The Average Wedding Gift Amount

I’m 25-years-old and have now been to about 15 weddings.  Before every wedding (usually about an hour before I leave) I remember that I haven’t quite decided on a gift for the happy couple yet and a bunch of questions start going through my head.

Should I give money or buy something off the registry? Wait, registries are just for bridal showers, aren’t they – maybe not. How much money should I be giving? This one’s an evening wedding. I wonder how much the food is going to cost, maybe I should google the venue and try to make sure I cover the cost of my plate. I’m not bringing a date, does that mean I have to double how much I would give? How well do I know this person? Have I ever even met his/her significant other? Etc, etc.

I finally got to the point that I was curious about other people did for their wedding gifts and so I made a google survey and put it on Facebook.  I gathered 100 responses and decided to take a look at what the average person between ages 20 and 40 is giving as a wedding gift these days.

Fun fact, the average wedding gift amount at an evening wedding is $120.71 and the average wedding gift amount at an afternoon wedding is $95.05.

Here’s what I learned:

Wedding Stats

I was surprised to learn that in almost every case the average amount that the guys would give is higher than the amount hte ladies would give.  In addition, I thought that it was interesting that you could see that engaged people give a little bit less, probably because they’re saving for their own weddings.  Also, apparently around age 29-32 you’re either (a) kind of over the whole wedding thingor (b) focused on other life-monteary goals because the amount given drops again.

I also learned a few things about wedding gift giving in different cultures.  For example, in the Jewish culture it’s traditional to give money in multiples of chai ($18), meaning life – and in the Hindu culture it’s good luck to give gifts that end in the number 1, so $101 or $151 or $201.  Kind of cool.

Some people always give the same amount for a wedding gift, but make up the difference in a bridal shower gift. Some people still try to just make sure to cover the cost of the meal. Some people say if they didn’t feel so pressured by wedding gifts, they would probably give less. And some people think that you should give knives as wedding gifts because it’s the only time you’re allowed to appropriately buy somebody a sharp, pointy, potenitally dangerous gift.

Most people that I have talked to that have had a wedding of their own have said that it doesn’t matter what the gift is, you give what you can, which is good to hear. If you made the wedding list that means they want you there and you shouldn’t feel pressured to give anything beyond your means. This was not found out through the survey, but rather through conversations and last minute panicked phone calls on my behalf.

Now that you have all the data, what are your thoughts?  (That was the most engineer meets residential assistant question I’ve ever asked.)  Did anything surprise you?

Update: This does not account for the Manhattan area. That’s a whole different ballpark.

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  • Wow! I would have expected the average to be much lower, actually. Maybe I just have too many weddings at a time, but I could not keep up if I gave the average $$$ to every wedding I go to!

    • Chrystina Noel

      I think next time I do something like this I need to take location into consideration. I can almost guarantee that at least 75% of the people who filled out this survey live in the Philadelphia area though. It was my cousin who lives near New York who said that these numbers seemed extremely low. Weird.

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