If you are giving cash (or a check), send it ahead of time rather than bringing it to the wedding—it’s too easy for things to get misplaced in the chaos of the day. Some couples may even register for cash to go directly into their bank accounts through sites like Tendr, which allows guests to give money virtually, along with a sentimental note they can personally write on a digital card.
5. Do I have to buy a wedding gift for a destination wedding?
“While there are no hard and fast rules, there is a general understanding that their presence at the wedding can absolutely be their gift. You have to remember that your guests are presumably taking time off from work and arranging childcare, so they’ve already invested quite a bit. With that being said, if an attendee chooses to gift them in addition to being there, then that’s absolutely fine,” says Carlson.
If you do want to get them a wedding gift but you’re strapped for cash right after spending on the flights and hotels, you can always wait until later (up to a year) to get them a wedding gift. Whatever the timing, they’ll always appreciate it.
6. Should I buy a gift if I can’t attend the wedding?
“Emily Post has always attested to the fact that you should always send a gift if invited unless you’ve truly been out of touch for a considerable length of time,” says Carlson. “I’d like to think, however, that there is absolutely an understanding that if you decline the invitation and are not in a financial position to send a gift, then you don’t, and that’s OK. Instead, send your warm wishes with a handwritten note.”
If you’re a close friend of the couple, it’s probably best to send a wedding gift. If, on the other hand, your distant cousin invited 300 people to her wedding and you feel like you were invite number 299, a sweet note of congratulations on the RSVP card is sufficient. If you do decide to send a gift, feel free to spend less than you might spend if you were attending—that $30 wine opener is still a lovely token of congratulations that the couple will surely appreciate.
7. Should my wedding gift amount increase if I have a plus one?
There’s no rule in the wedding gift etiquette handbook that would suggest your wedding gift amount go up if you bring a date. “While it may make sense to spend a bit more because you are bringing two mouths to feed, there is no expectation that you need to do so,” says Carlson.
8. How long do I have after the wedding to get the couple a wedding gift?
Traditionally, you have up to one year to get the couple a wedding gift. That being said, etiquette experts agree that the sooner you can give the gift the better. Everyone wants to unwrap their wedding gifts when they’re still radiating with that newlywed glow.
9. How do I address a check to the couple?
If you plan on giving a check to the happy couple, make sure you avoid writing their new surname in the “to” field. It may seem counterintuitive after having just watched them tie the knot, but when it comes to cashing checks after the big day, the bank will sometimes not accept checks that don’t have the registered account name. To be safe, it’s best to write the check out to one person and write a happy note in the memo field.
10. Should I ship a gift directly or bring it to the wedding?
“The preferred method for gifting is to send it to the couple’s home, versus bringing with you on the wedding day. There are just so many things to keep track of the day of the event, that it’s appreciated if you can make it a bit easier on the newlyweds. Luckily, it’s practically a given that you’ll be able to ship your gift with relative ease thanks to registries,” says Carlson.