“If money is tight, adjust your gift budget accordingly. People should never judge you on the price of your gift, they should hopefully be more concerned about your presence than your present.
“If money is tight, adjust your gift budget accordingly. People should never judge you on the price of your gift, they should hopefully be more concerned about your presence than your present."

How much should you pay for a wedding gift?

I DO like a wedding but the arguments over how much to spend on a gift or how much cash to put in the envelope with the card, has brought hubby and I to the brink of divorce on more than one occasion.

No one wants to be thought of as a tight-arse by the bride and groom but in these tough times who can afford to be overly generous.

My unwritten rule was the value of the gift be equal to, or more than the cost of having you at the nuptials.

But that idea goes off quicker than a bride's nightie if the betrothed couple have splashed out on a $200-a-head-plus dinner at a ritzy restaurant.

If it's a destination wedding and you've had to fork out for flights and accommodation is your mere presence the present.

And what if you are cluey enough to pick up a bargain like a Royal Albert tea set that retails for around $400 for $60; can you claim you gave them a $400 gift?

WEDDED BLISS: Jess Stewart and her now hubby Sam, asked guests not to bring a gift but many gave them money with a wedding card. Picture: Adam Head
WEDDED BLISS: Jess Stewart and her now hubby Sam, asked guests not to bring a gift but many gave them money with a wedding card. Picture: Adam Head

Anna Musson from The Good Manners Company says buying a gift over giving money let's you maintain the "mystery.".

"The whole point of buying a gift you have chosen versus a gift of cash, which, let's state for the record is not in good taste if it is not part of your family culture, is that's its value is a mystery," she says.

" So if you are on a budget and you have the option to purchase a gift of your choosing, that can keep costs down."

If you are giving cash her rule of thumb is if you are a student: $50 single, $80-$100 couple; if you can afford it $100 single, $200 couple and if they are really close friends $250 single and $300 couple.

"And let's state for the record if you are already living together it's preferable to specify, "no gifts please" or a donation to charity," she says.

Zarife Hardy, director of Australian School of Etiquette agrees you should never spend more than you can afford on a gift.

"If money is tight, adjust your gift budget accordingly. People should never judge you on the price of your gift, they should hopefully be more concerned about your presence than your present," she said.

"You also don't have to buy from registries or give money if that is not what you want to do. "Generally speaking for weddings the average price for a gift is between $90 and $150 for a single and $140 to $200 for a couple.

"This also depends on if you have had to travel far to get to the wedding. If it is a destination wedding then a very small gift is appropriate - always remember that the bride and groom need to bring that gift home.

If you are on a very tight budget then a beautiful card and a small gift (for example download a photo of them and put it in a special frame, is very thoughtful."

Another way to keep prevent the married couple from putting a price on your gift is to mix and match, that is give some cash and buy a small gift.

Bessie Hassan, money expert at Finder says at the end of the day it's the thought that counts.

"Guests should give what they can afford at the time. If you feel you should have contributed more, there are other ways to celebrate beyond giving money in an envelope," she says.

"Why not have the couple over for a special dinner after they are back from their honeymoon?"

Jess Stewart and her now hubby Sam, married earlier this year, after living together for eight years.

"We said no gifts on our invites," she said. "We didn't want people to feel obligated.

"But they gave money anyway, which we put toward the cost of the honeymoon."