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Sure, You Can Give Cash as a Wedding Gift, but How Much Should You Give?

Dan Clarendon - Author
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May 4 2022, Published 5:46 a.m. ET

Invited to a wedding? You might want to give cash to the happy couple for any number of reasons. Perhaps you’re RSVP-ing late and the other items on the wedding registry have been spoken for. Or perhaps you’d rather give moolah over some cutlery set. So, what’s a good amount of cash to give as a wedding gift?

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The short answer is that it depends on your budget. People have varying opinions, as you’ll see here, but ultimately, you have to do what you feel is right both for you and your relationship to the couple. But if you’re looking for pointers, keep reading.

How much should a couple give in cash for a wedding?

Brides reports that the rule of thumb in traditional etiquette is to give a wedding gift equivalent to the cost of your being at the wedding. “If you think the couple getting married is spending an average of $100$150 per person at their wedding, the price of your gift should equal that amount,” event planner Anthony Navarro told the magazine. If you agree with that logic—and not everyone does, as you’ll see below—couples should give a wedding gift of double the per-person amount.

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wedding toast
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How much should a family of four give for a wedding gift?

When a Reddit user asked about an appropriate wedding gift from a couple attending a wedding with two kids in tow, multiple commenters said that the adults needn’t give a more expensive gift on account of their children. “I don’t think people expect better gifts because they invited kids,” one commenter said.

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Another person wrote: “I wouldn’t double it (or change it at all). Your gift amount should be based upon your ability, interest, and relationship to the bride and groom—it’s not the guests’ responsibility to pay for [or] cover the cost of the wedding (either in cash or in-kind gifts).”

One commenter offered a dissenting voice, however. “Take a look at the reception [venue] and try to guesstimate how much each plate costs (including a kid’s plate) and go from there,” they wrote.

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How much should a cash wedding gift from parents be?

For some parents of brides and grooms, paying for the wedding is enough of a gift. Others want to give something extra. What to Get My reports that some parents give around $1,000 for the couple’s honeymoon and some even give $20,000 for a downpayment on a new house. Again, there’s no minimum or maximum—it all depends on the gift-givers’ budget.

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Should I give cash or write a check?

You can gift cash or a check. Either is acceptable, as etiquette expert Lizzie Post, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, told CNBC in 2018. Lizzie added that some newlyweds might prefer cash, but Post personally recommended writing a check, just in case the envelope gets lost.

No matter how much you give and how you give it, Lizzie said to make sure to include a note. Otherwise, it “can be really strange” for the recipients, she explained. “Just having a card with cash show up in it, people might not really get it.”

Plus, a note “gives you the chance to write your intention,” Lizzie said. “It gives you the chance to write your intention,” she added. “You might write them an amount for something specific and say, ‘I’d really love for you to use this toward your honeymoon, or whatever best suits your needs.’”

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