Wedding Gift-Giving Etiquette: Answers to the questions you always had

TJM magazine
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Answers to the questions you always had

  • Do I need to buy gifts for both the shower and the wedding?

Yes. That’s part of the obligation you agreed to when you RSVP for both events. Consider going in on a group gift with fellow guests in the same position to help lessen the cost for each person.

  • How Much Should I Spend on a Gift?

According to a recent study from the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, the average amount that a guest was projected to spend on a wedding gift was $99—but that’s if you’re a friend of the couple. In general: $50–$75 for a coworker, acquaintance, or a distant relative; $75–$150 for a closer friend or relative; and $150+ for very close loved ones (all depending on your budget, of course).

  • Do I Have to Buy a Gift from the Registry?

While you aren’t required to buy the couple a gift off the registry, shopping the registry will make your life infinitely easier: A) You’ll know that your gift is something the bride and groom actually want and B) You don’t have to deal with getting the gift into the couple’s hands. All you have to do is write a little note to go inside the tag, submit your credit card info, and you’re good to go! Gifting items that aren’t included on the registry isn’t a violation of wedding gift etiquette. If, however, you choose an off-registry item, make sure it’s something you know the couple will absolutely love.

  • The registry options are all way out of my price range—what now?

Don’t feel obligated to buy from the list. Instead, give a meaningful gift within your budget. Another option is to get something they didn’t register for but that goes with what they did register for, like the tableware. Ex: Buy the serving utensils, salt and pepper shakers, or the sugar bowl and creamer that match their pattern. Lots of couples forget or don’t think they’ll need items like these until they’re serving guests.

  • They’re registered for a product that costs much less at another retailer—is it okay to send them that one?

There’s no reason not to try to save money. Purchase and ship it well before the wedding so the couple will knows to remove it from their registry.

  • Is It Acceptable to Give the Couple Cash?

Certainly. If you’d rather give the couple money than a gift, it can be given to them via cash or check, along with a nice note. Should you write the couple a check, include only one of their names on the check to avoid confusion at the bank.

  • Is It Okay to Give a Group Gift?

Absolutely. Going in on a big-ticket item with a group is an easy way to gift the couple something they’ll really love without totally breaking the bank. Should you choose to give a group gift, stay away from the smaller, more inexpensive items: Spending $2 each may, indeed, be a bargain, but that’s plain tacky.

  • How long do I have to send the gift?

Gifts should be sent between the time you receive the invitation and up to three months after the wedding. Ideally, though, they will have received your gift before the big day.

  • How Do I Know If They Received My Gift?

A thank you note from the couple is the best way to know if your gift has been received. And if you don’t receive a thank you note from the couple three months after the wedding, it’s okay to check in with the newlyweds to ensure they received your gift. Just don’t be passive aggressive about it. If you don’t want to bother the couple, you can always ask for delivery confirmation from whomever shipped the gift.

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