
Consider a Budget of 60-20-20
If you are close to the bride and groom, you may be invited to the pre-wedding events (engagement party, bachelorette party and the bridal shower). These may drain your resources, so split your budget to spend 20% on the engagement gift, 20% for a bridal shower gift, and 60% for a wedding gift.
Spend More on Relatives
It makes sense to spend a little more money on a gift, if you are related to the bride or the groom, than if you were just a friend. Surveys show that most wedding guests who are friends of the couple spend less than $100 for their gifts, but relatives tend to spend more than $100 for their presents.
Your Salary Counts
If you are a student or are unemployed, the couple will understand if you just give whatever you can afford. However, if you make more, you are expected to be more generous with your gift.
If you are not going to attend the wedding, you may be excused for giving less. However, be generous to a close friend or relative, especially if they also attended your wedding and gave you a gift.
If you are bringing a date, you do not have to double the amount of your gift, but multiplying the cost for a gift by 1.5 is reasonable.
Guests generally give more if the wedding is held in a major city than if it were held in a hometown.
If you are attending a wedding that requires you to pay for travel and hotel stay, you may give something less expensive. But if the bride and groom are spending for your travel expenses, give more generously.
People used to believe that one should give enough to cover for their food and drink, but can be difficult to tell how much the couple spends for each guest. Besides that, the amount that you spend must not really depend on how much they spend for you.
What to Give As a Wedding Gift
Technically speaking, one is required to give a gift only at the bridal shower, which is an occasion for “showering” the bride with gifts. The engagement party and the wedding are held by the couple for family and friends to share and celebrate their special day. Giving gifts, therefore, is common, but not mandatory.
What to Give
There are two options: you can get something from the wedding registry or give them cash. Some couples may need cash to use on a down payment for a house or to spend for their honeymoon, while others may appreciate gifts for their home. If you buy a gift from their registry, it helps to ship it to them before the wedding.
Buying From the Registry
Most brides would want you to select a gift from their registry, which they have put together themselves. Some have at least one in the stores, while others have one online. This is actually convenient for you and the couple, and it saves you the worry of them not liking your gift.
Gifts for Entertaining, Kitchen, Bed, and Bath
Many couples appreciate receiving gifts that they can use for bed, bath, kitchen and entertainment. For bed and bath, why not give them something that will remind them of a luxurious hotel environment, such as thick blankets or soft pillows?
For entertaining, a set dishes or stainless flatware may be useful for parties and backyard barbecues.
Many couples will also be happy to get useful kitchen appliances and gadgets, or cookware that will inspire them to prepare daily meals.
Whatever you decide to give, make sure that you give it with thoughtfulness and affection, because you were invited to a special event and your presence is considered important.