Wedding Gift Etiquette

Do I have to bring a gift to a destination wedding?

Destination weddings can be a significant expense. Once you factor in airfare, hotel and food, you are likely looking at close to $1,000 a couple. Understandably, the thought of adding on a generous wedding gift can be a difficult pill to swallow. That said, it’s not an excuse to show up empty handed; you should still offer the couple some tangible form of congratulations. However, you can certainly reduce the amount you spend on the couple’s gift. The bride and groom should understand and appreciate the investment you are already making just to attend. Another option is waiting a few months after the wedding before you send the couple anything. This gives you a chance to recuperate from the expense of the trip.

How much should I spend on a wedding gift?

According to The Knot, you should spend:

$50-$75 for a co-worker or distant family friend/relative
$75-$100 for a relative or friend
$100-$150 for a close relative or close friend

These numbers will of course vary based on where you live. Regardless, spend what you can afford and are comfortable giving. Don’t create financial hardship for yourself just so you can get in the average range. In my book, the only major rule is that you bring something…no gift, no bueno.

Do I have to stick to the registry?

If you don’t know the bride and groom that well, I say yes. If you’re not close with the couple, you likely don’t know their taste, and choosing a gift from the registry is a sure bet that they will like what you give them. If you’re a close friend or family, though, going off the registry or adding some personal touch along with a check/registry item is a nice way to make your present a bit more special and memorable. Either way, if you sway from the registry, don’t forget to include a gift receipt!

Feel free to send your gift inquiries, doubts and dilemmas on over:

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