The Rules of Wedding Gift Giving

Questions inevitably come up when giving a wedding gift. It's not so much what to get the bride and groom that sparks questions, but when to give it and how much to spend.

But before covering those key questions, we'll start with the basics regarding when to give a wedding gift. Generally speaking, you should give a wedding gift if any of the following applies:

  • You are attending the wedding.
  • You received an invitation but can't make it.
  • Either of the first two apply and you have previously given the bride a gift at her bridal shower.
  • You are attending a destination wedding and the bride and groom have not communicated that they do not want gifts.

Situations that do not require a wedding gift include receiving an announcement that a couple is engaged or was married, or the couple has made it explicit that they do not want gifts.

Now, to the more burning questions. First, how much to spend. Simply put, this is a personal decision, one which depends on what you feel comfortable with. There is no accepted or established amount people refer to, you just have to use your own judgment. Some people like to use a budget strategy, though. This involves setting a budget for the whole cost of attending the wedding, or all the funds you intend to spend on the couple, including the bridal shower gift. This is especially useful, and acceptable, if you are attending a destination wedding. These weddings can be quite costly to guests and, therefore, you may choose to give a more modest, less expensive gift.

As for timing, the widely accepted rule is that you give a couple a wedding gift within one year of their ceremony. But there is nothing unacceptable about giving the couple their gift prior to their wedding date. It is also perfectly fine to have your gifts sent to the couple, rather than have it presented to them in person or at their wedding.


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