Wedding Gift Etiquette

Most adults know how much to spend on birthday gifts or Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts. And, most of us have a feel for what is appropriate for baby gifts. But, when it comes to a wedding gift, how much to spend may not be so easy to determine. We don’t want to spend so little that we look cheap, but we don’t want to spend more than we can afford just to compete with other guests.

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Wedding Gift Etiquette

With wedding gifts, how much to spend seems to be a question of etiquette. Few of us feel totally comfortable with the wedding gift etiquette rules. In other areas of life, society has moved away from such rules. Etiquette books are having less of a need on our bookshelves.

Happily though, etiquette books, or at least those who read them, have a place on the Internet. By researching those sites, you can get a better idea of how much to spend on wedding gifts. You will want to remember these points.

Negative Approach

Do NOT try to spend according to what your meal will cost. It is a common myth that etiquette’s “rule of thumb” is to estimate how much your meal might cost and spend that much on a gift. The current price range for a meal for a formal wedding is thought to be between $65 and $150 per person. If two of you will be attending together, you would double that amount. This is NOT true according to etiquette. Furthermore, a recent survey shows that only 10 percent of brides agree with that idea. If followed, it would mean that a couple choosing a casual affair would receive less expensive gifts simply because the reception was casual.

Positive Approach

My approach is to let your affection for the bride and groom guide you, but you should stay within your budget and be financially responsible when you buy a wedding gift. The giving of wedding gifts is not a competition. Your gift should reflect who you are and your relationship to the bride and groom. If you cannot afford to give as much as you would like, remember that the gift can be given within the first year after the wedding. Sooner is better, of course. but with that much time you may be able to save enough to purchase the wedding gift you would truly like to give.

US National Average Cost of Wedding Gifts

In the U.S., the national averages spent on wedding gifts fall into 3 categories. Each category is determined by the relationship of the guests to the bridal couple.

1. If buying for a co-worker or a distant family member, guests tend to spend $50-$75 each on a wedding gift.

2. Those attending the wedding of a relative or friend are likely to spend $75-$100 each on a wedding gift.

3. When a close relative or close friend gets married, the wedding gift will probably cost $100-$150 or more per each guest.

Personal Decision

With wedding gifts, how much to spend really is a personal decision. Guests may give whatever wedding gifts they choose. You should never be guided by how much you think the bride’s family will spend on the meal. You should not be guided by what others might give.

Shop for a wedding gift according to what you think the bride and groom will like, not according to the price tag.

If they have registered at a local store, check the registry. If you see an item you want to buy and can afford, don’t be turned away because it is the least expensive item on the registry.

Send Wedding Gifts and End the Competition

Wedding gift etiquette says wedding gifts are to be sent to the bride’s home. They are not to be delivered in person, either to the home or to the wedding location. If wedding gifts are delivered to the wedding location, the bride and groom should wait and open them at home in private.

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Finally, whether a wedding gift costs $5 or $5,000, a well-mannered bride and groom will accept it graciously and appreciate the thoughtfulness.

The Art of Thoughtful Gift Giving!
Debra’s Gifts

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