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How Do You Determine the Amount Spent on Wedding Gifts?

Gifts are a way to acknowledge your congratulations to newlyweds and to show appreciation for being included in the celebration. There are various opinions surrounding gifts: Some say guests have a year to give a gift, some assume the cost of the gift should be approximately what the couple spent on each guest, some only give money while others would never think of it, and the list goes on.

Rob Johnsen, co-founder of advises to decide how much your relationship is worth: If the couple are "two of your most cherished friends or relatives" expect to spend about $200, if they're people you value but don't communicate regularly or see often than spend between $50 and $100, and a couple who you don't know very well would receive a gift worth $50 or under.

Do you agree with his calculated assessments or do you focus on the actual gift and not the money spent? How do you determine the amount that you'll spend?


Join The Conversation
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
It depends - I usually spend $20-50 - but then again, I watch for sales or hit discount stores. I got a REALLY nice Mikasa vase for a couple that cost a fraction of the price at an outlet store. I don't feel bad about it, either!
BlueKitten BlueKitten 9 years
$200 sounds insane to me. I might spend that on a sibling, but even that's pushing it. Maybe it's a regional thing?
italianblonde italianblonde 9 years
That calculation he came up with is a good one, but I usually just get whatever gift seems best for the couple and don't really look at the price.
bongbug bongbug 9 years
i don't think you should go to a wedding if you are going to spend less than $100. knowing that people are paying somewhere around $100 a plate, i think it would be rude to show up with a $50 gift. just don't go if you can't afford $100.
foxgirlie04 foxgirlie04 9 years
This is a problem Im going to have. Im going to be a bridesmaid in my cousin's wedding and she lives two hours away. With the cost of gas, the dress, the shoes, the gifts for the bachelorette party (passion party), hotel room, hair, & bridal shower...I will be broke. I really dont know how much I will be able to afford but Im positive 200 is out of my price range.
foxie foxie 9 years
My family is small and my friends are either single or long married. I don't enjoy celebrating with friendly aquaintences who honestly only invite me (and most of the other guests!) in order to get gifts.
badhabit badhabit 9 years
I determine it by how close of a friend/family member they are, and how much we spent to attend the wedding. If it was a local wedding I usually spend more-a little less if we had to travel. And I hate giving checks-it feels strange to give my friends monetary gifts. I much prefer giving an actual gift.
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
Wow, Foxie, I guess you don't like to celebrate with friends/family? Now I spend about $100-$200...when I was poorer, $50-$100
uaintkidin uaintkidin 9 years
I'm a horrible person when it comes to these types of gifts. If I'm invited to showers, bacheloretts, etc. and I can't make it, I don't send anything - which I know is probably the normal thing to do. I just add what I would have spent into a big gift that I send for the wedding. It's just easier to send one thing than five things. I do agree with the pricing structure above. Weddings are so expensive!!!! Lawchick- I was in the same situation with my friends when I got married. Now, they are all getting married and we can afford pricier gifts!
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
I think this sounds about right. Especially if you are applying the rule to the gifts you will also purchase and give at the Bridal Shower, Bachelorette Party, and the Wedding Gift. Cause it all adds up! $$$ I spent about $400 on the present for my bff, but mostly because hers was an International destination wedding and I could not attend and I felt bad!
jkat jkat 9 years
I am from the Midwest, and I think the standard is still $100 per person. I also live in Chicago, so maybe that makes a difference. So does being Polish. But even at non-Polish weddings most people I know give at least $100 per person ... more for the closest friends and family.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
Region defintely plays a part in it. In Oregon giving an actual gift at the weddnig is normal my first wedding in NYC I asked where someone was registered and I was told that you give money at the wedding and an actual gift at the shower.
bluebird bluebird 9 years
I would hope that everyone would know the people who are getting married rather well at any wedding they attend! I try to go by what the couple has in their registry- I have even called the MOH or MOB to find out if there was something they really, really, really wanted, even if it was only a $20 cocktail shaker.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
It definitely depends on how much the couple means to me. I'd spend as much as I could afford on my good friends.
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
It all depends on how close I am to the couple. I don't get many wedding invites from anyone that isn't a really good friend or relative though. I spent about $150 on my brother's wedding gifts, plus I also gave them a check. For a close friend I spent $75 on gifts and gave a check in a card at the wedding also. Recently, a family friend got married and I think I spent $60.
cancankant cancankant 9 years
I'm also from the Midwest, and $200 seems steep to me. I didn't get any gifts more than maybe $50-75 from anyone except my parents and mother in law (who paid for our catering). I didn't expect it, though. One of my best friends did sort of cheap out and it irked me - she got me a very inexpensive mirror/candleholder. I like it, but I always thought she could have put a little more into the whole thing. It was disappointing, but I didn't hold it against her. She's not much of a gift person. I don't get too many wedding invitations, and that's a good thing. I enjoy attending if I like the person (i.e. a friend), but for acquaintances and relatives like cousins, I don't feel any obligation. If I attend those sort of weddings, I usually give a gift around $50 or so.
cat1121 cat1121 9 years
Why in the world are we going to weddings of people that we aren't close to? Why do we invite people to our weddings that we aren't close to? Its all relative. Most of the weddings I've been to, even if they have been close friends and family, have involved signicant contributions of time and money, usually in the form of travel arrangements and bridesmaid dresses. I don't have it in me to spend $200 on a gift after showers, dresses, alterations, accessories, airfare, etc.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
Good grief. You all must know better people than I do or something. At my wedding, the only gifts or checks that I received over $50 were from my grandparents and my parents. And personally, I'd rather just give them soemthing that they want and that I can afford without going into debt for them.
tlight tlight 9 years
I have to admit, that I haven't given gifts to my two closest friends, and niether of them expected one. That being said, I was both of thier maids of honour. With all the costs involved, including travel for one, the need for a 'gift' was less important than the fact that I was there to share and support through every stage of thier big day.
amybdk amybdk 9 years
Brendelwoman -- I believe location plays a key part in the amount spent. I was raised and returned home to marry in South Dakota and people certainly were more frugal than I had become accustomed to out east. I never noticed until I moved out east and returned home for the wedding and put 2+2 together... Perhaps because the price of living tends to be lower and there are less expensive goods stores around (pottery barn, c & b, high-end department stores), this is why?
julieulie julieulie 9 years
I am by NO means rolling around in money -- I'm a poor Ph.D. student, working 80 hours per week in the lab making $24,000/year, but I would never, EVER give less than $100 for a wedding gift. Usually, I give closer to the $200 range, more for closer friends. It's a (hopefully) once in a lifetime event!
Veekore Veekore 9 years
In the Russian community, it is customary to give money, at least $100/person. If it's someone that's really close, me and my fiance will give $200 (for the both of us.) For our wedding we expect people to give at least the same. The assumption is that you are 'paying' for your place at the wedding, and there aren't any connotations of cash-only being tacky. In fact, it's really awesome because we don't have to do a registry!
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 9 years
I must be a cheapskate! $200 seems steep to me. I think for family we spend $100. Does it matter what area of the country you live in? Maybe Midwesterners are more frugal. And I usually don't get invited to a lot of fancy weddings!
syako syako 9 years
lesley - I don't think that's wrong - unless your wedding was years ago and said friend WAS a poor starving college student but would today probably spend a lot more on your gift. :P
LesleyP825 LesleyP825 9 years
I usually give about a $100-$150 depending on who it is. I know this is awful but I try and base gifts on what certain couples gave me for my wedding. If someone gave me a $30 gift for my wedding then I am not going to be giving them a huge gift at their wedding. Is that wrong?
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