Wedding Gift-Giving Etiquette

With invitations constantly pouring in, you may be wondering what is expected of you to help celebrate the big day. What to buy and how much to spend are common concerns for all wedding attendees, and wedding etiquette can quite often be a confusing formality.

To help you find the perfect and most appropriate wedding gift with ease, listed below are the golden rules for wedding gift-giving etiquette:

Spending an appropriate amount

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a good idea to use the price per head rule to measure how much you should spend on a wedding gift – what you gift to the happy couple should be exclusively dependent on your relationship to them, as well as your own means. No guest should feel like they need to overspend simply because they are expected to wear black tie. Similarly, just because your best friend organized a casual affair in her backyard, that doesn’t mean you should gift her an inexpensive gift.

The acceptable amount to spend on a wedding gift for a coworker or a distant relative would be in the $50-70 range, from $75 to $100 for a relative or a friend, and even more, if the bride or groom is a very close friend or relative. If you happen to be attending multiple events for the couple, you can consider using the 60-20-20 rule, which means spending 20 percent of your total budget on an engagement party gift, 20 percent on a bridal shower gift and 60 percent for the actual wedding gift.

Choosing a wedding present


If there is nothing on the registry in your price range, or you simply want to give something of your own accord, modern twists on traditional wedding gifts from the dining and the bedding department make for the perfect presents. For deluxe bedding and bath, opt for gifts that will create a spa-like environment for the couple every morning when they wake up, such as a pair of high thread count towels or extremely soft, luxurious bathrobes. In terms of dining options, choose a set of high-quality dinnerware, such as the elegant Wedgwood porcelain that is as beautiful as it is practical – you simply can’t go wrong with a gift like this.

Giving cash as a wedding gift

Although it may not be the most thoughtful present, there is nothing wrong with giving cash as a wedding gift. In fact, most modern couples are getting married later in life and already have well-equipped homes, so they may prefer cash that they can put towards savings or a honeymoon over registry items. If you decide to give cash as a wedding present, make sure to send it ahead of time, rather than bringing it to the wedding, as it is too easy for things to get misplaced in the chaos of the big day. Bear in mind that if the bride or the groom is one of your closest friends or relatives, cash might be too impersonal of an option, so you may want to opt for a more meaningful present.

Buying a present when you can’t attend the wedding

Unless you’ve truly been out of touch with the couple for a considerable amount of time, it is always a good idea to send a gift when you are invited to the wedding, even if you are unable to attend. If you decline the invitation and are not in a financial position to send a present, then that is completely understandable. In that case, make sure to send your warm wishes with a handwritten note. When you are very close with the couple, it is best to follow the gift-giving etiquette as if you were attending the ceremony. If, on the other hand, your distant cousin invited 300 people to the wedding and you feel like you are the last one, a sweet congratulatory note on the RSVP card would be quite sufficient.

Sending the wedding gift at the right time and to the right place

Traditionally, you have up to one year to buy the couple a wedding gift. That being said, the sooner you can actually give the present, the better since everybody wants to unwrap their wedding gifts when they’re still radiating with that newlywed glow. As far as the act of gift-giving is concerned, the preferred method is always to send it to the couple’s home, instead of bringing it to the wedding. There are simply too many things to keep track of on the day of the event, that it’s always appreciated if you could make the whole experience that bit easier on the newlyweds.

Now that you can rest assured your gift follows all the etiquette rules, you can hopefully enjoy celebrating with the happy couple.