Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)



Question: I’m attending my friend’s sister’s wedding in a few weeks. It’s my first time as an adult attending a wedding without my parents. My mom says I’m supposed to spend the same amount on the gift as the couple spends on my plate and drinks at the reception. This is a really elegant wedding and while I don’t know the cost, my guess based on the venue is that the per person cost for the couple is probably over $100. I’m a college student and on a really tight budget and probably can’t spend over $40. Is that rule true? If not, how much should I spend on a wedding gift?

Answer: That is an old rule steeped in good intentions and the thinking that weddings are expensive, so it’s helpful for guests to even it out by spending what the couple paid (or the estimate of it, since guests shouldn’t know what they paid) per person. That said, the conventional wisdom is to spend within your budget. Generally, a person in their 20s would spend much less than a more established professional in their 30s, 40s and up, but no matter what, it’s fine to stick with your budget, because age doesn’t always translate to a higher income. I’m certain that your friends will appreciate the gift you give and most especially that you were there to celebrate with them on such a special day.


Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.