An app that automatically saves your finds and helps you get back to them when you’re ready to buy.
Get carrot ›


Wedding Gift Etiquette Guide That All Guests Need To Know

Going to a wedding is always super fun. However, each wedding is unique. That’s why a lot of questions can arise every time you receive an invite. But the one that stumps us the most is – what do we gift them? Sure, nearly every couple these days has a wedding registry. But what if you can’t afford any of those? Fortunately for you, wedding gift etiquette is a topic we’re well-versed in. In this blog, we’ll try to answer all the doubts you may have about bringing a gift to a wedding. Let’s dive in!


First things first: is giving a gift actually necessary?

Well, no. Traditionally, while highly encouraged, it’s not absolutely mandatory to give a wedding gift. However, if you know the couple well, wouldn’t you want to contribute to their big day in some way or the other?

Now comes the question of what to buy as a gift.

For couples: Best Things To Put On Your Wedding Registry: Starter Kit

Check out their wedding registry

These days almost every couple sets up an online gift registry for their wedding. Taking a look at their registry is probably number 1 on the wedding gift etiquette list.

Thinking of a perfect wedding gift can be wildly daunting – all those Google searches amounting to more confusion with every click. That’s precisely where a gift registry can help! Looking at a couple’s registry can give you an idea of who they are as a couple as well as the kind of things they want as gifts.

Do we only have to use the registry for gifting?

Someone said that a wedding registry is simply a suggestion, not an obligation. There isn’t anything like “wedding gift rules” that you need to follow. Taking a peek at a registry can help you understand their needs and give a present that they can truly use. And, if you’re a close friend or family member, no one knows the perfect wedding gift better than you.

However, if you don’t know the couple too well, sticking to the registry is probably the best course of action. That’ll make it easier for you since you won’t have to rack your brain on what you can gift them. Also, it will reduce the chances of you giving things that they already have or don’t really need.

What if I can’t afford something on the registry?

A wedding registry can have items that range from super affordable to pretty expensive. Many couples treat a registry as a wish list of things they want but can’t afford. Which can mean that maybe you can’t, either. That’s okay! Wedding gift etiquette doesn’t mean burning a hole through your wallet. If you can’t afford any of the items on a registry, you can just get them something meaningful that you can afford.

This can include a framed photo collage, a commissioned painting, among other things. If you really want to gift them something off the registry, though, you can consider pooling in with other guests to get them a group gift.

Related: The Best Days To Shop: A Comprehensive Guide to 2022’s Upcoming Sales

How much should you spend on a wedding gift?

In terms of wedding gift etiquette, there isn’t a specific amount that you need to spend on gifts. The best way to go about it is to look at your relationship with the couple. The closer you are, the more you’ll spend, obviously.

While it largely depends on your budget, here’s how much you can spend on a gift depending on your relationship:

  • $50-$75 for colleagues and acquaintances
  • $75-$100 for friends or relatives that aren’t very close
  • $100+ for very close friends and family

When to give a wedding gift

There can be quite a lot of confusion regarding when you should send or give the wedding gift. Technically, there’s no perfect time for when you should send in your gift. These days, as online shopping is increasing in popularity, guests prefer to ship gifts directly to the couple. This helps them avoid carrying it on the wedding day (especially if it’s something big).

Wedding gift etiquette recommends that you should directly send them to the couple about a week or two before the big day. However, it’s no biggie if you end up sending it after the wedding too. If you plan on doing that, sending it up to three months after the wedding is probably the best wedding gift etiquette.

Related: The Ultimate Gift Questionnaire: How To Find The Perfect Gift For Everyone You Love

Is giving cash instead of a gift acceptable?

Honestly, this depends from couple to couple. To be sure, you can always ask them directly! Along with their gift registries, a lot of couples these days also register for honeymoon funds or regular cash funds. You can simply contribute to one of those instead of buying a traditional gift.

How much should you contribute to a cash fund?

There isn’t really a clear answer to this one. While an amount may be quite generous to one couple, another may find it to be lacking. However, you should only contribute the amount you feel comfortable with!

If you feel that cash isn’t something you’re comfortable with and the couple doesn’t have a gift registry, don’t worry. You can always choose a gift card from a nice retail outlet like Target or Bath & Beyond.

Wedding gift etiquette may be considered a subjective thing, depending on the couple. However, these few tips above are fool-proof— no matter who the couple is, these tips can help you pick the best gift option for the wedding you’re attending.

Is it OK to give gift cards for a wedding?

Yes! Giving a gift card for a wedding can be seen as a thoughtful gesture, as it allows the couple to purchase what they need for their new life together. If you are considering giving a gift card for a wedding, take the time to choose a gift card from a store that is personalized to the couple, it can show that you have put thought into their gift.

The average wedding gift card amount is usually between $100 and $200, but you can give more or less depending on your relationship with the couple.

Confused between a few off-registry gifts? Try Carrot!

It’s a Google Chrome extension that automatically saves everything you add to your cart on any website. Take your time to decide without worrying about losing the product links.

Add to Chrome – it’s freeeee!