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Wedding Money Etiquette: How Much Is Too Much?

When it comes to wedding gifts, some guests can be left feeling pretty confused as to the correct etiquette.  From registering for gifts to accepting monetary pressies, there are many options, but how do guests know how much is too much?  Here, we discuss the protocol when it comes to wedding gifts and whether all guests are expected to contribute, and if so, how?

Who Should Contribute?

Many engaged couples look forward to the potential of receiving gifts for their wedding, whether it be through a registry service or in cash.  For guests, however, weddings can also be an expensive event often incurring travel charges and even accommodation for weddings out of town.  With this in mind, it can be hard to come up with an appropriate cash amount to give to the happy couple that will be a great gift without breaking the bank.

Family members and friends are traditionally expected to give larger monetary gifts than distant relatives, work colleagues and casual acquaintances, however the amount is subjective and there is often no set amount but rather an etiquette that may help suggest to guests how much is sufficient.  A rule of thumb is that the closer you are to the newly-married couple, the more you should give, however it is unfair for the couple to expect you to be left out of pocket.

Wedding Money Etiquette

There is a rule that suggests that guests should give the couple a cash gift equal to the amount it has cost to host them at the wedding, in terms of location, food, alcohol etc.  While this does seem relatively reasonable, it could become an issue if the wedding is held far from home and the couple has expensive tastes.

Other couples request monetary gifts to pay for aspects of their honeymoon.  For instance, the price of a hotel for a night, a bottle of champagne at dinner or even a couple of excursions while they are away.  Again, this seems like a good idea upon first thought however it is somewhat impersonal and lacks the finesse of other types of gift.

There is no set etiquette when it comes to financial wedding gifts, as opposed to the more quantifiable wedding gift registry, but some couples may be offended should guests not at least offer some sort of gift.  It is unfair to expect everyone to be able to give a large amount, however some effort into a present – whether it be handmade or something simple – will be well received.  In terms of money, distant friends or co-workers are expected to give around £50-75, close friends between £75-120 and family members can be expected to give up to £150.  While this may seem like a lot of money, particularly if each guest is giving, the cost of the wedding is sure to be more and it will help the new couple embrace their future with financial confidence.

What Else Can I Give?

If you cannot afford to give a substantial cash gift to the happy couple, there are many other options.  Some couples will have a wedding gift registry which allows guests to purchase items within their price range whilst also knowing the gift is wanted and will be used.  Other gift ideas could be something handmade such as a knitted quilt or collage of memorable photos.  Perhaps you could buy them a branded Mr and Mrs umbrella as a keepsake, or something romantic like naming a star after them.  Either way there are plenty of choices to suit any budget, but wedding etiquette dictates that a gift, however small and inexpensive, is a good omen for the couple and their future together.

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