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Do you have an upcoming wedding on your calendar? When a wedding invitation arrives, your first thought is probably excitement for the upcoming nuptials of a friend or family member. Soon after, though, you’ll start to consider the logistics of the event, including attire, travel accommodations, and the wedding gift. While the couple’s wedding registry can be your guide as you shop for the right gift, it’ll probably feature gifts at many price points. Determining how much to spend is important before you begin to shop. If you’re wondering how much to spend on a wedding gift, this is the guide for you. Read on to learn about factors to consider to determine an appropriate budget for every wedding you attend.
Determining Your Wedding Gift Spending
Deciding how much to spend on a wedding gift depends on several factors, so it’s important to evaluate these items before you start shopping. When you identify your wedding gift budget before you shop, you’ll be able to focus your search for appropriately priced gifts. So, evaluate these factors to decide how much to spend on a wedding gift.
Let’s face it: You shouldn’t purchase a wedding gift that costs more than you can afford. The couple invited you to the wedding to celebrate their nuptials with you, not simply get a gift out of you. So, they don’t want you to break your budget by purchasing them an extravagant wedding gift that breaks the bank. Let your budget be your guide as you determine how much to spend on a wedding gift.
Relationship With the Couple
Not all weddings are created equally—for you. The wedding of a sibling or close friend, for example, is more meaningful to you than the wedding of a distant family member or coworker. Your relationship with the couple should also play a role in how much you spend on a wedding gift. Typically, you can plan to spend a little more on the gift if you’re close with the couple. However, remember that you should determine what is an appropriate higher price point for your budget if you’re shopping for someone you’re close with. Budget should be your guiding factor when deciding how much to spend on a gift.
Couple’s Wedding Expenses
If you’re a wedding traditionalist, then wedding etiquette states that your gift should roughly cover the cost of your attendance at the wedding. Now, some guests today don’t follow this rule, but if you’re looking for additional guidance on how much to spend, this factor may help. You aren’t going to know precisely what the couple is spending to host you at their event, but the type of the wedding can give you a sense of what they’re spending. An extravagant reception at a luxurious venue is going to cost more than a reception hosted in the couple’s backyard. If you want to follow this rule, then opt for higher-priced items on the registry for luxury weddings and lower-priced gifts for more relaxed affairs.
Keep in mind, however, whether you’re attending the wedding alone or with a guest. Perhaps you’ve estimated the cost of attending the wedding to be $150 per person. If you were invited with a guest, then the couple is spending $300 for you to attend. Don’t forget to include the cost of your guest if you’re following this etiquette guidance.
Cost of Attending the Wedding
Your cost of attending the wedding is another factor to consider when determining how much to spend on a wedding gift. Attending weddings come with costs beyond the gift itself. In many cases, you’ll have to travel to the wedding location, reserve a hotel room for a weekend, and cover all of the costs associated with travel. Some couples even choose destination weddings, which can be even costlier since they’re often held at distant locations.
If you’re footing a high bill just to attend the wedding, you also might not be able to afford a pricey gift off of the couple’s registry—and that’s perfectly acceptable. If the cost of attending the wedding is high, you can save some money by choosing a lower-priced wedding gift. Remember, the couple will appreciate your attendance, especially when they know you traveled a distance to be there for their special day—and that’s a gift, too.
Now that you know the basics of what factors to consider when shopping for a wedding gift, let’s take a look at some circumstances that may impact your wedding gift shopping.
If you want to go in on a group gift with other guests, you certainly can. However, you’ll want to stick to a reasonable price per person. You don’t want a group gift to come off as an opportunity to spend less on the couple. Instead, you should pool together your money to purchase a high-end gift off of their registry.
Not Attending the Wedding
You’ve received a wedding invitation, but you can’t attend the wedding. Perhaps it conflicts with another event on your schedule, or it’s simply too far away to travel. While many guests do choose to still send a gift, you don’t have to. After all, the couple does not have to foot the bill for your participation in their wedding. However, if you know the couple well, you can certainly still send a gift. It’s appropriate to choose a lower-priced gift off of the registry in this situation if you prefer.
Cash gifts are appropriate for a wedding and should reflect how much you would spend on a tangible gift. Some couples might specify that they prefer cash for a honeymoon fund or savings account, in lieu of traditional gifts. In fact, some couples might not use a registry at all. Give cash gifts just like you would gifts off the registry, evaluating the same factors to determine the appropriate amount for your budget and your relationship with the couple.
If the couple eloped and you get an announcement in the mail, you might consider sending a gift—but you certainly don’t have to. This is another situation where you will want to consider your relationship with the couple to determine whether or not to send a gift. If you do opt to give a gift, the couple likely won’t have a wedding registry since they did not have a wedding with guests. It’s certainly appropriate to offer a lower-priced gift, whether that’s cash or a tangible gift, since the couple did not host you at their wedding.
Consider these wedding gift ideas at all price points as you shop for the happy couple.
Wedding Gifts by the Numbers
By now, you understand that wedding gift pricing should depend on a variety of factors. However, it’s also helpful to see some figures to determine what’s an appropriate gift for the next wedding on your calendar. So, here’s a breakdown based on a 2019 survey conducted by The Knot.
This survey reported that the average cost of a wedding gift in 2019 was $120. However, that cost varied among guests, with those close to the couple and members of the bridal party spending more than casual friends and acquaintances of the couple.
A 2018 survey by Nerd Wallet confirmed The Knot’s findings but noted that there are generational differences to consider when determining how much guests typically spend on wedding gifts. This survey reported that Millennials spend the most at $151, and Baby Boomers spend the least at $113.
While $120 to $150 might be the average cost of a wedding gift based on survey data, gift options are available at price points both less than and greater than this average. So, it’s important to evaluate other factors—most notably, your budget—when deciding how much to spend on a wedding gift. These figures do help to put wedding gift spending into perspective, however, giving you a sense of what the average guest spends on a gift when they attend a wedding.
How much to spend on a wedding gift depends on several factors, including your relationship with the couple, your budget, and the type of wedding you’re attending. Comment below if you have any questions about wedding gift shopping. The bottom line is that you should be guided by your personal budget when selecting a wedding gift. If you’re flexible with your budget, aim to give a pricier gift to close friends and family members than acquaintances or coworkers. While many wedding gifts average $100 to $150 per person, you should spend an amount that you can comfortably afford.