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Wedding Gift Etiquette: How Much To Spend

You may have a bunch of wedding invitations starting to take up space on your fridge. So, the only thing you can think of is the money you’ll inevitably have to spend. Wedding gift etiquette is important to understand 

While weddings can be fun, no one really talks about the money that goes into being a guest. The thought of going to multiple weddings this year could be daunting for your wallet. 

Before you attend a wedding, it’s important to understand wedding gift etiquette. Knowing how much to spend on wedding gifts can be difficult, so use our guide to plan out a wedding gift for the happy couple! 

How Much Should You Spend on a Wedding Gift? 

wedding card

Wedding gift etiquette is good to know to avoid any awkward situations. Someone who hasn’t been to many weddings may not understand the expectations set in terms of wedding gifts for the newlyweds. 

The amount you should spend on a wedding gift depends on your relationship with the couple. If you’re a coworker or a distant friend or relative, you aren’t expected to give as much as a close friend or family member. 

If you’re not sure how much to spend on a wedding gift, there are a few rules of thumb you can follow. Consider the average wedding gift amounts listed below as a ballpark figure for how much you should spend on a wedding gift. 

  • Close friend or relative: $100 – 150+
  • Friend or relative: $75 – 100
  • Distant friend or coworker: $50 – 75 

Keep in mind that these numbers are only standard estimates. If you live in an expensive urban area, or if yourself and the happy couple run in more affluent circles, you may choose to give more. 


What is the Average Wedding Gift Cost?

The average wedding gift is around $100, but how much you spend on a wedding gift varies on your relationship with the couple and your own finances. A gift of $100 in cash or in registry items is a generous wedding gift amount!


Should You Spend More on a Wedding Gift if You’re Bringing a Date?

If you’re bringing a plus one to the wedding, you may want to spend a bit more on your gift. Ask your date to chip in if necessary. 

The bride and groom generally have to pay a cost per head, so they shelled out extra money for you to be able to bring a date. If your date doesn’t know the couple and doesn’t plan to bring a gift of their own, try to get a slightly nicer gift to thank them for the plus one. 


Should You Send a Wedding Gift if You RSVP No? 

If you can’t attend the wedding for some reason, you may find yourself wondering if you still owe the bride and groom a gift. The answer depends on your relationship with the couple. 

If your RSVP “no” because you don’t know the bride and groom very well or you aren’t on good terms, then you probably don’t have to send a gift. If you can’t attend for another reason, like an important commitment, but you are a close friend or relative of the couple, send a gift.

Your gift can be simpler and less expensive if you can’t attend the wedding, but a friend or relative should still send the newlyweds some kind of congratulatory gift. For those who RSVP “no” and don’t know the happy couple very well, a card with well wishes is good enough. 


Is Giving Money Acceptable?

hand holding money

Yes, giving the gift of money is perfectly acceptable. This has become more common over time, and modern couples often prefer a cash gift.

Some couples may not need kitchenware as much as they need money to cover the expenses of their wedding, so if you’d rather save yourself a trip to the store, giving money is usually appreciated. 


Can I Give a Group Wedding Gift?

If you’re attending the wedding with a group of friends, a group wedding gift is an acceptable option! As a group, you may be able to buy a bigger item from their registry that you could not afford on your own. Bigger, impressive gifts may not be in your gift budget on your own, but with a group you could give a great present!

How much money you spend on a group gift is up to you, but try to stick to standard gift etiquette with your contribution. Use our wedding gift tips to ensure you still know how much to spend. 


Is It Rude Not To Give a Wedding Gift? 

small gift

Generally speaking, it is considered rude to attend a wedding without sending or bringing a gift. The bride and groom (or their families) have to spend quite a bit of money on the wedding itself, and it is customary for guests to congratulate the couple with a gift in return. 

If you don’t attend the wedding, you may not have to send a gift, although we recommend that you do. 

For those on an extremely tight budget, try to give at least a small gift. If you’re close with the couple, they may already understand that your financial situation makes it difficult for you to shell out money on a gift. Try to save enough to give at least a nice bottle of wine or a small item from the couple’s registry. 


What If I Already Gave an Engagement Gift?

If you attended the engagement party, you may have already given the couple a gift. The same goes for the bridal shower – a bridal shower gift are standard if you’re invited or in attendance. That being said, if you’re invited to the wedding you are still expected to give a wedding gift. 

Attending multiple events typically means you’ll have to plan on more gift giving than just that of a wedding guest. Engagement gifts and bridal shower gifts are generally smaller, so don’t feel pressured to spend the same amount of money each time. Spend less on gifts for pre-wedding events – your warm wishes will be felt even if you can’t afford a big ticket item!


Should I Bring a Gift to the Wedding, Or Send It? 

wedding gift table

Modern wedding gift etiquette states that it’s better to send your gift rather than bring a gift to the wedding. Bringing a gift on the big day used to be the norm, but now it’s considered a bit of a hassle. 

Having gifts at the wedding means that they could get stolen or damaged, and the bride and groom will have to transport all of those gifts home after the event. If you can, try to send the gift instead.

If you’re only giving a card, however, it may be acceptable to bring it to the wedding – just make sure it doesn’t get lost in the hustle and bustle of the big day. 


How Long Do You Have to Give a Wedding Gift? 

You should send your wedding gift within two to three months of the wedding. Sooner is better, but this is the acceptable time frame. 

Some people used to say that you have as long as one year, but most people believe sending a gift a year after the wedding is in poor taste. Sending gifts directly via online shopping is so easy nowadays that you don’t really have an excuse to take that long.

Send your gift within two months, or at most three months post-wedding day.


What To Give as a Wedding Present

wedding presents

There may be some pressure on what wedding gifts to give the future bride and groom. Considering there are infinite bridal websites, Etsy, and the registry, you have plenty of online help to get the best wedding gift for your friends or family members getting married! 

Using our guidelines above on how much to spend, choose a wedding gift that the couples wants from these three categories.


Gifts from the Couple’s Registry

A wedding gift registry is created to ensure the wedding guests know what the couple actually want. Typical items you might find on a registry are appliances, cutlery sets, or dining sets, among a plethora of other things.

Don’t know where to start? It’s usually best to look through and then finally purchase something off the couple’s wedding registry. This is super helpful because you’ll know exactly what the couple wants or needs. This will help you avoid wasting your money on a gift the couple will find no use for.  

Let’s say this soon to be wed couple like the finer things in life and the registry is chock full of expensive gifts, you can stray from the registry. 

But, if you’re still unsure of what to get the couple, just ask them! Since there will already be a registry, there really is no element surprise when it comes to wedding gift giving.

If they don’t have a registry, ask what they want directly or opt for cash gifts or a unique idea of your own.


Cash Gifts

wedding card gift

As we mentioned before, giving cash or check wedding gifts is perfectly acceptable. Choose an appropriate amount for your relationship to the bride and groom and your personal finances, and write a nice note in your card along with the money. 

Honeymoon funds are also becoming more popular. If the bride and groom have a honeyfund set up, consider giving money towards their honeymoon as well.


Unique Gifts

best man giftbasket

A unique wedding gift can really show the couple that you want to give them something no one else will. If you’re creative and crafty, this is your time to shine to give the couple a truly special gift they will both cherish forever.

If you’ve been friends with the bride since high school, a wedding scrapbook would be a sentimental gift to design. Compiling tons of photos of the two of you, or even of the couple would make for a special moment. It might be helpful to use Pinterest for artistic inspiration.

Another crafty gift, but construct up a honeymoon basket for the newlyweds! If a tropical destination is where they plan to go, fill up the basket with an underwater camera, plenty of sunscreen, and maybe his and her matching flip flops!

There are a ton of ideas to get creative when it comes to wedding gifts, do your research! If you aren’t sure what unique gift the couple would actually like, however, err on the side of caution and stick to the registry. 


What To Give as a Member of the Wedding Party

pink bridesmaids dresses

If you’re a part of the wedding party as a bridesmaid or groomsmen, you’re probably thinking of ways to one-up the other members of the bridal party to stand out and get the couple something super special. But what do I get? Where do I start? Do bridesmaids and groomsmen even give wedding gifts?

The maid of honor or the best man may even wonder if a wedding gift is needed, considering all the other responsibilities and money spending that comes with the job.

Whenever you receive that frilly wedding invitation, in the bridal party or not, it’s usually customary to get the newlyweds a wedding gift.

Depending on what the rest of the bridal party is doing, you all may want to organize a group gift where everyone can pitch in for an expensive item. Depending on the couple’s wedding registry, the price point on some of those gifts can get quite pricey.

If the couple has the typical expensive wedding gift like a KitchenAid Stand Mixer or a ridiculously expensive Vitamix blender, this may be the perfect chance to get together and split the price of that gift.

If you’re worried about all the money you will have to spend being a part of the bridal party, let the couple know. They should understand that not everyone has unlimited funds, so no shame if you can’t afford an extravagant gift.



It’s really easy to be creative and find the perfect gift for the couple! Use the resources around you like Pinterest, Google, Etsy, and of course, the registry. Attending weddings can be an expensive festivity. Just know that you can easily find a perfect gift for the couple using these tips! 

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