We’ve been planning our dream weddings since we were five years old. So it’s no surprise that we can’t get enough of Lover.ly, a wedding inspiration site that lets you search through pics of swoon-worthy gowns, bouquets, and everything else you need for the big day. Once a week, the ladies behind Lover.ly will be sharing their best tips for getting through the craziness of the season—whether you’re standing at the altar or enjoying a view of it from the audience.
Finding a wedding gift is one of those experiences that can either be incredibly fun for people—or make them super uncomfortable. Now that we’re in the thick of wedding season, chances are you’re going to be thinking about giving one sometime soon. Here are some helpful tips for handling the (occasionally touchy) wedding gift situation as a guest.
Gifts are never required. It makes us so sad when we hear about people skipping weddings because they can’t afford a gift; surely your friend would rather you show up empty-handed than not at all! So if money is tight or you just aren’t comfortable giving the couple a gift, that’s totally okay. But we always recommend giving a card even if you can’t do a gift. A heartfelt letter from a friend can be very meaningful.
You have a year to send a gift. So if money is tight or you just don’t have time to go shopping, that’s totally cool. If you go this route though, we still recommend bringing a card to the wedding and then sending the gift with a congratulatory note in a few months.
There’s no “right” number for how much to spend. We know that advice isn’t very helpful, but it really is a personal choice. You may want to consider the amount you spend on other gifts (like at Christmas or for birthdays) for people to whom you’re equally close, or think about how much you tend to spend on other people in general (like your budget if you’re paying for date night). But don’t feel pressured to spend beyond your means; no one should go broke for a friend’s wedding.
If you buy something from the registry, make sure that it’s recorded as purchased. Sometimes this means going to customer service to check out, or buying the gift in the physical store the couple chose rather than ordering it from Amazon, but doing so is helpful for other guests and the couple. No reason to give (or receive) a duplicate gift when using a registry!
Proceed with caution if you’re going off the registry. Some of us consider ourselves pretty good gifters and we don’t need no registry to tell us what to buy! But don’t go rogue without a good reason. If the couple registered for one brand of pots and pans, but you swear your favorite brand is better, you should stick with what they requested. But if you want to get something completely different than what’s on their registry (say, an amazing blanket for a couple who didn’t register for bedding), that’s OK too. If you do this, we like the idea of pairing it with something small and related from the registry so it seems more like an enhancement than a total change of direction.
No couple expects to receive everything on the registry. We know how shocking it is to look at a gift registry for the first time (“These dishes cost how much?!”) but keep in mind that the couple probably doesn’t expect to receive everything on their registry. They may have added some expensive items because they know older relatives will want to splurge—and most couples receive a discount (10 to 20 percent) after the wedding on any gifts that guests don’t buy, so they may have registered for something pricey figuring they could just buy it for themselves later.
Remember that most couples aren’t planning a wedding as a money-making event. Gone are the days of the bride’s parents paying for everything; more and more couples are paying for their weddings themselves. That being said, if for some reason the couple is mad that your gift didn’t cover the cost of your dinner, that’s on them, not you. Remember that you’re going to help them celebrate their big day!
More from Lover.ly:
- Ideas for planning an amazing wedding shower
- Our favorite thank you notes
- What to wear as a wedding guest