This can be both an enjoyable and stressful topic surrounding weddings. People tend to place too much emphasis on wedding gifts, both from a giving and receiving standpoint. It is really nothing that should be worried about, but something that is joyous for both the gift giver and recipient.
The tradition behind giving a wedding gift is to help the newly weds set up their house. Most common gifts include house-ware, such at items for the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.
Giving wedding gifts
This is a question that gives many wedding guests a hard time. What to buy? Should I give a personalized gift, something from the registry, or cash and how much should I spend etc.
Never feel bad about giving money. As the saying goes, everyone accepts cash. Sometimes giving money is actually a smarter thing for people getting married abroad or if they have to travel back home with all these items it might not be very easy.
How much to spend
There are many different social rules behind how you to spend on a wedding gift. It seems the most common approach is to spend as much the wedding couple are spending on your food and drinks and give that much. Also, depending your family, heritage and social standing, this could play a major role as well. The best advice is probably to give what you feel comfortable giving. The wedding couple does not care if you spent or less on your gift, they are simply happy you came and yes, they will like your gift either way, who doesn't like gifts? If you know the couple really well, or are related family, maybe give a little more than you would to other friends. If you had to travel to get to the wedding, it is okay to spend a little less, the wedding couple will just be happy you made the trip to celebrate with them. Never go beyond your financial means to appear more generous than you can afford.
Another social type of rule is that you generally have a year from the wedding date if you plan on giving a wedding present.
Buying from the registry
The registry is the best place to buy a wedding gift from. There is a reason why the wedding couple went to all the trouble selecting the items for their registry - they would like to get them as gifts! People seem not to like to buy things from the registry for many reasons, such as the couple will know how much they spent on them, or because it is not creative or people simply are not into dinner plates all that much.
First off people will not care how much you spend, so there is no reason not to buy from the registry for fear of the bride and groom knowing how much you spent. Secondly, registries were created to make buying a gift for the wedding couple easier. They are doing the thinking for you. If you feel that your creative side is being suppressed, look into adding a smaller accent type gift. For instance, if you are buying somebody a Wok from their registry, maybe add a cookbook for "Cooking with Woks". Or you can express your creativity through your wrapping job or what you write in the gift card.
Personalized gifts are definitely not a bad idea. A word of warning, make sure you know the bride and groom well enough to know they are going to like it. Personalized gifts are a great way to surprise the wedding couple. It is hard to suggest personalized gifts, as they are obviously geared towards the recipients. Things like your favorite cookbooks or family board games are always a good, safe bet and they are not found on every registry.
Another great way to give a personalized gift is to have something engraved with your own message for the happy couple.
By adding a personal message you will create a wedding gift which is both unique and will stand out from the crowd. Adding the couple's names and their wedding date can be enough to make the gift that little bit more special.
If you know the bride much better than you know the groom, or vice versa, it is okay to gear yours gifts more to what you think their liking would be. These types of personalized wedding gifts will balance out between the couple.
You can also buy the wedding couple an 'experience' such a weekend away where the accommodation is paid for or a white water rafting tour or something else you think your adventurous friends might like.
Give a card
Always include a card with your gift, signed from everybody that gave the gift. If you are unable to afford or do not wish to give a gift, it is best to give a card so the bride and groom are not confused if a gift was lost or worse yet, stolen.
Do not feel like you must give something to the newly engaged couple. It of course is okay to give the couple a gift, but it is not expected. If there is an engagement party you might feel more obligated to give a gift, but it is okay not to, especially if you know you are going to go to the wedding. If you do decide to get an engagement gift, you can simply go to the registry and look in the smaller price range and get a smaller gift. Of course, you do not need to get something from the registry or the couple might not have registered yet.