How much do I really need to spend on a wedding gift? Do I have to give a gift if I’m traveling to a destination wedding? With more than 100 million guests attending a wedding this summer, WeddingChannel.com, the number one wedding and gift registry website, has been flooded with thousands of questions on how to navigate the etiquette minefield of wedding gifts. To help these wedding guests (and their bank accounts!), the editors of WeddingChannel.com have created the Ultimate Wedding Guest Guide, chock-full of information on gifting rules, common gifting dilemmas, budget tips and the latest wedding gift trends.
“As we enter the most popular wedding month, we’ve been inundated with etiquette questions from wedding guests, and gifting is by far the number one category that keeps popping up,” says Amy Eisinger, editor of WeddingChannel.com. “With the popularity of destination weddings and nontraditional registry options, it can be really confusing for wedding guests to navigate modern-day gifting etiquette, so this guest guide will help alleviate the pressure and prevent any potential gifting blunders.”
THE FOUR GOLDEN RULES OF GIFT GIVING
RESPECT THE REGISTRY.Couples register at their favorite stores for a reason: Those are the gifts they want! So save yourself the stress of trying to find the perfect gift by choosing something off their registry. Check the couple’s wedding website to see where they’re registered, and shop early so you’re not stuck with the salt and pepper shakers or the $1,000 high-definition TV.SHOP & SHIP.While it’s perfectly acceptable to bring monetary gifts to the wedding, all other gifts should be shipped to the couple beforehand. The last thing a couple wants to worry about on their wedding day is lugging gifts home with them – not to mention, it’ll also save you the time and burden of wrapping and transporting the gift. DITCH THE PRICE PER PLATE MYTH.Just because your friend’s having a casual wedding doesn’t mean you can gift less – after all, your gift isn’t a payment for your meal! So scrap the “price per plate” calculation and give a gift based on your relationship with the couple. According to TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com 2010 Registry Study, engaged couples typically expect friends to spend $79 and family members to spend $146 on a gift. GIFT EVEN IF YOU DON’T GO.If you've been invited to a wedding but you can’t attend, you're not excused from sending a gift. Send something to wish the newlyweds well with a note explaining why you’re unable to attend. Your thoughtfulness and generosity will go a long way. THE MOST COMMON WEDDING GUEST GIFT DILEMMAS A WEDDING GUEST DIDN’T GIVE ME A GIFT. DO I HAVE TO GIVE HER ONE NOW THAT SHE’S ENGAGED?Take the higher road and give your friend a gift. It’s never polite to show up empty-handed, and although you may still be enraged that you didn’t receive a gift, put your generous foot forward on this one – after all, wedding gifts aren’t a time for grudge matches or dollar matching. IF I’M GOING TO A DESTINATION WEDDING, DO I STILL HAVE TO GIVE A GIFT?Sorry – your airfare doesn’t count as a wedding gift. Although a destination wedding can drain your bank account, you should still be prepared to give a gift. But don’t worry – the couple will understand you’ve spent a lot between the travel and hotel, so don’t feel pressure to give an overly generous gift. DO I DOUBLE THE AMOUNT OF MY GIFT IF I’M BRINGING A GUEST?Bringing a guest doesn’t require you to double your gift amount, but you should still account for your guest in the total amount. When deciding how much to give, always gift based on your relationship and your plus-one’s relationship with the couple. A general rule of thumb (considering what’s reasonable in your city) is to gift $100 to $150 (or more) for close friends or relatives, approximately $100 for more casual friends or relatives and $75 to $100 for a coworker or distant relative. I’M GIVING A VERY EXPENSIVE GIFT AT THE SHOWER. DO I HAVE TO GIVE A WEDDING GIFT?Bringing a gift to the shower doesn’t constitute a "get out of gift free" pass for the wedding. The easiest solution is to simply split your gift-giving budget between the shower and the wedding, rather than overextending your finances to buy two full-scale gifts. A good cost breakdown if you’re attending multiple wedding events is to spend 20 percent of your total budget on an engagement gift, 20 percent on a shower gift and 60 percent on a wedding gift. TOP WEDDING GIFT TRENDS TREAT THE COUPLE TO TRAVEL.Guests can make a couple’s honeymoon more luxurious by contributing to their honeymoon registry. For the couple that has everything, this nontraditional registry option is a popular pick, and many companies like Traveler’s Joy and Starwood Hotels & Resorts offer this service. Plus, the gift of a memorable honeymoon experience will last much longer than a blender! DONATE ON BEHALF OF THE DUO.Take a cue from Kate Middleton and Prince William and donate to the bride and groom’s favorite charity. With the Charity Donation Program on WeddingChannel.com, guests can donate to the couple’s chosen charity in lieu of a gift, or buy a gift that donates a percentage of the purchase to the selected charity. It’s like you’re giving two gifts in one! GIVE A WINE TOUR FOR TWO.Add to the couple’s postwedding fun by choosing a memorable experience they’ll love. Experiential registries allow the bride and groom to register for private guitar lessons, horseback riding lessons or even an exclusive couples’ cooking class. COMBINE FORCES.Having anxiety about your bank account with all the weddings you’re attending this summer? Go in on a group gift for the couple with several of your friends. A little goes a long way in group gifts, and it’ll look like you spent more than you actually did. For more wedding gift etiquette solutions, visit WeddingChannel.com/guestguide. About WeddingChannel.com WeddingChannel.com is the number one wedding and gift registry website, offering comprehensive wedding planning content, interactive wedding tools and a central location for couples to manage their gift registries. The patented registry system on WeddingChannel.com brings together registries from the nation’s leading retailers, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Crate and Barrel and Target, allowing guests to search one easy site to find a wedding gift. WeddingChannel.com is based in Los Angeles and is a part of The Knot Inc. (NASDAQ: KNOT) life stage media network.