Wedding Gift Etiquette - The Ultimate UK Guide

Wedding gift etiquette hero image

Finding the right wedding gift for that special couple is something all guests are desperate to get right. This complete guide to wedding gift etiquette answers the most burning questions when it comes to the big dos and don’ts. So whether you’re the bride or groom, head bridesmaid or second cousin twice removed, you’ll know exactly what kind of present to choose!

A guide for: Guests | Members of the wedding party | The Bride and Groom | Your friends

Wedding Gift Etiquette For Guests

You’ve received the invite and it’s got pride of place on the fridge. You’ve chosen exactly what you’re going to wear, right down to the last cuff link and clutch bag. But there’s one big thing still left to do – buying a present for the bride and groom. Cue panic and a lot of questions, starting with…

What to buy for the bride and groom?

Some couples put together an official wedding gift list, which can save you a lot of stress. If that does happen, it’s key to get in there early so you don’t end up buying something very unforgettable…like the butter dish.

Many other couples meanwhile leave it open for you to decide on what to get them. In the event of this free-for-all, we’ve given you some inspiration below to spark off some ideas.

Bride and groom


Go traditional – Matching mugs, posh bedding, champagne flutes and crockery. These kinds of presents are a safe bet and will be gratefully received! The downside is that they are likely to be consumed by a shower of other homeware presents. So ultimately, many couples end up forgetting who got them what!

Stand out from the restPersonalised gifts such as customised cushions, aprons and kitchenware are much more likely to be treasured by the couple for longer. That’s because they are completely unique to the recipients. You can get classic photos, names, dates and heartfelt messages printed onto almost anything these days!

Be on trend – In 2022, cocktail making sets are all the rage. As are personalised cheeseboards and other unique platters for the couple’s home. Wall art and unique picture frames also continue to be bang on trend!

Get something super useful – Depending on how close you are with the couple, you may know of certain items that would clearly make their life as a lot easier. For example, they may be putting up with using the same old blunt kitchen knives they inherited off their great aunt. Your wedding gift can deliver that much needed upgrade!

How much should you spend on a wedding gift?

Wedding guests typically spend a minimum of £100 on gifts for close family and friends who are tying the knot. If you are less close to the couple, it’s common to spend anything from £25 to £50.

It’s an unspoken expectation of many couples that if you are attending both the ceremony and wedding breakfast, then this is reflected in the quality of the gift you buy them. So if you are attending as an evening guest, then you shouldn’t worry about digging as deep into your purse or wallet.

These figures are meant to give you a mere estimate and guide. The amount you actually spend will of course depend completely on how much you can afford. Whatever you spend, the couple are bound to be grateful. Plus, remember that when brides and grooms say in the invitation that your presence is gift enough, they really do mean that...most anyway.

Find out more about how much it costs to attend a wedding as a guest.

How much money should you give as a wedding gift?

A lot of soon to be married couples simply ask for a cash gift, which they can put towards a honeymoon or new things for their house. Close friends and family most commonly give between £100 and £200. A more appropriate amount for evening guests to give meanwhile is around the £50 mark.

If you’d like to specifically contribute to an abroad honeymoon fund, why not find out where they are heading and gift them in the local currency of that country? You could even club together with other friends, in order to get a better exchange rate on the bank notes.

A pile of wedding gifts

When to give your gift at a wedding?

Many people wonder whether they should bring their wedding gift to the wedding ceremony itself. The answer to this is no, because you don’t want to end up awkwardly clutching onto big present as the vows are exchanged.

The general tradition is that you bring your gift and card to the wedding breakfast or evening bash and leave it in a designated area of the venue. All of the gifts will then be passed on to the couple to take home or somebody will be in charge of delivering them all.

If your gift is especially bulky or awkwardly shaped, you could instead arrange for it to be delivered to the couple’s home. Ideally this should be done in the week before or after the wedding (unless you know they will be away on honeymoon!).

How to present your wedding gift to the happy couple?

Here’s our top tips for getting over that final hurdle – getting that well-chosen gift and card into the hands of the happy couple.

  1. Don’t hold back on the soppiness in the card. Many couples keep these cards forever in a wedding memory box.
  2. Do make sure that you attach a sturdy gift tag to your present so the couple will know exactly who the gift is from.
  3. Don’t pass your gift directly to a bride or groom on the day itself. They won’t have time to spare to find a place for it, let alone open it.
  4. Do ask a member of the wedding party where to place your gift, if you’re unsure. If the best man or bridesmaid are too drunk at this point, move onto the venue staff.

Should you give a gift when you attend a destination wedding?

If you are jetting off to warmer climes for the big wedding, then it’s likely that you are spending a lot of money to be attend the wedding. The bride and groom will no doubt consider this present enough. However, if you do plan to get the special couple a present to mark the occasion, be sure to include this in your budget for the exotic wedding getaway. Also remember that it needs to be something small enough for the suitcase!

Wedding Gift Etiquette For Members Of The Wedding Party

Taking a big role in the wedding can be both exciting and nerve racking in equal measure. Aside from organising stags and hens and supporting with preparations for the big day, you also need to remember the cherry on top – wedding gifts.

Who buys for who?

It’s an age-old quandary. Should the best man get something specifically for the groom? And what is typically expected of the bride and groom themselves We’ve simplified these baffling wedding gift politics with this handy table. Simply find your role in the table below.

I am a... I typically buy a gift for...
I am a...Bride & Groom I typically buy a gift for...The people who have been instrumental in putting the wedding together - most commonly parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen. Some brides and grooms also buy a present for each other, which is commonly opened on the night before the wedding, whilst they are apart.
I am a...Maid Of Honour / Head Bridesmaid I typically buy a gift for...The bride and groom. Some Maid Of Honours also buy a special gift specifically for the bride.
I am a...Bridesmaid I typically buy a gift for...The bride and groom. Some bridesmaids also get a special gift specifically for the bride.
I am a...Best man I typically buy a gift for...The bride and groom. You may also consider a special gift specifically for the groom.
I am a...Groomsman / Usher I typically buy a gift for...The bride and groom. Some groomsman also consider getting a special gift specifically for the groom.
I am a...Parent of the bride I typically buy a gift for...The bride and groom.
I am a...Parent of the groom I typically buy a gift for...The bride and groom.
I am a...Other guest I typically buy a gift for...The bride and groom.


Wedding Gift Etiquette For The Bride And Groom

Brides and grooms, rejoice! Now is your chance to load up on an outrageous amount of desirable items. It’s the least you deserve after dropping all that money on the wedding itself!

This showering of gifts can result in a present unwrapping session as epic as 10 Christmas days and birthdays put together. But what kind of things do soon-to-weds usually put on their mouth-watering wish lists?

What to put on your wedding list?

  • House gadgets, cookware and furniture – this is especially useful if you happen to be moving house and are in need of a lot of new things.
  • Artwork and fancy photo frames – These are the kind of things that you may have hanging on your wall forevermore. They make wonderful reminders of the occasion.
  • Experiences and show tickets – Always had a dream to take in a West End show? What better time to make this dream come true then in your first few months of marriage.
  • Honeymoon fund – Looking to jet off on an exotic honeymoon? Why not help your friends and family to support with the costs of an epic trip.
  • Charity donations – Many soon-to-weds have a charity that is really close to their hearts and the wedding is another opportunity to help raise funds for its valuable work.

When to open your wedding gifts?

It’s very rare for couples to open their wedding gifts on the day itself. Typically, it is on the following day that cards and presents are opened. This ensures that you can concentrate on enjoying the occasion itself. Opening gifts is wonderful but it’s also very time consuming, particularly when there are so many presents to get through!

Wedding gift thank you note

How should you thank people for your wedding gifts?

It is traditional in the UK to thank guests for their gift, with a handwritten thank you card in the post. This should ideally be sent out within the three-month period after the wedding day.

The Essential Guide To Wedding Gift Etiquette

Do you have a friend who is also panicking over what wedding gift to buy? Then why not share with them our handy essential guide below? In this lovely infographic, we've condensed all of the handy info above into a bitesize guide.

Wedding gift etiquette essential guide

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