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Etiquette

Gift Etiquette 101: 5 Guidelines For Giving Great Wedding Gifts

Balmy air and long nights make summer the height of wedding season, with June and September as peak months. Deciding how much money to spend on a gift for a friend or family member’s wedding can be tricky.

Thankfully, The Giftagram Team has answers to all of your wedding gift questions. We’re talking details on protocol, what to give and how much to spend. Follow our five guidelines below and you’ll be sure to give the happy couple a fitting gift they’ll love.

 

Gift etiquette for engagement parties and bridal showers

To begin, the only wedding event that technically requires a present is the bridal shower. The purpose of this particular celebration is to “shower” the bride in wedding gifts. The wedding and engagement parties are thought of as invitations from the couple to help share and commemorate their special day.

bridal shower gift

 

Though gifts at these events aren’t necessarily mandatory, giving them does follow traditional etiquette. If you are going to multiple wedding-related events, you can use the “20, 20, 60” rule when allocating your money.

This means spending 20% of your total budget on the engagement party, 20% on the bridal shower and 60% on the wedding. For example, with a budget of $200 total:

  • Engagement party: $40
  • Bridal shower: $40
  • Wedding: $120

 

Buy from the registry  

Couples set up a registry for a reason; these are gifts they’re seeking out to help complete their homes. It’s also a sure way to get the couple something you know they’ll love.

According to wedding blog The Knot, 85% of brides want you to get them something from their registry and 98% have at least one registry list either online or in a store.

Most couples will make their registry available to you online; many will even have a wedding website that will directly link you to their digital registry. Though you might want to get creative with your gift, it’s usually best to just stick to the registry.    

 

…Or give cash

An alternative to giving a gift is to give cash. Some younger couples may actually prefer receiving cash to gifts, as the money can go towards putting a downpayment on their first home together or financing their honeymoon.

The best practice is to ask around in the wedding party or the families of the bride and groom to see what the couple may prefer.    

 

Understand how much to spend

How much you decide to spend on a wedding gift will depend on what you think is appropriate based on your relationship to the couple and what is reasonable for your own financial situation. Nobody expects you to overspend if you can’t afford it.

Of course, there is no set amount you should give, though some will suggest you spend no less than $50. In general, the closer you are to the couple the more you’re expected to spend.   

Here is a breakdown of wedding gift price estimates per your relationship to the couple:

  • Coworker, distant family friend or distant relative: $50 to $75
  • Relative or friend: $75 to $100
  • Close relative or close friend: $100 to $150

If you’re fortunate enough to have an especially thick financial cushion, feel free to splurge. However, you’ll want to be careful not to gift the happy couple something too extravagant that might make them uncomfortable or feel like you spent too much on them. 

Again, there’s no exact science to follow here. There are different factors at play when deciding how much to spend on a wedding gift. It ultimately boils down to how well you know the couple and how much you can comfortably afford.

 

Don’t bring your gift to the wedding

The rise of online shopping has made shipping wedding gifts to their recipients a go-to. While there may be a wedding gift table at the reception, it can be difficult for the couple to find a way to transport gifts between locations. The best practice is to ship your gift to the couple before the wedding or within two months of the ceremony.

wedding gift

No matter what you give or how much you spend, the bride and groom will be delighted that you celebrated the most important day of their lives with them. Weddings are celebrations of love; they’re about presence, not presents.

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