If you’re attending a wedding this year, there’s a good chance the couple may want cash gifts instead of something straight from their registry. Cash wedding gifts aren’t nearly as gauche as they once were either, as it allows the couple to choose exactly what they need to start their new life together.
How Much is an Appropriate Amount for a Cash Wedding Gift?
It depends on a lot of factors, including your relationship to the couple. How close are you? How often do you see them? How long have you known each other?
- Acquaintance or coworker
- Any amount under $50 may be seen as a faux-pas, but don’t feel pressured to go above $75.
- Relative or friend
- Show your appreciation for your relationship by giving a gift of $75 – $100.
- Close friend or relative
- To celebrate the momentous occasion, close friends often give $100 – $150, or more if you are so inclined.
Remember, you know your budget and what you’re willing to give. According to the Washington Post, “each guest should decide how much to spend based on their own budget, not the budget of the couple getting married. A wedding guest’s gift budget will likely fluctuate throughout their lifetime: Smaller gifts in their 20s, then perhaps more once they’re in their 30s and 40s.”
Don’t feel like you have to give a bigger gift at a more expensive wedding. “If you throw a potluck wedding, that doesn’t mean you’re relegated to a woodcarving gift,” said Lizzie Post, the great-great-granddaughter of etiquette expert Emily Post. “Someone could still buy you a sterling silver tea set.”
Keep it minimal and skip the pressures of gift giving altogether with a cool and casual wedding!
If You’re Attending the Wedding by Yourself
Think about your relationship to the couple when deciding on an appropriate amount to gift. How well do you know them? What does their wedding signify to you?
If You’re Attending the Wedding as a Couple
If you brought a plus one who does not know the couple very well, ask if they’re comfortable pitching in or simply contribute a small amount on their behalf. If you and your significant other both know the couple well, consider giving a larger joint gift.
If You’re Attending the Wedding as a Group
It’s a great idea for a group of wedding guests to pool their money together. Either give the gift as a lump sum from everyone, or use the money to purchase a big ticket item off the registry that the couple might not have received otherwise.
The Arizona Republic notes how useful it can be to collaborate on a gift: “getting all the members of a group to agree on an item can be a hassle, and the couple still might not like what you choose. So perhaps a group check or gift card worth a few or several hundred dollars might be the better way to go.”
Guests who came together (and pooled their money) will be happier and more comfortable when seated together. Carefully plan your wedding seating chart!
What is the Average Gift Amount for a Wedding?
Honestly, there’s no definitive answer. Check out the registry for a good idea on what the average price tag is on requested gifts. This will give you a better sense of how much you should spend or offer monetarily.
“These days, couples are statistically older and more established in their lives, so when they register, they are truly asking for things that they need,” wedding industry insider Megan Ely told Reuters. “It really takes the guesswork out of it for the guests.”
Let’s be real, though: you don’t want to be the fifth guest to bring napkin rings or cupcake tins. Make sure that your gift will be thoughtful and special.
What If You Simply Cannot Afford a Gift?
Don’t despair! There are plenty of great solutions that the bride and groom will appreciate.
- You can offer something special that isn’t expensive but will have sentimental value. For relatives, this may be some kind of family heirloom or an object with a story attached to it.
- You could make something yourself. Artistic friends will often gift the couple something that they’ve created especially for them. Technically, this will often cost less, but it’s far more personal.
- You could regift something that you received previously.
- You can also give a gift in the couple’s honor to a charity or other worthy cause.
Gifts are often not expected when attending a destination wedding. With the cost of traveling so high, the bride and groom will just be happy that you were able to come!
What is the Safest Way to Give a Cash Wedding Gift?
Nowadays, there are a variety of safe and easy ways for guests to give cash as a wedding gift.
- Go digital and use a cash app such as Venmo or Paypal.
- Keep it casual by giving a pre-paid debit card.
- Hand a wedding card (with the cash inside) directly to the recipient.
- Choose to go the old-fashioned route and simply write a check.
Avoid limiting options for the bride and groom with brand-specific gift cards to stores or restaurants.
Now that you’re a wedding gift etiquette pro, check out our list of wedding guest myths that we totally debunk! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for your daily dose of wedding inspo!