Planning

Wedding gift etiquette can be challenging for guests and couples alike. Maintaining social grace and recognising the joyous occasion appropriately requires understanding the nuances of gift-giving, receiving, and acknowledging. You will be well-prepared for any wedding scenario if you follow our comprehensive guide to wedding gift etiquette rules and customs.

 

Wedding Gift Etiquette Rules For Guests 

Do You Have to Buy a Wedding Gift?

There is an expectation of gift-giving at weddings. The tradition of giving wedding gifts is rooted in the desire to assist the couple as they begin their new lives together. The type of wedding gift and the amount you spend on said gift, however, may vary depending on your relationship with the couple and your financial situation.

How Much Should You Spend On A Wedding Gift?

Wedding gifts are often determined by the relationship you have with the couple: There is no strict rule, and your personal budget as well as financial situation should always be taken into account.

Wedding Gift Guru Liza Baucher told us how much guests typically spend on wedding gifts: "At The Wedding Shop, we've noticed that friends and family typically spend £114 on a wedding gift for the big day. For 2024, this generosity is increasing, with an average spend of £124 on wedding gift lists.

"The beauty of a wedding gift list lies in its simplicity and flexibility; it allows guests to contribute in a way that's meaningful to brides and grooms, ensuring the couple receives gifts they will truly love and appreciate. Discover our selection of wedding gifts, all within the thoughtful £100-£150 range."

 

How much do friends and family spend on a wedding gift? 

"In 2023, we saw an average spend of about £103 per wedding gift at Prezola," says Liza. "And now in 2024, this figure is rising to an impressive £120, showcasing a trend towards more unique and personalised gifts. This shift is a testament to the growing desire for gifts that create a lasting impact. At Prezola, we understand this change and offer a vast array of products to suit every guest's budget. Dive into our collection of gifts ranging from £100-£150, each curated to add a special touch to the couple’s big day."

"For those who choose The Wedding Present Company, it's all about the significance of the gift rather than its price tag. The average spend on a wedding gift here was £118 in 2023, rising to £144 this year. This increase reflects a deeper understanding of the importance of giving something that will enrich the couple’s lives for years to come. Explore our specially curated wedding gifts within the £100-£150 bracket, each chosen to bring joy and lasting memories to any couple's journey together."

Choosing the Perfect Wedding Gift

Registering for Gifts

In most cases, couples create a wedding gift list to guide guests in selecting gifts that will be appreciated. Selecting an item from the gift list or 'wedding registry' makes sure the gift you give is something the couple wants or needs at the time of the wedding.

Cash Gifts

Cash gifts are becoming increasingly popular as couples can use the money however they see fit, whether the money contributes towards their honeymoon, a deposit on a home, or other expenses. When giving cash, remember to present it thoughtfully, such as a personalised card.

Personalised Gifts

Gifts with a personal touch make excellent keepsakes. Consider engraved photo frames, custom artwork, or monogrammed household items.

If the couple do not have a wedding gift list and you're stuck and still looking for wedding gift ideas, we've got you covered with our round-up on the best wedding gifts.

Group Gifting: Etiquette for Group Gifts

Why Consider a Group Gift?

If you pool your resources with other guests, you can provide the couple with a more substantial gift, particularly for expensive items on their wedding gift list or contributions to their honeymoon fund.

"Group gifting is a fantastic option to consider in the realm of wedding gift etiquette," says Liza. "It's an approach that benefits both the happy couple and their guests, creating a scenario where everyone feels comfortable and included. For the happy couple, group gifting allows for the inclusion of higher-priced items on their wedding gift list without placing the burden of a large expense on any single guest. This could be anything from luxury homeware, top-of-the-range appliances, or even contributions towards a dream honeymoon. Such items might otherwise be too expensive for individual guests to purchase alone.

"From a guest's perspective, group gifting offers a convenient and collaborative way to contribute to a more significant gift. It's especially ideal for friends or family members who might want to pool their resources to give the couple something truly special and memorable. This way, guests can contribute what they're comfortable with, ensuring that no one feels pressured to spend beyond their means."

How to Organise a Group Gift

  1. Select a Leader: Choose someone to coordinate the group effort.
  2. Agree on Budget: Determine how much each participant will contribute.
  3. Choose the Gift: Decide on a gift from the wedding gift list or another meaningful option.
  4. Collect Funds: Gather contributions in advance of the wedding.

When to Send the Gift

Send your wedding gifts before the wedding to avoid the hassle of transporting them on the wedding day. If you can't send them before, send them within three months of the wedding.

Giving the Gift at the Wedding

If you bring a gift to the wedding, ensure it is small and manageable. Larger wedding gifts are best sent directly to the couple’s home.

Honeymoon Fund Etiquette 

Understanding the Honeymoon Fund

Honeymoon funds are a modern alternative to traditional wedding gift lists that allows guests to contribute directly to the couple's honeymoon expenses, including flights, accommodation, activities, and dining.

"When it comes to honeymoon funds as a part of wedding gift lists, the perspective of wedding guests can vary, but in general, they are increasingly being viewed as an acceptable and even thoughtful option. However, it's good practice to balance this with some physical gift options on your list as well," says Liza. "Honeymoon funds resonate well with many guests because they offer a chance to contribute to something deeply meaningful and memorable for the couple. Instead of guessing what the couple might need or like, guests can feel confident that their gift is genuinely appreciated and will be used to create unforgettable experiences. This is especially true in cases where the couple already has established households and may not need traditional gifts.

She added: "That being said, some guests might still prefer the traditional route of buying a physical gift. This preference can stem from the desire to give something tangible that the couple can use and think of them by. It's a way for guests to feel like they're contributing to the couple's new life in a more concrete way."

How Guests Should Contribute To Honeymoon Funds

  1. Follow Instructions: Use the platform or method specified by the couple.
  2. Choose Meaningful Contributions: Select experiences or activities that resonate with you and the couple.
  3. Add a Personal Touch: Write a note explaining why you chose that particular contribution.

Addressing Common Gift-Giving Dilemmas

What If You Can’t Afford a Gift?

Regardless of the budget, a handmade gift or a heartfelt card can mean just as much. Just make sure that your gesture reflects your genuine happiness for the new couple.

 

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Jennifer Read-Dominguez

Written by Jennifer Read-Dominguez

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