With all the wedding traditions to keep track of, it can be easy to forget to think about the wedding gift until it’s time to give one. That’s when all the questions pop up. Do you stick to the registry? How much should you spend? How much time do you have to give something?
Take a deep breath. We’ve answered these questions and more with the list of dos and don’ts below.
Do: Use Their Wedding Registry
For the most part, this is a definite do. It can be difficult for friends and family who feel close to the couple to pick something off a registry — an action that requires very little thought — but we promise this is the way to go. Recent research even says so. The fact of the matter is, the couple has spent the time carefully choosing a comprehensive list of things they need and want for a reason, and they’ll truly appreciate having most those items checked off their list of things they need to get for themselves.
Luckily, wedding registries are getting a lot more customizable and flexible for both couples and guests. Zola, for example, is one of the most popular wedding registries in 2017 because it allows for guests to contribute to cash funds and buy experiences for the couple, so it’s more likely than not that you’ll have plenty of ways to make your gift feel more meaningful. But moral of the story is, use the registry. It’s easier that way, anyway.
Do: Think of The Holidays
…Or any special occasion or milestone the couple will experience together for the first time. While we just harped on the importance of sticking to the registry, that doesn’t mean you can’t throw in something extra with a little more sentimental value and thought behind it. Statistics show that fall is now the most popular time of year to get married, which is right on the heels of most holidays.
Most couples are going to be pretty tapped financially and emotionally, and simple-seeming things like holiday decor will be the last thing on their list of priorities, so why not help them get their start. Keep their style and your history together in mind when picking out something special like an ornament or monogrammed table setting. Things on their registry may even go along with this idea, so if you buy something like an engraved serving platter or cutting board, include a special note about being excited to see it go to good use over the holidays.
Don’t: Bring The Gift To The Wedding
With that said, don’t bring anything with you to the wedding. That’s the beauty of online shopping and the ability to simply click and ship! Just make sure you send it within a reasonable timeframe after the wedding if you don’t happen to place the order before the big day.
Also, even if you’re a “no” RSVP, you still need (well, should) send a gift. It’s just good etiquette.
Don’t: Spend Too Much (Or Too Little)
In other words, spend what’s realistic, but make it clear that you understand how special this moment in their lives is. Because, well, it really is a big deal. There are lots of opinions on how much is just right, because as it turns out, about half of wedding goers need help in this department. The advice includes ranges as wide as $40 to $300 or more, with the national average at around $100.
If you’re on a super tight budget, go the route of chipping away at their registry with a few smaller items, or one item from the registry plus sending them a little something sentimental, or doing something that they’ll see as a huge help — dog sitting while they’re on their honeymoon, for example. The budget-friendly-yet-meaningful options are endless!