Ultimate Wedding Gift Guide – Do’s and Dont’s

Weddings are a great time to celebrate and reconnect with friends and family, eat great food and get your groove on. Tying the knot can also be a time of stress. But not just for the couple who is about to say “I do!”  Wedding guests can be worried about what to buy as a gift and how much to spend. To help take the guessing out – here are some do’s and dont’s for wedding gift shopping!

The Wedding Registry

Many people think this is a thing of the past. Asking for cash instead is a recent trend in the wedding world. But despite these trends, wedding registry’s are still as common and important as they used to be. Creating a registry is a way for couples to ask for what they actually need. Because they put a lot of time and effort into this, it’s a nice idea to stick to the registry. This doesn’t mean you will be banished as a friend if you don’t stick. But if the bride and groom (probably just the bride, let’s be honest) have created a registry, you can be sure that those items are something they truly want or need.

Registries used to be a way for couples to get all the stuff they need for their home after they move in together. Nowadays, many couples have already been living together for a few years so they no longer need the basics. But there may still be a ton of nice stuff that they want to add to improve their home. Typical wedding gifts are for the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and entertaining. Gifting them some great things they can entertain with or add on to their decor will surely be a hit. Modern registries may also include gift cards or a place for cash funds that they can collect online instead. It’s not uncommon anymore that the couple may want to ask for money. Wedding funds may go towards a down payment or their honeymoon.

Couples can register at specific stores or on a wedding registry website used as a one stop shop. This includes an awesome website called Zola, which you can check out here. The website offers wedding tools for those getting hitched, and a full registry that their guests can have easy access to. All the guest needs to do is search for the happy couple, and take the guessing out of what they truly want. Zola offers registries for gifts, experiences and cash funds depending on what the bride and groom want. This makes it easy to know whether you should get a gift or give cash. It also allows guests to add to the cash funds online rather than giving cash or cheque, making it easier for everyone. There is even an app for that!

Wedding Registry Do’s
  • Stick to the registry. You can also add in other personalized items that you know the couple would love. Some people like to give the element of surprise!
  • If you are really close to the bride or groom, you may want to make the gift more personalized or unique.
  • Try to put similar items together (like adding a cookbook with some cookware they wanted).
  • If possible, try to figure out where the couple wants the gifts. An option is to send gifts directly to a couples home rather than bringing to the wedding.
Wedding Registry Dont’s
  • Don’t feel obligated to ONLY stick to the registry – surprises are nice too! But try to purchase at least one item off the list so the couple doesn’t end up with nothing they asked for.
  • Don’t forget to bring a card on the day of even if you are giving cash or have already sent your gift.
  • If you are sending a gift directly to the couples home instead of bringing to the wedding, don’t wait a year to do so!
  • If you are writing a cheque, pay attention to what names you are putting on it! To be safe, you can chose the name of the person you are closest to. If you put both of their names (especially their new married names), it can actually be difficult for them to cash it.
How Much Should I Spend?

This is probably the hardest part of picking a gift. There is no set amount of what is appropriate to spend on a gift. People used go by the guideline of spending as much as what their dinner plate would cost. But that old rule may not be the best guide anymore. A sit down dinner may not even be a part of the wedding. Or this amount may be low based on your relationship. How much you want to give will definitely depend on how close you are to either the bride or groom.

Around $50 is a good place to start for distant friends or a coworker. For closer friends or relatives, it may be more appropriate to be closer to $100. Between $100 – $150 is recommended for really close friends or relatives. Some guests do spend a lot more than this. But it really depends on how comfortable you are with the budget and again how close you are to the bride or groom.

You also need to keep in mind any showers or parties you have bought gifts for. As a general rule, more money should be spent on the wedding gift than the shower gift. You can try to base your budget off this and how much you want to spend for each. Another great option is to go in on a big item on the registry with some other friends. A big gift item on the list may be out of the price range for just one person to buy. A combined group gift is a great way for the couple to get what they need. Without having to blow your budget!

Wedding Gifts Made Easy

Wedding gifts don’t come with a set guide for what, when and how much should be spent. Nothing can be that easy, right? Hopefully this guide will help take some of the stress out of wedding gift shopping. Again, it really depends on your relationship, your budget and what you think the couple would really love!

Be sure to check out these super handy tip sheets from Zola the next time you are invited to a wedding. It’s a perfect recap on the do’s and dont’s – and takes the stress out of gift shopping!


Thanks for stopping by!

Polka Dot Girl 



  1. Laney

    August 15, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Great read! All of my friends are getting married so I need this. Pinning for later too 🙂

  2. Laura

    August 15, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    What a great guide! Especially with the money tips! I never know how much should I spend and what to buy!

  3. Shannon

    August 15, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    This is SO helpful! I’m just now getting to the age where all of my friends are getting married and the protocol for gift giving is so over my head!

  4. Krissy @thoughtfullyunraveled

    August 15, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    This is a great guide! Things are very different now with many couples having the basics already like you said.

  5. maryanna

    August 15, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    My sister in law just got married wish i had found this sooner. I was debating giving cash but wasn’t sure if that would be tacky or weird. Great tips! Will keep in mind for the next wedding i go to!!

  6. Renae McGill

    August 15, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    I love this! It is a good guide to go by.

  7. Kallia

    August 15, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Great tips, it is wedding season and it is always good to brush off the rules!

  8. My Slice of Happy

    August 16, 2017 at 1:33 am

    Great post! Gift giving in general is such a tricky thing. And as someone currently planning a wedding, all of these make perfect sense to me lol

  9. Sabrina Runge

    August 16, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Thanks for writing this! I always struggle with what to buy people for their weddings, so I found this really helpful 🙂 I had never heard of Zola, but it sounds way cool!

Leave a Reply