In the past 3 months, 3 of my best friends got married, all in a row. I graduated law school in May, took the Bar Exam in July, and then had a wedding in August, September and October…all while unemployed. I gave my friends wedding shower gifts, but I was not able to give them cash or a check at their weddings, because I did not have any money. Now that I have saved some money I want to send them a belated wedding card with the money that I would have given them at their weddings. How do I do this tastefully?
The first wedding was a male college friend. His wedding was on a Wednesday with 400+ people and a huge buffet, no sit down dinner. I don’t know his wife very well; we’ve met a few times.
At the second wedding I was the officiant, so some people say that I don’t have to give a wedding gift since I provided the service for free. But the bride was my college roommate, and she and her now husband (who is also one of my best friends) paid for the entire wedding themselves.
In the third wedding, I was the maid of honor, and it was a mini destination wedding (a weekend in Vermont).
Now that I want to send a card and money, what do I say in the card? Is it different for each couple and situation? Normally I would send $100, but since my gift is late I feel like I should give more ($150?) What are your thoughts? Help!
Three weddings in three months! That’s a busy schedule! I believe you might be unnecessarily worried. While it is best to send your gift within a month of the wedding, most experts agree that up to three months is also acceptable. And any amount of time is acceptable if you are waiting until you can afford it. I’m sure your friends are aware of your situation.
It seems like you have already decided to send cash, which is fine. Another option is to check their wedding registry and see if anything in your price range is still available. If you would like to send cash, here are my suggestions:
I believe you can never go wrong by being honest. They are three of your best friends, right? Simply write a message from the heart explaining the situation. Say something like this, “I loved being at your wedding and was honored to share in your special day. (Add some detail about the wedding that you particularly enjoyed.) Due to my circumstances in August (September, last month) I wasn’t able to give you a gift at that time. Please accept my belated gift with all my love and support.” Of course, you would write it in your own personal style.
As far as an amount — only you can decide that, but here is no reason to increase the amount because it’s a little late (and it’s not really that late). But you should do what makes you comfortable. Also, the type of wedding each friend chose to have should not have any bearing on the gift you decide to give. The amount you spend on a wedding gift should be determined by your budget and your relationship or closeness to the couple.
The one exception might be the wedding in which you officiated. Most officiants are paid. Was that ever discussed? It would have been nice if the couple had said to you, “Please consider this your gift to us.” If it wasn’t discussed, and as the bride was your college roommate, it’s probably best to send a gift.
Gifting is always a personal choice. Etiquette rules only go so far. Etiquette suggests that if you are invited to a wedding (even if you are part of the wedding) you should give a wedding gift. Other than that, there are no hard and fast rules. Just give from the heart and don’t worry about the rest.
If you have questions or comments about gift giving or wedding etiquette, please comment below or email [email protected].
Emails in this column are received from readers. Emails may be edited for spelling 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.