The traditional summer wedding might be over, but ceremonies happen all year long. Many guests don’t know what’s expected from them when giving a wedding gift. Here are some etiquette tips to help you make good decisions about giving a present to the couple when you’re invited to the party.
What Should I Buy?
The wedding registry is the best resource for choosing a gift. The couple may have a wedding website with some special notes about wanting to save up for a larger purchase. You should consult the registry to make sure you match the couple’s style and personality. If you’re making a handmade gift, you can find color ideas and patterns on the registry to know what the bride prefers.
How Much Should I Spend?
There are a number of thoughts about how much to spend on gifts. As a general rule of thumb, you don’t need to spend the same amount on a coworker or distant relative as you would on a close relative or friend. According to Proflowers.com, the average wedding gift costs $106. That figure will vary depending on your budget, the relationship you have with the couple and how much you’re spending to get to the wedding. Traditionally, you don’t need to spend as much on the gift when it’s a destination wedding or if you’re coming from a long distance.
When Should I Send the Wedding Gift?
Although many people still bring gifts to the wedding, this is often very difficult for the bride and groom to manage. These gifts may have to be transported to different places, and if the couple is leaving directly from the reception for the airport, it will be complicated for the family. Plus, there are more opportunities for money and small gifts to be stolen at a reception. It’s best to send it to the home of either the bride or the groom before the ceremony or up to three months following the wedding.
If I’m Bringing a Gift to the Wedding, Do I Have to Buy One for the Shower, Too?
A shower is a party to bless the bride (or couple) with gifts. It is the one party that is all about the gift-giving. Set your gift budget when you get the wedding invitation. If you get an invitation to a shower, use the 20 percent rule. Dedicate 20 percent of your budget to the shower gift. If you get invited to more than one shower, take another 20 percent out of the original budget for the gift. Whatever is left, use it to buy the wedding gift. For example, you set a budget of $200. You’re invited to a bridal shower and an engagement party. Twenty (20) percent of 200 is $40. Spend $40 on a gift for the engagement party, then another $40 for the shower. This leaves $120 for the wedding gift. But feel free to use those limits as you choose.
One final thought: You should not stretch your budget too far to give what might be expected. The wedding is not about gifts and money; it’s about celebrating the union of two people. If your finances won’t let you give a large gift, do what you can. A gift certificate to a local restaurant would be a nice treat for the couple when they get back from the honeymoon. Picture frames are always welcome and can be expensive when you want to buy a lot. Treat the bride to a couple of special ones. Maybe on the couple’s first anniversary, your budget will allow you to do something more. The wedding should be a celebration, not a gift-grabbing event. If the couple knows and loves you, they will understand your limitations.