7/2: The World of Weddings… Money, Gifts, and More

July 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Celebrations, Celebrations Polls, Featured, Living

From trying on dozens of wedding dresses to picking out the invitations and favors, a lot goes into planning a wedding.  But, wedding guests have their fair share to think about, too.  And, a lot has to do with money.



When it comes to wedding attendance, 59% of Americans say they have gone to at least one wedding during the past year.  This includes 21% who have attended just one wedding, an additional 21% who have witnessed two couples tie the knot, and 17% who have seen three or more couples exchange their vows.

Table: Attended a Wedding

The Art of Wedding Gift Giving

What is the most popular wedding gift to give?  The answer is cold, hard cash.  40% of U.S. residents report they typically give cash or a check as a wedding present.  A gift from the couple’s bridal registry comes in second with 33% saying this is their preferred present.  This compares with 18% of Americans who give a gift card or certificate and 9% who choose a gift not on the couple’s registry.

However, there are regional differences.  By far, residents in the Northeast prefer to give money than do those in other parts of the country.  68% of those in the Northeast write a check or wrap up some cash while 41% in the Midwest, 31% in the South, and 27% in the West do the same.

So, how much money do wedding guests nationwide spend on a wedding present?  If they are attending with a guest, nearly three-quarters of residents spend less than $100.  33% say they shell out less than $50, and for 41%, the cost of a wedding present does not exceed $100.  The perfect wedding gift fits the budget of between $100 and less than $150 for 15% of the population while 6% spend $150 to $200. Just 5% give a gift of greater monetary value.  Once again, there are regional differences with a larger proportion of those in the Northeast willing to spend more than residents in other parts of the country.  For 96% of Americans, the cost of a wedding gift is decided upon before the wedding.  2% determine the amount during the wedding while 2% make up their minds after the couple is wed.

Table: Typical Wedding Gift
Table: Typical Cost of Wedding Gift
Table: When Price of Gift Is Determined

Marist Poll Methodology

Related Stories:

7/2: Tying the Knot: Bridal Showers, Crashers, & Memorable Moments

7/2: Wedding Memories


16 Responses to “7/2: The World of Weddings… Money, Gifts, and More”

  1. John Underwood on July 2nd, 2009 4:08 pm

    Great data. The recession is also impacting this trend. I’m founder of a money gift registry, Rainfall of Envelopes, and we’ve doubled our registries over the last year.

  2. Jules Wirth on July 2nd, 2009 5:19 pm

    1Every little girl dreams of having a fairytale wedding with their prince charming and in a castle. However as you get older you realize prince charming doesn’t slay dragons or wicked witches.. and castle weddings don’t exsist. .. or do they? I don’t know about prince charming.. thats up to you, but the castle is a definate possibility there is a place called the “castle” and its speciality is weddings. It is reasonably priced and has all the accomodations and services needed for the perfect fairytale wedding. It is a beautiful place.. you could almost say it is like a fairytale. Check it out at thecastleweddings.com

  3. Wedding Catering on July 30th, 2009 11:20 am

    It’s very hard to decide how much you should spend on a wedding gift. I am buying one tonight and haven’t got a clue yet as to how much I will spend. The only up side for me is that I have received a wedding present from the couple who I am giving to so at least thats something to go on.

    I have a catering company in the UK and am usually providing the food when attending these events. Clients don’t realize how much it costs to pull off such quality and it normally results in them shrinking their plans in some way.

  4. Eric on September 26th, 2009 4:34 am

    That castle wedding thing looks pretty cool. I’d love to take pictures of that kinda thing. http://www.ericdsawyer.com/examples/

  5. Andrew Murray on September 28th, 2009 6:30 pm

    Attending a wedding could be exciting if you personally know the couple getting married. Buying them a gift is another story. Sometimes, it is a bit of a headache trying to think of a gift that would suit the marrying couple. I think if you are close friends of the couple or a close relative, you would have an idea of what they want to have for a wedding present. Buying a present could be tricky but the important thing is it comes from the heart. So, enjoy shopping and buying them a wedding present and be happy that you will be a part of one of the greatest and memorable day of their lives.

  6. Charlie Wedding Gift Ideas on March 25th, 2010 6:47 am

    Why spend all that time worrying. Either give them some money or buy a gift that you know they will like. Ask them beforehand or something what they need perhaps…

  7. Brent Allington on March 29th, 2010 8:22 pm

    The last wedding shower I went to, I gave cash for the honeymoon. I figured that’s what I would want.
    Brent Allington

  8. Kāzu Foto on March 11th, 2011 4:28 pm

    That castle wedding thing looks pretty cool. However as you get older you realize prince charming doesn’t slay dragons or wicked witches.. and castle weddings don’t exsist. .. or do they?

  9. Gift For Wedding on June 8th, 2011 9:35 am

    Yeah,, it’s the world of wedding. it’s all money, gifts and something like flower :D

  10. Robin on July 31st, 2011 4:33 pm

    When my husband and I got married, we still didn’t even own a home. It was frustrating when we would receive gifts for our home when we didn’t even know what colors we would have or how to decorate. Because of that, we always give cash, usually about $50.00. It’s so hard now because everyone is tightening their belts and the money you give for the wedding still doesn’t even cover the cost per plate.

  11. logo projekt on January 10th, 2012 2:56 pm

    @ Rubin: in Poland 90% of people gives cash, usually 100-150 USD from pair (of corse not in dollars but in Polish Zloty), this is the best idea to young couple.

  12. James Allen on April 11th, 2012 7:27 pm

    Its not just about how much to spend but just as important is picking the right gift. The best way to do that is to go over the gifts in the bridal registry. If you are unable to find it at that store then you can always find something of equal quality or perhaps better at another store. Also keep in mind household appliances that you know they will need and don’t currently own.

  13. AN Other on May 29th, 2012 10:44 am

    If you are looking for that special bridal dress, then I must recommend the internationally renowned designer Caroline Castigliano. The beauty and passion behind her wedding dress designs really shines through. This site is a must to visit.

  14. Kelly on February 26th, 2013 12:05 pm

    I want a wedding that I will remember forever.. I plan to include a unity sand ceremony and have my closest friends and family there. I’m thinking about having it outdoors in the open air.

  15. http://craigsloan.com/us-bank-home-mortgage on August 8th, 2013 12:17 pm

    Attending a wedding could be exciting if you personally know the couple getting married. Buying them a gift is another story. Sometimes, it is a bit of a headache trying to think of a gift that would suit the marrying couple. -

  16. nick on July 3rd, 2015 1:44 am

    Save your money. Justice of the peace is cheap and easy. Spend your cash on getting a house or a nice honeymoon…wedding costs almost always exceed the cash gifts recieved so why throw a party to lose money at the start of your marriage?

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