With wedding season in full swing, we frequently hear questions about gift giving. Guests at multiple weddings in a year want to know answers to their questions: How much should one spend and how should one give it?
Most experts agree on a couple of things:
- The closer the guest is to the bride or groom, the more one is expected to give and
- Do not give more than you can afford just because of those expectations.
Lots of wedding advice comes from the “cost-of-the-meal” tradition of gift- giving. This just means that guests give a gift roughly equivalent to what it cost to host them. But advice from The Knot.com, says “location and cost of the reception should not be the burden of the guest.” Instead, consider using these guidelines suggested by the website: “A distant relative of the bride or groom or a co-worker should give $75-$100: a friend or closer relative should give $100-$125: a closer relative, up to $150.” That advice includes cash gifts and gift items.
However, having offered those guidelines, there are other elements to consider. If one has to spend a lot to get to the wedding, spending at the lower level should be considered. Whenever possible/feasible, purchasing items from the couple’s gift registry sites is best.
If a person has financial obstacles to consider, he/she can offer hand -made gifts or framed photos or make a charitable donation in the name of the bride and groom.
It is important to remember that as a guest, you are invited to witness an important event in the couple’s life and to celebrate that event with them. There is no obligation to give a gift. Also, there is no obligation to honor a couple’s request for cash only gifts nor does one have to honor what one couple requested in an enclosure that directed the respondent to “check the box for where you want your cash gift to go – to cover champagne on the plane or in the suite at the hotel or the limo or at dinner”. One guest faced with those options, decided to “send just a congratulations card. There is no etiquette today that defines how crass our society has become.”