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$100 here, $100 there. $100 every where a Wedding.

by J. Money on Wednesday, May 19, 2010

That’s the magic number right now: $100 :) The wife and I had a nice sit down the other day, and we decided that from now on we’re giving $100 in cash for all future wedding presents.  Nothing more, nothing less – just a straight up Mr. Benjamin for all our friends and family.  What do you think about that?  Are we stupid?  Smart? (that’s the answer I’d go with)  Or are you somehow crazily unaffected by ANY weddings this year?

We kicked off Wedding Season with a bang this weekend over in Jersey Jerz (across from my boy Doctor S’ joint) and it felt pretty good knowing we helped fund part of the couple’s honeymoon.  Or whatever other lavish gift they’ll be treating themselves to for their celebrations. I didn’t run into Snooki like I had hoped, but I sure had myself a stress-free time :)  With one or two beverages to boot. Or maybe around 10, I kinda stopped counting…

So why lock in a gift price like that? Well, for one thing you don’t have to worry about what you’re gonna get anyone anymore! I understand registries and the like make shopping easier these days, but when you’re a slacker like me and wait ’till the last minute the pickens aren’t that flush anymore.  Plus, I’m pretty sure those UPC numbers aren’t meant to line up anyways….like bored store associates add in extra numbers just to throw us off and see how long it takes for us to realize it ;)

Also, who doesn’t need money these days?  And young couples at that? There’s always something that you *wish* you would have gotten, or even something you totally forgot amongst the wedding planning hub-bub. You show me someone who can’t put $100 to use, and I’ll show you one  very  silly person. You can always give it away to charity!

But whether our new found idea here  is genius or not, it’s really about celebrating these joyous occasions with your loved ones. $100 or $1,000 (or even a sack of marbles for that matter) isn’t going to change your relationships and the reasons you were invited in the first place. As long as you’re there in spirit, all of our gifts will be appreciated just fine :)

What do you all usually spend on wedding gifts?


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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Phanzy May 19, 2010 at 8:53 am

I usually bring a nice crisp 50 and a 100 dollar bill. If the food is subpar… I’ll give 50. If it seems like they tried to treat us to a nice meal… hundo spot! It’s a wrap!

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2 Everyday Tips May 19, 2010 at 8:54 am

I just went to a wedding this weekend. Got a great dress for 32 dollars (after spending 100 on a backup dress that I ended up returning), and gave the bride and groom 100 dollars on the nose.

I don’t have many weddings to attend these days, so I really wasn’t sure what the proper amount to give was. At least I know you and I are on the same page! :)

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3 Uncle May 19, 2010 at 9:05 am

The proper amount to give is 100 per person attending. So if you roll up with three kids and a wife then your stuck with giving the bride and groom at least 500 dollars. The average cost of a nice wedding is 100 a plate. Just you and the wife then 200 is good.

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4 Keith @ LifeTuner May 19, 2010 at 9:19 am

I don’t have much experience with this, but when we went to my wife’s cousin’s wedding last year, Meghan insisted that we cover the cost of our plate and then some. So $200 covered our costs, and then we ended up giving another one or two hundred on top of that.

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5 jolie May 19, 2010 at 9:24 am

with 5 weddings this year and the birth of my first great nephew (man that makes me feel old) there is not a chance I could afford to go to them if I were giving what some of the previous commentators do. Then again, I s uspect the ones I am going to are much less costly perhaps. While we do things up pretty, our family are not flashy wedding of the century kind of folks so the bride and groom don’t have quite as high of costs. I will probably give $100.

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6 Impulse Magazine May 19, 2010 at 9:43 am

Most women would say that $100 is not enough, especially for this type of occassion

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7 Jonathan May 19, 2010 at 9:54 am

Its obvious that the weddings I go to (and the people in my circle) are very different that what is being discussed here. $100 seems like a lot to give someone as a wedding gift, unless it is someone very close. Most of the gifts at my wedding were less than $50, and that seems to be the case at others I have attended.

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8 Stephan May 19, 2010 at 10:07 am

So is there an unwritten rule that you should at least cover how much your plate of food costs? I never even thought of it that way. But, 100$ per person sounds like a good number.

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9 Tiffany May 19, 2010 at 11:09 am

It was up to me how much I spent – the guests are NOT expected to reimburse the couple. When I got married, I never expected my friends to “repay” me for the cost of the wedding. I was thrilled if I got a $50 gift card or cash. I don’t think anyone gave us $100 at once. I’ve just been to two weddings this month, and gave $60 cash to one couple and a gift worth about $60 to the other. If I gave $100 per guest for every wedding, I’d be going broke!

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10 Doctor S May 19, 2010 at 11:12 am

I am still pissed you aint give me heads up! hahah.

I touched on this last spring before wedding season and my fiancee and I came to the same conclusion, we have a standard $100/gift for all newly weds. If you try and evaluate each gift based on your relationship of the couple, you are going to spend thousands of dollars a year!

I went to 11 weddings last year and have another 6 lined up this year (including mine).

@stephan – i heard the notion from a few people about pay how much it costs for you to attend and that can get outrageous. Some people pay a few hundreds bucks per plate, so I don’t see how I can match that up somehow. If they want to do it BIG for their wedding, thats fine, but I am w/ you… .$100 sounds more than ample.

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11 Heather May 19, 2010 at 11:14 am

I attend such a variety of weddings that I tend to base it on what is put into the wedding. If it is a backyard bbq wedding, then I think $50 is plenty. $100/person seems reasonable for weddings with a budget beyond the backyard. It also depends on how close I am to the couple. For close friends and family, I may do more than that, but yes you should at least cover the cost of you and who you are attending with.

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12 David May 19, 2010 at 11:21 am

Acceptable gifts tend to vary regionally. Weddings I have been to in the midwest and south have been far more casual and I know that in some cases gifts were ranging $50 and UNDER. In the northeast, $100 seems to be the consensus.

Personally, I give $100 for acquaintances and $200-$300 for close friends and family.

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13 Evan May 19, 2010 at 11:59 am

New York Reader Here so Weddings can get COSTLY! I am in the $200 – $300 gift range, I used to believe I should try to estimate the plate, but with friends rocking out $300/plate places that had to end QUICKLY.

The smartest thing we did when we got married in June of 08 was write down everyone’s gift and if they were getting married in the near future we put their gift into a separate ING account this way it was there and we couldn’t spend it.

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14 Jennifer Lissette May 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Before we were married, we used to fluctuate in how much we would give at a wedding based on how much the wedding cost. We once went to a wedding where the bride and groom spent $80,000 on a 100-person affair. We ended up writing the bride and groom a $500 check.

Then we got married and realized that we were the only ones following such a rule. People came, brought a guest, got drunk on the open bar and gave us a $25 gift card. So now we’re doing the same as you and giving a flat $100. I do like to look at the registry and see if any of their items are on sale and I can make the $100 go farther as a gift, but we’re not going crazy spending on weddings anymore.

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15 Money Smarts May 19, 2010 at 12:06 pm

In our area here in the midwest, wedding gifts are usually in the $50 and under category, although I don’t really think it’s expected to give a certain dollar amount or a big gift. yes it’s nice to receive gifts, but it isn’t expected – unless I’m extremely far out of the loop. It has been almost a decade since I got married I suppose!

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16 Christine May 19, 2010 at 12:33 pm

$50 for just friends and the number goes up depending on how close I am to the people getting married. Sometimes the registry is just more expensive after you include shipping costs, its like wasting money!

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17 JoeTaxpayer May 19, 2010 at 12:46 pm

In 1983 while still in college, my Godfather got married. $250 for a vase (Baccarat Rose Vase, just looked, it’s still being made and going for $800) for engagement gift, then $100 for wedding. This is back when min wage was $3/hr, and decent work $7-8 for college kids.

It’s only gone up from there.

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18 engin33r May 19, 2010 at 12:54 pm

We stick to the ~100$ rule but we usually buy gifts from the registry.. We are attending a wedding this weekend and they got about 106$ of gifts..

The part of the wedding that really kills is all the hidden costs. The bridesmaid outfits, the groomsmen outfits, the hotels, flights (if out of state), etc.

My significant other and I calc’d out that we’d probably spent close to $2000 on weddings last year (there were 5 in total, 2 out of state)… Good to know that hopefully you only go through the bridesmaid/groomsmen phase once in your lifetime (the phase being where all your friends choose to get married in about a 2 year period). I argued for spreading them out over the next 20 years and i’d go last, but that didn’t seem to fly with the gf.

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19 Donna May 19, 2010 at 1:24 pm

This is so subjective. I give an amount depending on my relationship to the couple and my current finances. I cannot always give what I want but I do the best I can. In response to previous posts, where I live few weddings are at $100 per plate, at least not in my circle.

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20 Jenna May 19, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I give what I can afford to give, which has been about $50 lately. (This is a budget blog, right?) My friends are scattered across the country, so I wholeheartedly agree with the comments that there are many other hidden costs aside from the gift, especially if you’re in the wedding. By the time I get around buying the actual gift, there’s not much money left. I would hope that my friends care more about me being there to share the day and that I’m not busting my finances than them thinking “Wow, I can’t believe she didn’t give me $(fill-in-the-blank)” If my friends actually think that…maybe they’re not such good friends!

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21 Jersey Mom May 19, 2010 at 1:50 pm

A gift is a gift ~ just give whatever amount you feel comfortable giving.

As for me, I usually give cash and try to cover our part of the cost. $100-200/person depending on how well we know them. For example, when my sister got married, all of us went (that’s my husband, me, plus two kids) and we gave them $800.

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22 Donna Freedman May 19, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I’m opposed to the idea of giving a gift that’s equivalent to the cost of the food. If the bride and groom want to throw a big party and invite me, I’m touched. But THEY decide how much the reception will cost — cake and punch? salads and sandwiches? rubber chicken? filet mignon? — and THEY should pay for it. (Hint: Gobs of money spent does not necessarily guarantee a great time. Ask anyone who’s ever been to a bad big wedding or a joyful small one.)
Then again, I’m disturbed by the way weddings have turned into floor shows. Aren’t people just as married if they don’t spend the $26,000 that the average wedding allegedly costs?
I think you can stick to a budget and still get married in style. But it’s up to YOU to set that style, rather than let wedding planners and bridal magazines tell you what you want. Or, more to the point, SELL you what THEY want.
What they’re selling is a fairy tale: “The best day of your life” or “The most important day of your life.” All you about-to-be-marrieds, listen up: You have no way to ensure your wedding will run smoothly. So if you need this to be the best day of your life, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
And other days might possibly be more “important.” How about the day you were born? The day you met your soul mate? Maybe it will be the day you have your child. Or the day you win the lottery. Weddings have enough baggage. Why add to it?
An afternoon wedding and a light repast vs. an evening extravaganza that lasts until last call — such choices should not affect future happiness. Why would the amount you spend on the ceremony determine the success of the marriage? It seems to me that the OPPOSITE could be true: If you start out your marriage deeply in debt, it would add a lot of stress to what is a joyous yet challenging life transition.
Finally: Wedding gifts are OPTIONAL, folks. They are not tickets of admission! (That said, I would always give a gift, as a symbol of my good wishes.) Nor should you compare what each guest spends with what you think you were “owed” based on how much you spent per plate or per drink.
(That thudding noise you hear is me getting down off my soapbox. There. All done!)

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23 Stella May 19, 2010 at 2:06 pm

What Donna said (I couldn’t have put it better myself!)…

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24 Melissa May 19, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I’m from the midwest and I give either $50 in a gift. Sometimes I hit up the registry, often times I browse Etsy. If they don’t like my gift, it’s nothing off of my back. I really don’t feel the need to “subsidize” someone’s wedding. It’s their choice to DIY or toss an extravaganza.

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25 Kelsey May 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I’m engaged and we almost didn’t create a registry and just wrote a tasteful blurb on our wedding website saying money was preferred since we are paying for the wedding ourselves. I’m sure every couple has appreciated your gift! I like giving Target gift cards, as most people love Target and usually have a registry there. That way they can get what they really need or want.

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26 Favor May 19, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Good idea! Everyone in my age group…us 24-25 yos….are getting married and having babies. Money is always a good way to go, I usually go with a gift card. Because many people think giving money is a lazy way to go?? I give money gifts to my in-laws or people who I know could use it…

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27 Craig May 19, 2010 at 4:42 pm

That works, make it easy on yourself and easy on them cause you know they will use it and need it.

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28 LindyMint May 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm

That is why I always go with the registry gift, even though it is a pain. You can buy two whole sets of glassware for $60, and the bride’s excitement over getting all of her tumblers and wine glasses outweighs the fact that you only spent $60 and not $100. At least that is how it went when I was a bride. We were lucky enough to score $3000 in cash gifts when we got married, and it all went to…..rent :/ But I still have those tumblers!

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29 dd May 19, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Holy Cow!!! You have got to be kidding me….My niece is getting married next month and I chose a very nice gift from her gift registry (TARGET) for $39. It is unheard of around this area to give that kind of money ($100+) unless you are the very rich, very much-loved, very special uncle. Then again I am from the mid-west…and we do things a little more sensibly up here I think…don’t slam me for that comment.

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30 Mark May 19, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Here is a question? I have a college friend (whom I haven’t seen in over a year) who invited me to their wedding, I cannot go, but was still planning on sending $100. What do I send????

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31 Anthony May 20, 2010 at 7:39 am

I agree that $100 is a bit high. For my wedding, I received $5 dollar gifts (from some new grads), mostly $20 to $50 gifts, and $100 on the high end. The average was probably $25 per family, which is closer to about $15 per person (counting kids, husband, wife).

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32 Sarah May 20, 2010 at 8:19 am

I’m thinking about moving to the Midwest! Sounds like I could really save a few bucks;)

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33 TMS May 20, 2010 at 8:49 am

$100 is exactly what my wife and I have been doing for the past few years. It’s easy and it’s a decent gift.

Nothing spends like cash.

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34 J. Money May 20, 2010 at 11:59 am

Haha…SO MANY differing opinions here!! I love it. Even those who say I’m crazy to dish out $100 or those who think I’m cheap ;) It really is amazing how our cultures are so different across the States here and probably even broad too. $50 – $500 is such a difference!

The one thing that I will never get though is why people base their gifts off the cost of the wedding. How the heck do you know how much their spending on it? I’ve been to dozens of weddings, including my own, and I’m still surprised when I find out how little (or a lot) my friends have spent on the whole shabang. Plus, I really don’t see how it has to do with anything. Your friends or your friends, and your family is your family, so why would you give them less or more based on how much the dinners cost? They’re not as worthy of X amount of dollars if they feed you peanut butter & jelly sandwiches? ;)

Regardless, it’s been really fun reading through these so far…As long as you’re happy with your amounts and you’ve budgeted them in, I say keep on rockin!

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35 Rachael May 20, 2010 at 2:16 pm

@Phanzy – you really base your gift on how good the food is? Are you forgetting the reason you were invited? Because you are important to the couple, and the fact that you base your gift on the quality of the food is just petty and SHALLOW. If I found out people were doing that at my wedding, I would never talk to them again.

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36 Red May 20, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I think $100 is generous. We only received $100 gifts from our closest family and friends. $50 was the norm.

And cash is an EXCELLENT gift idea. We actually tried to spread the word that we only wanted cash if people wanted to get us anything because we already had “house stuff.” We still got a few gifts, but cash was the best. :)

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37 JB May 21, 2010 at 2:48 am

I think $100 makes sense for you both since you are married and essentially giving a gift on behalf of 2 people. I recently attended a wedding and brought a guest and gave more than I typically would if it was just myself attending. I think I spent 90 bucks on a good friend.

That being said, I agree with those saying that a wedding gift is optional and the true gift is attendees taking the time to enjoy a special and joyous day with the newly married couple. A gift should also be what one can afford, I’m in my mid 20′s and a lot of people are getting married but most of us don’t make big bucks. No one should go broke because of a wedding.

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38 eurolauras May 24, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Well I’m a NYer and first generation European at that so $100 per person attending is the minimum rule of thumb here. A family of 4 should give between $300 – $500 depending on the venue (in the tri-state area most weddings are at catered venues so these are formal events)
I understand that it’s different outside of the tri-state area but from a European’s standpoint, you are being generous to the couple so that they can start their life with a savings which is where some people say that its a generally accepted that you should give the cost of your plate plus a little more.

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39 Matt May 25, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I can certainly say that the most weddings we had in a year was 5, we gave about $100 to $200 for each one, it basically depended on how well we knew the couple and what else we did to pitch in. Gave a more expensive gift and bought a lot for the bachelor party for the one I was the best man in, less so for the friend we hadn’t seen in 4 years and had to drive 6 hours to get to.

From our own wedding, average seemed to be about $100 per couple. Some more, some less. Some who couldn’t attend sent a larger gift.

When siblings get married, we seem to spend more than when it is a more distant relative.

At the end of the day, I agree with JB most brides and grooms really want you to attend and be there with them on that day. They will be glad for whatever you give them and of course no one expects nor would they want you to put yourself into hardship to give a gift.

We normally budget a certain amount for gifts in a year, then if we know that there are a lot of weddings that year, we up the amount if needed.

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40 Mike May 26, 2010 at 12:51 am

Here’s some advice from TheKnot.com (link):

It’s a bad idea to use the price-per-plate as a measure for how much you should spend on the wedding gift — you wouldn’t give your best friend a less expensive gift just because she was having a more casual affair. Spend what you think is appropriate to your relationship to the couple, and also consider what’s reasonable in your city. Here’s the ballpark you should be aiming for:

* Coworker and/or a distant family friend or relative: $50-$75
* Relative or friend: $75-$100
* Close relative or close friend: $100-$150+

I think they pretty much nail it. Basing your gift’s amount on anything other than your relationship with the couple (and your budget) is simply tacky.

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41 Maeve January 26, 2014 at 2:32 am

Don’t go to the wedding if you cannot afford to give a nice gift. You can just about fill your tank for $75-$100. That’s just being cheap. Times are changing. Candy bars aren’t a nickel anymore.

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