These days, couples prefer to hold a small and intimate marriage ceremony and then celebrate with their friends and loved ones afterward.
Don’t feel bad if you’ve only been invited to the reception.
But, Should You Buy a Gift If You Are Only Invited to the Reception?
Yes, you should. Sometimes, the couple wants a small wedding ceremony that includes specific family and friends. If you get invited to a reception, the couple must have thought of you and valued your presence. And if you plan on attending, buying a gift will be a polite way of appreciating them. Remember that weddings are generally expensive and a significant amount goes into the reception. So, they won’t mind receiving a gift from you.
How Much Should a Wedding Gift Cost?
The amount you spend on a wedding gift depends on your budget.
But according to research by NerdWallet, an average wedding gift costs $151, and guests are willing to spend $350 depending on the situation.
Certain things can help you decide the amount of money to spend on a wedding gift.
1. The Tradition
Ideally, you should buy a gift worth the cost of having you at the reception.
For example, if you think a couple is spending $100-$150 per person, your gift should equal that amount.
The only problem with this reasoning is that it’s based on per-person price.
So it means that if you think a couple is spending $100 for a guest’s drinks and food, you’ll have to spend double buying a gift if you’re coming with a plus one.
2. How Much You Are Spending to Attend the Wedding
Remember there are other expenses you are spending to attend the wedding. If it is a destination wedding, you are likely paying for flights, hotels, and other things.
In this case, you can assume that the bride and groom understand how much their guests are already spending.
So, you can cut down on the gift, and if you don’t have money left, your presence is enough of a gift to the couple.
3. Your Relationship with the Couple
How close you are to a couple will influence how much time you spend on the gift.
As mentioned, the average amount guests spend is usually $50-$100.
If you are related or your best friend is getting married, you can spend more, about $150. If not, you don’t have to overdo it.
4. Your Budget
All the above factors are crucial when choosing a gift, but everything narrows down to how much you can afford.
The truth is a gift isn’t mandatory for a wedding.
And many people appreciate your presence more than the gift. Therefore, lean on smaller items if you have a small budget.
What Wedding Gift Can I Buy?
Deciding what gift to buy a couple can be difficult. It’s why many couples write a wedding registry so guests can know what to buy.
If you are stuck on what to buy, look at the registry and see what fits your budget. But here are some ideas on what to buy:
- All-purpose wine glass
- Photo frame
- Glass ornament
- Couples camera set
- NBA tickets
- Baking set
- Dinner plates
- Coffee maker
What About the After Party?
The after party is an evening reception.
In some places, guests give extra guests during this part of the wedding as they enjoy the drinks and band. But must you give a gift at this time?
No. There is no need to gift a couple at the after-party, especially if you’re only attending this part. Many couples do not expect gifts at the after-party.
But you can give them a handwritten card expressing your congratulations or you can buy the couple a drink as well.
Is Gifting Mandatory in a Wedding Ceremony?
Yes, and no. When you are invited to a celebratory party, naturally you want to bring a gift.
But if you don’t, you are not bringing any laws, and no one will call you out for that. However, chances are that it will be noticed.
The couple will notice, but they may not ask.
What If I Can’t Attend the Wedding?
It’s always best to buy a gift even if you don’t attend the wedding unless you haven’t been in touch with the couple for a long time.
But, if you decline the invitation and your finances don’t allow you to send a gift, it’s okay too. In that case, write a handwritten note and send your wishes.
Buying a gift is dependent on the relationship you have with a couple.
If you are close to them, it’s best to send a wedding gift. But if not, a congratulatory note is enough.
Should You Spend More on a Gift If You’re Bringing a Plus One?
If you go with the per-head logic, you’d be forced to spend double as a guest attending solo. However, note that there isn’t a fixed rule that says the amount you spend on a wedding gift increases when you bring a date.
However, it makes sense to do that since you are paying more for feeding two mouths. But there isn’t an expectation that guests must do so.
Can You Buy Gifts That Are Not on the Registry?
Yes. You are not violating wedding etiquette by buying a gift, not on the registry. But if you go this route, get something the couple will love.
Remember that they have taken the time to choose the items they need.
So, many guests would want to stick with gifts written on the registry. But if you know the couple and are sure they would love the gift, go ahead and purchase it.
Should You Give Money as a Wedding Gift?
Cash gifts are becoming popular and modern couples are now requesting them.
Some even register on cash funds applications to make work easy for the guests.
If you are giving cash, ensure that you provide it through the registry if the couple has included it on the registry.
It is a nice gesture to give a gift regardless of the part of the wedding you are invited to.
So, if your budget allows, buy a present for the couple while you celebrate with them.