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Do Big Weddings = Big Gifts?


By far, most questions I receive have to do with money. For most bridal couples, a wedding is an expensive event to plan. Add to that the difficulty of sticking to a budget — and the complications and permutations in figuring out who is going to pay for what — and there’s a lot of stress created around the subject. This money issue isn’t only one that the bridal couple share; it’s also a problem for the guests who are invited to attend.

A guest asks: “My wife and I have had this argument for years. We’ve asked our friends and family, and frankly, I come out a loser when we get their answers. (My hope is that maybe you’ll side with my argument.) On the amount of a gift to give a couple: My wife feels, as do most of the people we asked, that the amount of the gift should increase as the cost of the wedding increases. Essentially, you’re supposed to give more of a gift when invited to an expensive wedding and less when the wedding is simple and inexpensive. What say you?”

Dear guest: Interestingly enough, on this one, most wedding etiquette experts agree with the Wedding Guru and with you! The cost of wedding should not have any impact on the amount of the gift that you give. The cost of your gift should not be thought of as a way to pay for your plate at the dinner. Instead, you should think about your relationship to the couple and, in some cases, of their parents. There is also nothing wrong about factoring in the expenses that you’ll incur attending the wedding. The cost of your fare, your hotel room, and any other wedding-related expenses certainly can limit (or raise the dollar amount) of your gift. Never go over your budget. Nobody expects an upper-echelon business man to give a gift that equals what a recent college graduate gives! We would hope that the thought behind your gift would be appreciated by the bridal couple, regardless of how much you give.

To submit your own question to the Wedding Guru, email Judy at judy@hvmag.com.

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