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Wedding Gift Etiquette: All Your Wedding Gift Giving Questions Answered

A pair of hands holding a white gift with a green ribbon

We’ve all felt the excitement of receiving a wedding invitation in the mail. First, there is the happiness you feel for the couple, followed by the anticipation of the event itself. But soon reality hits. You know you are going to have to find the time – and the money – to purchase the perfect wedding gift.

Sometimes shopping for a wedding gift is simple, but sometimes – especially if you are close to the couple – it can get out of control fast. These days many people may have an engagement party, a bridal shower (or several bridal showers), a wedding, and a wedding reception…it can quickly become daunting, not to mention expensive!

So the question is – how much is too much? Are you expected to give a gift for every single wedding-related event that you have been invited to?  How is anyone supposed to be able to afford that!?

The short answer thankfully is no – you are not required to give a gift for each wedding-related event.  Below are some situations you may find yourself in, and what is and is not considered appropriate.


If you have been invited to a wedding ceremony, whether or not you can attend, it is polite to send a gift.  You don’t have to break the bank, and there is no set price limit. Spend what you can afford. Nor are you required to purchase something off of the couple’s registry. So if you find yourself staring at a wedding registry that has nothing left except a three hundred dollar blender and a set of twelve-hundred dollar handwoven placemats made by Tibetian Monks (I’ve seen some wild stuff on registries, my friends), you don’t need to feel bad for purchasing something cheaper that the couple doesn’t have on their registry.

If, on the other hand, you have only been invited to a wedding reception and not the wedding ceremony itself, it is polite to bring a gift, but it is not necessary.


Engagement parties are becoming more and more common. A gift for this celebration is not necessary though a kind, heartfelt note wishing the couple well is always a nice thought. If you wish to bring a present, you certainly can.


Unlike a wedding, if you receive an invitation to a bridal shower and are unable to attend, you are not required to send a gift.  If you do attend, then you should bring a gift. If you find you just can’t afford to purchase another gift in addition to the couple’s wedding present, then it might be best to politely decline the shower invitation.


Depending on the bride and her position, it’s not entirely unheard of for some women to have multiple bridal showers. If you find yourself invited to two, three, and sometimes even four showers for the same person, first off, congratulations that you have friends who seem to cherish your company so much that they have included you in all of their events. Secondly, don’t worry! You are only obligated to bring a gift for the first shower you attend. Subsequent showers should not require you to bring anything.

If you see other people bringing gifts to each shower, have no fear! Remember that they may not have been invited to all of the showers that you have, and their gift may be their one shower gift.


Great! If a couple requested no gifts, then you are officially off the hook! Don’t feel bad about respecting their request, even if you see others choosing to give a gift. The couple may have a very good reason for not wanting gifts, such as moving into a small apartment that doesn’t have space for many things, they may feel like they already have everything that they need, or they may feel as if having their friends attending their wedding is the true gift.   If you find you still want to give a gift, make a donation to a cause they care for in their name and give them a card letting them know.


At the end of the day, the maximum amount of gifts you would be required to give a couple for a friend or family member’s nuptials is two. If you want to give more, you are always welcome, but you don’t need to feel like you have to go into debt just to so.

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Happy Gifting!

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