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5 Wedding Gift Rules Guests Should Always Follow

Stick to these five easy gifting rules and couples will never return one of your gifts again.
wrapped gift on table with flowers
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The Knot
by The Knot
Updated Jun 29, 2020

Every time you accept a wedding invitation you're inevitably faced with the question of what to give. From where to shop to foolproof gift ideas, we know a thing or two about finding something perfect for the couple. In addition to finding the just-right gift for the happy couple, you want to make sure you are following proper wedding gift etiquette. After all, there are a lot of traditions and expectations steeped in gift giving at weddings. 

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So what is the etiquette for wedding gifts? We have all the answers. Follow our tips below to ensure you really do find the perfect present for the newlyweds, without running into any accidental faux pas. 

Top 5 Wedding Gift Etiquette Tips 

1. Buy From the Couple's Registry

This tip is pretty much wedding gift etiquette 101. We don't hand out this kind of advice often, but in the case of wedding gifts, don't get too creative. The majority of soonlyweds want you to choose a gift from their already curated wedding registry. Nearly 9 in 10 couples create a registry with an average of 125 items to choose from, so you should have no problem getting creative within the boundaries of their wish list. To find it, head to their wedding website, which should link directly to their registries, whether they're setup at traditional retailers, with a cash registry like The Knot Cash Fund or both. The couple set up the registry for a reason, and if you stick to it, you can't possibly buy a gift they won't like.

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2. Bed, Bath and Kitchen Gifts Are Not Boring 

When it comes to following wedding gift etiquette, it's good to remember that the couple is not only building their new lives together, but they're building a home, too. That means a swanky toaster or pretty dishes could do wonders for their new set up. 

Today's couples want modern twists on traditional wedding gifts from the kitchen, dining, bedding and bath departments. That means you can't go wrong with a stand mixer and or beautiful wood salad bowl. Here are a few great ideas for each.

For deluxe bedding and bath, give them gifts that'll create a spa-like hotel environment every morning when they wake up. Think about buying them a trio of gifts to create a theme: What about a set of über-soft pillows, a thick down blanket and a pair of high thread-count hotel towels?

In terms of entertaining, couples want serious bang for their (or, ahem, your) buck, so opt for a set of dishes and stainless flatware that can multitask—and either be dressed up for an important dinner or dressed down for a Fourth of July barbecue.

Many couples use their wedding as the perfect excuse to finally upgrade their kitchen. Give state-of-the-art kitchen appliances, cookware, bakeware and even good old-fashioned cookbooks that are as pretty as they are practical. And the best part? They'll think of you every time they whip up a gourmet meal!

3. Spend More Than $50

What is the etiquette for wedding gifts in terms of how much to spend? Let's just say you're going to fork out more than 20 bucks. It's not a good idea to use the price-per-plate rule to measure how much you should spend on the wedding gift—you wouldn't give your best friend a less expensive gift because they were having a more casual affair. Spend what you think is appropriate to your relationship to the couple, and also consider what's reasonable relative to where they live. While a coworker or friend may expect a gift in the $50-75 range, someone in an urban market, say, New York City, may have double the expectations. Here's the ballpark you should be aiming for:

  • Coworker and/or a distant family friend or relative: $50-$75
  • Relative or friend: $75-$100
  • Close relative or close friend: $100-$150
  • Urbanite: $150-200+

4. Group Gifts Go a Long Way

Group gifts are the next tip in terms of wedding gift etiquette on our list. You might be surprised, but we definitely encourage this one. After all, married couples tend to say their favorite gifts are often big-ticket items purchased by a group of their friends, which makes total sense: They'd most likely never be able to afford those luxuries on their own. If the couple has registered for an item that's out of range for just one person to afford, ask some other guests to go in on it with you. It's also a great idea for the bridal party to band together and buy the couple something really special.

5. Send It Within Two Months

We know there's been a one-year rule floating around, but with the convenience of online registries and two-day shipping, there's really no excuse for such a huge delay. If you really want to follow wedding gift etiquette, try to send your gift within two months of the couple's wedding. And though you're excited for them to see it, don't bring it to the wedding—they won't want to lug it around, and it could get damaged during the night. Have it shipped straight to their door to make things easier for everyone.

At the end of the day, it's the thought that counts. But if you really want to make an impression, follow our five wedding gift etiquette tips. From sticking to their wedding registry to sending their gift in a timely manner, you're sure to have a thoughtful thank-you card from the couple waiting in your mailbox in no time. 

Not sure where to begin with your wedding planning? Take our Style Quiz and we'll pull together a custom wedding vision and vendors to match, just for you.

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