Wedding gift etiquette is often a hot topic for both the wedding couple and wedding guests. While some recent articles have suggested we do away with wedding gift giving altogether, we still think it’s a sweet/appreciated tradition that should be honored. And while we know that the cost of weddings is expensive for not only the bride and groom but the guests as well (not to mention the wedding party), a small gift can mean as much as, well, that giant crockpot. Here are five wedding gift etiquette tips that will help you choose the best present(s) this wedding season.
1. You should give a gift for every wedding event you RSVP to
Engagement parties, wedding showers, and ultimately the wedding itself are all events that wedding gift etiquette suggests you should buy gifts for if you are invited to them. If you’re attending 2 or 3 wedding and pre-wedding events, figure out how much you want to spend in total so you can budget a certain amount towards each. We recommend 20% for the engagement party, 20% for the bridal shower, and 60% for the wedding.
2. Try to send your gifts in a timely manner
You technically have a year to give a wedding gift, but we thinking sending a gift within a month after the wedding is good, and BEFORE the wedding is even better.
3. Stick to the wedding registry
These days, wedding registries are no longer cut-and-dry lists of kitchen goods and linens. HoneyFund allows couples to register for something as fun as a two-week Hawaiian honeymoon in lieu of Egyptian cotton sheets, while sites like Zola or Thankful encourage couples to gather brands they love under one registry, instead of selecting items from a particular store. At the same time, some couples prefer to have money donated to a charity or non-profit. Unless you’re super close to the couple, get them something you know they’ll want by choosing it from their wedding registry. Can’t find anything on the wedding registry you want to buy them? Check out the products they’ve selected to gauge their taste if you do decide to look somewhere else.
4. Unsure of where the couple is registered? There are easy ways to find out!
Most couples will include information about where they are registered on their wedding website. If you can’t find it there, you can always ask the mother of the bride or the groom! Even googling the names of the couple can usually help you locate their registry online, worst-case scenario.
5. You don’t have to spend a fortune.
If you’re on a tight budget, go in on a gift with a group of friends or family. Wedding gifts don’t need to be expensive to be meaningful…even a small book of poems or a framed photo and a card can do the trick. Most registries will include gifts in a wide range of prices, so pick what you can realistically afford.
6. If you’re still stuck on what to get the happy couple, checks or gift cards are always appreciated.
If you’re invited to a wedding as a single guest, a general range is $50-$75 for a co-worker, $75-$100 if you’re a more distant friend/relative, and $100-$200+ if you’re an immediate relative or close friend. If you’re a couple you can give slightly more than listed above (if possible). Of course this all depends on your financial situation and what you feel comfortable giving (see above), as well as what’s common in your area and among your group of friends or family.
Brides, don’t forget to thank your guests! Check out our guide to writing Thank You Notes here.
How much do you give for wedding gifts on average? Is there ever a situation where you don’t give a wedding gift? Tell us in the comments section below!