How much should a wedding present cost?

Posted by on May 23, 2008 in Misc.

I have been invited to a wedding next month from a pretty close friend (he doesn’t read this blog- I think). I like going to weddings; weddings have a “this is your life” feel to it (and, if you think about it, the only other time you have a “this is your life” experience is at a funeral) and everyone is always happy at weddings. No, I am not a wedding crasher. Who do you think I am?

But I always get pensive right after I get the wedding invitation. The first question that comes to mind is always “what the heck do I get these people?” especially if they are not on a registry. When people get married in their 20′s that’s an easy question to answer. No one has anything good; our futons were used as couches, our utensil’s a mis-match and we all had about 2 plates to our name (chipped too). When you hit your 30′s though….your friends have nice stuff so what do you get them?

Which always leads to the next question- how much money do you spend on a wedding present? It use to be that $100 was the magic mark in my mind- Eaton’s use to sell silver salt and pepper shakers for $89.99 (wow, I just dated myself making an Eaton’s reference). But, with inflation and the increasing expectations of a consumption society, $100.00 doesn’t buy you what it use to.

What’s the guide anymore? How much do you spend on a wedding present? Or, if you have been married lately, what did you consider an overly cheap present or overly expensive (here’s your chance to complain about Aunt Jackie’s present and use a fake name doing it). Thoughts?

10 Comments on How much should a wedding present cost?

By guinness416 on May 23, 2008 at 6:10 am

Isn’t the standard these days “covering your meal”? So I’m told by my brother, who’s well up on these things. We eloped, so only got presents from very close family and friends, but didn’t receive anything that I’d consider too cheap. Some that were definitely too expensive though. The thing about wedding presents is that everyone says they “only want you there”, but it’s hard to know who REALLY thinks that and who’s a points-keeper. I’ve definitely heard some whining about inadequate gifts from people I wouldn’t have expected to care so much.

By Jo on May 23, 2008 at 7:33 am

For recent weddings, I’ve tried to give something meaningful or useful which shows I’ve spent some thought on the gift, and $50. That may be too frugal, but when I get married I’m going to ask that everyone donate whatever amount they want to charity so it’s not a case where I’d be looking for anything expensive (or anything at all) from them..

By 45free on May 23, 2008 at 8:17 am

I have always used the “covering your meal” rule of thumb rounding up or down depending on the person. The difficulty with that is, how much does the meal cost? I was married when Eatons was still around and for what was a fairly nice meal at a fairly nice hotel “covering the meal” for 2 people would have been a little north of $100. I am guessing these days, that would sound something like $200. As for the cheapest gift…I invited a friend from high school who I had been very close to for many years (my best friend all through high school) and his parents who were good friends with my parents. We needed to exchange what they gave us as one of the glasses was chipped. The store no longer had any so they offered us a store credit for the value of the gift…$6.50…including tax!

By Elaine on May 23, 2008 at 8:57 am

I’m getting married this summer and the thing we want but can’t put on a registry is MONEY! hehe.

By R I on May 23, 2008 at 9:54 am

I think $125 to cover one plate is a good figure – that’s what I’ve been putting the last 2-3 years. I guess it depends on where they are having it. A particularly nice place, or if they are providing you with lunch before the ceremony, could push it up higher. Then if I feel particularly close to the bride and groom, I may give them a little bit extra

By Four Pillars on May 23, 2008 at 1:53 pm

I give $100 per person attending – so $200 for my wife & I.


By Investoid on May 24, 2008 at 1:34 am

I’ve got 5 weddings this year – we’re going with an average of $150 total. This would have likely been higher, if not for a) so many weddings within 8 months of each other and b) two of the weddings are away, so we’re spending about $4K just to go to those.

By admin on May 24, 2008 at 10:49 am

I am guessing the range is $100-$150 from the comments.

Maybe I should also ask what happens if you are attending the 2nd or 3rd wedding for the same person! Haha.

By Saturday Weigh In and Linkstuff on May 31, 2008 at 5:42 am

[...] had a laugh when Thicken My Wallet worried about not spending enough on wedding gifts. I’ve been budgeting $50 for most friends who get married. TMW is increasing from $100. I [...]

By Jordan on November 22, 2008 at 6:17 pm

For me, i would say about 50 dollars, but that’s me. I like to save money.

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