Not sure how much to give at a wedding? Here are some guidelines:
This article was originally posted in May, but since it addresses one of the most common questions among wedding guests – “how much money do I give at the wedding” – we figured we’d re-publish with a few more details as the fall wedding season approaches.
While there isn’t a magic number, here are some factors you should consider when determining how much to give at a wedding.
Cover The Cost – This is a phrase that you may have heard as a general rule of thumb, and if it makes sense for you then use it as a guideline. But that alone might not be enough to figure out what’s ideal in any given situation. Consider the following factors when making your decision:
Your Salary Range (Individual/Family) – At the end of the day you have to give what you and your family can afford. But bear in mind that there is also a perception of what that might be so take a look at some of the other factors to help make this decision. The ‘average’ amount according to our survey falls between $150 and $250, but if all you can afford is $50 then don’t stress just give ☺
What’s your relationship to the Bride or Groom? – Typically if you’re close the couple you give a little more and while the average is between $150 and $250 many close friends or family members that have the means will give up to $1000.
Are you part of the Bridal Party? – Okay, there are typically two schools of thought when it comes to expectations here. Some brides do not expect a gift from anyone in the bridal party since in many cases bridesmaids might be spending a small fortune on dresses, travel, and hosting pre-wedding festivities. On the flip side, some bridal party members feel as though they want to give an ‘extra nice’ gift since they’re so close to the couple.
The ball here is in your court. But if the bride has explicitly said she doesn’t expect anything and you still would like to give, don’t feel as though you must blow your budget.
Will you be bringing a Guest? – If you’re planning on bringing a guest, a good rule of thumb is to put a little extra in the proverbial envelope.
Did you have to travel? – If you traveled a long way to attend the wedding (or perhaps it’s a destination wedding) a gift is often not expected or at the very least a smaller gift wouldn’t be questioned. The couple will be sensitive to the fact that you’ve made the effort and spent the money to celebrate with them.
How many weddings will you be attending this year? – Don’t forget to take this into consideration. If you’re attending several weddings in one season be sure to budget appropriately. Another tip… most groups with a close-knit cohort tend to give the same amount for each couple that is getting married. Just a tip as you may not want one couple to feel less valued than another.
Cash vs. The Registry – Contributing cash versus using a traditional wedding registry is a great option that allows you to control the amount spent. If you’ve ever been stuck browsing a registry where the only thing left is an overpriced crystal punch bowl, you can appreciate the convenience that cash provides. But it’s usually a good idea to check the registry to see what’s available. And even if the couple has created a traditional registry (here’s an alternative wedding registry you can recommend) the old adage cash is king still rings true. Here’s an article that shows exactly how much couples appreciate a cash wedding gift.
Last but not least remember, at the end of the day a heartfelt gift is better than a hefty gift. When it comes to how much you should give at a wedding – give what you can afford with and open heart and a while lotta love!