Wedding Gifts: Should I Give an Expensive Wedding Gift If I Can't Attend the Wedding?

Q: If you've been invited to attend a wedding and you can't go, should you compensate by buying a more expensive wedding gift -- or can you get away with spending less?

A: Believe it or not, even in these days of registries and automated wish lists wedding gifts are not compulsory. That said, gifts are always a lovely and thoughtful gesture. Regardless of whether you can attend the wedding, try to focus more on your relationship to the couple getting married than on the cost of the gift. If they're good friends of yours, it's appropriate to spend more (you'd probably be inclined to anyway). You can probably move more toward the lower end of the registry with people you don't know as well or see as often. Use this rule of thumb to estimate your wedding gift spending (especially if you notice your Saturday schedules filling up with weddings come spring). It's more sensible than trying to figure out the cost of your plate, or other outdated ways to estimate expenses. If you feel you can't spend as much as you'd like, try making your registry gift a bit more creative. Send a decent bottle of champagne or liquor with that stemware or barware, or some fresh spices with kitchen items.

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