The rules of wedding gift etiquette keep changing on me.

How much should I spend? Should I bring my gift to the wedding? Is cold, hard cash still appropriate? I don’t want to embarrass myself by under-gifting, yet I don’t feel it’s necessary to keep up with the Joneses.

Thankfully, the experts at the wedding registry website Zola created a wedding gift guide to help every guest decide how and what to give the bride and groom.

Wedding gift etiquette

The registry

The bride and groom took the time to personally choose gifts for their wedding registry, so it’s a good idea to use it. However, it can be a safari hunt to find the gift or combination of gifts that fit your wallet. Don’t be afraid to pair up similar items to reach your spending quota. If the gifts the couple chose are too pricey for you, consider pooling your money with others for a larger item. Wedding parties often combine resources to get the couple an extra special gift.

To make your gift a bit more unique, buy an item on the registry and have it personalized with the couple’s initials, wedding date or family name. Glasses and blankets are perfect for customizing. Another option is to combine a gift from their registry with something more personal such as a Shutterfly photo book, a customized recipe box or tickets to a concert.

A quick tip: If you don’t choose a gift from the registry, you can still use it to learn what colors and styles the bride and groom prefer. That’s what I call true wedding gift etiquette!

How much to give?

I find this to be one of the toughest decisions. The amount you give or spend should be heavily based on how close you are to the bride and groom. Best friends? Go all out! A co-worker you barely know? Give sparingly. Just remember to stay within your budget. The average amount spent in the U.S. for a wedding gift is $100-$125. However, this can greatly vary depending on where you live.

When To Give?

I have to say I was shocked that wedding experts believe it’s OK to deliver your gift to the couple after the wedding. For security and convenience, I can understand sending a gift to the couple’s home instead of hauling it to the wedding reception. But I think the delivery part should happen prior to the event, not after. Agree? Disagree? Feel free to express your opinion in the comment section below!

How to give money as a wedding gift

I have several friends and relatives who lived on their own or together as a couple before their wedding. They really didn’t need or want a lot of home items so I’m sure cash was a welcome gift to help cover wedding expenses such as food and favors. Today, many online wedding registries include a cash fund to make it easy and safe for guests to give. Who knows, someday we might be sliding our credit cards through a “wedding gift kiosk” at the wedding reception.

Now you’re an expert!

Consider yourself an authority now on wedding gift etiquette! We hope you enjoy your next wedding as a confident guest and have a blast dancing the night away!

4 thoughts on “Wedding gift etiquette: A complete guide for guests

  1. Great blog! I wanted to share my newest gift that I have been giving by Dreamlines. They will create a sketch of her wedding dress and his suit. I have a sketch and love it. I have given it as a few shower gifts and a wedding gift. One was a gift card. The couple loved it.

    1. Thanks for the idea, Haley! It’s always nice to learn about unique gift ideas for the bride and groom!

      Best wishes,

      Shelley Grieshop
      Totally Promotional

  2. I always give a see feeling photo frame for weddings and a silver spoon for baby showers. I guide my style choice by looking at the registry. Done.

    1. Thanks for your input, Carmen! We appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      Best wishes!

      Shelley Grieshop
      Creative Writer/Public Relations
      Totally Promotional

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