You’ve been invited to a wedding and your outfit and transport are sorted, but you’re not sure about Wedding Gift Etiquette.
Ask around and people will share lots of different opinions with you about wedding gift etiquette. Which advice do you follow and how do you know what applies in your particular situation?
Well, Melbourne Bridal Expos is here to help. We’ve sorted through the maze of information about wedding gift etiquette and created a handy guide for you to follow.
How much should you spend?
This is one of those “how long is a piece of string?” type of questions. While there are other factors that influence gift values – some of these are discussed in this article – a general guide is as follows:
Close buddies and immediate family members – $150+
Friends and Relatives – $100-150
Not so close – $50-100
Gift values under $50 are not as common, but it also comes down to circumstances and the type of gift.
Couples often tend to give a bit more than single guests, but it doesn’t mean you have to give twice as much. If you’re not sure what to aim for, it can’t hurt to check in with other couples who are attending – as long as you are close to these couples and can comfortably have a conversation about money and etiquette.
Strength in numbers
There’s a lot to be said for pooling resources with a group of friends and buying a gift of greater value – or dropping a bigger cash-filled envelope in the wishing well. Making the time and effort to arrange a larger gift with friends or family can enhance the perceived value of a gift and help those in the group who might not have as much to share as others.
To cash or not to cash…
When in doubt, it’s hard to fail with cash. Most couples openly welcome cash as a gift, and many request it over gifts. With everyone so busy nowadays, throwing some cash in a card saves stress and time for guests. It also means that couples don’t have the hassle of exchanging or returning gifts that don’t suit their needs or style.
It can also help to offset the cost of the wedding, honeymoon, or boost savings for a house deposit or renovation – a valuable contribution to the newlyweds’ future together.
Using the registry
If a couple has set up a wedding registry, whether it be for household goods or a honeymoon, we recommend using the registry. This is one area where wedding gift etiquette is absolutely clear. Purchasing a gift “off registry” is generally not the done thing.
There are some exceptions, however. If you have a uniquely personal gift that will mean something special to the couple, this is generally acceptable. This often happens with close family members such as parents, grandparents, or siblings, or even close long-term friends.
It can also be tricky if all the available items on the registry are over your budget. Our advice is to get in early, as many of the less expensive items on the registry will be snapped up quickly. Alternatively, team up with another friend or three to help make it happen.
Have you travelled to another location to attend a destination wedding? Most couples who choose this type of wedding see the travel costs incurred by guests as enough of a gift and are quick to explain that they don’t need a separate gift.
Unfortunately, we might not be attending overseas destination weddings for a while, but that time will come again. We’re crossing our fingers and toes that it happens sooner rather than later!
For the budget-conscious guest
Any reasonable couple wouldn’t expect you to give a gift you can’t afford or is stressful. Hopefully some of the other suggestions here will help, particularly the power of group gifts or gifts with a personal touch that are worth more than any monetary value.
It’s also handy to know that it is perfectly acceptable to give your gift after the wedding (see below), which is great if your budget challenges are more cashflow-related than long-term.
Is there a “gift due date”?
Anywhere up to three months (or thereabouts) after the wedding is an acceptable timeframe for gift-giving, whether it be a physical gift or cash.
What about other events?
When you’re invited to a wedding, you’ll often also receive an invitation for the kitchen tea/bridal shower and the hen’s/buck’s events. If attending the shower, you’ll most likely give the bride a gift for the home, but it is acceptable to give a smaller gift. The main gift will always be the wedding gift itself.
For the hen’s and buck’s occasions, attendance is usually the gift, especially if there are costs per head for entertainment or food and beverage costs.
What are your experiences with regard to wedding gift etiquette? The Melbourne Bridal Expos team would love to hear your thoughts!