I was talking to a groom recently and he was shocked about the amount of money he and his wife received as gifts. He didn’t disclose the exact amount but from the conversation I know he wasn’t pleased.
If it’s a co-worker or a distant friend, TheKnot.com recommends guests give at least $75-$100 on the wedding present. If your guest is a relative or a friend, the wedding website suggests somewhere between $100 and $125.
But what kind of gift can you expect? Catey Hill, resident financial expert at David’s Bridal, says it’s perfectly fine guests to write out a check to you. She says many brides and grooms actually prefer it. On average the typical cash gift is around $150, she says.
Still, though, Hill says there are some exceptions. “Some people don’t think that’s [giving money] a great idea,” Hill said. And Hill has also seen a “relaxing of the rules.” “Brides and grooms understand that some guests are financially-strapped,” she said. For instance, some guests may still be in school or keeping their head afloat during a fragile economy.
A lot of times, gift etiquette can also be regional. It’s not uncommon to see cash gifts at weddings in the Washington, D.C. area, while in the other parts of the country, such as the Midwest or in the southern areas of the U.S., physical gifts or registry items tend to be more common.
If you’re having a destination or an out-of-town wedding, it’s probably OK to spend less on the gift, said Hill. But you should still give something; Hill noted that guests can’t simply say that their “attendance” is gift enough.
And yes, some people wait one year to give a gift. According to the wedding etiquette expert Catey Hill, she says waiting a year after attending a wedding can be considered “rude.” She thinks guests should usually plan to gift the bride and groom before or at the wedding — leaving no lag time. And seeing as how couples will start to write and send out their thank you notes a few months following their big day, it’s common courtesy not to wait/make them go back and continue their “thank yous” a year after they exchanged vows.
Someone once told me to expect the unexpected at a wedding, and when it comes to guests giving you gifts, it’s just that. A gift is just that, a gift and don’t expect more or less. If you have that mindset it will be easier to move forward after the festivities.