How Much Do YOU Spend on a Wedding Gift?

Hip2Save may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.

Wedding Gifts

Getting married? Check out this reader email…

I would like to start a discussion on what would be an appropriate gift for a wedding. Is $100 too cheap from a couple? Under normal circumstances, I usually give $150, but I have a cousin getting married in another state. So I figure this is going to cost me probably around $400 (2 nights hotel, gas, eating all meals out, etc). My question is: should all my out-of-pocket expenses affect the gift?

AND, check out these helpful posts…

Wedding Marriott

* Top Places to Register for a Wedding

* Budget-Friendly Gift Ideas for Weddings, Graduations, AND More

* Frugal & Fun Wedding and Frugal Wedding Basket Reader Ideas

And, if you’re looking for “hip” tips on how to plan a budget-friendly wedding, check out the helpful tips in this guest post. Or maybe you’re needing advice on how to buy a wedding ring without breaking the bank, then be sure to check out this guest post and comments!

Join The Discussion

Comments 251

  1. Ami

    After reading all these posts, the varying opinions and budgets, I think I’ll stick to my original game plan for my wedding day (engaged, no date set at this time, sometime in 2017). The witnesses will my good friend and my fiancรฉ’s dad with a ceremony at the county courthouse ($250-$300). We will then invite about 40 people to a nice restaurant for lunch and go home afterwards. We are both professionals with established careers. If someone gives a gift, great… If not, fine too. This way, those close to us share the day with us and no one is breaking the bank and/or feeling obligated. My parents were reasonable and financially responsible people who always told me they would rather give me money towards a nice down payment than spend on a fancy wedding.

    • Elaine

      I would check the restaurant ahead to make sure they can accommodate your plans.

    • Nic

      This sounds lovely. Make sure you get a few nice nice photos of you and your husband. (We did much the same approach and it was wonderful. We didn’t get good photos though, and it’s the only thing I regret).

    • Molly

      ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ Great (smart) idea! Wishing you the best !

  2. Jessica

    I usually do a gift off the registry for around $50 for the bridal shower and then we give a gift card for $50 for the wedding!

  3. Lela

    I don’t understand the logic of my GIFT being dictated on the cost of the plate. If my frugal cousin opts for a low-key reception, she gets the same amount as my ‘flashy’ cousin that has her reception at the country club. My gift is to celebrate a wonderful life event- not reimbursement for a reception I had no say in planning.

    For my area, my cost of living is about 33% less than Chicago. We usually give $50 for a coworker or friend. And then $100 for a family member. If my entire family of 5 is invited, I usually give $125 or so.

    I’m finding most the comments disheartening. I honestly didn’t know that some people would be insulted by my “small” gift. I wonder what people find more insulting- declining to celebrate with them because I don’t want to spend the money, or my modest gift? Lucky for me, my extended family usually combine our money to buy a large item from the registry!

  4. Katie

    We usually do $200 for close friends and $500 for sibling/cousins.

  5. Carrie

    $100 per person that attends the dinner. Most plates in my area cost the bride and groom around $40 per person. That way the guest covers their dinner and gives the bride/groom a $60 present.

  6. Shane

    It always gets me when a guest comes to a wedding gives $20 in a card, sits for a dinner that cost the couple $50 a person! Thats not a gift…that equates to no gift plus a loss to the bride and groom of $30.

    • j

      Yes, everyone should just write”cash only, $100+” so don’t even think about slipping that $20 bill Grandma.

      • j

        I hope everyone realized the response was a sarcastic one, that’s why I reference requiring your own Grandmother to “gift” you $100+. It’s a ridiculous idea to me.

        • Jourdan Hansen

          Agreed! All of these amounts are crazy! I have never even heard of giving such large gifts! Of course the parents and grandparents do, but from friends and cousins, aunt and uncles people are expecting hundreds of dollars or a large gift?! Good hell, you greedy people!

    • Brittany

      Ummm… No, it is a gift. If I invite you to my house for dinner I don’t expect you to pay for the groceries you ate. I will prepare a meal within my means and enjoy the evening with friends. How is a wedding any different?

      • T


      • Melissa

        I agree!!!!!

      • Gretchen

        Weddings are totally different!!! They tend to be a lot larger and need to be held in special venues to accommodate that, and the venues take advantage and charge exorbitant prices. I’m so happy when one of my cousins get married because I get to see my whole family (I wouldn’t otherwise!) so I help them out by trying to cover my costs in attending. I do the same when I go to a regular dinner party, but in that case it’s only bringing a bottle of wine or dessert because hosting dinner at your home is much much less expensive.

    • mweyler

      I always assumed you invited people to rejoice alongside you–not just for the gift.

      • Jourdan Hansen

        Seriously! Amen.

    • Suzanne H

      I would not expect to invite someone over for dinner and have them reimburse me for their meal. A wedding is the same. If you can’t afford to feed people at a party, wedding, etc. then you need to invite less people. I invited the # of people we could afford whether they gave us anything or not. We did not have uber fancy food – it was a buffet so I sure hope people weren’t pissed off if they gave us a nice gift!

  7. Tami

    I usually do $50-$75, but I believe one should gift what they can afford. When I got married, a lot of the monetary gifts we received were $25-$50 range. We had some gift more, and a few did not even bring a card. Personally, I could not show up to a wedding with no gift at all, but part of that is how I was raised. Growing up, my parents, aunts, uncles, etc always brought a gift. And if they couldn’t attend an event, a gift was always sent. My husband, on the other hand, grew up differently. Reading some of these comments, I am reminded how quickly people are to judge. We need to remember, not everyone was raised in the same environment. I believe a big part of one’s opinion on this topic depends on what you experienced or saw growing up. Those who think gifts should be given at weddings, or even a $ minimum gifted (such as covering the cost of a meal), are most likely not being rude or ungrateful. They most likely grew up seeing this as the norm. Just as those who do not bring a gift, or believe their presence IS the gift, are most likely not rude or conceited. This is just what they grew up seeing as norm.

    • Jourdan Hansen

      Yes! Amen to that, Tami! “Gift what you can afford” – I love that. A wedding is not about getting gifts and if that’s what you’re after, then I think you need to take some time and rethink your choice of getting married. I, like you, could never show up to a wedding without a gift, just like I would never show up empty handed to a birthday party, baby shower or anything like that. But I do not think there should be a minimum amount of how much you should spend! That is just ridiculous. As far as giving extra money to help with the cost of dinner – I have never even thought of that. With my own wedding, we were not concerned about how much money we were getting to help with the wedding costs! That is something you should be prepared for! If you can’t afford it, don’t do it! Simple as that. You should never expect your wedding GUESTS to help cover the costs of anything you have provided for them. I also loved your closing – “presence IS the gift.”

  8. Stacey

    Different areas give different amounts. In my family we typically give $50/ person, but where my husbands from its more like $20. I also have relatives that live in a place where it’s normal to sell “tickets” to guests for weddings/anniversary parties, etc to cover the cost of the meal.
    When we got married we only spent as much money as we were comfortable with never “getting back”. The wedding was about celebrating our day with friends and family and so any gifts we did receive were a bonus.

  9. hk

    As a single mom on a limited income, I have to watch every penny I put out the door. The thought of spending $100 on a wedding gift makes me feel sick. That’s just bc of my situation. I do look on their registry and get something I can afford. When I got married, my ex’s family did nothing for us. But my family, who are not as financially secure, did so much for us. One of my favorite wedding gifts was service for 4 dinner set. I needed service for 8 and I asked where she got it…Big Lots.

  10. Nana

    I can’t get over the responses that have been posted with the idea that the guest is to cover the cost of the wedding meal in their gift. What kind of wedding the bride and groom choose to give should not dictate the gift the guests bring. A gift is a gift not an obligation. So, you only invite guests that can afford to cover the cost of their food and drinks? I have been invited to many weddings over the years — some extravagant and some simple. The gift I give the couple never is in accordance with the extravagance of their wedding. I give a gift to celebrate with the couple their marriage. We live by a budget and $100 plus wedding gifts are not in that budget — especially when there may be as many as 10 in one year. After reading these posts I am hesitant to attend any wedding if these attitudes prevail.

    • JLH

      I agree! ANY gift should be appreciated and not expected. Weddings are a time of celebration with family and friends. Gifts are good but where I’m from you are grateful for any gift no matter the price tag. I’m also on a budget and hesitate to attend celebrations since now at days people just focus on the gift.

  11. misti

    Some of these comments are gross. When i got married it never crossed my mind to think hmm is this gift enough to cover the meal they had. Too weird people think that way. I have not been able to go to some weddings but I still send something.

  12. F

    I think that sometimes we’re better off just getting something from their registry or getting an actual gift than giving cash. Different people seem to have different ideas on what an “acceptable” amount for a gift is – am I giving enough, am I giving too little, etc. Whereas if you buy a gift off the registry or something they might use for their homes, you can usually watch for a sale or use coupons to get it at a price you can afford.

  13. hope

    So if I am invited to a wedding where the menu is not included in the invitation, should I wait to fill out my check and card until after I eat and then can guage what the price per plate totaled?!?!?!? Come on!!! You invite people to celebrate with you, not pay for your wedding! All of these greedy people complaining about the small gifts they received or lack of gidts are a sign of the entitled times we live in. So, so sad!!

  14. Ellen

    We go by the cost of the meal which is usually around $125 per person. about $250 for me and hubby.

  15. Jenna

    Friends, $30. Family $50, maybe. We don’t go to weddings often-most people we know are married. My wedding per plate was $10, 8years ago. Checked caterer site and now $12. I had some people gift just a card, some a gift of prob $10 value, others $100+. I didn’t even think about equating gift values with my cost. That’s not the point. I was grateful that we had 300+ people there to celebrate our wedding day with us. Some of my favorite gifts were NOT registry items. Id rather get a random gift and have the memory of that person tied to it More meaningful. You spend what you want on a wedding and it’s not up to guests to compensate for that.

    I borrowed vases and other centerpieces from people, and tried to be resourceful with all decor for the reception. Spent roughly $100 total on all decor, yes, for a reception of 300+ Half of that was a giant bag of candy that my mom ordered online-probably her first online purchase ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚. Recently my cousin got married and I gave her the fabric table runners I had made for my reception to cut up and use to decorate for her reception.

  16. Shannon Russ

    $50 cash or gift card, $100 for close friends or family.

    A gift is something nice and shouldn’t feel obligated. I don’t feel like it should cover the cost of your plate either. I’ve eaten some very crappy wedding dinners before that I doubt cost $50 a plate. I doubt people invite guests just for a gift and if they do, that’s tacky!

    I did a simple wedding with just close family, gifts weren’t even expected.

  17. sdm1921

    I live in NY (not that it matters) but we typically give $150-$200 for a wedding. When I was in my twenties I always tried to find something off the registry because I had a much more limited budget and could usually get a gift for less than $100. Also – if the couple is well-established (late 30’s or older, high-powered career), I try to do an “experience” instead. My personal opinion is that people who are making $200K + per year probably don’t “need” my $200 gift but might appreciate an excursion on their honeymoon or strawberries and champagne in their hotel room as a surprise. One thing I struggle with is “matching” the gift that you were given by the couple. I have a wedding coming up in December for a friend who was very generous at our wedding and gave us $300 and he didn’t bring a date. He’s getting married in Long Island in December and I feel completely obligated to match his gift back to him. I’d love input on this because when I asked my NYC friends their opinion, they said that I should absolutely match his gift back to him. It’s interesting what the norm is in different parts of the country.

    • Suzanne H

      If he is your friend, give him something meaningful that shows you know him whether or not it “matches” what he gave or not.

  18. Jennifer

    We give $200 minimum if it’s a destination wedding, $300-400 depending on how close we are to the couple if we don’t need to travel or we have a place to stay with family.

  19. Suzanne H

    I generally give a gift that is about $100-$150 depending upon how well I know the person, etc. My friend’s daughter got married 2 years ago and I spent about $75 on a gift that was worth about $120 or so (yea for coupons!). My goddaughter is getting married in 2 weeks and I bought her a registry item that was $130 (after coupons) because she said it was what she wanted/needed the most. Her want/need was the most important factor and as I am closer to her than my friend’s daughter, I spent more on her. I do think that where you live is a factor. I know people from NYC that think anything under $200 is cheap b/c the cost of living is so nuts there. That said, when we got married (granted this was 10 years ago), most of our gifts were in the $100 range. There were lots lower than that and a few people came in higher. We had some great group gifts where I know several people gave $20ish. I also had some people that didn’t give gifts at all for a variety of reasons (spent $ on travel, spent $ to be in wedding, simply could not afford to give). I was happy to have my friends/family there regardless. People need to get a grip with this “me, me, me – make sure you pay me for my graduation, my wedding, every kid I have, everytime I blow my nose, etc., etc., etc.” attitude! Just be grateful for whatever you get be it a card, money, someone’s time or their love and affection! If you can’t afford to feed all of the people you want to invite, be an adult and scale down your wedding. You should be getting married because you are positively breathless with anticipation over the thought of joining with your mate for the rest of your lives (I was!) not because you will be getting piles and piles of cash and stuff!

  20. polly

    I usually don’t exceed $20. It’s all we can do. I can’t fathom the amounts some people have been claiming.

  21. Kristyn

    We were married in November, and were adamant about letting our guests know how we feel about gifts: If you attend our wedding from out of town, DO NOT bring us a gift! Your attendance is our gift! Airfare, hotels, etc. are far too expensive for people to need to worry about a gift, too. I think it’s rude and selfish to expect anything more.

  22. Corinn

    After reading most of these post I kept thinking how sad it is that our young ones are more concerned with their Wedding Day then they are with their marriage. They spend so much time and energy looking for that special dress ,flowers & venue but no time nurturing their relationship. That’s why so many marriages fail. The Wedding Day is just that “a day” in their life together. Please, if you are thinking about getting married be sure you think it through, because after the honeymoon there are dirty dishes to wash and smelly clothes and disagreements and disappointments to deal with. A marriage should only be between two people that have fallen deeply in love with one another that want to spend the rest of their lives together. We should only be having wedding we can comfortably afford , not expecting others to pay it! What are we teaching our children? Sad!

    • Heather

      Very well said, Corinn!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

It's not your Grandma's coupon site!

Sign up for a Hip2Save account (it's free) to access all of the awesome features!

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Register

Already have an account? Login

Thank you for rating!

Would you also like to leave us a comment?