Q: “Is there a Perfect Formula for Giving Money as a Wedding Gift”

When it comes to weddings, it seems almost every single detail is quantified. The engagement ring must be 3 month’s salary/the cost of bridesmaids dresses shouldn’t exceed a cost per head/the cost of the honeymoon must be twice a normal vacation, etc. While all of these seem to be conventional wisdom, they are, in fact, nothing but outline’s to be modified for specific occasions. If you’re gifting money to your friends or family member for their wedding, sometimes you have to wing it. Other times, there are indicators that you can look for to help make sure you don’t look like the cheap kid.

Research The Venue
If the wedding is in a ritzy hotel or fantastic museum, you probably don’t want to be the ones giving $50. There is a saying to give roughly the cost of the cost for your meal. If you don’t know how to quantify how much your friend’s are spending, I’ll break it down for you really easy:

1. If it’s in a really nice venue with open bar, assume $125+ per head.
2. If it’s in a nice place but you know your friends and they negotiated and got a deal, assume $100 per head.
3. If it’s in a more casual space or VFW (nothing wrong with that, we all gotta eat), assume $50 per head.

Know Your Friends
We all got ‘em. The pretentious ones that will second guess your gift and forever label you by how much you give them. These are the ones where deep down inside I curse but openly don’t want to be known as “the guy who ruined everything” when I didn’t give enough. I always add $50 for these people. If they are kind hearted and honest, decent people they get a Norman Rockwell card with a sentimental message and the appropriate amount. Yes, nice guys always finish last and weddings are no different. Just watch Bride-zilla’s.

Know Your Personal Finances
Just because there is an etiquette or rule of thumb, doesn’t mean you have to go broke for your friends.

The simple answer is there is no exact formula for giving money. With a little bit of intuition and self evaluation you can come up with a finite number somewhere between ruining your reputation and being known as the godfather of gift.