I attended a wedding this weekend and had a wonderful time celebrating with the couple. I have just entered the “wedding years” and attended a few weddings this year. Typically, I have given something off the gift registry. However, I didn’t have the time the past few weeks and instead wrote a check to the couple. I don’t have an issue giving money. Couples have lots of expenses when they get married and I am happy to contribute as they start a new life. What I wasn’t sure of was how much was appropriate or in good taste.
So I did a little research and asked around. What I found were very different results. One article from SmartMoney suggested that you spend between $75-$150 depending on your relation to the couple. More if you are bringing a date. A second article suggested that you cover the cost of your dinner at the reception. Most of the other articles I found were less direct and said that the amount should be based on your personal budget and your affection for the couple.
This third guideline made the most sense to me. There are so many variables that go into the situation. How much have you spent on shower gifts? Is it a destination wedding that you traveled to attend? Where are you financially?
What I found interesting was when I asked people for their opinion they tended to have very strong views on the subject. A few people gave specific dollar amounts they expected. Others expressed an expectation of a specific caliber of gifts from people that they have given gifts to in the past. I know that there are most likely different expectations by region and age. Apparently my thought that there is no specific expectation on presents for something with so many variables was a bit naïve.
-What rule of thumb do you use when giving a wedding gift?