Warmer days, the scent of flowers in the air, an oddly specific craving for buttercream frosting – what can this mean? That wedding season has arrived, of course. With all the lovely ceremonies and dance-filled receptions, there’s also something else to consider – your budget.
Buying gifts for showers and weddings can add up quickly and if you, like so many of us, have multiple weddings in a year, these costs can start to feel unreasonable. This week, I want to share my wedding gift-giving etiquette tips. Stick me with and I will set you straight on what is and is not expected.
Set Your Expectations
According to the major wedding website The Knot, http://www.knot.com, you’re best-served by framing your wedding gift budget by ratios. It’s typical to spend 20 percent on the engagement gift, 20 percent on the bridal shower and 60 percent on the wedding gift. The website also found the following averages for what people are typically spending overall:
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Coworker or distant family friend/relative: $50-$75
Relative or friend: $75-$100
Close relative or close friend: $100-$150
Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Some soon-to-be-weds are thrown an engagement party, a couple’s shower, a bridal shower and have their respective bachelor and bachelorette parties. If you know that you’re likely to be invited to all of these affairs and gifts are expected, plan ahead and budget accordingly. Hopefully, the bride and groom will understand and manage their expectations, too. http://www.beau-coup.com/gift_giving_etiquette.htm
Navigate The Registry
These days, couples are wise to include where they’re registered on shower invitations or through their wedding websites. You can use this information to plan out purchases and even get some good deals. Signing up for the store’s newsletters often means free shipping, a percentage off or first notice of upcoming sales. https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-registry-myths-busted
For instance, Bed Bath & Beyond sends out monthly coupons that you can use to maximize your savings. These coupons are either for a percentage off or a dollar amount off a minimum purchase. Even if the couple is not registered at that particular store, you can check out their registry online and purchase the item at Bed Bath & Beyond as the coupons to that store never expire.
Don’t forget to ask for a gift receipt, no matter where you shop, so the couple can handle returns if they’re double gifted. However, many registries, such as Amazon’s, allow you to note that the item was purchased elsewhere.
To Have and To Hold
Another cost-effective approach to gifting is going in with others on a group gift. This is an especially smart idea for big-ticket items such as an outdoor grill, vacuum cleaner or furniture. Most couples add these items to their registries in the hopes of either a group chipping in or gift cards, anyway. If this is an approach you’d like to take, be sure and discuss costs and concerns with everyone involved so no feels uncomfortable or overwhelmed by the final numbers.
Not all gifts have to come wrapped in a bow. A gift my husband and I like to do for couples are ‘experience’ gifts, such as taking them out to dinner, or for a lower-cost option, inviting them over for dinner. Or, if the couple has a hobby they enjoy, such as traveling, you might consider a gift card for an airline or hotel chain. For couples with children, a great idea is offering up your babysitting services. Invite them to bring the children over to your house for a night so the newlyweds can enjoy an evening to themselves.
No matter what you choose, the gift you give should be graciously given (and hopefully received as such, too). Don’t use price tags as a measuring stick for your friendship or relationship. Instead, focus on what the couple could truly use or will honestly appreciate. It will make everyone happier, I promise.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Tina Mapes is an assistant branch manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens.