Wedding gift etiquette is both simple and complicated at the same time. When everything goes as planned, it seems quite simple and straightforward. However, if a wrench is thrown into the plans, then things can get quite confusing. One example of this is the question of whether you need to give a gift if you don’t go to the wedding.
Do you give a gift if you don’t go to the wedding? You don’t have to, but it’s nice to give a gift, especially if a close family member or a good friend is getting married.
But if you are not attending the wedding, why should you have to pay for a gift? Would it be rude if you don’t have enough money to spare for the gift? We will take a look at the overall wedding gift etiquette and answer these questions and more below.
Do you give a gift if you don’t go to the wedding?
There is no rule as such that tells you to do one thing or the other. A wedding is about the union of two people who spend the rest of their lives with each other. It’s a beautiful thing and all about cherishing life and love. When it comes to wedding gift etiquette, it can get complicated sometimes since a lot of people have pre-nuptial celebrations and multiple events that are held between their engagement and the wedding. Does that mean you need to give a gift for each of these events? You don’t have to but you can if you want to.
When it comes to pre-wedding events and celebrations, you aren’t required to get the couple any gift. If you attend them, you can as it might be rude not to do so but it doesn’t have to be an expensive one. However, if you can’t make it, sending a card wishing them well is more than enough too. Instead of just sending a generic card with a printed message, you can give a handwritten note with it for a more personal touch. A lot will also depend on how close you are to the couple. If you are best friends or close family, you can probably get them something.
A wedding party is a little bit different. You don’t have to give them a gift if you can’t attend it but as the couple was gracious enough to invite you, you might want to send them something. Again, it doesn’t need to be expensive at all because what matters the most is the thought behind the gift. You don’t even have to spend any money apart from the postal or courier fees. You are limited only by your imagination and therefore the sky is the limit.
How wedding gift etiquetes change based on different scenarios?
Let’s go through the different ways in which you can respond politely when it comes to giving wedding gifts.
- Not close to the couple – If you are not too close to the couple, you don’t have to send them a gift if you can’t attend the wedding. You also don’t need to send a card to them if you don’t want to. However, you will have to inform them that you can’t make it and it would be polite to call them up and wish them happiness.
- Close family – When it comes to close family members, it would be rude not to get them anything at their wedding even if you can’t make it. They are your flesh and blood of course and family means everything. The gift doesn’t need to be expensive if that’s what you are worried about. Even a handwritten note will be more than enough. If you can spend some money on the gift, you can check the wedding registry and pick something that you can afford.
- Close or best friends – Similar to family, the relationship between close or best friends is extremely important and one that has stood the test of time. Since you know a lot about them finding an ideal gift shouldn’t be a problem. If you can’t make it, you should call them and let them know you won’t be able to attend the wedding. You can also make a plan to celebrate together either before or after the wedding.
How much is spent on wedding gifts generally?
Although this is quite difficult to figure out, you can use the average amount mentioned below that people spend to get an idea of what might be expected.
- Friends – $50 per person
- Extended family – $70 per person
- Close friends – $100 per person
- Close family – $150 per person
The actual amount can a lot lower or higher. The minimum amount people usually spend on a wedding gift is around $50 while the maximum can go up to $500 or more. When it comes to family, people usually spend more because it’s your family after all and everyone is there to support each other. If you want to learn more about how much money you should give for a wedding gift, I recommend the article: “Is $100 Sufficient as a Wedding Gift in 2021?“
You can choose to either gift the couple money in the form of cash or a check or you can get something from their wedding registry. These are the best options to go for unless you are one hundred percent sure what type of gift will blow their mind. Do remember that it’s a wedding and a lot of people will be getting them gifts too. So you don’t want to take a chance buying them something you think they will like unless you are sure that no one would possibly think about getting the same gift. If you want to know more about giving money as a gift read this article: “Do You Give Cash or Check As a Wedding Gift?“
Why should I send a gift if I won’t be attending?
Weddings are quite expensive and therefore are planned in such a way that only those who are important to the couple are invited. There are of course many cases where the guest doesn’t personally know the couple but are invited because of mutual friends or family. Either way, the wedding couple was gracious enough to invite you and so not attending and not sending them a gift might be considered to be rude. If it’s a wedding of an acquaintance whom you barely know, then you have some leeway when it comes to wedding gifts because there is no real connection between both parties. In case you can’t attend the wedding, do remember to always return the RSVP card (preferably with a handwritten card congratulating them) and call them up personally to let them know why you can’t. Again, if you are in a difficult financial position, you are not in any way obligated to send gifts. No friend or family member would ever want to get a gift if it burdens you in any way.
How much do you give for a wedding gift if not attending?
There is no specific amount or type of gift that you give the couple if you can’t attend their wedding. The decision lies solely on you and the relationship you have with them. If it’s money you are planning to send, then you can send $50 to $150 depending on how close you are to them. You can also check out their wedding registry and contribute to something they need. If you are not in a place where you can afford to do so, you can gift them something more personalized and handmade. Anything works fine when it comes to wedding gifts as long as you put your heart into it.
What is proper etiquette for a wedding gift if not attending?
It depends primarily on you, your financial circumstances and how close you are to the couple. The first thing to keep in mind is the question of whether you can afford to buy and send a gift or not. If you are in a tight financial situation, you can send a handwritten note with a personal message. If you can afford it, you can check out their wedding registry and get them something they need. The amount you want to put into the gift depends mainly on you and how close you are to the couple. If you don’t know them much at all, you can just call them and wish them well. Do remember to let them know you can’t attend by personally talking to them though. Doing otherwise would be very rude.
Is it rude not to give a wedding gift if not attending?
No, it isn’t rude not to give a wedding gift if not attending but that doesn’t mean that everyone would feel that way. Some people might completely understand while others might feel that you don’t care about them enough. Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong here as it all comes down to the type of people. What you can do to reduce the chances of anyone feeling ignored or snubbed is to personally call them and tell them that you won’t be able to attend the wedding. By doing so, they will not feel better that you choose to talk to them instead of sending a text message but they’ll be able to understand your position.
Header photo © Travis Essinger / Unsplash