The ‘appropriate’ range of a wedding gift can vary. Here’s how to decide how much to spend

I’ve entered the season in my life when wedding invitations are beginning to occasionally appear in my mailbox.

This is exciting for many reasons. I’m happy for my friends and family members taking this next step. I’m looking forward to attending fun events and getting dressed up — and the list goes on. But one part of weddings that can be challenging is dealing with the expenses that come with attending (not to mention planning a wedding of your own) and having to adjust your budget.

For instance: the wedding gift. I’ve heard that you should spend the same amount on a gift that the couple is spending on your plate at dinner, but I wasn’t sure if that etiquette tip is myth or fact. (Spoiler: it’s not a realistic expectation). And I’m not the only one trying to figure it all out. In conversation with my friend Kelly, a bride-to-be from Boston, whose wedding invitation is currently hanging on my fridge, she told me she doesn’t usually know what to spend either. “It’s so awkward,” she said.

According to a 2020 survey conducted by The Knot, in 2019, before the pandemic, the average wedding gift spend was $120. But that sum shifted based on a guest’s relationship with the “to-be-weds.” But even with surveys, determining the right amount to spend can be quite hard — especially since the meaning of “appropriate” can vary.