Wedding Gifts on the Wedding Day
It’s finally here – the big day! These days, wedding celebrations are so much more than a ceremony followed by a meal. While it’s their “special day,” more couples are placing greater importance on ensuring guests have a great time, too. With dances, slide shows, photo booths, and even midnight snacks, weddings are consistently becoming more about the entertainment factor. What hasn’t changed are the expectations regarding wedding gifts.
Old School, New Rules
While there are no minimums or maximums for purchasing a wedding gift, there are considerations, such as your personal budget and your relationship to the couple. How much you choose to spend will differ greatly if the bride is a co-worker or your sister, for example. Use your best judgment, but if you’re looking for a hard number, $50 to $75 is a pretty standard base for an acquaintance or associate.
Also, forget about needing to buy a gift that covers the cost of your dinner. That rule was thrown out years ago. One rule that hasn’t changed is when you’re expected to give or send your gift. If you don’t send a present before the vows or bring it with you to the wedding, try to send something within two to three months. A year is far too long.
On the List
Most couples would probably prefer that you purchase a gift from their registry. For many, these are items they know they need or items that fit best with their taste, lifestyle or, in some cases, square footage. However, there are no hard-and-fast rules about buying “off” the wedding registry. For instance, if you find an item from their registry at another store, and it’s less expensive, it’s perfectly fine to purchase your gift there. Be sure to snag a gift receipt and call the store where they’re registered to let them know the item has been picked up elsewhere.
Sometimes it’s necessary to go off-registry, especially if the lists have been picked over or if the couple’s requests are outside your budget. If you find yourself in that situation, you have free rein to be creative. Think about hobbies the couple enjoy, such as hiking, or an event they could attend together, like a concert or a play.
Of course, no one is obligated to give the couple a gift, and the bride and groom certainly shouldn’t expect every single guest to do so. But, at the very least, a heartfelt card or letter absolutely should accompany your presence at the wedding and/or reception. It not only confirms your attendance (and helps out with that thank-you card list), but this kind gesture returns the one they extended with their invitation.