Monetary wedding gift

TerriJMApril 11, 2004

What is an appropriate monetary amount to give for a wedding gift?

With weddings costing so much, should I try to estimate the cost per person when considering the amount to give the bride and groom?

I'd love to hear what others are giving. Thanks!

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I don't give cash. I try to buy from their registry list if possible, or otherwise, come up with a meaningful gift, the value of which is based on how close the bride or groom is to me.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2004 at 9:42PM
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Cash is always perfect for a wedding gift. I've heard the bit about trying to give according to what the reception cost per person, but then you'd be giving a close friend who married in an informal ceremony less than a distant acquaintance who had a very formal wedding.

Here in Boston, where I live, $100 more or less would be appropriate.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2004 at 11:10PM
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Give what you can and what you are comfortable with. There is no set amount anymore. Would you give a couple who has an afternoon tea less than a couple who throws a huge reception with a sit-down 5-course dinner?

I judge more on my relationship to the bride and groom. I would give a casual aquaintance less than a friend who I'm closer to or a family member.

Andrea :o)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2004 at 11:11AM
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A family member or very close friend would recieve $100. I haven't given money as a gift to people I know casusally that have invited me to their wedding. I buy a gift off their registry. I don't feel right giving money to someone I hardly know. You also don't calculate the amount of the money gift by what the cost per person at the reception is. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   April 12, 2004 at 3:53PM
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I agree that this has more to do with regional customs and your relationship to the B&G than with a set amount or per-person cost of the wedding. Your gift is a GIFT - it's not intended to reimburse the couple for their wedding expenses. So give what you're comfortable giving, and leave it at that.

In my area and circle of family/friends, $50 is a nice wedding gift. Anything more than that would require either a close personal/familial relationship with the B&G, or a rather wealthy guest!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2004 at 1:10AM
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It very definitely is regional, and even family customs come into play.

At the time I married (13 years ago), in my family a $50 gift was considered very generous. Parents usually gave about $75.

My fiance came to my sister's wedding, and wanted to give her $150. I talked him down to $75, because I knew she would just be really uncomfortable receiving that much--my poor sis! My fiance felt REALLY uncomfortable including so little cash, and when my sis opened it, and everyone could see the dollar amount (there's an "open the presents in front of everybody so we can all ooh and ahh" tradition, too), the whole room got all uncomfortable. Usually, gifts are things, not money, and the value isn't that obvious.

This is still pretty much true, though I personally don't give less than $100 to most of my family--distant cousins might be $75, but not if I go to the actual wedding. Then I give $100.

In my in-laws' family (European roots w/ the idea that a wedding gift is to set the newlyweds up for the future, NYC), giving less than $250 would be very unusual. We give $300, and usually $500 for a close cousin. And our generation isn't that well-off. My MIL and FIL's generation has more money. And they ALWAYS give money for the wedding present. The bridal shower is when they give things (though they've been known to give money)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2004 at 12:38PM
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Tally Sue, that's the same with my family. I'd never heard of a wedding where people got actual presents (as opposed to cash) until I went away to college. Where I also learned about cake and punch receptions.

I do it opposite from NancyLouise - I'll give a close friend something very personal, but money to acquaintances.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2004 at 6:39PM
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I can't afford to give manoye, my close friend's wedding is coming up and I am giving her somehting off of the registry...if it was my sister or someone immediate i'd give money, depending on how much i can afford.
To me, its more important that the invited person came, and was there at the most important day of my life, but thats just me...
Of course if someone gives me cash for my wedding, as i'm sure someone will, i won't refuse it.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2004 at 12:16AM
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This is probably more a matter of local and ethnic custom than anything else. In many communities the northeast, for example, it seems that cash gifts are so customary that "thing" gifts are unusual (for wedding gifts -- these people also often give very large "thing" gifts for engagements and showers). But several posters who live in the south have reported that in their communities cash gifts are considered impersonal to the point of being a no-no. Both are common here. I prefer to give a "thing" gift, but that's just my preference.

Some communities give big gifts, some small. In our experience, there is a great range even within a community.

No matter what the "range" in your community, I do think it makes sense to take into account how close you are to the family (I'd spend a lot more for my nephew than for my office colleague's child) and of course your own budget. I also take into consideration whether I will be attending, whether the whole family is invited or just my husband and me, etc. I don't calculate the cost of feeding us, but I suppose I do take it into account a little -- if we aren't attending at all, I may send only a smaller gift or perhaps a donation to charity, especially for a more remote acquaintance. Some people do seem to do the meal-vs.-gift calculus, though, so if you care about what those people think, take it into account! (And perhaps also if you think that this family is really strapped and entertaining you was a financial sacrifice that you would like to help alleviate.)

I think that really no one here can tell you what to do. Ask someone who is part of the bridal couple's community what seems to be the range, if you are really concerned about this. But I think you should just give whatever you want!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2004 at 11:51AM
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whatever you can afford and feel comfortable giving!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2004 at 7:55PM
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I think it depends on the type of wedding honestly. If you are going to a backyard party then thier expenses were not so high, so a gift from the registry or minimun 50 dollars.
But if you are going to a better reception hall I think it is only proper to take into consideration how much they are paying a plate for each person. I know the minimum standard around here is $100, anything less is considered unthoughtful of the expenses incurred. $200 would be considered generous for going above the standard. And especially if you know the couple relatively well, it's my belief it is always better to be generous instead of cheap. But of course generousity is also related to your financial position. I always like to think I would want to do for others as I hope they would do for me!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2004 at 11:34AM
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As mentioned by others, you do not attempt to cover the cost of your plate when choosing a gift. To examine the details of the reception to try to figure out what was spent is considered rude. If the bride or groom tells you what they spent, that is bragging. You give what you can afford to give based on your relationship with the couple.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2004 at 11:52PM
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"Minimum standard"????? Heaven help us!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2004 at 4:45PM
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I have always given monetary gifts and around here (Connecticut/Westchester)that is pretty much what everyone I know does. I usually give $200 for a couple. I always thought that money was the most approprate gift for a newly married couple. Also, what a pain it must be for the bride and groom to haul a lot of non monetary gifts home. I am pretty sure that money is what most young couples really need, not another vase or glass bowl.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2004 at 9:08PM
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I agree that money is probably what's most needed, but gifts are nice, too. Especially for a young couple who doesn't have the basics. I know that if I'm giving a gift other than money, I have it sent before the wedding.

I still don't get the connection between size of the wedding and size of the gift. Presumably the bridal couple (and maybe parents) decide on the size of the wedding based on what they can pay for, not what they expect to haul in.

It seems to me that the relationship between the giver and the couple is far more important than how elaborate the wedding.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2004 at 12:13AM
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It always amazes me at all the "rules" for gift giving there are with weddings...I know there's no way I could afford to either give or buy something worth $50 for most of the weddings I've gone to, and I'd be very uncomfortable accepting it as well (which is part of why we've planned our wedding to have the least amount of gift-giving opportunities possible).

For friends, I give something handmade most of the time. For my best friend, I made a photo album for her, covered in the same material that our bridesmaid dresses were made out of - she loved it, and still uses it for her wedding pictures. Last year I crocheted an afghan for co-worker friends of my fiance' didn't cost me much in time or money, but was very well recieved. For one of my cousins, I bought a set of inexpensive household tools for them...under $20. All of the above are accompanied by my "signature" sympathy card - it never fails to inject a bit of humor into the whole thing. :-)

My fiance used to wrap up an old pair of tennis shoes for the groom as his "signature present", which tends to be funny and well-recieved too (in case they needed to "run away").

For people I don't know, a crocheted towel/dish cloth set and some pretty soaps would be an idea from me...I've given a cleaning tote with cleaning supplies before, and my sister got a "husband training kit", with various cleaning supplies and a humourous list of how to train her husband how to use them. Light-hearted, very useful, and still in that $20-$30 range.

But I've never given my mind, that turns the whole thing into a "commercial" event, rather than a personal one (I don't give money for any other gifts either - gift cards, occasionally, but never just $$). Call me cheap, but if I don't give money, no one worries about how much I spent, they just know I got them a gift and was thinking of them. If they *are* wondering how much I spent, then it's obvious they certainly didn't deserve a gift at all - I'm not too worried about it in that case. ;-)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2004 at 3:43PM
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One reason that there is no one-size-rits-all "right" amount is that guests differ, in so many ways. Even leaving aside different local and ethnic customs and that people have different resources, there is just a difference in what is a nice gift from a college roommate, from a favorite aunt and uncle, from a family of 6, from an office co-worker, and so forth.

I think that although this is an impossible question to answer in the abstract, it is not hard to answer in an individual case. How close are you to the couple? What can you afford? Did you find something (or can you make something) that is just wonderful, even though it costs very little? How many people are giving this gift? Is the the couple struggling, or do they "have everything"? I bet if you answer those questions, you'll know just what to do.

And AFTER you consider all those things, I don't think it's terrible to take into consideration, as more minor factors, "mercenary" things like whether they recently gave YOU a huge gift, or what people in your circumstances seem to give in your community, or if they are feeding 8 members of your family at an expensive reception, etc. I'm not saying there is an arithmetic formula you should follow, or that you HAVE to figure those things in. I'm just saying that YOU might be more comfortable if you don't have a sneaking feeling that you are being cheap in light of any of those things. I think that's really the reason people ask this question.

And I'll say it again: even if YOU don't think any of these things are important, you still may want to think about whether OTHER people in your community (especially the bridal family) DO. (I live in a community that doesn't "cover the plate" or try to match what that family gave you or yours, and I was very surprised when a good friend -- who came from another part of the country -- told me that she DOES think about that when she is giving a gift. That tells me that she also thinks about it when she receives one.) If you feel that this is the custom in your community, bear in mind that you cannot change their minds, no matter how right you are. So if -- and I do mean IF; I'm not saying you should -- you care what they think, give that a little thought. If you don't care, then forget it. But in my experience, people who ask these questions do care -- otherwise, why ask?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2004 at 7:27PM
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Someone mentioned $100 be appropriate in Boston. I respectfully disagree. Maybe 20 years ago. When I got married the first time (1989) $100 seemed typical for a wedding gift (from a non-parent or other very close person to the bride and groom). But now? I'd say $150 is more typical. I would never give less than that. Of course, I am talking about if your budget allows.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 11:57AM
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For a wedding u r suppose to give money...bringin a gift to a wedding is not a good u get things off your registery for your bridal shower not wedding

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 4:15PM
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For a wedding you are supposed to give whatever you choose to. Where I live it is traditional to bring gifts to the wedding but I realise there can be security issues now so many prefer to have the gift delivered to the bride's home. Rosa is way off base here.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 5:33AM
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I agree with colleenoz.

In some communities (evidently including Rosa's), people usually give money for a wedding gift and "thing" gifts, often large, for showers.

In some communities, cash is considered too impersonal for a wedding gift, so most people give "thing" gifts.

Where I live, people give either money or "thing" gifts for wedding gifts (usually sent to the home), and smaller gifts for showers.

However, these are simply common practices -- which change over time, too -- not rules or even conventions.

So I disagree with Rosa that guests are "suppose[d] to" give only money for wedding gifts. It may be customary in her community, but even so, guests aren't wrong if they give a thing for a wedding gift, and I would bet that there are always some who do.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 11:55AM
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I believe that the appropriate cash gift if appropriate to the connection you have to the couple, their financial status and occupation (ie student) and attitude (your definition here), and the type of wedding they have chosen (ie - small or large, expensive or not). Your own age, status, etc. should factor in to the choice.
In our case, we are a Professional couple in early Senior Citizen phase, with a small immediate family (in one case) and a larger one (the other)> the newly-weds are students, both. The small wedding includes us, and is a very generous one. $200

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 3:25PM
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thanx for helping me figure a decent cash/check amount to give. i agree, $100 per adult is good.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 8:23PM
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I was married recently. While most of the guests gave us wrapped gifts, I was quite surprised and grateful that two of the guests gave us $100. It seemed to me, quite generous. One couple who are in some financial difficulty gave us a small amount - $10 or $15 and I appreciated the fact that they gave us what they could comfortably afford.

Although I know gifts are completely optional, I was a little hurt that my husband's brother and wife did not give us anything as did neither their adult daughter and her husband or their adult son and girlfriend who all attended the wedding.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 12:50PM
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I applaude your attitude toward the gifts you received. Don't count your husband's brother and family out, however. It is possible that they are planning something that either didn't arrive or wasn't possible to give you at the wedding, but which you will receive at a more appropriate time.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 1:34PM
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I think some small and special gifts are very good.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 9:33PM
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Gifts are for the wedding shower, Money for the wedding.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 8:34PM
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Jenuwin, read the posts before yours. What you say is the general practice in SOME communities. But not all, including mine. I always give a "thing" gift, never money, for a wedding gift. My son and his wife received more "thing" gifts than money gifts for their wedding, including from most of the people from the northeastern US, where gift-for-shower-cash-for-wedding is common. Very few of the midwesterners and none of the westerners or foreigners gave money.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 11:03PM
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As a future bride, I don't look for the amount of the gift that my guests will give. As long as they took time to be with me on my special day, I will be glad for this. (But of course, receiving a gift will be a a plus happiness. :>)
And the other comment is right, it will depend with the value that you have for the couple.

Well, for the gift suggestion, I would advice you to give a gift that the couple could use. Some furniture for their home maybe. Or a gift that come in pair. I'm sure they will like it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wedding Theme Idea. Can You Share Yours?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 12:48AM
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$100 should be appropriate enough :)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 10:05PM
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Omg, first of all the Bridal Shower is for GIFTS....The wedding is for MONEY!!!! And anything under a $100. might as well not even go....embarrassing....

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 2:29AM
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Sorry Radicalreds, there is no hard and fast rule for gift giving. One is not TOLD what gift to give. As far as monetary amounts, give what you can afford to. There is no basic amount that you have to give. You don't try and cover the cost of the dinner at the reception or anything like that.
"And anything under a $100. might as well not even go"...What an absolutely ridiculous statement. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 10:50AM
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Close acquaintances, Friends, or co-workers - $100
Family to immediate family - $100 - $300
Invited but not close - $50

Those always seem to be what's given and acceptable. Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 10:20AM
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Circus Peanut

I'm also interested to read that money is so traditional in many communities.

Where I grew up in the Midwest, it would have been considered unspeakably vulgar to give money at either the shower OR the wedding.

As an older bridal couple who really don't need anything, we have specified "no gifts" and have no registry in order to stave off the question entirely. :-) I predict that some very close family members might gift a check, but that's only because they know we can use cash more than anything. We certainly don't expect anyone else to bring anything other than themselves.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 9:03AM
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