How much should I spend on a wedding gift? 5 wedding gift etiquette questions answered

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Gifts at wedding / birthday party and a glass of white wine.
We've gathered everything you need to know about wedding gifting in 2022. (Getty Images)

Wedding gifts have a long tradition in history as a wonderful and tangible way for friends and families to express their love and happiness to the couple. From bone china, monogrammed linens and silverware to trendier ideas such as honeymoon zip-lining experiences, beachside massages, or tickets to the latest theatrical productions in town, there are endless options to choose from.

However, in 2022 many couples are bucking tradition in favour of new ways to celebrate their wedding day with their guests — and that may or may not include physical gifts at all.

If you're heading to a wedding this year and are unsure of the latest gifting etiquette, read on for our best tips.

To gift or not to gift?

While it’s a long-standing tradition that guests will attend a wedding with a gift in hand to celebrate the joyous couple, it would be considered rude to expect anything but the persons' presence and company. Therefore, any mention of gifts is typically not written on an invite.

Instead, anyone wishing to find out if the couple is registered somewhere or if they have a gift preference would be welcome to ask the parents of the couple or a member of the bridal party for details.

Say goodbye to traditional wedding registries

woman shopping in a department store for wedding gift
Traditional wedding registries are quickly becoming a thing of the past. (Getty Images)

With many couples getting married later in life and already having homes, the concept of a traditional wedding registry with items such as china and crystal, is basically a thing of the past. Nowadays, registries come in all shapes and sizes – from registering on Amazon to online sites like MyRegistry that let you build a wish list from any store in the world.

That being said, many couples still prefer cash gifts — and that is considered the modern default. Again, make sure to communicate directly with those closest to you in order to be 100 per cent sure of the couple's preference.

How much money should you spend on a wedding gift?

When it comes to questions around wedding gifts, there's nothing more common than confusion surrounding gifting or receiving cash at weddings. How many times have we heard the saying that you want to cover the cost of your plate plus a little extra? I'm here to say forget that rule!

The most important thing is to consider your relationship with the couple and what you are comfortable spending. The level of formality of a wedding might impact the timing of the day (when it takes place), and what you might wear (the dress code) but definitely not how much money you should gift.

The 60-20-20 rule suggests that if you are attending more than one formal event, you can spread out your budget accordingly, i.e. 20 per cent on the engagement gift, 20 per cent on the shower gift, and the remaining on the wedding gift.

Should you send a gift if you can’t attend?

Close-up photo of female hands holding invitation envelope with a wax seal, a gift certificate, a postcard, wedding invitation card
Sending a wedding gift even if you can't attend is sure to be appreciated. (Getty Images)

If you made the invite list, the couple was likely very much looking forward to celebrating with you. That means that they will miss your company, and a sweet gift will be appreciated in your absence. This being said, the value of your gift can certainly be less than if you had attended in person – a beautiful set of tea towels and a gift certificate to a local restaurant is perfect.

Generally speaking, unless you have been out of touch with the couple for quite some time or you feel you might have made the "B-list" of invitees, a small thoughtful gift is a nice gesture.

Don't forget the thank you notes

When all is said and done, thank you cards are an absolute must for the newlyweds. The rule of thumb is that thank you cards should be sent out within 2-3 months of the wedding. For events other than weddings, such as showers, engagements, and other less formal events, all thank you cards should be sent within two weeks.

Depending on the size of the event, this can become quite the project, so blocking off time to write a few notes each night, or dedicating a weekend to getting this done can go a long way to alleviating any post-wedding stress.

Call in your friends and family, order dinner, pour some cocktails, and get help addressing envelopes whilst you work away at the cards. Couples can consider this a fun way to reminisce about the wedding while also taking the time to acknowledge all the sweet gifts they received.

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