Weddings are one of the most fun ways to celebrate love. Emotional vows, stunning photos, delicious food and drinks, a night of dancing—it’s all so much fun. But before we get to all the good stuff, many people feel stressed wondering how much to spend on wedding gifts.
According to a 2018 NerdWallet study, Americans, on average, spend about $128 on a wedding gift, and millennials spend a little more—$151, on average. There’s also a “rule” that the amount you spend on a wedding gift should be equivalent to what the couple is spending to host you. However, The Emily Post Institute, named after the woman who became the authority on social etiquette, states that is simply a “modern myth.”
If you look at a couple’s wedding gift registry, the items tend to cover a wide range of price points. For example, while we’re not all fortunate enough to marry a Jonas Brother, Priyanka Chopra’s The Amazon wedding registry included everything from a $22 “wifey” silk eye mask to a $3,000 LG LED TV. Nor do we have the bank account of the royal couple Prince Harry and Megan Marklewho allegedly gave a $9,000 piece of art to actor Idris Elba when he married Sabrina Dhowre.
we asked Jennifer Spector, the Director of Brand for wedding company Zola, to help give us a little guidance on how much to spend and other tips to consider. Here is her advice for stress-free wedding gift shopping so you know what’s best.
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How much should you spend on a wedding gift?
According to Spector, the average wedding gift is $100. But the amount can change depending on your relationship with the couple—family and close friends are likely to spend more, while co-workers can spend less.
Other factors should also be taken into account. Spector explained, “If you’re traveling to the wedding or spending a lot on pre-wedding events, it’s okay to spend a little less, but I always recommend giving a gift. It’s more about the meaning behind what you give than how much you spend.”
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How long have you been sending a wedding gift?
According to Spector, you should send a gift before the wedding day or within three months of the wedding so that the couple can incorporate it into their new life together. “Unless you’re giving a check, I encourage not bringing gifts to the wedding,” she added.
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When is it appropriate to buy something off-registry?
Spector encourages people to buy off the couple’s registry if possible since it’s a list of things the couple has said they really want. However, if the couple doesn’t have a registry or there aren’t any gifts left on one, Spector advises to “pick something small that matches their style and lifestyle. For example, if they love to host dinner parties, a cheese board or decanter makes a great gift. Gift cards, like tickets to a show or to the store they are registered at, are another great option. Keep in mind couples will likely be receiving a lot of gifts, so don’t choose anything too bulky or difficult to exchange.”
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Any other tips on giving wedding gifts?
Fortunately (or unfortunately), there are several wiggle rooms when giving wedding gifts. “There really aren’t any hard and fast rules on how much and what you’re expected to give,” says Spector. “As long as you give a gift that feels personal and is within your budget, you’re on the right track!”
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