Your Ultimate Guide: How Much to Spend on a Wedding Gift

Your mom warned you it was coming: an invite to her second cousin Genevieve’s wedding, a mere five-hour plane flight away. You can’t skip it (your mom would kill you), but you shouldn’t have to break the bank on a gift either. Here, a breakdown of how much to spend on a wedding gift for every situation.

The Average Cash Gift for Weddings

Universal Studios

$100 to $150 If It's Your Best Friend

Tradition says: You should plan to give enough to cover the cost of your dinner plate (typically, $100 to $150). But for your BFF, you may want to increase—or decrease—that amount, depending on your friendship and level of participation in the wedding. For example, if she’s your phone-a-friend lifeline for details large and small, feel free to give more (as long as you can afford it). But if you’re in the bridal party—and had to shell out for a pricey destination bachelorette—it’s A-OK to take that into account when deciding how much to spend on a gift.

New Line Cinema

$50 to $100 for a Distant Second Cousin

Depending on the relationship, cash (or, OK, a check or Venmo payment) isn’t always king. If you and the bride aren’t super close, it’s totally fine to shop off the registry instead since you can get away with spending less and still giving something the couple wants/needs. Something in this range is fine, just be sure you still handwrite a card.

20th Century Fox

Increase the amount by 50 percent if you're bringing a plus one

Common sense says that you should double the amount you’d normally spend if you show up with a date, but in most cases, increasing the value of your gift by 50 percent is more than enough. This means that if you typically give $100, you’d bump your gift total up to $150 to account for having a plus one. Here’s why: You’re a package deal, and while it’s appropriate to reflect an increase, the dollar amount doesn’t have to correspond exactly to the cost per plate.

Universal Studios

$50 If You Have to Book a Plane Flight

It’s just another reason to registry shop. If you had to spend extra to cover the cost of a plane flight and a hotel, don’t sweat spending a less-than-typical amount (say $50) on a registry-only gift—like six of her 12 requested Champagne flutes.

Paramount Pictures

Give the same amount if it's a second wedding

Yes, technically you’ve already given a gift, but if you accept the invitation to attend round two, think of it as a clean slate—and one where you should still give roughly the same amount as what you gave for wedding #1.


$75 to $150 If You Can't Attend At All

Hey, conflicts happen. Some say that you’re under no obligation to send a gift if you don’t go, but we think it depends on whose wedding it is. A good friend or family member? It makes sense that you give the same amount as if you were able to go. Someone you’re not that close to? You can totally pull off a gift at a fraction of the cost. (For example, send $75 instead of the $150 you typically shell out.)