At some point in your life you come to the realization that a good portion of your income will be contributed towards the weddings family and friends. Whether there is a gift registry or not, money is always a tried and trusted gift when in doubt. The question inevitably becomes, ‘What is the appropriate amount to give?’ I thought everyone just knew what they were supposed to give.
When I posed this question to a few people one guy mentioned that had only been to one wedding and had no idea that there was a ‘cover fee’ to attend. Most of the others agreed that a number of factors playing a part in the size of the gift they have given newlyweds. I’ve come to the realization that people don’t wake up knowing what amount is adequate and sometimes someone needs to give the wrong gift in order to see the true value of a gift.
After a recent wedding I received a message from a friend asking how much I had given to the couple, if I was willing to share that information, he added. I obliged and told him my cash gift was in the $100 range. The next message left me a bit puzzled, he gave $54. Yes, it was a multiple of 18 so it was a nice thought. He felt that this was a fair gift from him and his guest. I know, I know, you shouldn’t expect to have money thrown at you at your wedding. The real reason people are there is to share in that special moment where two people are joined in marriage, but where do you draw the line? Isn’t it okay to expect a fair, or decent, gift? After all most wedding include hours of open bar, more food than most African tribes can eat in a month, sweet wedding favors, and live bands.
I’m not sure what the standard gift amount is in other parts of the US, but I wouldn’t expect it to be too different from NYC when you look at a few key elements. $100 would be my standard response to inquiries on an adequate cash gift amount. Should you decide to bring a guest, double your gift amount. Sometimes you’ve got to count your pennies and decide which weddings you can truly afford to attend. In the end if you truly can’t afford that 5th wedding this year, maybe you consider forgoing it. If not, pack a bag lunch for a few weeks so you don’t encounter any awkward moments.