Etiquette 101: Wedding Gift Etiquette (What To Give and How Much To Spend)

Leah Bourne

stellar events pic wedding gifts1 Etiquette 101: Wedding Gift Etiquette (What To Give and How Much To Spend)Weddings can be a lot of fun for attendees, but between engagement parties, bachelor and bachelorette trips, and the wedding itself, it is quite easy for guests to deplete their bank account in the process. Here, some basic rules to keep in mind when buying wedding gifts. Yes, the thought counts, but what you give and when you give it counts for just as much.
It is best to map out exactly how much you want to spend before the various wedding festivities get underway, and then go from there. Experts say to spend 20 percent of that budget on the engagement gift, 20 percent on the bridal shower, and 60 percent on the wedding gift. “You don’t want to give a really lofty engagement present and then realize, ‘Now, I don’t have enough money to spend on the wedding present.’ You really want to plan and allocate what you’re giving ahead of time,” Jamie Miles of says.
If you are buying the gift for a co-worker or a less-close friend plan on spending between $75-$100. If it is a gift for a close friend or a relative think of spending between $100 and $125.
Meanwhile, if you’re heading out of town for a destination or an out-of-town wedding, it is perfectly acceptable to spend less on the gift, but you still have to give something. You presence alone isn’t enough.
It is becoming increasingly acceptable to write a check as a gift to a newly married couple, and many couples actually prefer it. If you want to buy a physical gift, choosing off the registry is always a good idea. Also, companies like allow guests to make a donation to the couple’s favorite charity, and more and more couples have honeymoon registries already set up (so definitely make sure to ask if that is the case). If your financial situation is more difficult, getting a personal gift is key. Spend the extra time thinking of something thoughtful.
There is an old etiquette rule that you have a year to give a wedding gift, but modern day etiquette experts say that that is simply too long to wait. Guests should usually plan to gift the bride and groom before or at the wedding. Many couples will start to write and send out their thank you notes a few months following their big day, so it would rude to have them continue their “thank yous” a year after they’ve exchanged vows.
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