Wedding Gift Cost: How much do I spend?

by EPI Staff on May 6, 2009

Q: How much should I spend on a wedding gift?

A: The value of a gift isn’t always equal to the price tag. First, try to figure out what the person would like. Don’t get hung up on the idea that you must spend a certain dollar amount to make the gift worthwhile. When choosing a gift think about three things: your affection for the person or couple, your budget, and what you think the recipient(s) would most like. The idea that the amount spent on a wedding gift should equal what the bride and groom are paying per plate for each guest is a myth. Don’t overspend—not only will your budget suffer, but it may be difficult to enjoy the wedding if it feels like nothing more than a quid pro quo. Ultimately, it is the thought behind it and the spirit of generosity with which it is given that determines the value of a gift.

For more on wedding etiquette, check out Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, 5th Ed. by Peggy Post.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen Mowrey May 18, 2009 at 4:12 am

I have been invited to my coworker’s daughter’s wedding. I am not close with her daughter or my coworker and will be out of town the week of the wedding (which my coworker knew about).

Is it inappropriate to send a card with no gift or am I expected to send a gift?


Daniel Post Senning May 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Although it may not be the answer you were hoping for, the expectation created by a wedding invitation in many peoples’ minds is that you always respond with a gift. In many ways it is an honor to be invited. The gift does not have to be expensive or take a great deal of time and planning but the gesture is part of the tradition of weddings. A gift of soaps, specialty foods, or fancy candles would more than meet expectations.

If you have no understanding of why you were invited than you might choose not to respond with a gift but it sounds like you may have been included along with other coworkers and that seems a plausible explanation and connection to the wedding.


Martin W. Randell January 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm

I am sending a gift to the head of the corporation ,his wife had a baby. how do I sign the card.


Graceandhonor January 22, 2010 at 5:07 am

You may sign the card as they know you, Martin Randell or Martin W. Randell. The card should be addressed to the baby and the package shipped to Mr. and Mrs.


Elsie September 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm

I was not invited to an acquaintance (my best friend’s sister-in-law)’swedding, but would like to give a gift to show my excitement for the couple on their day. Is giving a small item ($50 or so) from their registry appropriate, or is it best just to send a card?


Alicia September 8, 2011 at 7:55 am

Gifts to show your joy and happiness for a new couple is always appropriate. The size of teh gift of course being related to your own budjet and the closeness of teh relationship. If you are worried that they will feel pressured to invite you to the wedding send the gift within a few weeks before or immediately after the wedding. So give a gift if you wish or send a card if you wish either is perfectly correct.


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