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Wedding Gift Etiquette 101: What to Give, When to Gift, and How Much To Spend

There’s no denying that weddings are a blast -- you get to dress up, enjoy a killer party, see old friends, and celebrate the love between the bride and groom as they enter the new chapter of their lives.

That said, for a lot of people, they can also be confusing, costly, and downright stressful. This can be especially true for those that are unsure about what to do when it comes to certain wedding traditions and etiquette like finding the perfect gift.

Here, we break down everything you need to know about wedding gift-giving, including what to give, when to gift, and how much to spend on that special gift.

First Thing’s First: What to Give

While there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to the topic of what to give, there are definitely important factors that can help you make the right choice. First and foremost, consider what they’ve asked for. In other words, don’t ignore the registry!

SEE ALSO: Wedding Season Demystified: What’s the Best Gift For a Wedding

Most of the time, couples have spent a lot of time searching for items they’ll need and putting together a list of things that will be useful to them as they begin their life together. Listen to their requests and get them something they’ll love, enjoy, and really get use out of. And if they haven’t come up with a registry, just ask! Now, that doesn’t mean asking What do you want me to get you? Instead, ask subtle questions about what they still need to finish their house, what odds and ends they might still have to get for their honeymoon, etc? You can’t go wrong with letting them share their interests or pointing you in the right direction.

If you don’t want to ask and you’re on your own, get them something unique or useful. Bed, bath, and kitchen items, in particular, are always a great choice. Alternatively, get something that goes with their personality - some fine china for more traditional couples, or a game or activity for those that are more out-of-the-box.

luminox 3051 BO Alpina Men's Watch
Luminox 3051.BO Men's Watch  Alpina Men's Watch

 

When To Gift

Across the board, one interesting go-to rule is to not bring your gift to the wedding itself - the couple will have to lug it around and it may get lost in the chaos of the event. Instead, send it to the couple’s home or follow the specific directions that they have on the invitation or on the registry website.

So, if you don’t take it to the wedding, then when do you send it? Traditionally, they say that you have up to a year to send a gift. However, with all the shipping options available today, that’s becoming increasingly less acceptable. Try to send your gift as soon as possible - ideally within three months of the wedding itself.

When to give a wedding gift couple

How Much To Spend

Finally, let’s talk money. Again, there are no set rules here, and there are a few things to consider when it comes to the price of the gift:

Gift Quality

It may sound cliche, but you can’t go wrong with a gift that is true to the couple or authentic to your relationship with them. Get them something that you have a history with, that harkens back to an inside joke, or that you simply know they’ll enjoy. Remember, the meaning is much more important than the price tag.

Relationship to the Couple

You’re not going to get the same gift for your second cousin and your best friend. As a general rule of thumb, you’re expected to spend more time and money finding a gift for those that are closest to you, though a good minimum to keep in mind is $50. So consider what you’re willing to spend on someone that you really love and what you’re willing to spend on an acquaintance, and budget accordingly.

Your Age and Place In Life

People don’t expect for you to spend out of your means for a wedding, so don’t put excess pressure on yourself to do so. Someone who’s in their 20’s and just getting started, for example, will probably be able to afford less than someone in their 30’s or 40’s who is established in their career. So keep that in mind, and only spend what you can afford. On the flip side, if you do have it in your means to splurge a bit, they may notice if you opt for a cheaper gift option - especially if the couple is close to you. Which leads us to our next point.

SEE ALSO: How Much To Spend on a Wedding Gift

How much to spend on a wedding present

For more gift ideas, check out My Gift Stop.