Many people in their 20s and 30s living in a large city and on a budget are still determining the proper amount to spend on a wedding gift. As a traveling guest, many items add up very quickly. These include transportation, accommodations, attire, beauty, and the gift. Soon-to-be-married couples often request to have your presence more than anything; however, we would like to share current trends and gift etiquette as wedding guests. We have three great suggestions below for your wedding gift while living on a budget.

Gift Registry – Although most couples register for items they do not wish to splurge for, we suggest getting a group of your single friends together and purchasing one large item. When I was in my early 20s, a few friends and I combined our money and purchased a grill for our friend. The couple invited us over for a BBQ to thank us!

Monetary Gift – If you are a young professional living in a city such as New York City, your friends understand that many people live on a strict budget. Although most venue dinners in New York City are $360-$500 per head, the couple does not expect their guests to afford this as a gift. Our suggested amount is $100 per person, and remembers to include a check vs. cash.

Sentimental Gift – The best gifts are often sentimental gifts. For example, I made my famous lasagna, a family recipe, and my friend and her fiancé at the time came over for dinner often and always took the leftovers home. I gave them a few items for their wedding, one being a beautiful lasagna dish with my family recipe. Another idea may be a gift card to the restaurant where they had their first date. Anything that resembles an emotional memory for them will be appreciated and show that you put thought into the gift. 

Delayed Gift – It is proper etiquette to send a gift no later than six months after the wedding. Many people at the wedding party spent a large amount of money on showers, bachelorette/bachelor parties, bridesmaid gowns/tux, etc. We suggest giving a card to the couple on the wedding day that may include a personal note and mention the gift will follow. Your newlywed friends will completely understand you spent a lot on the wedding and were happy you could be a part of their special day; however, you should make sure they know that you didn’t forget their gift and let them know it’s coming at a later date. Place a reminder in your calendar to send the card with a check within six months, as it is not proper etiquette to forget!