When attending a wedding, most guests give the bride and groom a gift to celebrate their marriage. Although the tradition is long-standing, the question of how much a guest should spend often arises. Nobody wants to break the bank by purchasing a very expensive item, especially since most people are already dishing out hundreds of dollars to attend the festivities. On the other hand, choosing something inexpensive seems like a social faux pas. Here, we've broken down the etiquette guidelines to help you determine exactly how much to spend on a wedding gift.
Ignore the "price per plate" guideline.
In the past, wedding guests often determined the cost of their gift using the "price-per-plate" guideline—meaning that guests would guess how much the couple will spend on hosting them, and purchase something around the same cost. But this measurement has become outdated since it can be difficult to assess how much a couple's wedding will cost them. Plus, not everyone throws a big wedding, and you wouldn't want to pick up a $15 gift for a friend who throws a low-key ceremony, would you?
Think about your relationship.
Various factors should be taken into account when determining how much to spend on a wedding gift, but the most important one to think about is your relationship with the couple. Naturally, close friends and relatives should plan to purchase more expensive gifts than coworkers and acquaintances. If you're bringing a date to the wedding, budget a little more for the wedding gift as a hospitality, since the bride and groom are paying for him/her to attend the big day.
Consider your personal finances.
If you're struggling with finances, the bride and groom won't expect you to shell out lots of money for their gift, even if you're a very close friend. Try to keep your budget to a minimum of $50; you'll still be able to find a thoughtful gift, and you hopefully won't need to pinch pennies afterward. Alternatively, you could put together something personal, like a scrapbook of their relationship or a handmade piece of art.
Work off of your role in the wedding.
Another factor that influences how much you should spend on a wedding gift is your role in the wedding. Bridesmaids and groomsmen pay high prices for attire, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and other wedding festivities. Since the bridal party already contributed lots of time and effort to the wedding, they shouldn't need to purchase a $150 gift for the bride and groom. Instead, consider having all bridesmaids and groomsmen chip in for one massive wedding gift, or you could stick to the $50 minimum rule. The same principle goes for wedding guests attending a destination wedding, since they oftentimes pay for airfare and lodging.