You’re most likely going to attend a few weddings in your lifetime, and as a guest you have a few (unwritten) obligations. Don’t wear white, don’t drink too much, try not to flirt too much with the bride and/or groom, and come bearing a gift. While most of the obligations are straightforward, the question of how much you’re supposed to gift at a wedding can get tricky. According to this discussion, there are a number of factors that come into play when deciding on the amount which include: your relation to bride and groom, how far you traveled to attend the wedding, and how much your presence will cost the married couple-to-be. On average, most respondents agreed on $100-$150 per person and $200-$300 per couple, and upwards of $50 per person extra if the guest(s) is related to the bride & groom or if there is an open bar.
We decided to delve a little deeper into the topic and talk to two experts about the matter: Natalie Ho, recent bride, and lifestyle & DIY blogger of MyLittleSecrets.com, and Rebecca Chan of Rebecca Chan Weddings and Events. Check out their answers below:
“This really does depend but I’d say on average per guest can range anywhere between $100-$200 as a wedding gift. From my personal experience, the average for a Toronto or a comparable city seems to land at $150 per guest. If you’re having a destination wedding and you’re expecting your guests to fly out to celebrate with you, generally, a lower denomination as a wedding gift is appropriate, their travel time and cost alone would also be considered as their wedding gift to the couple. I definitely think that the relationship does affect the amount, very close friends, generally increase by 1/3 or double in amount, for immediate and close families, I would say the amount may increase exponentially but of course, this really also depends on upbringing and financial circumstances. Gift or no gift, you should never expect to receive one, though it is a customary practice among weddings of all sizes and cultures.”
“My only advice here is, if you do not want to receive a traditional wrapped gift, then do not have a gift registry. Though in some cultures, it is customary to gift an actual wrapped gift. From my own experience, I received a few beautifully wrapped gifts and I only registered for my bridal shower and not for the wedding. It is NEVER ok to put on your invitation that you want money instead of gifts, NEVER!!! It doesn’t matter how you phrase it, I would 100% advise against this!! And of course, always follow up with a thank you card to all your guests – gifts (or none) regardless of what type and their attendance!”