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Wedding Gift Giving Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts

Wedding gift giving etiquette

Finding the right gift for a couple about to get married shows that you’ve put thought into it and that it matters to you what you get them. But it can be difficult to know how to go about this, because there aren’t any rules surrounding wedding gift giving.

You might be wondering what the dos and don’ts are and how much you should spend on the gift.

We’ve got you covered with this guide to wedding gift giving etiquette.

DON’T: Purchase a gift that was not listed on the registry. Bear in mind that the couple carefully chose the items they would love to receive as presents, so choosing a gift that isn’t part of the registry may not be your best bet. Remember to always keep the couple in mind—their preferences, their character, and focus on that. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive item on the list. Something modest, when well thought of, and well meant, will be as appreciated as the most expensive gift on the list.

DO: Bring cash, or gift cards in case you don’t find anything on the registry that you would like to give as a gift. It will ultimately be more thoughtful and practical to utilize this option as opposed to giving the couple a gift that they may not be able to use. Or worse, coming to the wedding empty-handed.

DON’T: Equate a big price tag to a great gift. Being thoughtful is still the best way to go—considering your relationship with the bride and groom and getting them something that speaks to that relationship will always be so much better than just getting a random, cold, but expensive gift. They will appreciate a warm, well thought out gift, as opposed to something that cost a lot of money but feels so impersonal.

DO: Send a gift even if you won’t be able to attend the wedding. This is both to thank the couple for the kind invitation, and to wish them congratulations and best wishes in their life as a married couple as well.

DON’T: Forget to write a nice note to accompany your gift. You’ve already spent a good amount of time in determining what gift to give, you might as well spend just a little bit more in writing a nice note to wish the happy couple your best.

DO: Send your gift closer to the wedding date. The last three months before the wedding are ideal. While there is no specific time that you should or shouldn’t send the couple your gift, it is most ideal to have it delivered some time before the wedding itself. It is, however, still acceptable to have gifts delivered up to within three months after the “I do’s” have been exchanged.

DON’T: Worry about getting both an engagement, bridal shower or rehearsal dinner gift, plus a gift for the wedding itself. You may simply give token gifts for the aforementioned, specially if you’re getting something from the couple’s registry.

DO: Remember that it may take a while for the bride and groom to write a thank you note after the wedding. If they don’t, then it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you wished them well and shared in their day of joy with them. Anything beyond that should simply be icing on the cake.

DON’T: Bring the actual gifts to the wedding. The reason you have them sent over is to save the wedding party the trouble of carting gifts home after the festivities have been concluded. You don’t want to be the only guest lugging around a box of cookware, do you?

DO: Remember that practical gifts do not necessarily translate to being boring. Bath items, appliances, even plates or personalised mugs are going to come in handy at some point in time.

DON’T: Discount the value of a group gift. If the couple is from a group of friends you know, or if you’re family members who want to give them a little extra, you can all chip in for a group gift and give them something along the lines of a big-ticket item. This will ultimately put a smile on the bride and groom’s face when they discover your generosity.

How Much Should You Spend?

One of the questions we often get asked is: How much should I spend on a wedding gift? While there isn’t a right or wrong answer, there are some guidelines that can help you with this decision.

First and foremost, money isn’t an indicator of a good gift. If you’re broke, for example, you can opt to do something nice for your friends getting married instead of buying a gift. If they’re close to you, they won’t think any less of you for this. But of course, this depends on your relationship with the couple.

Your relationship with the bride or/and groom should effectively determine whether or not the gift you are purchasing is appropriate. Here’s a general guide as to how much to spend on a gift:

  • If the couple are close friends or close relatives: $100 and above
  • Friend or relative: $100 to $ 130
  • Distant relative, friend, or co-worker: at least between $50 to $75

Of course, these are just guidelines. Most people try not to drop below $50 because you’ll likely end up with a gift that looks cheap.

Take A Look at The Registry

The wedding registry is an excellent indication of not just what the couple want but also how much you should spend.

The bride and the groom took time to personally select the gifts that they would like for their wedding registry, so it would only not only be respectful but also smart to refer to it.

What if the only gifts left on the registry are beyond your budget? In this case, group gifts are a great way to get something that’s beyond your individual budget on the registry and still make a useful contribution.

Can You Give Money as A Wedding Gift?

There’s no issue with a cash gift. This is a safer option and often preferred items. Cash is a perfect gift if (1) the couple specifically requested that monetary gifts are preferred (2) the couple did not take the time to fill up a registry. Many online registries these days actually include a cash fund so that guests might have an easier time deciding what, and how much to give.

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