By Riley & Grey||July 21, 2023

How to Gift: Navigating the Perfect Present As Any Type of Wedding Guest

Photo by Antoni Shkraba

Your presence is a present, right?! Attending a wedding is an exciting occasion, but with it comes the inevitable question: "How much should I spend on a wedding gift?" Deciding on the appropriate gift can be challenging, as you want to show your love and support to the couple while staying within your budget. Here, let’s explore some thoughtful guidelines on how to decide how much to spend on a wedding gift, catering to three scenarios: a solo attendee, a couple, and an adult child whose parents are also attending.

Single Attendee

When attending a wedding solo, it's essential to choose a gift that is both meaningful and affordable. A common rule of thumb is to spend around $50 to $150 on the gift. This range allows you to select a thoughtful present that the couple will cherish, while having space to not put too much strain on your budget. If you're particularly close to the couple or have a closer relationship with either the bride or the groom, consider leaning toward the higher end of the spectrum to show your affection and support.

When deciding on the gift itself, think about the couple's interests and preferences. Items from their wedding registry that you find on their wedding website are always a safe bet. A heartfelt card and check, or a contribution to a cash fund on their registry are definitely going to be appreciated as well.

Couple Attendees

As a couple attending a wedding together, you can have a shared budget, which provides a bit more flexibility. A good guideline for couples is to spend around $100 to $300 on the wedding gift. Pooling your resources allows you to choose a more substantial gift, or contribute to a higher-priced item from the couple's registry.

Consider talking to your partner about the gift you both would like to give. Look for something that symbolizes your bond and well-wishes for the newlyweds. Consider experiences like a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant or a weekend getaway, as these can create lasting memories for the couple.

Adult Child with Attending Parents

If you are an adult child attending a wedding alongside your parents, the etiquette surrounding gift-giving can be a bit more nuanced. If you’re in your early 20’s and fresh into a career, buying a wedding gift on your own can be daunting both in practice and financially, we get it. In this situation, it's thoughtful to discuss the gift with your parents to ensure you are all on the same page. Generally, the total gift from the group (you and your parents) should reflect your collective relationship with the couple.

When your parents are contributing financially to the wedding, it is appropriate to consider their financial contribution when deciding on the gift and if you can go in on it with them. However, focus on the sentiment behind the gift rather than the monetary value. A heartfelt letter or a gift that holds significant sentimental value can be a cherished present, even if it doesn't have an extravagant price tag.

Consider these tips as well:

Early Birds Catch the Worm: Don't wait until the last minute to select a gift. Planning ahead allows you to find the perfect present and possibly take advantage of sales or discounts, though etiquette suggests that you have up to a year after the wedding to send a gift.

Group Gifting: If you find an expensive item on the couple's registry that you'd like to give, consider collaborating with other guests to collectively purchase it. Group gifting makes the gift more affordable for everyone involved.

Stick to the Registry: Couples spend considerable time putting together a thoughtful registry based on where they’re at in life. By going off of the registry or gifting money, you’ll ensure that you’re getting them something they need and are excited for. Of course there are exceptions, and if you’re really excited about getting them something different and personal, you can always use your best judgment.

Selecting the ideal wedding gift is not solely about the amount spent; it's about the thought and care put into choosing something that reflects your love and support for the couple. Remember, the key to a great wedding gift is personalization and a touch of sentimentality. Whether you're attending solo, as a couple, or with your parents, your thoughtful present will undoubtedly make the couple's special day even more memorable. Happy gift-giving!