Wedding Gift Etiquette
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We're here to dispel some rumors, myths, and outdated suggestions and give you the real scoop on wedding gift etiquette. We've surfed the Web, consulted your most trusted wedding experts, read your feedback, and grilled brides to bring you this complete guide to wedding gift etiquette. Consult this handbook for any wedding gift questions, and you'll be fully versed on gift giving etiquette. With the expertise of Emily Post etiquette, The Knot, American Express, CBS, and AllFreeDIYWeddings.com behind you, you can sleep soundly knowing that the gift you sent over to the happy couple is exactly what they were hoping for.
Wedding Gift Etiquette
Wedding Gift Amount
Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette
What to Give
When to Give Your Gift
Destination Wedding Etiquette
Wedding Etiquette Plus One
- So you've been invited to a wedding, or two, or seven. Keep in mind right off the bat that weddings can get expensive, not just for the bride and groom or the bridal party but for guests too. If your budget can't fit a wedding, generously decline the invite. You are, however, still expected to send a gift. This gift, though, can be less than what you might have spent had you attended.
- It used to be said that guests should estimate how much it will cost the couple per person, and the gift should be worth that much. (If the cost is $100 per person and you are attending with a plus one, the gift should be worth $200.) We think your best bet is to figure in budget, relationship with the couple, and any travel or lodging expense, and to go from there.
- Keep in mind that in urban areas, more money is spent on gifts. Similarly, more affluent areas, of course, have a higher spending average. For more formal events, guests tend to give on the high side of the scale.
- If you are in the bridal party, you are still expected to spend the same amount you would have if you didn't accept the invitation to be in the bridal party. If you are strapped for cash, you can always give something less expensive but meaningful.
- Experts strongly suggest spending at least $50
Here is the suggested total wedding gift amount:
Co-workers/Distant Family $50-$75
Close Friends $100-$150
Close Family $150+
If you are invited to multiple events, follow this breakdown of the wedding gift amount:
20% Engagement Gift
20% Bridal Shower
60% Wedding Gift
Unless you are told otherwise, bridal shower gift etiquette requires you bring a gift if you are attending. If you decline the invitation, you are not required to send a gift. The purpose of a bridal shower is to shower the bride or couple with gifts that will help them get started in their new life. Sometimes there will be a separate bridal shower registry. Otherwise, there will be less expensive, less fancy options on the registry, like pots and pans. These are proper for a bridal shower. Using the registry, will help you pick out what the couple actually needs. Sometimes, the shower will have a theme, and the registry or suggested gifts will reflect that theme. If the shower is clearly labeled a kitchen shower, be sure to bring an appropriate gift.
Ask someone in the bridal party if there is a registry. If the couple has a registry, use it! Some call it lazy gift giving, but really it's giving the couple what they want. There is nothing wrong with using the registry to guide gift giving. If you can't choose what to give off of the registry, you can also give a gift card to the store. If you'd rather get creative, you'd better know what the couple would like. For instance, arrange a gourmet gift basket reflecting one of their interests (this is a good way to save a bit of money while still giving a meaningful present). Remember, giving them something they can't use is a waste of your money. On that note, always include a receipt. If you are partial to giving the couple cash or check, that is accepted as well. These days, it is becoming more common for a couple to have a registry or fund for their honeymoon. You may contribute to that as well.
Though this varies by culture and area, it is usually customary to send your gift ahead of time to the couple. Registries will typically specify where the couple would like the gift sent. If giving cash or check, you can send it, or if you feel more comfortable, you can bring it to the reception where there will be a card box. You can give a gift up to three months after the wedding. The one-year limit is a myth. Unless there are serious budgetary restrictions, the gift should be given as soon as possible.
If you are spending a lot of money to get to a wedding (transportation and lodging), it is okay to spend less on the gift. How much less is up to you. It is still expected that you give a gift, though.
When attending a wedding with a guest, it is customary to give a gift worth a bit more. Since the couple will be paying for each guest individually, experts suggest the gift be more generous. Some propose double, though we don't think that is completely necessary.
We'd love to hear your feedback whether you agree or don't!
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