Wedding Gift Etiquette Guide
Wedding gifts. A wonderful display of love and support for the couple, but completely confusing when you're drawing a blank in terms of what you should buy and how much you should spend. Before we get into the nitty gritty of wedding gift giving etiquette, it's important to understand the meaning and symbolism behind this generous gesture.
So why bother?
You might be asking yourself what the entire point of buying a wedding gift is, particularly when wedding season rolls around and 5 of your friends decide to get married in the span of 2 months. Traditionally, wedding gifts were a way to help the happy couple set up their new household with items such as linens, kitchen ware, and small appliances. Ultimately, wedding gifts are considered tokens of love and support for the newlyweds and are a symbolic way of sending your blessings and best wishes for the couple as they embark on their new life together.
What to buy and how much to spend?
Ah, the two most common questions when it comes to wedding gift purchases for couples. The best place to look for gift inspiration are the gift registries the couple have signed up for. This guarantees that your gift will not only be well received by the couple, but also not duplicated by any other guests. The general etiquette for gift prices is buy what you can afford. As arbitrary as that is, gift prices are also dependent on your relationship with the bride or groom. According to Summer Krecke, deputy editor of WeddingChannel.com, "If it's a co-worker's wedding, you should spend $75-$100; a relative or friend, $100-$125; and if it's a close friend or relative, anywhere from $100-$150 or more is acceptable." You may also want to be a bit more generous if you're bringing the kids or a date along.
The gift low down.
Before you have to bother anyone unnecessarily, be sure to check the wedding invitation for any places the happy couple may be registered at. If you still aren't sure or can't find this information, make a call! The best people to call are parents, a bridesmaid or groomsman, or even Aunt Esther.
To send beforehand or bring with, that is the question.
Along with choosing a gift and price range, another common dilemma is whether or not you should send the wedding gift to the couple before the wedding, or bring it with you on their big day. If you're unsure and there's nothing indicated on the wedding invitation, if perfectly fine to ask the family or person responsible for the reception. Generally, it's a safer bet to send the gift to the address the couple has chosen on their gift registry. The amount of time you have to send the gift following the wedding day varies by opinion, but ideally sending the gift as soon as possible, preferably within 3 months is considered proper etiquette.
"No gifts, please."
If the couple has indicated they do not wish to receive wedding gifts, then they're simply requesting your presence, obligation-free. This doesn't necessarily mean you can't still buy them a wedding gift. A thoughtful gift to celebrate the beginning of their lives together is always appreciated. If the couple is ridiculously rich, donating to a charity on their behalf is also a nice way to honour their marriage.
I can't attend. Do I still give a gift?
Bearing in mind the true meaning behind a wedding gift, the answer is yes. Even if you can't attend the wedding day and celebrate with the couple, it's still considered proper etiquette to send a wedding gift to help the couple commemorate their special occasion.