What Should I Spend on a Wedding Gift?

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Attending an upcoming wedding and wondering how much to spend on a wedding gift?  Money Saving Quest is here to help.

AVERAGE / GENERAL CONSENSUS

Gone are the “price per plate” days, where guests would determine a gift price based on their assumption of how much the couple spent on hosting them.

The general consensus is that you should expect to spend at least $50 on a wedding gift.  The average is typically $50 to $100. 

However, be sure to choose an amount that you’re comfortable with and feels right to you.

GUIDELINES

There are many factors to take into consideration when trying to figure out the best amount to spend on a wedding gift.  Whether you’re gifting cash or presents, here are some of them to keep in mind:

Your Budget

First, consider where you are financially and what you’re comfortable spending.  For students, those just graduating college, and those on a tight budget, $50 is a perfectly acceptable amount to spend (regardless of any other factors).   For those in the early years of their career, $100 is a good starting point.  At these amounts, you will still be able to find a thoughtful gift that won’t break your budget.

If you truly cannot afford to dish out the $50, make up what you can’t spend in money with time and thoughtfulness.  A thoughtful, handmade gift is sure to be appreciated by the couple.

One thing to be sure to keep in mind:  Price is less important than sentiment. 

Your Relationship to the Couple 

Generally speaking, the closer you are to the couple, the more you should gift.  Consider the following “ballpark” monetary break down by relationship:

  • One of your closet friends or relatives: $100-$200
    • For your dearest friends and relatives, it’s worth spending a little more.
  • Friend or relative: $75-$125
  • Distant family friend or relative: $50-$75
  • Neighbor or casual acquaintance: $50-$75
  • Coworker or boss: $50-$75
RELATIONSHIP TO COUPLE
PERCENTILE IMMEDIATE FAMILY EXTENDED FAMILY CLOSE FRIEND FRIEND
10th $30 $20 $25 $20
30th 50 40 50 25
Median 100 50 60 50
70th 150 100 100 50
90th 500 195 200 100
Average $147 $71 $82 $50

Survey conducted Aug. 23-24 with 1,050 respondents

Source: Surveymonkey audience

Your Role in the Wedding

Your role in the wedding is another big factor that typically influences your wedding gift amount.

Between attire, parties, and other events, being a bridesmaids or groomsmen can be quite the financial and time commitment.  Taking this into consideration, they shouldn’t feel obligated to purchase a $150 gift for the couple.  Consider sticking to the $50 minimum guideline, or alternatively, the bridal party can all chip in to purchase one large gift.

Other Factors

Destination wedding – If you’re spending a lot of money on travel (airfare, hotel, etc.) to attend the special day, it is expected and understood to spend less on a gift (lower end of the spectrum).  Chances are that the couple is pretty important to you if you’re willing to travel for the wedding, so you should still try to spend at least $50 to $100.

Unable to attend wedding  If you can’t make it to the wedding for whatever reason, it is still an accepted practice to send a gift.  The amount you spend depends on the previously mentioned considerations.

Bringing a guest/date If you are bringing someone to the wedding, add a little extra to the gift amount as a courtesy and acknowledgment of their hospitality.

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