How Much Should You Spend on a Wedding Gift?

Wedding GiftsThese days the average wedding can cost over $30,000! That’s enough for a down payment on a house! Just because a bride and groom are throwing a lavish wedding, though, does that mean your gift has to be ultra expensive as well?

Your wedding gift basket to a couple should not be based on how fancy their wedding is. Why would you give your sister who married in a country backyard affair any less than your best friend who married at the Ritz? Instead of deciding how much to give based on the style of the wedding, you should give your gift based on how close you are to the bride and groom. Gift more for a family member, less for a co-worker. You get the idea.

But still, how much is not enough? And how much is over the top? That depends on your individual budget. Are you employed and successful? Are you a grad student? These factors will have to be considered when gifting.

If you’re uncertain, go by this rule of thumb: $100 is the base point to start with. Going under is fine as long as you are comfortable with it. And of course, you can go over if you have the means.

For example, imagine you are very close to the bride and groom, but you’re also a grad student. You can offer a wedding gift that looks more expensive than it was. Check out their registry and see the kinds of things they like. Then choose a gift similar to it from a discount venue like QVC, HSN or Many times you can get the identical or almost the same item for half the price. Wrap it up and ship it to the bride’s home. Don’t show up at the reception with large packages that the bride and groom will have to carry home. Mail them ahead with a nice card.

Image by AMagill on FlickrYou can also opt to pool your cash for a nicer gift. If you’re college buddies with the groom, get a bunch of your other friends who are also invited to chip in for a bigger gift. Choose off the registry. Items like that cappuccino maker that would have been over your budget will be doable when you all go in on it. When you’re all agreed on what to get, you can send money to one person who will be the designated shopper.

You can do this via check in the mail or even via sites like PayPal that allow you to transfer money to anyone online. The gift can then be shipped directly to the groom or bride and no one has to lug anything. Just be sure to track it so you know it arrived safely. And don’t ship large items to city apartments where no one will be home all day. If that’s the case, ship to the bride’s mom and dad for safety.

There are lots of options when you’re low on cash, especially if you’re asked to attend several weddings over a short period of time. Get creative, and you’ll never have to worry about exact dollar amounts. Just be sure that if you have to turn down an invite that you still send a wedding gift. Just because you’re not going doesn’t mean you’re excused from giving a gift. Just give what you can comfortably afford.

For some budget friendly wedding gift ideas, try this article on How to Make a Wedding and Honeymoon Gift Basket.

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