Giving a present can seem like a numbers game.

By Nancy Mattia
July 09, 2019

Let's say a married couple is invited to a wedding, but only one of them can attend. Should they give the same monetary gift they would if both were attending? Or when a five-person family is invited, including adult children who live at home, but only the parents will go. Should the gift reflect the entire group invited, or just those who are actually attending? Since gift-giving is a personal matter with no right or wrong, consider the following suggestions rather than rules.

RELATED: THE ETIQUETTE OF GROUP GIFTING

When only one spouse attends a wedding though both were invited...

Because they're a couple, their gift should reflect whatever they would have given if both were going to attend, regardless of who actually goes.

If a family of parents and grown children still living at home were invited...

They should give a gift reflecting that two people are attending; don't count the kids in. (By the way, those over-18 children should have been sent their own invites and not be included on their parents' invitations. That means they should also give their own present if they do attend.)

How to decide on a dollar amount...

A person should consider their financial situation when figuring how much to spend or how much to give, but a general guideline is to reflect on how close the guest is to the bride and groom. In some parts of the country, especially in urban areas, someone may give close friends a $200 gift.

If $200 seems outrageous...

There is some consensus that a minimum of $50 to $100 per guest is about right for a person to spend.

If a guest invited with a plus-one isn't going...

First of all, a person doesn't have to give anything if they're not attending. But if they want to send a gift anyway, it should be based on one person invited.

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