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How Much Should You Spend on Your Friend’s Wedding Gift?

It seems like everyone I know has recently gotten married or is currently engaged. I suppose it’s the age bracket I’m in, where everyone is settling down, committing, and thinking of the future. Eric recently walked down the aisle as did our good friend Kathleen. Weddings can be a fun and expensive affair for the couple, but it can also be pricey for those attending the wedding.

There are several things to consider, such as the cost of attendance (for example, do you need to fly there? Stay in a hotel?), wardrobe, as well as a wedding gift.

Eric’s friend, Andrew Newman recently posed an important question that many wedding guests are left pondering:

“What’s the rule these days for how much a groomsman is supposed to spend on a wedding gift for the couple?”

Good question! First off, there is some outdated advice out there stating that your gift amount should be a percentage of the price per plate. Instead of basing it on that, think of your budget and your relationship to the bride or groom. If you are unemployed or deep in debt, then give what you can, but your greatest gift is actually being there to support your friends. However, the general consensus is that $50 is a fair minimum for a wedding gift.

For others who have the means, look at these various pricing tiers presented by The Knot:

  • Co-worker and/or a distant family friend or relative: $50-$75
  • Relative or friend: $75-$100
  • Close relative or close friend: $100-$150

As a groomsman, or anyone in the wedding party, I’d venture to say that would go under the ‘very close friend’ category, which would fall under the $100 – $150 range. As just a friend attending, or co-worker, you could spend between $50-$100.

But if you are flying across the country or even the world to attend the wedding, it’s understandable if it’s a bit less. If you are bringing a guest, it’s customary to give a little extra. In addition, if you are unable to attend the wedding it’s customary to send your regards along with a gift. Once again, these price points for wedding gifts should be primarily focused on  your relationship to the couple.

But what should you actually get?

First, stick with the tried and true wedding registry. Many couples have a registry, which makes it a bit easier to choose what gift to buy. If you get something from the list, it’s hard to go wrong!

[Note from Eric: This is 100% true. We were totally happy with every gift of money or from the registry. Other gifts were very hit-and miss.]

Most wedding experts don’t recommend going DIY or crafty on this occasion — save that for Christmas or a birthday. In regards to gift ideas, think about things that would help the couple start their new life together, enjoy their new life together, or just have fun together.

Nice kitchenware, or fancy kitchen tools are always a great option. You could also give a nice warm blanket, or silky sheets. If you know their beverage preferences, consider indulging them in some nice accessories like a Keurig or a cocktail tray, recipe book, and martini glasses. If you know they are music, art, or theater lovers, consider buying them a membership to their favorite museum or season tickets to the orchestra or the local theater.

Wedding gifts should be practical but also fun — you want to create an experience for them! Think of things that the couple is likely not to buy for themselves, but something that would be useful and provide value and an element of luxury in their lives.

You want your gift to be memorable and an extension of your friendship, so incorporate some of their interests and passion as well as some of your personality into the gift. In regards to pricing, base it on your relationship. How much you spend varies from each level of acquaintance, whether you are a colleague, friend, or in the wedding party. Remember, the general rule is nothing less than $50, with a reasonable maximum being $150-$200.

How much have you spent on wedding gifts in the past?

7 thoughts on “How Much Should You Spend on Your Friend’s Wedding Gift?”

  1. From what I remember, I spent a $300-$400 just to buy a gift for my bestfriend’s wedding. It was back in 2004, and even though it was so expensive for me that time. It was still worth spending because he’s my bestfriend and he really deserves it.

  2. I really is a shame that people tout a minimum or max. Really the minimum is zero and the max is whatever you want.

    Like you mentioned really the gift is your attendance. Seeing them and supporting them and catching up.

    Mandatory gift giving is not gift giving at all. Specially when. It turns into keeping tabs. This person. Gave me this I owe them something of equal value.
    Where is the fun in that

  3. I’m flying next week to my friends wedding who I’ve been friends with for 15 years. I’m taking a date too. Because I’m flying home for Christmas and can’t fly out twice I’m taking two weeks unpaid time off to make it to the wedding. I’m flying from California to Massachusetts. What’s the right amount of money I should give? Typically I give 100$ but my finances with Christmas and everything I’m stressing what the right amount will be because 100$ is a lot right now. Help!

    1. I think the main point is that you pay what you can. If you are flying home during Xmas and staying for the wedding, you are doing everything you can to be there. Could you do $50 and get a nice card? I can’t speak for your friend, but I’m sure they would be happy to have you there and that is the best thing you can give them. Anything else is just extra (in my opinion).

      1. Thank you! That helps a lot! I wish I could do more but I work at a restaurant and don’t make much. Definitely doing all I can. I will get a really nice heartfelt card with a check for $50 then. She has a big heart too so I know she will understand. Thank you for your help.

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