Whether it is your best friend, a family member or a co-worker; wedding presents seem to cause much anxiety for the people buying them. You don’t want to appear cheap; but also realize the senseless act of throwing $100 on a Cuisanart Mixer that you imagine will be sold at a yard sale or left collecting dust on a garage shelf. The truth is that married couples can be a bit extreme when they consider their shower registry and many couples today already have everything they need to play house; so why buy more? This of course throws up the question about whether or not money is the best and most versatile gift of all. The trouble is that if you are on a budget there is no real way to wrap up a $20 bill to make it look like a well thought out gift! And the $20 will start screaming cheap, cheap, cheap – as soon as it is opened. After all, aside from a meal at the nearest Waffle House, what can a couple buy with $20? So, how much to spend on a wedding present? Follow these quick tips to come up with a gift you can live with!
First of all, in a poll of recently engaged couples most (86%) prefer cash. They can use the cash for their honeymoon or to help pay bills once the wedding drama is behind them. Cash is always a great gift and since so many young people now purchase homes and set up kitchens and baths before getting married; filling the cabinets with kitchen gadgets can be a waste of money. The wedding registry is one of those things that married couples (especially women) feel like they have to do and although it makes gift giving easier for out of town friends and family it isn’t always a practical assessment of what they need. If you are giving cash, consider a few things. First are you expected to attend a wedding shower, the wedding and participate in an engagement present? If so you must be awfully close to the bride and groom and you should spend wisely! If a card will suffice for an engagement present, you are skipping the shower then you can spend your money on just the wedding gift. In that case, being overly frugal will not speak volumes for your sensitivity. In this case your how much to spend on a wedding present becomes a bit easier because you are only being asked to get one present!
One easy formula for figuring out how much to spend is to spend $20 for each year you have been close to the couple. If you have known your co-worker and feel close to them for the past 4 years, then $80 would be a suitable expenditure. If the bride and groom are your brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers or cousins that you have spent a lifetime building a relationship with – then spend a bit more! In any case, unless you are the parent of the bride and groom spending more than $150 is and should not be expected of anyone! Whether you give cash or something off the registry is really a personal choice. If you know the couple well and realize that the fine china plates at $60 a piece will never get used then choose something that resonates with them. A gift certificate for a couple’s massage or tickets to a football game can be a nice way to change it up. Many of the wedding gifts people give and receive today get returned before all the wrapping paper is even peeled away and the idea of a registry and shower gifts has become a tad outdated.
The other thing to consider when spending is how much you can afford. If you are in the midst of financial hardships than choose to spend what you can. Also, throwing together a heart felt gift of a poem, a picture of creating a photo story of the couple’s road to wedlock can make beautiful gifts that will last a lifetime, are virtually free and show that you care deeply about the couple. Anyone can go to Macy’s and purchase tea cups; but not everyone can do something that touches the couple at a sentimental level. If they are your friends and family chances are they will understand your financial predicament and not expect a grandiose gift. What really matters is that you took the time to show up at the wedding (and all the other events related to it), sat in the pews and witnessed the event without protest and support the couple no matter what you really think of their matrimonial decision. Many couples have no idea who gave them what anyways! It is senseless and ridiculous to be late paying an electric bill because you worried about how much to spend on a wedding present! Also, keep in mind that many people who attend weddings dot bring a gift at all. They simply mail a check attached to a good luck card a few weeks after the swirl of dust has settled and most married people appreciate this just as much or more!
The idea of worrying about how much to spend on a wedding present does indicate that we are often more concerned about how we appear to others than about what is realistic for us. It really isn’t the present that matters. Etiquette says that without a doubt; showing up is the most important aspect of wedding manners. If you were invited and can make it no matter how much you want to stay home and watch the NCAA football games; you need to go. Even if you think the wedding doesn’t stand a chance, you need to attend and respect the event that is taking place. If you are related to the people and are expected to travel great distances your how much to spend on a present question is even easier to answer! Traveling means you can show up with a minimal gift or even nothing, especially if you had to foot the bill for the travel expenses. Most people will agree that weddings are stressful and disrupt weekend plans; but keep in mind how much money and planning has went into the event and you will realize that the gift of your presence speaks volumes over the price of the present in your hand.