How Much to Spend on a Wedding Gift


Knowing how much to spend on a wedding gift can be tricky; finding the right balance between inexpensive and over-the-top is often a limbo any wedding attendee can get lost in. The standard of how much to spend won’t always be the same; you wouldn’t spend as much on a co-worker or distant relative than you would on a close family member or a dear friend. Here’s a few guidelines we’ve put together to help you out.


Not Price Per Plate

Price per plate means guests decide how much to spend on a wedding gift depending on what the bride and groom paid per-person for the wedding. This isn’t quite right on various accounts, including the fact that you’ll never know exactly how much the couple spent unless you ask them, and frankly, that’s just rude. Also, as mentioned above, no matter how much the couple spent, you wouldn’t get someone you barely know a more expensive gift, just because they had a more lavish wedding than a dear friend.

Is No Gift OK?

This is a tricky question, but it’s all up to judging for yourself. We say, if someone honestly went to the trouble of inviting you to a wedding and you attend, gift are definitely expected and encouraged. If you don’t go, whether or not to send a gift  is depending on if the person is close to you. If it’s someone so remote you don’t even know their last name without double checking your invite, a good thank you note is suffice. Again, for dear friends and family it’s a given to send something their way even if you don’t go.

Price Ranges

Ok so now we’re getting in to the figures. When deciding how much to spend on a wedding gift, the very first thing to consider is your relationship to the couple. According to preexisting social convention, the appropriate amount to give is based on the below:

Neighbor, acquaintance or distant friend/family member: $50 - $75. Not someone you usually see or have much of a relationship with, fifty to seventy-five dollars is respectable for someone who took the time to invite you to their wedding.

Coworker or boss: $75 - $100. These are people you see daily, and you would like  a good, long-lasting relationship with them. It’s a nice to spend a little more for the guy who did overtime to help you meet a deadline.

Friend or relative: $75 - $125. If you’ve ever even heard of the Godfather, you know the importance of family. Relatives and friends are people you’ll want to celebrate and congratulate their love.

Intimate friend or relative: $100 - $175. These are those closest to you, the people you’d actually want to spend thousands of dollars on if you could.


If, despite the above suggestions you are stumped on how much to spend on a wedding gift or where to even start, below are a few suggestions to help alleviate the weight of thought:


Giving cash to a couple as a wedding gift isn’t considered quite as tacky as in the ol’ days. Studies suggest most couples prefer to receive cash instead of a gift and at many event the couple will even state plainly “no gifts please”, which is a whole other thing. It’s ultimately up to you what to give them and in what form, but as long as the bride and groom are cool with it, there’s no reason to completely cross out cash as an option.

2 Months in Advance

To avoid having to brainstorm too much at the last minute, try to buy your gift at least two months in advance to make sure you can snag something within your price range. Moreover, you’ll have more options to choose from, this way you can pick something you’d really like to give vs. picking the last item available because you can afford it.

Group Gift

If you’re tight for cash and/or everything in your budget range has been bought off the registry already, consider getting together with a group of people to pitch in for a bigger gift. Some appliances or electronics are really needed by the couple but are too expensive for a single person to take on. By pitching in as a group you can end up giving a great gift and sometimes even paying less than your budget.

Send It Later

If you’re in a financial pinch, you can always send a gift after the wedding. This is very common, as long as it arrives within the due timeframe. Six months to a year after the wedding is ok to send the gift. Any longer than that and the newlyweds aren’t really, well, newlyweds anymore.

Hopefully these tips and guidelines help you out to decide how much to spend on a wedding gift, even if you are financially tight. Just always remember that the important thing is that you’re there to celebrate with the couple, so make your presence a gift too!