– Ask Cheryl – Since I'm Spending so Much Being in the Wedding am I Required to Give a Gift?


Dear Cheryl,

I live in California and I’m going to be in a wedding for a friend that’s getting married in Vermont. Since I’m spending close to $1000 on everything for the wedding, am I required to give a gift? I’m already spending so much that I don’t know how much I’d be able to spend on a gift. Any advice as to what to do?

Thank you,

Bridesmaid asks, Since I'm Spending so Much on the Wedding, am I Required to Give a Gift?

Dear Nicole,

Thank you for writing. Unfortunately your problem is common; being an attendant in a wedding can get expensive. No one is ever “required” to give a gift. However, from an etiquette point of view, it is a long-standing tradition to give a wedding gift as symbol of your love and support of the couple getting married. The fact that you are a bridesmaid and must travel to the wedding does not really change the fact that you should give a wedding gift. However, as you stated, it will change how much you can afford to spend on a gift.

Some couples that have weddings requiring significant travel costs will tell their attendants not to purchase a wedding gift. If your friend does not do this, then try to give something you can afford, even if it’s only a small gift. Another option is to organize a group gift from all or some of the other attendants. This could help you give something meaningful, while sharing the costs. You could also wait a few months and then send a wedding gift after your budget has recovered a bit. If you absolutely can’t afford a wedding gift, I’m sure your friend will understand. The most important thing is that you are there to share her special day.

Most sincerely,

If you have questions or comments about gift giving, baby shower, or wedding etiquette, please comment below or email [email protected].

Emails in this column are received from readers. Emails may be edited for spelling, length and grammar, or to remove sensitive information. However, we are careful not to alter the intent or content of the question.

Cheryl Seidel is the founder and President of RegistryFinder.com, an intuitive search engine that helps gift givers quickly and easily find online registries for weddings, baby showers, graduations and more.

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