(Closed) Gifting – should gift value correspond to per head wedding cost?

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Would your gift price/value change if you knew how much the per head cost of a wedding is?
    Yes, I'd feel cheap if I knew it was a very pricey wedding : (22 votes)
    18 %
    No, not at all - I would give the same gift/amount : (70 votes)
    58 %
    Maybe - I might ratchet it up or down a notch : (29 votes)
    24 %
  • Post # 3
    10367 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2010

    I think it is the couple’s choice to throw a $300/head wedding vs a $30/head wedding, and as a guest, I shouldn’t be held responsible for their spending.

    The only circumstances under which i’d give $300 as a gift would be a sibling or child’s wedding. I’d stick to $100-150 otherwise, because that’s what’s within my budget.

    Post # 4
    297 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    I’ve always determined how much I spend on my gift by how close I am with the bride and groom.  I like to get a few small things off their registry and then buy something well though tof that will always remind them of me.  I mean in 30 years, re you going to remember who bought those towels for you off your registry or the person who bought something well thought out that has a meaning to it????  whether you spend $20 or $200+ on a gift is no reflection of the wedding itself. some people also don’t have the means to go out and buy a big gift even if they want to. 

    Post # 5
    322 posts
    Helper bee

    I agree with @crayfish. I hate this whole the gift should equal the cost of the plate or whatever. Hopefully, if it is in a big city and costs more, the people attending will make more money and will be willing and able to give more.

    I recently spent over $200 on a wedding gift because the couple has mentioned this type of thinking on several occasions to me and I didn’t want them talking about me as a cheap person like they do with others. Can I afford a $200 gift? No, not really. But I would rather do that then have them calling me cheap, especially since I’m the Maid/Matron of Honor. Two of the other BMs went in together on a $200 gift and the bride was telling me how cheap she thought they were, so yes, it would happen.

    Maybe I’ll change my mind when I get married but I find it incredibly tacky to judge how much people spend on a gift. You should invite them because you want them at your wedding and you want them to be a part of your special day, not because you want them to spend a certain amount on a gift or get you a gift at all.

    Post # 5
    2600 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2011

    I think it’s more like people who are having a $300 a head wedding are generally coming from a background where that’s the norm and their standard of living is higher… so generally their friends and family’s will be, too and they’ll get gifts like that.

    I’ve never seen it as recouping what you’ve spent, but I’ve worked with brides and grooms who I know have made enough cash to put a down payment on a house after the wedding.  It’s all in your family/friend circle I guess.


    Post # 6
    2233 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    I totally get where you’re coming from. Per person cost around here is not $300 but it’s also not $25. Personally I would feel uncomfortable going to a wedding and giving anything less than $100 per person because that is just the standard here. I tend to usually give a bit more if it’s a couple that I’m close to. 

    Post # 7
    322 posts
    Helper bee

    @thewheelsonthebus: I have had at least two people specifically mention gifts they have received and complained that it wasn’t even enough to cover their meals. I think you are probably right in some cases, but people definitely do think about recouping the money or something like that.

    Post # 8
    13099 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2010

    I base the cost of my gift on my closeness to the bride and groom (within a range that I consider my budget).  I don’t base anything on how much the wedding costs.

    Post # 9
    404 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    Regardless of where you live, the host chooses the cost per person.  Just because it is the “norm” in that area doesn’t mean that you can’t do less. 


    Therefore, as an invited guest I feel that it doesn’t matter at all what the cost per head is!  The hosts chose that and I tend to assume that that is what they felt comfortable spending.  I do NOT think it is my job to pay for my own plate or increase the gift I was planning on giving for that reason.  On the flip side, I would NEVER give less of a gift because the cost of the wedding was less expensive.

    Post # 10
    4355 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    I might give more. We normally already give $200 for Fiance and I which covers even a pretty elaborate plate in my area. I never give less even if I know the plate is less than that though.

    Post # 11
    3978 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    I agree with @crayfish. I don’t have anything to do with how much a wedding I attend costs. Actually, I’d prefer to go to a $30/head wedding than a $300/head one.

    In fact, I’d probably be more likely to buy a cheap gift for someone who I know is spending a TON on their wedding and an expensive gift (or more cash) to someone who’s being super frugal, because in my mind they are the ones who need it. If you can afford to drop $50k on a wedding, are you really going to care about the difference between a $20 crockpot and maybe $80-100 gift I might have gotten you? Chew on that, lol.

    Post # 12
    4887 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    I’d never consider how much the wedding cost when purchasing/giving a a gift.  As PP’s have said, its the bride and grooms choice to have whatever event they want and it should never be expected that the guests would respond in kind with their gift giving.  I think it’s pretty nasty that some people expect their guests to pony up to cover their costs for attending… that’s not at all what being invited to a wedding should be about. 

    Also, I highly doubt that 95% of my guests will even have a clue about how much my wedding is going to cost anyway.  The other 5% who might be able to take a gander are my recently married/engaged friends and those involved in assisting with the wedding itself.  I’m willing to bet that if many of my guests found out that it’s costing $112 per head (or whatever it is right now, gah), they might rather not attend than give a $112 gift to come see us exchange vows.

    Post # 13
    169 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: August 2000

    l’ve always wanted to know how you’re supposed to “cover the plate”. Do you ask “hey–how much you spending on my food?”

    And, then, should it cover just the cost of the food or all of the extras the happy couple decides to add (i.e.–the professional dance troupe, the 12 piece band, the vintage Rolls)?

    No, I do it based on my budget and my relationshio with the couple.

    Post # 14
    921 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2011

    I wouldn’t base gift giving it on cost per head… aside from the fact that you would never know what the price per head is unless you ask.. I would never  give a gift based on what someone gave me..

    Post # 15
    445 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    Disclaimer:  I typically “estimate” how much a couple spend on the wedding meal…I’ve been to enough weddings…and eat out enough to know how much it cost to have a sit down dinner (you can tell from the invite where, when..etc.).  It’s not difficult to get a rough estimate and gift accordingly.  I also wouldn’t imagine being invited to a wedding unless I’m good friend with the bride/groom, both or their families..i accept invites from those whose occassions I would not miss for the world! 

    With that said, I give what I considered is the cost of the meal +$50 or more.  Obviously if my friends decide to have a $300 meal (out of the norm)..then I would send them a small sentimental gift, thank them for the invition but graciously decline.  Luckily none of my friends have been that wealthy to go that route.   I like to give generously.

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