Wedding Gift Guide

The Top 10 Wedding Gift Questions Answered By The Gift Gurus At
Say "I Do...give great wedding gifts!" Read our answers to the top ten questions people ask about nuptial gifting from the moment they are engaged to the main event.


Do I Have to Give an Engagement Gift?
The answer is no and yes. If the couple just got engaged, you are certainly welcome to give them a congratulatory gift, but no, you are not obligated to give them one. However, those who are very close to the bride and/or groom, often get a small gift to help assist in planning a wedding such as a wedding planner or a bottle of valium (just kidding about the latter!) If you are invited to an engagement party and the invitation does not specify NOT to bring gifts, than yes – you are obligated to buy a gift. Since chances are small that they will have registered for anything yet, you can let your imagination run free when choosing something for them. If you need a little more direction — traditionally gifts for an engagement party center around entertaining & home décor such as personalized wine glasses or a piece of artwork.


Oh Wedding Registry, Where Art Thou?
If you think the betrothed are registered, but you don't know where, check out our registry finder which includes the registries of some of the most popular retailers. If you can't find their registry, double check the invitation (sometimes gift information is included for your convenience). Otherwise, don't feel shy about asking the parents of the bride or groom, a bridesmaid, groomsman, Aunt Eloise or better yet, the happy couple themselves.


What's an Appropriate Gift for the Bridal Shower?
By the time the (first) bridal shower occurs, the couple should have a complete registry from which to choose a gift. Traditionally, shower gifts are chosen from the wedding registry, usually centering around the kitchen (kitchen appliances, cookware, etc.) often called a "wishing well" shower. Non-registry gifts are usually lingerie, make sure the gift will not "offend" the hostess and/or other guests before deciding. If you are unsure, it is probably wiser to hold off until the Bachelorette Party.


If I Am Attending More Than One Bridal Shower,
Do I Have to Get a Gift for Each One?
If you are invited to more than one bridal shower, chances are you are either related and/or in the wedding party. If that is the case and you have helped organize/plan/throw the Shower – you are not required to also buy her a gift for that particular shower. If you are strictly a guest and you haven't been specifically told otherwise, you are expected to give a gift at both showers. If money is tight — try finding something on the registry you can split up into two gifts, such as kitchen gadgets, or better yet, make her something meaningful such as a scrapbook filled with quotes you think will inspire her in the years ahead.


How Much Should I Spend on a Wedding Gift?
The proper wedding gift etiquette is as follows: give what you can afford. An unofficial rule of thumb is to give no less than the approximate cost of the meal for you and your escort, which should keep your wedding gifts under $100. (Major metropolitan areas will often run higher.) If you are going to go this route — take a best guess based on day of week, time of day & venue — but under NO circumstances should you ask the couple how much the reception costs!


Is it Okay to Buy Something Not on the Registry?
The great thing about buying from the couple's bridal registry is that they're guaranteed to like it (afterall, they did register for it!) However, if you want to take the time and gift outside the box...then go for it! Just make sure it's not too similar to something already on their registry (i.e. don't get them a serving bowl if they've already registered for a few.) Try to include a gift receipt, just in case they (ack!) don't "appreciate" it or have already received something comparable. If you are thoughtful and buy a unique wedding gift based on their taste and not yours, they are sure to always remember which gift was from you.


Is it Acceptable to Give Cash as a Wedding Present?
While far more impersonal, giving the couple money is absolutely acceptable (and often more appreciated!) However, if you do decide to give money – it is better to write a check instead of cold cash. If it's before the wedding, make it out to either the bride (using her maiden name) or the groom. If it's at or after, make it out to "Mr. & Mrs. Right" (unless the bride keeps her maiden name, "Miss Independent" then put both names).


Is it Better to Send the Gift?
Do you really feel like carrying around your gift all day long? Not to mention, bringing it gives the starry-eyed couple the responsibility of getting it home safely. Let them be carefree and enjoy their wedding day by sending your gift to the address they've chosen on their registry. They'll appreciate it and so will you!


How Long Do I Have to Send a Wedding Gift?
Wedding etiquette states that guests have up to one year after the wedding to send a gift (which is generally accepted). C'mon now, that's nice to know, but if you couldn't figure out your gift during the engagement, do you really think you're going to be inspired after it's over and done with? We say it can be a little late, but try to get the newlyweds their gift by the time they get back from their honeymoon or soon after. Otherwise, it will hang over your head all year!


I'm Still Not Sure. Where Can I Get More Wedding Gift Advice and Tips?
We're not about to stop at ten questions. The answers above are just to get you started. Read an entire section of our blog devoted to wedding gift advice with thoughtful presents hand-picked by the experts at If ever in doubt, always put yourself in their wedding shoes and think of what you'd appreciate from your guests. Need more tips? See all of our gift guides.