Wedding Gift Ideas


Is it okay to give cash?

Yes. When American couples were asked which gifts they most hoped to receive, cash won by a substantial margin:

While cash is also the gift guests most prefer to give— it’s not actually not as popular as the couples preference (above). So guests don’t like giving cash as much as couples like receiving cash.

Note: It’s not just Americans who prefer cash. In one survey last year, 77% of Irish couples said they prefer cash as a wedding gift.


Can I buy something that's not on the wedding registry?

Yes. You’re still fine to buy something not on the registry even though 98% of wedding websites have a gift registry.

Here’s a tip for doing it: buy something you wouldn’t normally find on the registry. For example, don’t buy your favourite blanket if the couple has a blanket on their registry— you should instead buy the one that was on the registry (that’s their preference!). The couple is the one who has to live the gift— so make sure it’s to their taste.


How much should I spend?

Here’s the first thing to know: price-for-your-plate is not done anymore. It’s an outdated idea. I mean, think about it: should you really give your best friend a less expensive gift just because they are having a smaller, casual wedding? Not to mention, you probably shouldn’t know how much the host is spending on the wedding! The size of the gift should reflect if you’re attending with a guest.

How much to spend should be a personal question. You should consider your own budget and also your relationship to the couple.

Your own budget for wedding gifts will likely fluctuate through your lifetime. Perhaps in your 20s the gifts will be smaller until later in your life.

Considering your relationship to the couple is a bit trickier. The Knot suggests this is the ballpark you should be aiming for:

  • Coworker and/or a distant family friend or relative: $50-$75
  • Relative or friend: $75-$100
  • Close relative or friend: $100-$150

(This also approximates giving guides like this.)

Note: Destination weddings obviously change the calculus. If you have to spend a good amount to travel to a wedding then it’s okay to gift a bit less. Though it might still be nice to bring a gift— something modest is fine.


Free Gift Ideas

If it is appropriate to give a gift that doesn’t cost anything, you will want to be creative. here are a few ideas I came across while searching:

"Best wedding gift I received came from friends who were really poor. They explained, a new couple never has enough rags to clean up with, and they gave us a bundle of rags. That was thoughtful." Source
"I got married before digital cameras. The gifts I appreciated the most weren't really even given as official gifts, but they should have been - some of the guests took many pictures and sent us copies. I let hubbie pick out the wedding photographer. He went with the lowest price and the official photos were awful. So the candid shots taken by guests were my favorites, and the ones that fleshed out my wedding book. A very thoughtful gift I think today would be to make a photo book of the shots you take at and around the wedding and send it to the bride and groom after the wedding." - Source
"A few years ago I got an instant camera (for those my age: a Polaroid camera... Though not made by Polaroid) and have brought it to events, and recently I brought not just it, but a blank book (which had individual removable pages), a box of gel pens and a bunch of stickers and double sided tape, and passed it around the reception. People took pictures and wrote notes and decorated the pages. Since people could remove a page and work on it, multiple people were doing it at once and it ended up being an instant scrapbook. It was pretty cute." - Source
"One of my favorite wedding gifts is a framed needlepoint picture of my wedding invitation."- Source

Should I bring my gift to the wedding?

This has actually changed with the Internet.

While bringing your gift to the reception was common for a long time, these days guests can use the Internet to have the gift sent directly to the couples door.

The exception is of course gift cards and checks. They can be brought to the ceremony.


Do I really have a year to give a wedding gift?


You should give it sooner if you can but the gift can certainly arrive up to one year following the wedding.


What if the couple has said no gifts?

It's always appropriate to take the couple at their word. Though make sure you’ve read the language carefully :)


Does a plus-one bring a gift?

No. Allow the person who invited you to take care of the gift. You can always ask them if you'd like to go in on the gift.


What to write in the card?

You should always give a card. Here a few tips about what write in it:

  • Try to be personal. Write about how you knew the couple was right for each other. Or share a favourite story.
  • Keep it classy. The cards may be read by many people— so don’t write anything the bridge and groom wouldn’t want to share.
  • If either is divorced don’t mention their previous partner (even as a joke).

You can keep things formal:

  • "Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness."
  • "May the years ahead be filled with lasting joy."
  • "Wishing you joy, love and happiness on your wedding day and as you begin your new life together."
  • "With warmest wishes and love today and always,"

You can go for funny:

  • "As Bill and Ted said, 'Be excellent to each other.’"
  • "I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious, then? Congrats on the engagement!"
  • "Marriage is a rollercoaster ride. May you have more ups than downs and more laughs than screams. Most importantly, may you both enjoy the best ride of your life every night. "
  • "Our marriage advice: Always kiss the cook, whoever cooks DOESN’T clean!"
  • "Tag, your it!"

Or go for something cute:

  • "I predict cute babies."
  • "Congratulations to an amazing friend and soon-to-be friend. Can’t wait to get to know him more."
  • "I’m so thrilled to hear about your engagement! You two are such wonderful people and I can’t think of a better pairing. So excited for what the coming years will bring!"

Finally, a classy closing is always nice:

  • May the road rise to meet you,
  • Warmly,
  • Love always,
  • Much love to you both,
  • Over the river and through the woods,
  • Kind thoughts,

Or close with something funny:

  • Godspeed,
  • Cheerio,
  • Fair thee well,
  • Don’t let the bed bugs bite,
  • That’s all she wrote,
  • Copyright 2017,
  • Live long and prosper,

Tip: Buy from the registry early

If buying off the registry, buy early. If you buy the gift as soon as you receive the “save the date” then you have the widest selection in the gift registry.

This is also handy for price-conscious gifts. If you buy early you’ll have the most options for something in your budget.


Tip: Consider a Group Gift

According to a survey by The Knot, couples favourite gifts are often group gifts— people pooling their money to buy something bigger.

A group gift may also be handy for single guests who are having trouble finding something affordable in the registry.