Anyone that has (1) planned a wedding, (2) been a part of a wedding, (3) or has attended a wedding knows exactly how stressful and overwhelming weddings can be.
One of the most common topics I am asked about throughout the entire process has to do with gift-giving. What should I gift? How much do I spend? When do I give the couple their gift?
There is so much confusion surrounding wedding gift-giving etiquette… but thankfully, I’ve been doing this long enough to pick up some helpful insight into this incredibly confusing topic.
Please keep in mind that everything here is merely a suggestion. There is no right or wrong when it comes to gift-giving (or weddings in general). Take everything I say with a grain of salt and do what you think is best considering your relationship with the couple.
WEDDING GIFT-GIVING SHOULDN’T BE SO CONFUSING. HERE ARE THE TOP 10 GIFT-GIVING QUESTIONS I AM ASKED BY ALL MEMBERS OF THE WEDDING (AND MY ANSWERS TO THEM)!
1. Do I have to get them something from their wedding gift registry?
A common practice in the wedding industry is for the couple to set up a wedding gift registry.
This is a place for them to call out their most wanted and needed items to give guests helpful ideas when it comes to gift-giving. Wedding gift registries are especially helpful to both sides of the exchange because of the clear communication at hand. There will be no confusion or offense taken, AND you can have full faith that the gift you give will be well worth its money and will be used for years to come.
For most couples, it’s important to remember that these gifts not only help them start their life together as a married couple but their home as well. Even if they don’t have a wedding registry, you might still consider reaching out to them for ideas on what they really need to start their lives together.
2. How do I know what to get them if they don’t have a registry? (Common Gift Ideas)
Wedding registries – while useful – just aren’t everyone’s style.
For some couples, it feels a bit weird to ask for money and gifts in such a forward manner. And even if you reach out to ask them what they need, they might still shy away from answering for the same reason. So there you are, without a clue in the world as to what you should get the couple. Don’t fear! Here are a few gift ideas I’ve come across over the years:
- You know the couple best. Consider their style, their history together, and their joys and passions. Let these factors help guide you in your gift-giving.
- Don’t shy away from the necessities – Bed, Bath, and Beyond gifts are extremely useful for most couples! And even if you’re not sure exactly what to get, consider giving them a gift card from BB&B with a thoughtful, handwritten letter straight from the heart.
- Get creative! If the couple is asking for cash, have fun with it and display the cash in a funny and intriguing way.
- Here are 25 more wedding gift-giving ideas!
3. When do I give them their gift?
There’s really no right answer here.
But, some of the answers come off a bit more thoughtful than others.
As a general recommendation, you should plan ahead and try to send your wedding gift 2 weeks before the wedding, unless of course, they request that attendees bring their gifts to the wedding. If you don’t want the couple to receive their gift before the wedding, then anytime between the wedding day and 2 months after is recommended.
Some sites say within a year of the couple’s wedding is acceptable, but it’s up to you.
If you’re a part of the couple’s wedding party, you may be giving them their gifts at the rehearsal dinner, or something similar. Parents and close family members generally gift the day of while the couple is getting ready, as do the bride and groom. More on that in questions 7, 8, and 9!
4. How much do I spend on their wedding gift?
Ahh, yes. The big question.
And guess what? There really is no right answer here either!
Stick with what you can afford, first and foremost. Consider your relationship with the couple. Look into the average gift size for your geographic location, or ask a few other wedding guests close to you for a ballpark number on how much they are spending.
Stop stressing if the amount you choose is too much or not enough. There is really no way to tell and in most cases, the couple isn’t going to make a big deal of it. I always recommend thoughtfulness over price. Really take time to consider the couple and what would be most meaningful to them.
5. What about group gifting?
Sometimes an item on the couple’s wedding registry can be on the pricier side – making it so that this is one of the last gifts open for purchase on their list.
Good news! You don’t have to do it alone!
You should definitely consider reaching out to a few other wedding guests and asking them to split the gift with you. I promise the couple doesn’t mind – they’re getting their dream gift in the end!
6. What if I want to get a pampering gift to help the bride and groom prepare the day of?
For some close friends and family who know the bride and groom well, there is another viable gift idea at play.
A self-care gift to help them prepare for their big day!
Purchase a gift card to a spa. Buy them a self-care gift basket to use for their big day. Maybe some essential oils to help calm their nerves? I can help you with that! Check out our post on bridal self-care with essential oils!
7. As a parent of the bride or groom, what’s the gift-giving etiquette?
Ultimately, it’s up to you and your preferences, but we recommend giving your gift to the bride and groom shortly after they finish getting ready, but before the wedding has started.
Not only does this give you two a moment together before all of the commotion begins, but it also doubles as a perfect picture for your photographer to capture! Just think about how amazing it will be to look back at those pictures in a few years!
You know your child best, but in most cases, we see parents gifting some sort of a family heirloom or another especially thoughtful gift to the bride and groom. This gift often comes with some words of wisdom and a few tears!
8. As a member of the wedding party, what’s the gift-giving etiquette?
Odds are, you’re already spending quite a bit of money on this wedding as a member of the wedding party.
That doesn’t necessarily get you out of buying the couple a wedding gift, but it does give you a little bit more leeway. Typically, members of the wedding party give their gifts to the couple at the rehearsal dinner. Reach out to your couple and see if they have anything planned. If not, it’s up to you!
Because of your close personal proximity to the bride and groom, most of the gifts from the wedding party will be more thoughtful or personal than those from the general guest population. It’s difficult to give gift ideas here because you truly know the couple best. Use your best judgment when choosing their gift!
9. What should I gift my significant other on our wedding day?
This one is a special one.
Nowadays, a lot of couples choose to give each other a special gift before the ceremony on the wedding day. A lot of the time, this may just be a handwritten note for the other to read and cherish. But we’ve also seen brides surprise their groom with a boudoir album the day of that they had been hiding for some time. Again, you know your significant other best, so take some time to consider what might be most meaningful to them!
10. I’m still considering doing party favors at my wedding, what’s the etiquette for that?
This one really depends on the size of your wedding.
Couples who hold bigger weddings usually go all out for party favors, whereas couples who hold smaller weddings oftentimes go for the more thoughtful gift or memorabilia. Take the location of your wedding into consideration when choosing your party favors: if it’s going to be hot and sunny, supply some sunscreen and paper fans. Consider giving the kids something to do at the wedding and adding in a little something extra for the parents! 😜
Still not sure where to start with your gift-giving? That’s what I am here for!
I specialize in listening to your out-of-this-world wedding ideas, then saving you time + sanity by planning it all out. I aspire to make your wedding and elopement planning simple. My job is to bring the heart to this business – plus the spreadsheets, documents, and checklists. All you have to do is bring the love, (and some money) and I’ll make your wildest wedding and elopement ideas come true!