“Your best friend Harry has a brother Larry
In five days from now he’s gonna marry
He’s hopin’ you can make it there if you can
‘Cause in the ceremony you’ll be the best man”
It is Go-Time. Before you decide you’re going to go all Wedding Crashers on the event. Get to the real question:
How much should you spend on a wedding gift?
The Emily Post types will say, “Cover the cost of your plate as well as your guest’s plate when giving a wedding gift.” This is completely asinine.
If you are invited to wedding at the Ritz-Carlton in New York complete with dancing girls, twenty piece band and elephants parading the wedding party in, you are not expected to pay for your meal in the form of a wedding gift. “But they spent all this money on me, I need to reciprocate,” you say. When you are at a wedding where a majority of people at the rehearsal dinner are wearing plaid pants that is the sign that you are way out of your element. You are not on the Forbes 400 list and clearly the newlyweds don’t need the money to start their lives together. If this couple was rich and generous, they should be handing out thousand dollar gift cards to Aldi as late night favors, because Aldi is something us little people can relate to.
When your nephew gets married at your brother’s pig farm and the appropriate dress is “anything but camouflage or hunter orange”, it is time to max out the credit card and buy this couple as much of the stuff off their registry as you can afford. This bride’s biggest day of her life consists of a keg in the backyard next to the septic tank entrance. After you go back to running water and an indoor stove, this girl will still be slugging it out at the trailer park with Brittany Spears’ childhood friends. Yes, your child’s college fund may take a temporary hit, but do the poor couple a solid and write a check with multiple zero’s.
When do you give the wedding gift?
On or before the big day? Nope. Traditional etiquette says that if the marriage doesn’t last a year the gift needs to be returned. Are you really going trust a couple who is going to marriage counseling, working with a divorce attorney, and fighting over who gets the Betty Crocker Cookbook to mail you back the toaster you bought them nine months ago? Let’s get real; that toaster is gone forever.
Friendships should mend in time, but that crystal serving bowl you paid for will always look better in your china cabinet than in your best friend’s ex’s house being used as an ashtray. As any self-help guru will tell you, “Take control of your life.” As your guide in this section of life, I say, “Take control of your toaster.”
Instead of giving the wedding gift on or before their big day, make the couple prove to you that their marriage is stable before you send them the gift. On the 364th day of their marriage, go ahead and mail that gift. It will save everybody a lot of unnecessary stress of mailing back gifts, hurt feelings, and most importantly, your bank account.