While giving a bad wedding gift isn’t a crime against humanity, it’s only proper to bring something sensible and useful for the couple. But since there are a number of factors to consider, like budget and whether or not it’s something that the bride and groom would appreciate, it’s not that easy. Nevertheless, there are certain rules of thumb to play by. 

Now, to have a better understanding of how these rules work, we’re once again collecting input from experts in the field. But this time, we’re doing this by answering some of the frequently asked questions about wedding gift etiquette. 

Wedding Gift Etiquette FAQs

Anyone who’s bought a wedding gift – whether for the first time or otherwise – has likely asked one of these four questions. Now, you’re getting your answers. 

How Much Should I Spend on a Wedding Gift?

There’s a reason why this question is at the top of the list. Budget is an important concern, especially if you don’t have the capacity to be loose with your spending. 

First and foremost, it would be wise to set a budget that’s comfortable for you. Name a price that won’t hurt your bank account, but won’t shortchange the couple, either. Once you’ve done that, then it’s time to assess your relationship with the bride and groom. 

Etiquette expert Jacquline Whitmore suggested some questions you can ask yourself. 

“How long have you known one another? Is this your boss’s daughter or is this your best friend from grade school? There’s a big difference.”

Whitmore also suggested what she called the “onion method” as another way to gauge the relationship. Towards the core of the onion are close kin like immediate family and old friends. 

As you go towards the skin, you’ll find colleagues, and acquaintances. The further from the core they are, the least amount they’re obliged to shell out. 

Do I Still Need To Give a Gift for a Destination Wedding?

Destination weddings aren’t cheap, and that goes for all parties involved. That said, couples are usually understanding towards guests who won’t be able to make it due to financial constraints. 

According to Sara Margulis, co-founder and CEO of registry site Honeyfund, it’s completely acceptable to choose either or. So if you decide to give a gift, choosing to skip the wedding is totally justifiable. 

“In no way is the decision to buy a gift related to whether or not you’ll spend money to travel to the wedding. However, many wedding guests decide their funds are better spent on a wedding gift than the cost of traveling to a destination wedding – and therefore forgo the trip.”

But if you responded yes to the RSVP, do you still need a gift? While experts like Whitmore agree that your attendance as a guest should suffice, she also suggests giving a ‘small gift.’ 

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And if you want to save yourself from all the trouble of thinking and brainstorming, cash gifts are a good option to go with. 

Will There Be No Issues With Cash Gifts?

This is now the follow-up question. Some people may think that giving cash for a wedding gift is way too informal, that it could make it seem like you didn’t make the effort of thinking about a sensible gift to give. 

That can’t be any further from the truth. Cash gifts, in fact, are encouraged, as they could be very helpful for the couple as they embark on a new life together. It also gives them the autonomy to pick out whatever they want, and that saves you from potential embarrassment because your gift didn’t live up to their expectations. 

But likewise, there are etiquette rules for cash wedding gifts. For one, etiquette expert, published author and podcaster Lizzie Post suggests giving out checks instead of cash in envelopes like how they did in Goodfellas

Now, if you choose to go with the check, Post also suggests including a note. 

“It gives you the chance to write your intention. You might write them an amount for something specific and say, ‘I’d really love for you to use this toward your honeymoon, or whatever best suits your needs.’”

How Should I Pick a Gift if I’m Not Consulting the Registry?

Other pundits would suggest not going off-course and to stick to the registry. For them, it is a sign of respect for the couple who made an effort to narrow down their list of wants and needs.  

But there are also downsides to that, one being left with no viable choice because of financial limitations. Another would be the possibility of unknowingly purchasing a gift from the registry that someone already gave. 

This is where your relationship with the couple and how you know them plays a huge role. If you’re a close friend and you’re aware of the couple’s undying love for caffeine, a swanky enough espresso machine would be an excellent idea. If they love to travel, flights and accommodations would be very much appreciated. 

As Lizzie Post reminds: 

“Your gift should always be within your personal budget. You decide based on your connection to the person getting married, your own gift-giving style, desire and generosity in that moment, and what’s feasible for you to do.”

Remember These Wedding Gift Etiquette Rules

Planning a wedding gift shouldn’t be stressful. Instead of creating tension with yourself or a partner as you drive each other mad from thinking about the “perfect” gift, learn to play by the rules. 

But that doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to be creative. At the end of the day, the gift is also a sentimental expression of love and care towards the couple. Don’t just give out an air fryer; throw in a specialized recipe book while you’re at it. 

With this article, you shouldn’t worry about giving wedding gifts in the future. So be sure to keep this bookmarked.

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