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Wedding Gift 101: How Much Should You Spend?

Last week, my husband and I were headed from our beautiful home in Michigan to the lush West Coast for a gorgeous fall wedding. One of my good friends from college was getting married and frankly, I couldn't of been more excited. I mean drinks, cake, dancing, and friends? It doesn't get better than that!

In the midst of our packing and cleaning frenzy to get ready for the trip, I realized I had yet to buy the soon-to-be-wed couple a wedding gift. I took a look at the wedding registry and was thrilled to see that my friend and her wife were saving up to build their dream home on the lovely Whidbey Island. Bingo! It was the perfect gift - memorable and life changing (a new blender just doesn't change your life the same way that a new house does 😜). As I went to submit a gift to their house fund, I confirmed the amount with my husband. His shocked face said it all. We were not on the same page. I slapped my laptop screen down as I decided that I'd figure it out and send the gift later.

The night before the wedding, I was at dinner visiting with friends when I broached the subject. However, much to my dismay, it seemed there was no cut and dry conclusion to my question. The typical wedding gift amount depends on several factors. Did you fly to the wedding? How well do you know the person? Did you buy other gifts for the couple? How much do you plan to eat at the wedding? No, I'm only kidding on the last point. Regardless, clearly this stuff was getting complicated. The question still loomed as a pesky cloud of ambiguity - how much should I spend on the wedding gift?

Fast forward to the morning of the wedding when I asked my other friend the burning question: what is the standard amount to spend on a wedding gift for a good friend? We chatted about it for a bit and I felt like I had enough information to pull the trigger. After breathing a sigh of relief, I realized that it was about time someone came up with an algorithm for a standard wedding gift amount.

Here's my attempt at creating a key so you can spend less time worrying about the wedding gift, and more time getting ready for the wedding! Answer the four questions below in row 1 and total your points from each corresponding answer and see the key below.

Wedding Gift Questions

​1. How would you describe your relationship with the groom(s) or bride(s) (whoever you know best)?

​2. How long have you been friends with the bride(s) or groom(s) (whoever you know best)?

3. Did you buy the couple an engagement gift and a shower gift?

4. Did you have to travel to the wedding?

Acquaintance (.5 point)

1 - 3 years (1 point)

Yes, both of those. (.5 point)

Yes, I had to fly and stay in a hotel for the wedding. (.5 point)

Friend/Relative (2 points)

3 - 7 years (2 points)

Yes, one of those. (1 points)

Yes, I just stayed in a hotel and didn't have to fly. (1.5 points)

Close friend/Close relative (4 points)

7+ years (3 points)

No. (1.5 points)

No. I didn't fly or stay at a hotel. (2.5 points)

Wedding Gift $$ Key


Average Wedding Gift

Under 5 points

$50 - $75

5-7 points

$100 - $125

7-9 points

$150 - $195

Over 9 points

$200 - $300

I hope this helps put an end to the uncertainty that comes with buying a wedding gift and how much to spend. Remember, is your occasion ally and we always have your back!


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