You’ve got the perfect gift idea in mind, but you don’t want to overspend, nor underspend! How much should you spend on a wedding gift?
A wedding is a special occasion that brings together two families. The couple deserves something unique and thoughtful from their guests.
In some cases, they will have a registry, for those who want to buy them gifts that would be useful for them. Not everyone has to give a gift from the registry, and not all couples have a registry.
If you are unsure about how much to spend on a wedding gift, keep reading — as I help you navigate the mad world of weddings!
If you like to follow tradition, then listen up.
The traditional etiquette is to purchase a gift that reflects the cost of the plate. This is known as the ‘cover your plate rule’.
It pretty much means that the expense that the couple spent on ensuring everyone had a meal at the wedding is covered. It’s like paying for your own meal, but instead of giving money, you give a gift worth the equivalent.
Generally speaking, the rule is $100-$150 per wedding guest. This means that couples should be given a gift that is worth between $200-$250.
If you think the wedding will be more expensive, you increase the price of the gift, if you think it’s less expensive, it’s acceptable to lower the price.
It’s a very polite concept, and that is designed to show that you are grateful for being invited to the wedding.
The Problem With Tradition
With that said, not many people follow the ‘cover your plate rule’ nowadays. It’s an outdated concept. It is not overly insulting, and in fact, has very good intentions, but it can be viewed as problematic.
This is because you are making a judgment on what you think the couple spent on the wedding. More than that, many people directly ask the couple what they will be spending.
Perhaps you estimated $100, but the couple spent $300 per person. This not only makes the individual feel obliged to spend more on the gift, but it can make the bride and groom very uncomfortable.
More than gift buying, it is now seen as quite rude and unnecessary. Whether the wedding is expensive, or inexpensive, is not really a concern of the guest.
A wedding is also not supposed to be an exchange. It is a very special moment that you are invited to witness.
The main point of the wedding is to celebrate and spend time with the couple’s family and friends.
The gift aspect of the wedding is polite and considerate, but it is not the main aspect of the wedding.
So, How Much Should You Spend On A Wedding Gift?
If you do not feel drawn to follow traditional wedding etiquette, then you may still feel confused on how much money to spend on a wedding gift.
There are a couple of variables that you can reflect on before making a decision, but ultimately, it depends on the individual — there is no right or wrong amount to spend on a wedding gift.
Only Buy A Wedding Gift You Can Afford
The problem with a traditional wedding, etiquette, is that it has put a lot of pressure on guests to spend an excessive amount of money on gifts.
In many cases, the expense is far greater than what the guests can afford. The reason they feel obliged to buy a gift, out of their budget, however, is due to societal expectation.
Luckily, as society moves away from the traditional rules of wedding gift-giving, people feel more relaxed about how much they can spend on a gift.
Keep in mind that no couple wants someone to spend more than they can afford on a gift. In most cases, they just want to share their special day with their family and friends, the gifts are just a bonus, not a necessity.
This means that it does not matter how much you spend on the gift. If you can only afford $20, then spend $20. If you can afford $500, then spend $500.
Of course, you may not want to spend an excessive amount on a gift, but there are no general rules on what you can, or cannot spend. It all amounts to a personal budget.
Consider How Close You Are To The Couple
You should also take into account how close you are to the couple.
For example, if you are a close friend or relative, you may want to spend more money on the gift, to show your gratitude. If you are a friend or an acquaintance, you may want to spend a mid-ranged gift.
Or, if you are a business associate, you could give them a gift certificate to use at their favorite restaurant.
You need to keep in mind that the purpose of the wedding gift is to show your love and respect towards the couple. It is not about how much they spent on their wedding, but rather how they felt when receiving the gift.
While it’s more common for those closer to the couple to spend more money on the gift, this is not absolute, and there is still complete freedom in how much you can spend on a gift.
Consider The Couples’ Personalities
Some people love receiving gifts, while other people are not overly fussy on gifts. This is important to think about when buying a gift for couples.
While spending $500 on a gift is a very kind gesture, some would prefer less expensive, but more thoughtful gifts.
Do You Have To Choose Gifts On The Registry?
No, you do not have to choose gifts on the registry, there is freedom of choice.
Gifts on the registry are gifts that the couple would like, and would very much appreciate. They are ideal for those who perhaps do not know what the couple would like, or need.
If you think you have a great gift idea for the couple that is not on the registry, it is absolutely fine to buy them a different gift.
Is It Rude To Gift Money?
In most cases, it is perfectly acceptable to give money. In fact, most couples love to receive money, as they can spend the money on whatever they would like.
It is not rude, but many people do not like sending money, as it is not seen as thoughtful.
If you would like to give money, then it would be a good idea to write a note. You can say that you wanted them to select something they would like, or to use the money on their honeymoon, their house, and so forth.
This directly shows that you are thinking about their best interests, and did not just ‘forget’ to buy a gift.
So, there really isn’t one answer to the question. It depends on your individual budget, how close you are to the couple, and the personalities of the couple. As long as you were thoughtful, the price of the gift does not matter.