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Inspiration » Registries + Gifts » How Much to Spend on a Wedding Gift: $50 to $100 on Average

How Much to Spend on a Wedding Gift: $50 to $100 on Average

by Joy Editors
A bride receiving a gift from the flower girl in a wedding

The average person spends $50-$100+ on a wedding gift, but the amount varies by their relationship with the couple and budget.

After accepting a wedding invite, you probably wonder what to give the happy couple and how much to spend on a wedding gift. While there is no right or wrong price, some factors may influence your decision, such as how well you know the soon-to-be-wed and whether potential travel and lodging costs to attend are within your budget.

In this guide, our wedding experts here at Joy help break down seven rules of wedding gift etiquette to help you make the right decision for you.

1. Follow the Traditional Wedding Gift Model

Traditional gifting rules refer to the “cost-per-plate” model, which means you base your spending around how much you think covers your attendance or “plate” at the wedding reception. Guests don’t know this, but you can use the invitation details — venue, time of year, theme, etc. — to come up with a rough estimate. 

For example, if you think the cost to attend the wedding is $100 per person, and you bring a plus one along, your wedding gift price tag would be around $200. This method is a good way to determine a reasonable dollar amount to spend on a gift — if you’re comfortable with doing a little bit of guesswork upfront. 

Beyond this traditional route, gift-giving rules and expectations may also differ by culture and custom. Be sure to keep these factors in mind when contributing your wedding gift.

2. Consider Your Relationship With the Couple

Your relationship with the couple is another important factor in how much to spend on a wedding gift. For instance, are you an immediate family member or a distant relative? Do you consider yourself a close friend or friendly acquaintance? 

While this answer — along with your personal budget and comfort level — can help you settle on a gift that makes sense, here are some price range guidelines to use.

wedding gift spending guide chart of price ranges

3. Use the Gift Registry as Guidance

If the couple shared a wedding registry of their gift wish list, use that as a guide for gift selection. If over your budget, you can opt for alternative contributions, such as donations towards the honeymoon fund, which are increasingly popular among modern weddings. 

The couple will also provide details on how to deliver the gift, such as whether to bring it to the actual wedding or have it shipped to the couple’s home.

Tip: If you’re in the wedding party and have financial obligations for the various wedding festivities planned, like the wedding shower or engagement party, it’s best to refer to your personal budget.

4. Spend Within Your Budget

All in all, your budget will ultimately determine how much you’ll spend on a wedding gift. You’ll have to take other expenses into consideration when setting a budget, such as flight and accommodation costs when making a purchasing decision. 

Even if you’re not expecting financial constraints, it’s still important to set a budget you’re comfortable with — not just for the wedding gift itself but for all the things that come with a wedding celebration. Once you have your overall gift budget set in stone, you can peruse the couple’s wedding registry for gift ideas that work for you.

If you have a close relationship with the couple, it’s normal for sentimental or personalized gifts to outweigh the monetary value. Also, if you plan to bring a plus one to the wedding, spending double the gift value is reasonable but not expected.

5. Account for the Wedding Location

If the couple is having a destination wedding, and you plan on attending, your presence is generally considered the ultimate gift. Although this sentiment is still true for a local wedding, the cost of a destination wedding requires guests to spend a lot more. 

As a result, whether you decide to bring or forgo a physical wedding gift ultimately comes down to your personal budget. 

6. Cash Wedding Gifts Are Acceptable

Nowadays, it’s totally okay and common to give cash as a wedding gift. In fact, many modern couples prefer it, adding a general cash fund, honeymoon fund, or even an experiences fund that guests can contribute money to — whether in lieu of physical gifts or alongside them. 

A cash gift of $50-$150 is also a great option if you can’t decide on a retail gift or don’t have time to peruse the couple’s registry. Just remember, even a monetary gift is a kind gesture from you to the couple getting married. The focus should be more on celebrating the couple — and less focused on the specific gift or the amount you spent.

7. Group Wedding Gifts Are Okay for Large Purchases

If you’re heading to the couple’s destination wedding or have financial constraints, a great way to gift is to go big on a big-ticket item with multiple wedding guests. For example, the couple may list a new living room set or washer and dryer combo for their new home together. 

Since larger gifts can be a hefty price for one person to give, consider reaching out to other guests and coordinating to cover a gift together. Joy’s wedding registry has a neat group gifting feature, allowing guests to pitch in for items that cost over $350. 

Do I Need to Bring a Gift for Each Wedding Event?

If you plan on attending more wedding events before the big day, such as the wedding shower or engagement party, consider checking with the hosts on gift expectations. They may have separate gift registries for each event, so you can purchase smaller gifts within your budget. 

Here’s a helpful suggestion of how much of your overall gift budget you should spend on each wedding event:

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I buy a gift if I’m not attending the wedding?

While it’s not expected or required, gifting the couple is still a nice gesture and thought. How you approach it is completely up to you.

Is it okay to buy a wedding gift that’s not listed on the registry?

While the choice of a gift is always up to the giver, it’s easier (and more considerate) to purchase what the couple desires, especially if they send a wedding registry. Of course, there are exceptions, such as if the couple is open to a monetary gift or if you’re opting for something sentimental and personalized.

When should I send the wedding gift?

Sending the gift as close to the wedding date as possible is ideal. This way, there’s less of a chance you’ll forget, and it also helps the couple manage their thank-you notes a little easier!

The Joy Takeaway

Whether you follow a traditional gift-giving model or use a combination of the tips above, how much you spend on a wedding gift will ultimately come down to your personal budget and your relationship with the happy couple. By using these wedding gift etiquette guidelines as a framework, you’ll confidently navigate this decision.

With Joy, you can take the guesswork out of wedding gifts. From creating an all-in-one wedding registry to customizing wedding websites and invitations, we’ve got you covered.

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