How many times have you been invited to a wedding, and put off shopping for a wedding gift until the very last minute? Then, with no time to spare, you decide to just forgo the set of towels, bed linens, or wine glasses and just give the bride and groom cash – it’s what they really want anyway, isn’t it? But then, as you get ready to write the all-important check, you freeze as you get to the “Amount” box – how much money should you give the new couple?
I was one of my first friends to get married; my husband and I are closing in on a full decade of wedded bliss (well, for the most part). After our wedding – and I mean immediately following our reception – my husband and I returned to our bridal sweet and brazenly ripped off… all the envelopes on our wedding cards. Yes, we dove right into the opening of the gifts, while still clad in gown and tux. Before we departed the hotel the next morning, my parents took all the cards, cash, and checks and painstakingly paired them back together. I thought it was a futile act – after all, I knew what I needed to know in order to write my thank you cards: “Dear Aunt Joan, thank you for your kind gift as we begin our lives together…” But my parents weren’t thinking in the short-term.
My parents used that information to put together their fail-safe wedding gift guide. It’s a document that they’ve used for the past 9+ years to give appropriately-sized wedding gifts – we’re talking solely money here, although this could translate to gifts purchased off the bride and groom’s registry, too – to just about anyone you could possibly imagine.
Q: A few years ago, one of my dad’s coworkers – a guy on the executive level, like my dad – invited my parents to his son’s wedding. How much money should my parents give? A: My parents consulted their guide, and saw that the groom’s parents had given me $250. The wedding was in the midst of the recession, so my parents didn’t feel like they needed to “add” for inflation.
Q: Last fall, my second cousin’s daughter got married. What’s the right dollar amount for extended family? A: Again, my parents consulted their guide, and found that when I got married, the bride’s parents gave me $100. My parents decided that since the economy was doing better, they’d up the wedding gift to $150.
My parents’ list basically ensures that they never “under-give” when it comes to wedding gifts.
When you’re deciding on a cash amount for a wedding gift, how do you reach the ultimate dollar amount? I’d love to hear your insights!