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HomeHealth & FitnessWondering How Much to Give at a Wedding? 2 Experts Share

Wondering How Much to Give at a Wedding? 2 Experts Share

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It’s officially wedding season, which means you’ll definitely be Googling “how much to give at a wedding?” at some point or another. Regardless of what you may find on the internet, though, determining how much to give for a wedding is complicated. Not only do you have to factor in your relationship with the couple, but you also have to consider what’s feasible for your own budget.

Whether you’re celebrating your best friend’s nuptials or a distant family friend’s, we tapped wedding experts to share insight into general wedding gift etiquette, including how much money to give for weddings. With these tips, you’ll be able to give a wedding gift that’s meaningful and mindful of your bank account. (Oh, and once your wedding gift is set, don’t forget to invest in a cute dress and comfortable pair of shoes, too.)

Experts Featured in This Article

Tami Claytor is an etiquette coach and owner of Always Appropriate: Image & Etiquette Consulting.

Carissa Kruse is a certified wedding planner at Carissa Kruse Weddings.

How Much to Give For a Wedding

If you’re wondering how much to spend on a wedding gift, the general rule of thumb is to pay the same amount of money that the couple paid for your dinner plate, etiquette expert Tami Claytor says. According to The Knot’s 2023 Real Weddings Study, the average price for a meal is around $85 per person, but this can vary based on the venue and caterer. More upscale venues and elaborate menus, for example, can be higher in cost than a backyard wedding or smaller gathering.

When calculating the cost, wedding planner Carissa Kruse suggests calling the venue ahead of time or seeing if they have their catering prices listed online. “Many venues list their rates online, which can give you an estimate of the per-person cost,” she adds.

For the weddings of immediate family members and long-time friends, Claytor says you can splurge a bit at the “upper range of your budget,” but for distant family friends or coworkers, there’s no need to spend more.

How Much Cash For Wedding Gift

When deciding how much to give for a wedding, you have the choice of gifting the newlyweds something from their registry or cash. “Purchasing a gift from the registry ensures that you are giving the couple something they have specifically requested, while giving cash allows them to use the money toward their plans or needs,” Kruse says.

If you decide to gift them cash, make sure the amount is the same as what you would spend on a tangible gift, says Kruse. This exact number can be determined by how much the couple spent on your dinner plate, as outlined above. But it’s also important to consider how close you are with the couple as well.

General Wedding Gift Etiquette

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when considering how much to give for a wedding, according to our experts.

It’s never a good idea to gift something that’s not on a wedding registry. “The couple has taken the time to create a registry with items they want or need, and it is best to respect their choices,” Kruse says. If you want to give a sentimental gift in addition to cash or something from the gift registry, however, that’s totally fine — and even encouraged.

If you’re attending the wedding, there are few exceptions to gifting the couple something from their registry or cash. It’s important to consider your personal financial situation when deciding on whether to attend a wedding. If you can’t afford to buy the couple a gift or to give them cash, and you’re also not super close with them, it may be better to decline the invitation, Claytor says. For closer relationships, however, it’s more acceptable to gift what you can afford instead.

Consider cultural customs. “In some cultures, giving money as a wedding gift is a tradition,” Claytor adds. In other cultures, the expectation may be that you don’t gift anything. Whatever the case may be, pay attention to any cultural customs. If you have questions about what is appropriate, don’t be afraid to ask the couple or do some research yourself.

Taylor Andrews is a Balance editor at PS who specializes in topics relating to sex, relationships, dating, sexual health, mental health, and more. In her six years working in editorial, she’s written about how semen is digested, why sex aftercare is the move, and how the overturn of Roe killed situationships.

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