wikiHow to Buy a Wedding Gift for Someone You Don't Know

Everyone who receives a wedding invitation must decide what to give as a gift and how much to spend. The answers to these questions are even harder when it is someone you don't really know. Etiquette does require you to give a gift if you receive an invitation from a casual acquaintance, a business connection or distant relative, whether you choose to attend the event or not.


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    Decide how much you can comfortably spend on the gift. There is no social etiquette that dictates a standard amount. Consider:
    • Your own budget and what size gift is comfortable for you.
    • Whether or not you are attending the wedding and how many people you are bringing with you. Although your gift should not be considered an admission price to an event, if the gift is from multiple guests it should be proportionately larger.
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    Be aware of regional and cultural etiquette regarding wedding gifts of cash. In some social circles, cash is the best gift; whereas in others, it is considered an insult.
    • Ask others you know who are invited to the wedding if they will give cash gifts.
    • Consider a gift card to the store where the couple has their wedding registry if you are unsure about giving cash.
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    Choose from the wedding registry when buying a gift. Although normal wedding gift etiquette does not require guests limit their gift buying to the registry, when you don't know the bride or groom well, buying off of the registry is risky.
    • The wedding registry information is usually spread by word of mouth. Sometimes it is also sent to guests with the shower registry information or posted on the couple's wedding website.
    • Have your gift sent to the address on the registry if you buy a registry gift. Even if you are attending the event, the bride and groom will appreciate not having to take gifts home the night of the wedding.
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    Buy a gift without using the gift registry only as a last resort, either because you have no registry information or because all registry items have been purchased by other guests.
    • Look the registry over carefully and, if possible, take a copy with you when shopping. Avoid buying anything that duplicates the wedding registry. When you buy away from the registry other guests do not know the couple is already receiving that item.
    • Use the registry information to give you clues about what color schemes and d├ęcor styles the couple envisions for various rooms in their home. When appropriate, buy your gift to complement registry items.
    • Stay neutral if you can't use the registry to help you match the couple's style. Avoid gifts that are distinct in color or style. Stick to items that would match many color and style schemes.
    • Buy a gift for the couple instead of the home. Arranging for a wine, fruit and cheese gift basket to be delivered to their home when they return from their honeymoon is a thoughtful wedding gift.


  • Although wedding cards containing cash and checks are often brought to the wedding and placed in a designated basket, in many cases the bride and groom would prefer that wrapped gifts not be brought to the wedding. Gifts can be sent to the bride's address before the wedding or to the couple's address after they return from their honeymoon. Although some people will say you have up to a year to give a gift to a newly married couple, if you were invited to the wedding, whether you attend or not, gifts should be given within three months of the event.

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Categories: Weddings