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

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