Summer is popular wedding season. You’ve probably been invited to a few. If you’re attending a wedding this summer, you’re probably wondering: What should I give the happy couple?
Figuring out how much to spend, what type of gift to give, and even when to deliver a gift is tricky, especially if your generosity exceeds your budget.
Here are a few tips to help you sort through all those thorny gift-giving conundrums.
how much should I give as a wedding gift?
There are no rules. Whatever you feel is appropriate for your budget and your relationship with the couple is the right way to give. There is this misconception that people are supposed to give a gift that equals the cost of their meal at the wedding, but isn’t that a bit impersonal? Instead, how close do you feel to the couple? This is a more appropriate gauge.
On average, according to a 2013 survey by American Express, people spend $179 on a close family member’s gift, $119 on a close friend’s, $114 on a relative’s, $79 on a friend’s, and $66 on a coworker’s.
Wedding etiquette expert Lizzie Post adds that if your budget is on the lower end, say under $25, it may be better to give a physical gift rather than cash.
is it ok to go off the registry?
Yes. If the items on the registry are out of your budget, it’s also ok to give the couple something you’d think they’d like.
Be creative in your gift giving if you can’t spend a lot of money. Is there a service or a skill you can offer to the couple? These gift can turn out to be some of the most appreciated ones.
When all else fails, a gift card to the store where they registered is always a safe and appropriate gift.
is it rude to give cash when the couple is registered?
I don’t know of any one who would be upset at receiving cash. Cash makes a great gift for any occasion. In an Amex survey, released in April, half the couples said that the gift they’d most like to receive is cash.
if you have to travel to get to the wedding, should that impact how much you spend on the present?
You should never feel bad if travel costs impact your gift budget. If you’re spending money to be there on their day, that is a huge contribution already. It is more important that you give within your means.
should you mail the couple the gift or give it to them at the event?
Best practice is to send the gift ahead of time or directly after the wedding. Please don’t take the gift to wedding. It becomes too much of a burden on family members to protect the gifts and too easy for gifts to disappear, especially in a public place. Then they also need to be transported… It just creates a lot more work.
if you’re part of the wedding party, how much should you give for the gift?
Since you’re already spending quite a bit of money on the event already, the couple typically does not expect to receive individual gifts. Go in as a group and give one big gift.
if the couple says ‘no gifts please,’ but you want to give something, should you?
It is always best to honor the couples wishes. If you bring a gift to the wedding, you might make other guests, who didn’t bring a gift, feel uncomfortable.
If you really want to treat the couple to something, give them your gift after the honeymoon, when you can privately celebrate together, say at a dinner out.
do I have to send gift if I don’t attend the wedding?
If you receive an invite to a wedding, it is usually customary to send a gift. That being said, a gift is never a requirement. Again, use your judgment. How close are you to the couple? Just be sure to send the gift before the wedding or within a month after, if you decide to send one.
I hope these tips help you figure out what’s appropriate for your gift giving situation. What other tips do you have on gift giving?