August 25, 2020
Many engaged couples have had to make big changes to their wedding plans because of COVID-19, from pushing back their dates to changing their venues to getting hitched on Zoom.
As these modified weddings push forward, it's now guests turn to navigate a tricky situation. What are the new rules for gift giving?
According to the bridal magazine Brides, traditional etiquette dictates that guests should give at least the cost of their plate at the reception. This "rule," however, has fallen out of fashion within the past few years, with more people taking into consideration their personal budget and how close they are with the couple.
Zola, a company that offers wedding planning and registry help, suggests giving $50-$75 if you're a coworker, acquaintance or distant relative; $75-$100 if you're a friend or relative; and $100-$150, or more, if you're a close friend, immediate family or part of the wedding party.
And if you're bringing a plus-one, you may want to increase your gift budget for that, too.
Navigating gift giving etiquette for a traditional wedding was already hard enough. Now, it's become even more complicated, mainly because it's difficult to figure out when to give a gift, as well.
When do you give a gift for a wedding that's been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic? On the original date, the new date or both?
Wedding planning site WeddingWire, which connects engaged couples with local wedding professionals, recommends only giving one gift and sending it around the time of the original wedding date.
The honeymoon registry Honeyfund also suggests sending a gift sooner rather than later. They say give a gift coinciding with the date the ceremony had been planned to take place. Then if the reception is moved later – and even if everything gets postponed and the new date is uncertain – you will still be honoring the original date.
Another consideration for guests is their employment status: Millions of people have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 health crisis.
Maybe you're currently out of work, and it makes more sense for you financially to wait until the new date for the reception next year to give a monetary gift. If that's the case, consider sending a handwritten card congratulating the bride and groom on their ceremony in the interim.
As I'm sure you've heard over and over again, we're in unprecedented times. That makes it challenging to come up with hard and fast rules for wedding gift etiquette.
The main thing to remember is that 2020 has been difficult on many people. The couple whose wedding you were invited to will appreciate your thoughtfulness – whether it's sending a check or sending well wishes.