How Much To Give For A Wedding: A Guide For Guests
As anyone who has ever been a guest to a wedding can attest - one of the most difficult questions to answer is: "how much to give for a wedding"? It’s understandable: no one wants to look like a cheapskate, but at the same time, no one wants to be on the hook by promising to give more money as a wedding gift than they can afford.
What's more, your wedding gift isn't the only thing you're going to necessarily spend if you're going to a wedding as a guest, especially if you're part of the wedding party. You might need to consider other expenses, such as travel expenses (if it is a destination wedding), board and lodging (if the couple is not paying for guest lodging), and clothes to follow the dress code. Considering all these additional expenses, you might find that you've tapped out even before you can budget for your wedding gift.
But is money the best wedding gift? If so, how much should I give for a wedding?
Is Straight Cash A Good Wedding Gift?
It can get a little bit tricky when you consider giving straight cash as a wedding gift. Some people might see it as tacky, while others say that it’s okay. What’s more, you really don’t know whether the amount you’re planning to give is “enough”. Now, how much to give for a wedding?
According to Lizzie Post, an etiquette expert, cash is a perfectly acceptable wedding gift. In fact, some couples even prefer receiving cash to other material gifts because it allows them to use the cash as they see fit.
The only thing you need to keep in mind when giving cash as a gift is to make sure you give it properly. Place the cash in an envelope and label it as a wedding gift. Don't assume that the couple will automatically recognize an unmarked envelope full of cash as a wedding gift! You should also include a short note thanking the couple for inviting you to their wedding and wishing them well for their marriage. This makes the gift more personal and means more to the couple.
If you're mailing your gift, you should consider giving the money in the form of a check instead of actual bills. This way, it won't matter even if the envelope gets misplaced or lost in the mail; you'll be able to write a new check without taking a loss on the lost one.
How Do I Gauge The Amount?
Okay, now for the tricky part: how much money should you give at a wedding? Are there any rules that will help you reach the right amount?
While there aren’t any hard rules that dictate the amount of money that you should give as a wedding gift, you can use The Knot 2016 Wedding Guest Study as a guide. According to the study, “wedding guests spend an average of $118 per wedding gift, while wedding attendants spent more, at around $177.”
You don’t need to stick to that average when deciding the amount to spend, but it’s good to have a guide. You can also use the closeness of the relationship you have with the couple to help you choose the right amount to spend. If you're wondering how much to give for a wedding, here’s a quick guide.
- If you're attending a co-worker's wedding, you can go a little lower than the average and write out a $100 check. It can get awkward if you're not particularly close with the couple, so you can get them a $100 gift card for their favorite restaurant.
- If it’s close friends or family getting married, you can go above the average. For example, if your best female friend is the bride, you can get her a nice $200 chemise.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: for co-workers and distant relatives, a good budget range is around $75-$100, $100-$150 for relatives and friends, while $150 and above for close family and close friends.
Is There A Minimum Amount I Can Set?
How much to give for a wedding? The minimum amount you're willing to spend will depend on your budget and what you are comfortable giving to the couple. You should be prepared to give a gift if you accept a wedding invite, but you shouldn't feel guilty about what you can afford to give. Remember, it's a celebration for the happy couple, not a contest to see who can give the most money.
What About Their Wedding Registry?
If the wedding that you are attending has a wedding registry, it’s best to stick to the gifts specified by the couple. These are items that the couple has specifically requested and genuinely need or want! What’s more, the best thing about a wedding registry is that you’ll have a wide selection to choose from, and you’ll probably find the gift that will best fit your budget. If you plan to use the wedding registry, make sure to shop for their gift early so that you have the widest possible selection to choose from. But since the average couple in the US will register around 130 items on their wedding registry, you shouldn’t worry about running out of options too much.
When Should I Give My Wedding Gift?
If you’re giving cash or a check, you can mail it to the couple or give it to them on their wedding day. It is easy to bring home envelopes. However, if you decide to go with a material gift from the registry, it is best to send the gift directly to the couple before or after the wedding. No wedded couple wants to lug home a mountain of gifts after their wedding!
The bottom line with how much to give for a wedding is giving the amount you're comfortable with and making sure that the amount will not cause you too much financial strain. You're not doing anyone any favors if you try to go all-out with a cash gift. Here's how to learn more about wedding rings.
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