‘Tis the season to have wedding save-the-dates and invitations crowd your mailbox and cash to flow out of your pockets, as you figure out how you’re going to afford going to all of the celebrations. Weddings are expensive, and not just for the people actually getting married, for their guests too. There are travel costs to shell out money for, outfits to splurge on, and gifts to give along the way.
So when it comes to budgeting for all the wedding gifts you might have to give this year, how much should you be giving and is it a one-size-fits-all approach?
The answer to that is no.
One of the old rules that people used to follow, when it came to figuring out a price tag for a wedding gift, was to estimate how much the couple spent on having you at their wedding. You would try to calculate this by adding up the price of your plate, or by judging it based on how fancy the venue was. But that doesn’t always work, especially if you can’t afford to give a $400 gift, even though that’s how much the couple spent on having you at their wedding.
So what should you give? Well, as a starter, try to keep the minimum gift amount at no less than $50. If you’re a student, just starting out in your career, or eyeballing a relatively empty savings account, and you can’t hand over $50, try to make it up for it with a gift of your time or something that’s handcrafted and shows thoughtfulness. Avoid going empty handed, with a promise of an IOU, since as soon as the wedding is over, and you’re dancing your tail off at another wedding, chances are you’ll forget you ever owed anyone a gift.
If you’re going to a wedding of a friend or relative, the amount you want to give is between $100-$125. But if the person getting married is someone very close to you, who you know will be in your life for a very long time, and you have the financial ability to give more, you can give a gift that’s between $150 and $200.
If you traveled far to attend the wedding, whether having to fly to another state or country, you can decrease the amount you give for a gift, since your travel and accommodation cost are part of the gift you’re giving to attend the celebration.
One final rule to note, is that if you’re bringing a plus one, or coming to the wedding with your kids, it’s best to give more of a gift, since you are bringing more people to the celebration. If you can include an extra $50, or more, per person you bring, that will make for a nice gift given to the couple.
Still these are still just guidelines and all situations are different. In the end, give what you can, without going broke because of your wedding guest status — and know that your true friends will understand.
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