Tips on How Much to Spend on Wedding Gifts

Being invited to a wedding is indeed an honor. However, it is also pretty much a contractual obligation to get the couple a gift. When giving a wedding gift, no one wants to appear cheap when the presents are opened. But, when you accept a wedding invitation, you are also accepting the costs of travel and lodging to attend, which can put huge damage to your budget. Therefore, as a guest, how do you think can you balance your financial obligations while still giving the newlyweds a great gift?

Learning about how much to spend on a wedding gift without breaking any wedding gift etiquette is a sensitive matter. If you will be attending a wedding soon and you haven’t thought about a gift yet, you might also be thinking about how much you should spend on it. If you need a wedding gift calculator, we’re here to help. In this post, we are giving you some of the best tips on how much to spend on wedding gifts. 

Important Factors to Consider to Determine How Much to Spend on a Wedding Gift

A big gift might be great for some situations. However, it is not a requirement. When you are thinking of giving a wedding gift, there are two major factors that you need to consider to be able to know how much you should spend. One is your budget, and the other is your relationship with the couple. But aside from those, there are other things that you may also want to look into. To help you, here are the important factors to consider to know how much to spend on a wedding gift:

  • Budget

The very first thing that you need to look into when figuring out how much to spend on a wedding gift is your budget. Your monthly budget is the one that will allow you to spend on the things that are needed, and celebrating a friend or a family member’s wedding day can be included in that. What you need to remember is to not spend more on a gift than you can fit in your budget. If you want to give a nice wedding gift without going into debt, you can try cutting back a bit on eating out or shopping. 

There are some who always want to go big when giving gifts. This is true, especially for those whose love language is gift-giving. However, the amount you can spend on a wedding gift mainly depends on your budget and how much you are willing to spend. 

  • Relationship to the Bride and Groom

In addition to your budget, another major thing to consider is your closeness to the couple. This actually makes sense. After all, when you are thinking of how much to spend on a wedding gift, you’d probably get a more expensive gift for your sister than you would for a high school colleague. Therefore, do not let someone’s spending habits drive your decision-making. Let your budget and your relationship with the couple guide your choices. Below are some examples of the average gift amount depending on the relationship between the bride and groom given by Wedding Forward:

Average Wedding Gift Amount (based on relationship to the couple)
Sibling $195
Best Friend $159
Family Member $94
Friend $89
Partner’s Friend $85
Colleagues $63
Acquaintances $45
  • Cost of the Wedding

There is also a popular myth that suggests that the amount you spend on a wedding gift should be equal to what the bride and groom spend on you. However, you should not fall for this myth. First of all, there is no way to know how much the couple spent. Also, remember that they are not throwing a wedding party to just receive gifts. Therefore, do not mind this myth. The price of the wedding should not weigh into the amount of money you spend on a gift. 

  • Cultural Norms

It is also essential to consider some cultural norms when it comes to giving wedding gifts. There are cultures where cash is considered a traditional gift. For instance, Japanese weddings usually have generous cash gifts that range from $300 to $1000, depending on the closeness of the guest to the couple. Another example is in traditional Cantonese weddings where cash gifts are usually big, such as giving $888, as 8 is a lucky number for them.

In other cultures, cash gifts also have meaning. For example, at Jewish weddings, money in multiples of $18 is common because 18 is the numerical equivalent to “chai” or life. Therefore, if you are attending a wedding for someone of a different culture than yours, it is important to do some research first and see if there is anything that you need to know when it comes to wedding gifts.

a wedding gift registry

  • Cost of Attending the Wedding

You also need to consider the fact that you’re already spending some money to attend the wedding, particularly if it is a destination wedding or during peak season. You are likely spending for accommodations or maybe flights. Therefore, during those situations, it is fair to assume that the couple is conscious of how much their guests are spending. If you are spending a lot of money just to be there on their special day, you can reduce how much you spend on the gift. Remember that your presence is also considered a gift.

When is a Wedding Gift Not Needed?

Gifts are indeed expected at weddings. However, there can also be times when a gift is no longer needed or required. For example, if you have contributed serious time or money by helping out with the wedding preparations and party, such as hosting the bridal shower or serving as the makeup artist for the bride on her wedding day, you are no longer expected to spend on a gift. When you only bring gifts to events where they are expected, the money that you have to spend can be used for other purposes. 

Spend Only What You Can Afford

It is important that you limit your gift-giving to what you can afford, even if it is less than what etiquette suggests. Remember that the couple invited you to their wedding as they want you to celebrate with them. Therefore, prioritize your budget however you need to make that happen, even if it means you can only give them a smaller gift.


It is indeed exciting to attend a wedding, and finding a great gift can be fun, too. However, you have to remember that giving a wedding gift is not just about how much you spend but also about how much effort you’ve put into it. A more thoughtful wedding gift is better than an expensive one that is not very useful for the newlyweds. The amount you should spend on a wedding gift will still depend on how much you are willing to give. We hope this post helped you learn more about spending on wedding gifts.