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Proper Etiquette to Help You Navigate This Season of Love

The soon-to-be bride and groom aren’t the only ones gearing up for wedding season. Guests also have some planning to do – what to eat, what to wear, where to stay and what to buy? One of the biggest costs and sources of stress for guests?

The wedding gift. Not to worry – we’ve got some gift giving ideas and etiquette to help you navigate this season of love.

How much should I spend on a wedding gift?

There is no established amount that guests (including plus ones) are expected to spend on the happy couple. If you’re looking for an idea, a recent study projected that guests will spend between $99-$127, but spend within your budget. If everything left on the registry is over your price point, get the couple a gift card to a retailer they registered through. There is also nothing wrong with giving cold hard cash!

Should I buy a gift if I can’t attend the wedding?

If you decline the invitation and are not in a comfortable financial position to send a gift, it’s perfectly acceptable. Send your warm wishes to the newlyweds with a handwritten note. If you do decide to send a gift, it is customary to send something from their registry.

Related: 3 Tips for a Financially Healthy Marriage

Do I need to buy a wedding gift for a destination wedding?

There is nothing definite in the wedding guest handbook for this situation. Still, there is a general understanding that your presence at the wedding can be the happy couple’s gift. You are possibly arranging for extended childcare, taking time off work, incurring additional travel costs and re-scheduling other obligations to attend a destination wedding. But, if your budget allows for it, a gift from the registry is absolutely appreciated.

Can I pitch in on a group wedding gift?

Absolutely! If you really want to get the couple that pricey espresso machine you know they’ll love, feel free to join forces with a group of friends. In fact, group gifting is now a feature on most online registries. This is a particularly useful idea for members of the bridal party who have already shelled out some dough for pre-nuptial celebrations. The couple will get an awesome big-ticket gift, and everyone gets away with spending a little less!

How do I address a check to the couple?

To be safe and avoid headaches at the bank before name and title changes are official, it's best to make the check payable to one person. Don’t forget to write a thoughtful note in the memo field.

Should I ship a gift directly or bring it to the wedding?

The preferred method for gifting is to send it to the address provided on the registry. The couple and their families are likely swimming in details and personal inventory on the big day so mailing a gift makes for one less thing to worry about.

If all this wedding gift talk has you overwhelmed, you can always wait to buy. Remember: You have up to one year to get the couple a wedding gift. Plenty of time to budget and plan accordingly!