Acceptable amount spent on a wedding present?

Apparantly “two months salary” is appropriate for the price of a wedding ring.
But what about a wedding present? Say someone is buying a wedding present for a friend. Is there a ‘proper’ amount to spend?
Anyone have any input? Suggestions/ opinions?

If someone takes home about $2000 a month, how much of that do you think he should spend on a good friend for a present. Especially if the present is just cash…

I’ll be surprised if you get more than two people to agree in this thread!

I have always had a problem with this myself. It was once suggested to me that a cash gift should approximate the cost per person at the reception. (Why? Who knows?) I have also been told that your $$$ gift should be proportionately larger if you are coming with a guest.

For myself, the size of the gift is proportional to how close I am to that person. I never thought of it in terms of a percentage of my monthly salary, honestly… A good friend is likely to get a gift worth about $100 from me if I attend the wedding alone (but keep in mind with women that figure doesn’t include shower gifts, which may run another $50-75). Someone I’m really close to, or a relative, will get something more. My friends seem to follow along similar lines.

I personally would rather choose a gift than give cash, if practical, because I take a lot of pride in spending time to find something people will really enjoy. IMHO such care adds “value” to the gift.

sits back and waits to see if I’ll be thought cheap or a spendthrift

I was thinking it would be more along the percentage line, because if some rich friend gave him a thousand dollar gift, it’s not necessarily a greater thing (bigger sacrifice?) if that was only half a percent of his income. Whereas a mere two hundred dollar gift is ten percent of mine…

A wedding gift should be what you wish to give and can afford. That’s the only hard and fast rule of any sort of gift-giving. After all, wedding gifts are NOT a requirement, they’re something nice you do of your own volition.

A lot of people use the “pay for your plate” guideline, but that just never sat well with me. If you invite someone to your home for dinner, you don’t expect them to reimburse you for the cost of their meal, do you? On the wedding boards I’ve seen a lot of brides get all bent out of shape over people not paying for the fancy dinners provided, but that’s just assinine. So you shelled out for lobster? That was your choice, not the guests’, and they are under no obligation to pay for your choices.

Personally, I don’t worry about spending the right amount of money on someone, but rather finding the right gift for them. If I find something someone will love and use for years for $20 instead of $50, I’m going for it. That’s just the way we and our friends are. We’re far more into thought and effort than price tags.

If it helps, we went to a Chinese wedding a year or so ago where it is quite common to give cash. My parents weren’t very close to the couple, but the rule they used was the aforementioned “pay for your plate” (or in our case, four plates) plus about $100 extra.

Amongst my friends, we chip in around $30 - 50 for 21st presents, so I’d probably expect to pay $50 - 100, and more for a close friend if I actually had a job. :stuck_out_tongue:

It can be a regional thing and/or what’s in style at a given time and in a given crown. Finding out all that is the trick! When I got married in Long Island 8 years ago, most people “paid for their plate” or better. The stuff the bride registered for was given at the shower. I hear that’s changing. Other places, other people, other times this might be considered crass.

I would only say that if you aren’t a super close friend or a family member and you can’t afford a gift, you should consider making your excuses and skipping the wedding. I am not implying this is the case with the OP, just giving my one little personal rule.

This is why I really approve of bridal registries. Just pick a gift you can afford.

But you should try to cover the cost of the dinner, at least. It’s tacky to talk about it that way, but we are.

Buy him a drill and bit set (appropriate for apartment dwellers), or a nice circular saw (only if he has a house). They will both be so thrilled to get a break from china and lamps the price will never occur to them.

I think it depends on your situation, really.

One of my grad school classmates got married this weekend - we are all still in school, with the typical grad student income. Since none of us could really afford to spend more than about $20 on our own, a bunch of us (and I mean a bunch - about 10 of us) pooled our funds and got one expensive item (for us) from their registry.
I don’t feel that it was a cheap way to go, but the practical way.

Now, back when I was working full time, I would spend anywhere from $50-$100 on a wedding gift for a friend from just me. It depended on what they’d registered for, whether I was attending the wedding or not (for a close friend, I’d send a gift even if I couldn’t manage to attend the wedding) and the like.

One rule to remember is that it is within etiquette to give a gift up to a year after the couple is married. I was unemployed when my friend got married. When I finally got back to work, I gave $100 (from me and my husband). She was a close friend who I had been out of touch with for some time. So if you’re short at the time of the wedding, and you feel you should give more, you can put it off for a bit 'til you can afford it.