Let’s talk about it. How much are we all gifting at weddings?

bettina + carlos

Words by Molly Smith (@mollyrosesmith_pr)

Have you ever considered how much you’re spending on wedding gifts? The season begins, the invitations are flowing in, and your paycheck suddenly leaves your account faster than it arrives. In a recent poll on the TBJ socials, we asked for our followers’ input on the topic so we could answer some questions we know you’ve all been dying to know. More importantly, the reasoning behind it.

Among the responses, many opinions emerged to show us differing outlooks on the matter. Things such as ‘Weddings are not about gifts or money, but it’s common courtesy to give something’ and ‘People who don’t give gifts but buy a new outfit’ compared to the stark contrast of ‘We had no expectations from our loved ones’.

It was intriguing to learn how much pressure society placed on humans to conform to what ‘we think’ is expected. After speaking to three brides, it was evident that a worry still crosses people’s minds when invited to someone’s big day.

@_carmensita “Depends on how close you are to the person. For our close friends, we spend anywhere between $300-$500 per person. For someone not as tight, we tend to do $200. I always feel so guilty when giving on the lower end. I come from a very generous European family and your gift as much as possible in our culture.

@miss_rachiee__ “I typically give $250-$300, for a close friend, $400 to $500. I factor in the venue and what they would pay per head”.

@gracie_hitchcock_ “It’s so tricky! I think whatever you can afford at the time. If they ask for a contribution towards the honeymoon, houseware, or art, respect their wishes. But also be realistic and don’t spend too much if you can’t afford it. The Bride and Groom are happy to have you present at the wedding, so they invited you! There’s a lot of pressure these days.

(*Disclaimer: These answers are primarily based on a poll and opinion-based only.)

The decision of how much cash to give as a wedding gift is undoubtedly nuanced. Ultimately, it depends on how close you are to the couple. Your level of intimacy with the bride and groom often plays a significant role in determining the appropriate amount. If they are close friends or family members, a more substantial cash gift might be expected, reflecting the depth of your relationship. Conversely, a more modest cash gift is acceptable if you’re less intimately connected. It’s essential to balance your budget and your desire to show appreciation for the couple’s big day.

Gifts Not on the Wedding Registry

The question of whether buying gifts not listed on the wedding registry is acceptable is common. It’s okay! While registries offer insight into the couple’s preferences, they shouldn’t restrict your creativity or thoughtfulness. If you know the couple well and have a unique gift idea that you believe they’ll cherish, don’t hesitate to go off-registry. Personalised or sentimental gifts can often be the most memorable.

Destination Weddings and Gift-Giving

Attending a destination wedding can be a considerable financial commitment, often leading to questions about gift-giving. It’s a matter of personal choice. If you can afford it and wish to give a gift, you can. However, attending a wedding can be seen as a significant gift, so some guests forgo a traditional wedding gift. Alternatively, you can consider a smaller cash gift or contribute to their honeymoon fund if they have one set up.

Engagement and Wedding Gifts

Traditionally, engagement gifts are not obligatory, but they can be a nice gesture if you’re particularly close to the couple. Wedding gifts, on the other hand, are more expected. In general, giving both an engagement and wedding gift is perfectly acceptable if you’re inclined to do so. These gifts symbolise your support and best wishes as the couple embarks on their journey together.

Cash as a Wedding Gift:

The idea of giving cash as a wedding gift has become increasingly common and widely accepted. Many couples appreciate the flexibility that money provides, allowing them to use it as they see fit, whether for honeymoon expenses, paying off wedding costs, or saving for their future. If you give cash, presenting it creatively or thoughtfully can add a personal touch and make it feel more like a gift than just money in an envelope.

In conclusion, wedding gift etiquette is not set in stone and can vary based on your relationship with the couple, budget, and personal preferences. Ultimately, the newlyweds are going to be grateful regardless.

Take a look at the most common answers from the TBJ audience:

  • 52% voted to spend $100-$200 per person for the couple.
  • 72% said the amount they chose to gift is influenced by how well they know them.
  • 72% agree that the exception to the rule is destination weddings! And that less can be given in this case.
  • A card is always a must, no matter what.
  • Many couples admitted guests weren’t aware of the increased costs per head for a wedding these days.

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