How Much to Give for A Wedding Gift if Not Attending

Getting the right wedding gift for any couple can be a challenge, but knowing what, if anything, you should give if you are not even present on the wedding day can be a real nightmare.

Moreover, the amount that you spend on a wedding gift also depends on where you are, if you are a close friend or family member, or whether you are a distant relative or a co-worker feeling pressured into spending a substantial amount of money on the happy couple – this may not be necessary and could be quite inappropriate in certain circumstances. 

 The truth is that how much you should spend if you do not attend the wedding will depend on how much you can afford, your relationship with the couple, and their requests for the day.

Most experts agree that how much you give for a wedding gift if you’re not attending can be slightly less than the $50-$75 usually recommended minimum, but this depends on your relationship with the bride and groom.

Studies show that close friends spend $99 on average, while close relatives and family spend $127 on average on wedding gifts.

Wedding gifts don’t have to be headache-inducing – here’s our complete guide to wedding gift etiquette if you’re unable to follow up on a wedding invitation.

How Much Do You Give for A Wedding You Don’t Attend?

Generally speaking, if you are close friends or are the immediate family of one person of the couple, it would be natural to assume that you would send a gift, whether you attend the wedding or not.

Naturally, the closer you are to the couple, the more money you would be expected to spend on the couple, too.

On the other hand, if you are just extended family or just general friends, it may not be expected that you send a wedding gift at all.

However, sending a small gift or a handwritten note could go a long way. 

On the other hand, a great way of avoiding having to handle the wedding present on your own is to team up.

You could join forces with other wedding-goers to prepare a group wedding gift.

This should lower the cost for everyone and will ensure that you pay the same amount as everyone else among the wedding guests.

You should be able to collectively choose a wedding gift from the couple’s registry and choose one that suits everyone’s price ranges.

This will keep the couple happy and ensure that you and other gift-givers save money. You don’t even have to attend with a physical gift yourself.

Do You Still Give a Wedding Gift if Not Attending?

In our collective opinion, you should feel free to do what feels most natural to your relationship with the person getting married. 

There are no set rules to adhere to, so don’t feel pressured.

If you cannot afford to buy and send a wedding gift, then a quick note sent with your RSVP card should be more than enough.

You can let the couple know that you are grateful for having been invited and that you wish them well on their special day.

Even that small token of your appreciation and love will go a long way with the right couple.

However, friends and family members that have a close relationship with the couple would be expected to spend a little more time, money and effort on a wedding gift.

That can be anything from a gift card to a small, creative gift, giving cash, or buying a thoughtful gift from the wedding registry. 

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What Do You Give as A Wedding Gift if Not Attending?

What you should give as a wedding gift if not attending depends on a few things: 

  • Your budget: How much money have to spend on a wedding gift will have a significant influence on what you should get the couple.

You should never put yourself in a difficult position financially, especially over a wedding gift.

Instead, you could wait a few months until you have enough money put to the side for the couple, or even wait for their first anniversary.

Otherwise, you could simply send them a card or a thank you note.

  • The gift registry: If you are lucky, then the couple will have made a gift registry with gifts of various amounts to ensure that their guests get them things that they actually want.

You should be able to find a few gifts on there to choose from, and it will show the couple that you took the time to look at something that they would actually want. 

  • Your link to the couple: If you are not particularly close with either one of the marrying couple, then do not worry so much about having to spend on a wedding present.

You can still be courteous by acknowledging your wedding invitation and wishing the happy couple well without splurging on wedding gifts. 

This can be spent on their home, their honeymoon, etc. If that is the case, then you can give whatever you deem appropriate.

However, if guests have not been asked to give cash as gifts, then giving money could be poorly seen by the couple.

Money is more the sort of thing that a couple could expect from grandparents or parents, and not from general wedding guests, so beware of that. 


As wonderful as weddings are, they can also be extremely stressful – even for the guests.

That is, even more, the case with a destination wedding – where guests have to make their own way there, too. 

However, nothing is much of a challenge than finding the right wedding gifts for a couple, especially if you do not plan on attending the wedding.  A cash gift might not always be the best choice, either.

The important thing to remember is that if the couple has invited you, then the chances are that they appreciate you and would be grateful with whatever you choose to give.

Common courtesy would suggest that at the very least, you wish them well and send them a card; anything beyond that is up to you as the invited guest.

Even sending them a quick message on their special day to let them know that you are thinking of them despite your absence could mean a lot.

Read also, Is it Tacky to Write a Check For a Wedding Gift?

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