Cash gifts really come down to how well you know the couple-of-the-hour, but as it turns out, Canadians on average believe $147 is the right amount to give.
According to a recent poll by Ipsos, on behalf of Global News, half of Canadians (51 per cent) believed $100 to $199 was acceptable for a wedding gift. Most thought they were spending a reasonable amount, while one in 10 thought they should spend even less.
Danielle Andrews, president of The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada Inc., says in the last few years, the trend has been that guests bring envelopes of cash to weddings as gifts.
“It has become very rare to have boxed gifts given at weddings in the past few years,” she tells Global News. “A lot of couples choose to live together before they get married, so guests recognize that they may have most items that they need already.”
There isn’t a ‘right’ amount
But Andrews says there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to monetary gifts. “A lot of people like to give based on what they [think] it cost to have them at the wedding … $100 to $200 per guest is an average monetary gift.”
Below, Andrews breaks down what you need to know about monetary gifts at weddings.
Should you cover children?
Read the invitation carefully to see if children are invited to the wedding — couples tend to list the number of guests per family on the card. If so, she says adding a value of $50 to $75 to your overall gift is a good idea to cover the cost of the child’s plate.
Should family members give more money?
“Relationship to the couple does often factor into the significance of the gift, but again, it should come down to what the guest can afford,” Andrews says. “No one should be put out financially because a couple chooses to get married.”
What about engagement gifts?
If you are attending both an engagement party and the wedding, you are required to bring a gift to both, Andrews says. For engagement parties, a $50 to $75 gift will suffice.
Should you ever send money to a couple via e-transfer?
“If that is how the guest is comfortable sending their gift, I’m sure the couple certainly won’t mind getting an e-transfer,” she says. However, cash and envelope work best, and traditionally, gifts would have been sent to the host’s home.
Should you give a gift at destination weddings?
“The couple is still getting married and guests will still want to congratulate them with a gift for starting their new life together,” she says. Some guests tend to reduce the amount they give at destination weddings factoring in the cost of travelling — this is also fine, Andrews says.
WATCH: The dos and don’ts of wedding guest etiquette
What if you bring a date
If you bring a date to a wedding, make sure the cost of their plate is also covered. “It is a really nice gesture on the couple’s part to invite you with a guest, and it’s not your date’s responsibility to contribute to a gift for your friends or family.”
What if you want to give a gift instead of money?
In this case, Andrews says, it is up to the guest to decide how they want to congratulate the couple. “Many people are not comfortable giving a cash gift, or they can make something that is much more valuable emotionally than money could ever be,” she explains. “It is not the guests’ responsibility to help shoulder the costs of a wedding, so couples need to be happy with whatever way their guests choose to congratulate them.”
READ MORE: How to actually pay for your wedding
The Ipsos poll was conducted in May 2017. A random sample of 1,003 Canadian adults were interviewed for the survey, which was weighted to bring it in line with Canadian demographics and which has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.