Spring is here, love is in the air, and wedding season is officially around the corner. This year, nearly 2.5 million weddings are expected to take place across the U.S., and whether you’ll be jetting off to a destination wedding or attending a local celebration, you’ll need a gift. We’ll help you take the guesswork out of giving with some useful tips on the Dos and Don’ts of wedding gift etiquette.
Plan to spend around $100
According to recent studies, guests spend an average of $99 on a wedding gift, but upwards of $127 is spent on closer friends and family. At the same time, we realize that personal budgets can affect how much you can spend on a gift. We recommend spending a minimum of $50-$75, opting instead for a gift card to the store where the couple is registered if all gifts on the registry exceed your budgeted amount.
Rely on the registry
If you are giving a physical gift, always choose from the couple’s registry. Not only is it helpful and convenient for you (no endless internet searches or frustrating shopping trips), but it’s optimal for the couple too. They’ve already spent time and effort curating their list with items they want and need for their new life together. Plus, most registries feature a wide range of items and price points, so you can choose something that feels truly personal.
Cash is completely acceptable
Giving a cash gift is a popular and widely accepted alternative to purchasing an item from a couple’s registry. Many couples will even include a cash fund on their wish list, making a financial contribution an easy option and a welcome gift for couples who are planning a honeymoon or saving for the future.
Consider contributing to a group gift
Going in on a group gift with other friends or family members is a great way to be able to give a couple a big-ticket item from their registries, like furniture or electronics. Just remember to include everyone’s name on the card!
Sending your gift is easier for everyone (with one exception)
These days, most couples would prefer that a wedding gift be sent directly to their home and not brought to the wedding reception. It’s easier for them – and more convenient for you, too, especially since free shipping is widely offered. That being said, if you’re giving a gift in a small envelope, like cash, a check, or a gift card, consider bringing it to the reception to ensure it gets to the couple right away.
If it’s a destination wedding, you’re free to decide
In the case of destination weddings, most couples realize that the time and money you’ve put into being at the wedding, from airfare and vacation time to hotel stays and childcare, is a gift in itself. If you plan to attend a destination wedding, it’s up to you to decide if you’d like to give a gift in addition to attending.
Send the gift as soon as possible
While tradition says that you have up to a year to give the couple their gift, sooner is always better. After all, you want the couple to receive your gift while they are still in a celebratory frame of mind. Aim to send your gift before the wedding, or within two months after the wedding at the latest.
Give a gift – even if you can’t go
It’s always best to send a wedding gift, even if you can’t attend the actual wedding. This generous gesture will help convey your appreciation for the invitation and your happiness for the couple. That being said, a gift sent in lieu of your presence does not have to cost as much as the gift you’d send as an attendee. Consider a smaller item from the registry or a gift card in a smaller denomination.