Wedding gift expenditure for the happy couple: how much is too much?

There comes a time in our lives when we choose to spend the rest of our living days with someone special. Wedding freezes that choice. It makes you put your heart where your mouth is. If your friend is about to get married, it’s time to be there for the couple to bless them. Often, you might also prepare to bestow a wedding gift. While the intent is a really good one and the gesture is certainly going to be appreciated, it’s not as easy as it might seem. You can’t possibly saunter into a gift shop and pick up anything random.

Weddings are marked as special events.. Your gift to the couple on that also marks your creativity, intent, and the degree of relationship you’ve shared with your friend. It so happens that there are a few issues with the concept of “gifting” your friend on his or her wedding day. There’s the issue of appropriateness and then the issue of cost. Should you go cheap? Or would it make sense to indulge in an extravaganza that even your friend couldn’t even think of affording? Visit for more….

Let’s explore:

Intent is more important than the price tag

When you have to buy a gift to prove yourself or when you think that buying gifts could get you closer to a friend, you’ll get nowhere. Friendships are not created based on income. Paychecks and profit/loss statements don’t mean a thing here. Friendships are simple bridges of bonding between two people (or a group of people) with shared beliefs, values, or with emotions invested. As they say, the “Intent is more important than the price tag”. Yet, “any gift” won’t do just because the price tag won’t matter. It’s a wedding; not a corporate gifting exercise. Go personal. Give your friend something meaningful. Now, it’s hard to put an expected or desired price tag on “meaningful gifts”. Do it anyway.

It starts with you

It’s important to determine the relative strength of your relationship with your friends before splurging on gifts, no matter how expensive or cheap they are. While it goes without saying that you’d certainly want to buy gifts for your best friend who’s about to get married, there are plenty of others you might not want to spend on. Not everyone is a friend although we go about calling anyone relatively closer than acquaintances with that “friend” word. Do give away gifts but how expensive or cheap it should be depends on that “friendship” factor. Take stock of the time spent together, of how much you mean to each other, and various other factors before you decide on attending weddings while hauling gifts in.

What’s your budget?

Intent is one thing; capability is totally something else. Your friend is important to you, and there’s no denying that. Nothing, however, demands more from you than you can give. Don’t stretch your budget, borrow to buy, or to go over the cliff. Your friend certainly wouldn’t want that. Real friends don’t want you to get into misery for buying a gift. If you can’t afford something, you just don’t buy it – that’s as true a lesson for personal finance as it is for gift buying. You don’t start thinking about gifts to buy until you figure out what your disposable income is and until you’ve met your goals for the particular month your friend’s wedding is on.

Consider your friend’s real needs

Mindless gifts are worse than no gifts at all.  Eliza Martinez of Global Post  suggests taking your friend’s living situation into account. Since you already know your friend well enough and you are also likely to know what your friend really needs, it means that your decision making at least gets a direction to follow. Consider this: if your friend loves to travel, gift a travel package for two to a nearby exotic destination. Since it’s nearby, it won’t break the bank while you do give your friend a distinct possibility of getting to live that dream.

Aim for balance

Lavishing your friend with exquisite gifts that cost an arm and a leg is not necessary. Going cheap is not recommended either. Aim for that balance. Your gift for your friend’s wedding doesn’t have to be too cheap or too expensive. Now, how exactly would you define “expensive” and “cheap”? That depends on your own financial situation and your ability to afford gifting items? Ask yourself this question, as explained in the point above:

How much can I afford to spend on a gift?

Once you earmark a budget, decide on other relevant factors (mentioned above) and then make a decision to place the spending amount somewhere in the range of your budget. The closer your friend is for you, the closer it gets to the higher end of the budget.

Consider gift pooling

We borrowed the term from “car pooling”, but the idea is simple. If you are a group of friends attending another close friend’s wedding, pool in cash to be able to purchase a slightly more expensive gift than what would have been possible if you had to purchase it all by yourself. You may then want to consider gifts such as furniture sets for your friend’s new home, travel packages with longer duration or a higher price (or even to another part of the world to some place exotic and faraway), and expensive items like art, etc. The best part about pooling in cash for an expensive gift is obvious: your friend certainly gets something he or she may not be able to afford (or might not want to). It’s cute to have a group of friends brainstorm and think of a common gift. The shared bonding now just got better. It’s time to bless the couple, crack a few jokes, make the wedding a memorable event, play fool and enjoy. Of course, you’d give a gift that means so much to the couple. Your presence at the wedding is an assurance for the couple’s decision to live together for the rest of their lives. Now, that’s more important that the materialistic gift that you gave. Yet, it’s a gesture they won’t forget.

What kind of a gift are you going to give to your friend? In the past, what gifts did you give away?  Share your ideas with us

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