Wedding season is upon us. While there are plenty of wedding planning resources available for brides, grooms and their families, I think it also takes finesse and courtesy to be a great wedding guest. Among my tips:
1. Buy Something From the Registry
Yes, really. I know that you are creative and you may think you have a better idea of what your friends want than they do themselves, but please, do yourself a favor and get over it: Just buy something they've asked for. I do have one caveat to this, though: If your friends have only listed registry items that are outside your price range, then you should feel free to go elsewhere. Should you ever give cash? I'd keep an ear to the ground on this one, and perhaps check in with their family or close mutual friends; some couples do signal that gifts of money would be welcome.
2. Figure Out How Much Is Appropriate
The bad news: There are no hard and fast rules about how much to spend. But you should consider things like what your relationship to the couple, whether you are bringing a guest, and what's reasonable for your circle of friends and in your area. (Hint: You may need to ask a couple of them.) If you’re in the wedding party, you’re probably already spending a bunch of money on parties and your dress or tuxedo. One idea is to chip in with the other bridesmaids and groomsmen and give one big group gift.
3. Factor In the Cost of Wedding Travel
Heading to a destination? If you have to lay out a lot of money to attend the wedding, you are off the hook for an expensive gift -- but you should still get the couple something. While your attendance is indeed a wonderful gift in itself, a small token is appropriate.
4. Don't be a Spoilsport
Don’t like weddings? You're not doing anyone a favor if you attend but then sit around being grumpy. Bow out politely if you'll really be miserable. (You can send a gift instead.) And if you make the effort to be there, slap a smile on your face, talk to people you don’t know and get on the dance floor!