4 Steps to Tackle Wedding Gifts July 29 2015

So you're stumped. 

It's summer time and love is in the air - but there's a hint of something else in the mix: Gift Anxiety. If you are in your thirties or older, chances are you know someone who is getting married this summer (fun fact: 107,417 weddings are estimated for summer 2015 in Canada.) So many options from what's in the registry (if there is a registry or gifts left), and so many variables you may be taking into account, make it easy to be overwhelmed.

But don't be discouraged. Try these tips we've learned and let us know if they help you.

1. Take A Step Back
Remember that the couple isn't inviting you for your gift - they want you to enjoy their celebration and share their special moment. Take a step back to understand why you're giving a gift. Do you want to help them to a good start to their new lives? Or perhaps you want to give them a gift to help them celebrate their milestone? Know what you want so you can narrow your options.

2. Set Your Budget
Give too much and it might hurt you later, but give too little and it may offend the couple. Decide how much you are comfortable spending to set some boundaries to avoid buyer's remorse. Start by asking:
  • What budget are you comfortable with?
  • What is your relationship with the bride and groom?

Wedding website, TheKnot.com, suggests a distant relative or coworker should give $75-100; a friend or relative, $100-125; and a closer relative, up to $150 (source).

In the end, you understand how much you can spend best, and you understand the bride and groom best. In most cases, it's the thought that counts, and no matter how generous you can afford to be, thought and/or personalization puts the icing on the cake.

3. Decide on Gift Type
Consider this:

A couple has already been living together for a while may not need more kitchenware or houseware, but a couple moving into a new home might love it. 

A couple who is starting out in their careers may better appreciate gifts that help with financing or getting life started, but a couple that is set may not need that as much.

Use their lifestyle to help narrow down a gift that will help them celebrate their marriage and future together. Use these questions to help you get started:

  • Where is the couple in their life? (e.g. just moving in, just starting careers, have children, etc.)
  • Where do they spend most of their time? (e.g. at work, at home, at play)
  • What kind of personalities, interests, or values do they have? 

Brainstorm some ideas for each of your answers to these questions. After you're done, you can go back and start eliminating ideas, for example, if they are out of your budget or don't fit with other lifestyle or personality traits you identified.

4. Still in doubt? Ask.

If you're still unsure what wedding gift to give, it's okay to ask for ideas to give what's best for you and them. Ask family, friends, or the couple themselves. If you want to keep some surprise, ask for a few gift ideas so they won't know what you choose until it's opened.

Other options are to provide the gift receipt so they can return it for store credit if needed, or give cash or a gift card instead. It may be simple, but you can get creative in other ways if you need to. 

Did this help you with your wedding gift anxiety? What other tips or words of wisdom do you have for dealing with giving wedding gifts? 

Let us know in the comments!