Here's How Much You Should Spend On Wedding Gifts As A Guest In 2023, According To A Pro

Wedding gifts can be stressful!

Associate Editor, Global
A bride and groom talking to their wedding guests. Right: A table filled with wedding gifts.

A bride and groom talking to their wedding guests. Right: A table filled with wedding gifts.

Weddings can get expensive and not just for the bride and groom, but for the wedding guests as well.

Whether you are travelling to another city or country, staying close to home or you are part of the wedding party, many people can stress when it comes to the gift and how much they should give the couple tying the knot.

Experts say the etiquette around wedding gifts varies based on the situation, but there are a few key factors that should help you figure out exactly what to spend on a gift.

Here's a round-up of some of the most common questions surrounding gifts and what you should know before attending your next wedding.

How much should you spend on a wedding gift?

When it comes to gift giving at a wedding you may have heard the rule that you need to at least cover the cost of your meal and include a little extra.

Elisabeth Kramer, a wedding coordinator in Portland, Oregon, says the amount you give at a wedding depends on your financial situation and you should give the amount you can actually afford.

If you can't afford to give a gift, you can look for other creative ways to help the couple with their big day.

Kramer suggests donating your labour towards something like wedding setup and teardown.

"Do you have a certain skill set that would be of use to the couple in an authentic way?" she continued.

"There's lots of different ways to show up for people that doesn't have to be a giant gift on the gift table."

If you need a dollar amount to go off of, the Brides website says the average wedding gift amount sits at around $200 and you can go up or down with that depending on how close you are to the couple.

For someone who is close or related to the bride and groom, they may choose to go to $150 or $200 if you're bringing a plus one.

Kylie Carlson, CEO of the International Academy of Wedding & Event Planning, gave Vogue similar amounts for those close to the couple.

She also gave advice for those who are not as close to the couple, like a distant friend or co-worker, and said the minimum gift amount you can get away with is $50 to $75.

Can you give less if it's a destination wedding?

Destination weddings can get even more expensive for guests as they typically require booking time off work, and you also have to pay for transportation and accommodation.

Kramer says in that case it's completely appropriate to give a bride and groom less in terms of a gift.

The wedding coordinator still recommends writing a card and including a smaller gift.

"I would likely donate in some capacity towards the registry just because I like to give gifts and would be in a place to probably give a gift of between $20 and $50 USD depending on the situation."

Can you give less at a wedding if you're part of the wedding party?

Being in a wedding party means you're already investing in the wedding itself.

If you're a bridesmaid you may be required to pay for a dress, hair, makeup and the bachelorette party.

Kramer says giving less for a gift when you've already paid all those expenses is also OK and comes down to giving how much you're comfortable with at that point.

Is it better to give money or a gift off the registry?

When it comes to the best type of wedding gift to give the couple, it's best to check what's on the registry.

Sometimes a couple will specify that they want cash or a physical item on a registry and Kramer says if it's spelled out in that way, then you can't go wrong with either.

She also recommends thinking about conversations you've had with the bride or groom that could help you determine what they could use.

"Is there a thing there that you think just based on your relationship with these people that would be more for them?"

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Asymina Kantorowicz
Associate Editor, Global
Asymina Kantorowicz is an Associate Editor for Narcity’s Global Desk focused on celebrity and health news and is based in Victoria, British Columbia.
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