Generous Gifting: How Much to Spend on Wedding Gifts?

Q: Is there an ‘appropriate standard’ for how much money you should plan on giving as a wedding gift? Years ago, $100 seemed like a generous gift, however, this amount might be considered ‘low’ by today’s standards.

A: You would give what you can afford, that is reasonable, that is roughly the equivalent of what you would spend on a gift, were you buying a gift instead.  A gift of $100 is still generous today.


  1. Joanna

    I think $100 is STILL a generous gift; however, it’s the people themselves, who have more and more expensive weddings, who are making that gift seem “low.”

    Just because someone decided to book a $200-a-plate reception doesn’t mean I’m handing over my week’s paycheck.

    • Lilli

      Agreed! But what I don’t understand is why people think they need to give enough to cover their food – why not the band too? Why not the rentals? It seems arbitrary and ridiculous. If you can’t afford the party without gifts then plan something different!

      • Vanna Keiler

        I agree Lilli. I suspect this new “trend” of providing a gift which equals the lavishness of the affair seems to have been the brainchild of an entitled host who circulated this pseudo etiquette rule. And how has money become an appropriate gift to give? When one presents a gift of money, expect it to be remembered and judged – best to purchase a gift and leave the price tags off! :)

  2. jordi

    I am thoroughly delighted to read these responses. I have always thought it was ridiculous that people think they have to cover the cost of the meal. Firstly, in order to know how much the meal is, someone has to broadcast the info and that seems extremely poor manners to me. Besides; they can dream up any figure they like. Secondly, I refuse to cover costs for an extravagant wedding just because the bride and groom decided to go that route. Not my problem. Don’t even get me started on destination weddings and paying for your travel and accommodations and being expected to give a gift as well…….

  3. Elle

    A year has passed since my best friend’s wedding and I’m still racked with guilt because I feel as though I didn’t give enough for her gift. I was her maid of honour and she has been an amazing friend since childhood. Our relationship has never been about money – we have always been generous with each other when it comes to that stuff; however, after speaking with a couple people, they would have contributed much more for someone so close to them. The other point is that coming from an italian background, our culture (in my experience) tends to contribute more for these occasions. I am always stressed as to what to contribute for showers/weddings etc. For her bridal shower I spent $200; the bachelorette probably another $150 or so; and for the wedding gift I gave $250. While I know it’s the thought that counts, others have said they would have given $400-$500 (or more) for the wedding gift as a maid of honour. I wanted to do something to recognize her 1st anniversary which was a couple weeks ago; I feel like it’s a little late now to send flowers or something. I don’t know what to do…I was going to tell her that this has been on my mind for a while but I’m not sure if that would be inappropriate considering it’s now a year later. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

  4. Ed

    My brother-in-law is getting married again, and my wife contacted his fiance to ask where they were registered. She was told that they were not registered anywhere, and that a box for cards (i.e.: money) would be provided at the reception. My brother-in-law is extremely successful, so I understand they do not need more ‘things’, but they also have no need for money. What is the correct way to handle this situation?

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      You are not required to give money. In fact you’re not required to give anything if you gave a gift for his first wedding. If you do decide to give a gift, give anything you are comfortable giving that you think they will enjoy.

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