Your Ultimate Wedding Gift Guide: How Much to Give for Every Situation
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 every single wedding gift.
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.
...Or 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 the $50 to $100 range is fine, just be sure you still handwrite a card.
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.
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.
If It's Marriage #2
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.
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.)