Q: I am headed to a destination wedding in St. Maarten. I have already bought an engagement gift, bridal shower gift and bachelorette gift. I am flying to the island and staying there four days for the event. Do I need to give another gift? If so, what amount of money is appropriate? (I usually give $100 per attendee.)
A: Weddings and the preceding events often involve gifts to the couple, especially if you are an attendant or a close friend. An engagement, shower, bachelorette and wedding gift may be appropriate if you are a bridesmaid or a best pal. Past gift-giving customs dictated a separate gift for each event, but, with the possible exception of a wedding gift, these gifts were not as elaborate or as pricey as they are today. For example, an embroidered handkerchief or a set of dishtowels were considered acceptable shower gifts. Today, kitchen appliances and implements are more the norm. At a certain point, common sense says enough is enough, as is the case when a guest is invited to multiple showers and isn’t expected to take a gift to each one. You have already given this couple numerous gifts, not to mention the gift of your presence at their destination wedding, which many couples consider to be their wedding gift. Depending on your budget and your closeness to the couple, I say you do not need to go all out on a wedding gift, too. That said, there’s plenty of gray area here. Since you don’t necessarily need to give the couple another gift, the question is whether you want to give them one. If you do, then instead of worrying about the correct amount of money to spend on the gift (for which there is no guideline other than your budget and your affection for the couple), think of something they might enjoy after the wedding. That might be a “Welcome home!” bottle of Champagne or a photo book made from pictures you took over the wedding weekend. Think about your friend and what feels good and right for your relationship. In any case, enjoy the wedding and be there for your friend and her new husband.
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