You’re so lucky that you have such a large, loving family and so many wonderful friends! But when they start getting married, you may express your happiness for them out loud but secretly tense up over what it means to your wallet.
Billshark to the rescue! Here are six things to keep in mind before you go shopping for the happy couple:
1. There is NO rule that says you must spend as much as the dinner cost. Some even think the rule says to spend twice as much as the couple paid per plate.
First, how are you supposed to know what each meal costs?
Second, what if they threw a barbecue in the back yard that cost under $10 per guest? Does that mean you should give a gift under $20? No one knows where this belief originated, but etiquette experts say it’s a fallacy.
2. There is also NO rule that you must buy a gift from the couple’s wedding registry. Nor are you required to participate in the latest trend of funding the couple’s honeymoon or house down payment, a practice many respondents to various surveys have called “tacky.”
3. Finally, there is absolutely NO rule that you must either go broke or take out a loan to meet someone’s expectation of what you should give in the way of a wedding gift.
In fact, etiquette experts say just the opposite: You should buy the couple something you can afford, that is both thoughtful as well as something you’d like to receive yourself. In this case, creativity beats money hands down.
“Your gift should always be within your personal budget,” Lizzie Post, etiquette expert and co-host of Emily Post’s “Awesome Etiquette” podcast, tells CNBC’s Make It. “You decide based on your connection to the person getting married, your own gift-giving style, desire, and generosity in that moment and what’s feasible for you to do.”
That said, here are some general guidelines for giving wedding gifts:
4. Start with your overall cost for the wedding.
If you’re part of the bridal party, you may have shelled out a considerable amount for a dress/tux, hair/makeup, travel expenses, and other incidentals. In that case, a token gift may suffice, or even no gift at all if it’s a destination wedding. In the
latter case, your presence is your gift to the couple.
5. Consider your relationship to the couple.
If it’s your sister or best friend, you’ll want to spend more than on your second cousin’s daughter, or your boss’s son. If it’s your favorite niece and you desperately want to be there but cannot attend the wedding, you may want to get her a more generous gift. If it’s the son of your mother’s neighbor and you won’t be attending the wedding, send a nice card with your hearty congratulations and best wishes for their happiness.
6. Stick to your budget
Do not charge a wedding gift unless you can pay it off when the next bill comes. And never dip into your emergency savings unless you know you can replace it after your next paycheck. When considering the cost of a wedding gift, also factor
in how many other weddings you’ll be attending in the coming months, as well as other expenses that may be looming (car inspection, tax bill, etc.)
Billshark realizes the conflicting pull of emotions that can arise when it comes to buying wedding gifts. But the best gift you can give yourself, whatever the occasion, is the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re in good financial shape.
And if you need extra funds for this or any other purpose, be sure to let Billshark review your bills for free. We could save you hundreds of dollars or more, and remember you don’t pay unless we can save you money.