How much should you spend on a wedding gift?
Receiving a wedding invitation in the mail is always an exciting time; however, it can also be a little stressful for some guests. The reason for this is that some guests have a hard time deciding what type of gift they should get the couple and how much they should be spending.
This isn’t always the case for everyone. Some people will be invited to the wedding shower and know exactly what the bride is looking for. Others, however, may struggle to decide on a set price if they don’t know the couple very well or they aren’t sure what they need. For those guests who aren’t sure what kind of budget to work with for a wedding gift, consider these 6 tips to determine how much you should spend.
1. Base it on dinner cost.
For the most traditional way to determine how much you should spend on a wedding gift, many guests refer to the cost of their dinner plate to make a decision. For example, if you know that the bride and groom paid $100 per plate, then it would be fair to spend the same amount on their gift as well. This is the most standard way to make a decision, and it works for guests who don’t know the couple very well or have a hard time capping their spending.
If you were offered to bring a date, remember that your gift should also reflect the cost of their dinner plate, too. So, as a combined group of guests, your gift would be worth closer to $200.
2. Consider what you’re spending.
Like many things, it can be easier to make decisions about a spending budget once you know how much you’ve already spent. For example, if you’re attending a destination wedding that requires you to purchase flights and accommodations, then you will certainly want to factor this in when you’re thinking about a wedding gift budget.
If you’re spending less money in terms of transportation and accommodations, then it’s likely that you’ll be more comfortable spending a little more on the couple. If you can, keep receipts of everything you have spent on the wedding to give yourself an idea of how much you’ve already put in versus how much you’d like to spend on a gift.
3. Figure out your closeness to the couple.
If you’re not sure what to spend on the happy couple, you might consider your level of closeness with them as an indicator. It’s not out of the ordinary for some couples to only know the bride and groom through association, or they may be family members that haven’t been in constant contact in the last few years.
This kind of information might be a sign of how much you’ll be expected to spend on the wedding gift; if you haven’t seen them in a long time or kept close contact, you might be more comfortable spending a little less. Often, it is the close friends and family members of the bride and groom who opt to spend higher amounts on things they know the couple wants or needs.
4. Think about your budget.
When it comes down to it, what you can afford is completely acceptable when you decide on a wedding gift. Although you may want to really impress and make the new couple happy, it’s important that you stick to a budget that is comfortable for you and that you know won’t put you under any kind of financial stress.
When it comes down to it, thoughtful wedding gifts show the bride and groom that you are happy to celebrate with them and that you want to contribute in some way. Even if you need to spend a little less or choose a more affordable brand name, there is no problem being money-smart if that is what you need to do. Try to be realistic about your budget and don’t feel pressure from other gift givers who might have a larger spending budget than you.
5. Ask other friends/couples.
There are likely other people who are in the same situation as you when it comes to their closeness with the new bride and groom. If you know an individual or couple who have the same relationship with the bride and groom as you do, then you might consider speaking with them about their budget for a wedding gift.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that they’re comfortable speaking about the topic. Their answers in no way dictate how much you should spend, but this may give you more of a ballpark figure.
6. Consider your time and effort.
If you’ve been volunteering your time and effort to bringing the big wedding day together, then this might also give you an idea of how much you should be spending. If you’ve volunteered a lot of hours to decorating, planning, or setting up, then you can certainly add that into the equation.
Brides and grooms will usually ask certain people to help out with different events and tasks, so if they’ve reached out to you on multiple occasions, it’s likely that they will understand if you want to cut back on your spending budget a little bit.
Not everyone can spend hundreds of dollars on wedding gifts, even if they wanted to! The average wedding gift budget changes, based on the individual’s relationship to the couple, so you may want to consider that element first and work your way from there. If you really don’t want to make the decision on your own, consider going in on a group gift with some other friends or family members. This way, you can all brainstorm a great gift together, and you may not feel as much pressure to please the happy new couple on your own.
Editor’s note: During this time of quarantine and social distancing, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Learn more here.