The average friend of the couple spends $79 on a wedding gift, according to TheKnot.com. Family members spend nearly twice that: $146. The Knot advises wedding guests to consider the following formula:
- Co-worker or distant family friend or relative: $75-$100.
- Relative or friend: $100-$125.
- Close relative or close friend: $100-$150.
How you spend that money varies by region. In some parts of the country, buying an item off the couple’s registry is a fantastic way to give. But "don’t bring a bulky gift to the wedding reception," says Katie Stedman, owner of Day Planner Events in Denver, who recommends instead sending it to the address on the couple’s registry. "This will help avoid having a member of the wedding party load up a vehicle at the end of the night."
Destination weddings have a whole different set of rules, says Hill. You still need to give a gift, but it definitely can be less extravagant than what you’d have given had you not had to book a hotel or bought a plane ticket.
If your budget won’t allow for a cash gift or one off the registry, or you want to give something more personal, think of something the couple will truly value.
"As a wedding gift, I had a friend who is an artist paint a portrait of the couple," says Hill. "It was really nice and the couple loved it. I think it is important to go personal if you are going to go off of the registry. Then the couple thinks, 'oh, we completely understand why you did that.'"
How much should you give as a wedding gift? Is $200 too much? Is a gift better than cash? Tell us what you think.