How Much Cash Can You Give As A Wedding Gift?

How Much Cash Should You Give As A Wedding Gift?

If you have been invited to a wedding and the couple have asked for cash as a gift you may be wondering how to calculate the amount.

Perhaps it’s something you’ve never done before, and you’re not sure how much cash you should give as a wedding gift. 

We’ll take a look at what an appropriate gift of cash should be, what factors to take into consideration and how exactly you should present the cash gift to the happy couple.

What Is An Appropriate Amount As A Cash Wedding Gift?

The average amount for a cash wedding gift is $100. Of course there are many things to take into consideration before deciding on an amount, and we will cover those here. 

Some of the things to think about are how close you are to the couple, what type of wedding it is going to be and your own personal financial situation. 

In general if you are attending the wedding of a co-worker or distant relative then the amount will typically be between $75-$100. If the wedding is of a relative or friend then the more appropriate amount of money may be $100-$125. 

For closer relatives and good friends the amount of cash to give as a wedding gift can be more, up to $150. 

Something that you should also bear in mind is how far you are going to have to travel to attend the wedding. If it is going to cost you a lot then you need to calculate the affordability of the cash wedding gift on top of your travel costs. 

Whether you are attending the wedding ceremony and the reception or just the reception will also impact the amount of money you can give as a gift. 

Many people consider the amount that their attendance at the reception will cost the couple and match that as a cash gift. 

Are There Different Amounts If You Are Attending Alone Or As A Couple?

Depending on whether you have been invited to the wedding with a date or are going alone the amount of cash that you give as a wedding gift should reflect that. 

If you are attending as a couple then $75 each is an appropriate amount for distant relatives or co-workers. For family occasions $100 each may be more acceptable while close family members such as siblings may warrant $150 each. 

Of course if you can each afford more and want to contribute a larger amount then that is fine. Again it depends on the relationship with the couple and whether you have had to travel a long distance to attend the wedding. 

This is particularly relevant if you have both had to travel, the couple will undoubtedly understand that it costs quite a bit for two people to get to a destination wedding and may not expect a large amount of money as a wedding gift. 

For those attending a wedding alone the amount of money that you give will follow what we stated above about the approximate amount to give. This depends on the relationship with the couple, the type of wedding and your own financial situation. 

It will also depend on whether you are attending the wedding ceremony and reception or only the wedding reception. 

Should You Give Cash If You Are Not Attending The Wedding?

Should You Give Cash If You Are Not Attending The Wedding?

If you have been invited to the wedding but are unable to attend, should you give the couple cash as a wedding gift, and how much should that be? 

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This will depend on what the expectations are on behalf of the bride and groom and your relationship to them. 

If they are having a destination wedding that you either cannot attend due to distance or financial restrictions then sending a check appropriate to the amount you would have given in person is perhaps a good compromise. 

The easiest solution would be to send a gift from the couple’s registry but if you know they could use the cash then this is ok too. 

Make sure the amount of money that you are giving the couple is an amount you can afford and always take your own financial situation into account. 

If you are unsure about how much to send as a gift then consider how much you would spend on a nice dinner out and multiply that amount by 3 or 4. So if you would happily spend $50 on a good meal then send $150-$200. 

On the other hand if you would only spend $25 on a meal out for yourself then $75 or $100 should be your limit. Don’t overstretch yourself to compensate for not attending the wedding. 

Does Your Relationship With The Bride And Groom Affect The Amount Of A Cash Gift?

As we have discussed, the amount of cash that you give as a wedding gift is affected by the relationship you have with the couple.

No one expects you to pay out a large amount of cash to co-workers or to people who are related to you, but you don’t really know very well.

Quite often if the relationship is not that close you may only be invited to the wedding reception. In these instances, consider how much the couple will likely have paid for your meal and try to match that as closely as possible. 

For more intimate relationships such as immediate family members you will likely be attending the wedding ceremony as well as the reception. The amount that you give as a cash gift should reflect this therefore be a bit more. 


When it comes to family weddings it may be a bit easier to calculate the amount of money to give as a gift. Typically, your relationships with family members are easier to determine than those with friends or co-workers. 

In general, the closer the relationship is the more you are expected to gift to the couple. For example, if your sister is getting married then the amount you give will normally be more than to a distant cousin you rarely see. 

Cash wedding gifts to close family members can range from $100 up to $500 but any more than that may be excessive. If you are attending as a couple then this may be a bit more manageable if you split it between you. 

If you can afford more than by all means give more but don’t leave yourself in a financially bad situation because you feel obligated to give a large amount to a close family member. 


The closeness of your relationship to your friend can be used as a guide to how much to give as a cash wedding gift. For a best friend you may want to give a similar amount that you would gift to a family member and this is fine as long as you can afford it.

So for really close friends anything between $100-$500 may be appropriate. For more casual friends then the amount should be a little lower, between $75-$125. Again this will depend on whether you are attending the wedding solo or as a couple. 

If you are attending as a couple and the bride or groom is the close friend of just one of you then perhaps a fairer split would be two thirds and one third. 


For co-workers or distant relatives that you rarely see, the amount to give should be around $50-$75 or the closest to that amount that you can afford. If you are attending with a plus one then this amount should be $100-$150. 

As with family and friends the level of closeness to the co-worker should dictate how much you give. If it is someone you work closely with then giving an amount toward the higher end of $75 is probably appropriate. 

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However, if it is someone who you rarely interact with at work then the lower amount of $50 is absolutely fine. 

Does The Type Of Wedding Influence How Much You Should Give?

As much as the amount of money that you give as a wedding gift is influenced by the relationship you have with the couple, so too should the type of wedding they are having. 

A lot of couples like to travel to beautiful places to have their wedding ceremony. Some may want to get married on the beach in Hawaii and others may like the backdrop of Niagara Falls. 

So what do you do when you need to travel to a wedding and also budget for a cash gift? First of all you should consider if you can actually afford to travel to the destination. 

Don’t forget that it’s not just the cost of your return ticket that you have to take account of. Unless you are staying with family or friends you will need to budget for accommodation and meals while you are there. 

Then you can calculate how much you can reasonably afford to give as a cash gift. 

For small, intimate and local weddings then the amount that you give can reflect this and similarly, if the wedding is a large, formal celebration you may want to gift a bit more. 

Whether the bride and groom are a young couple celebrating their first marriage or are on their second or third time around, this can influence how much you can give as a cash gift. 

Younger couples will likely need to furnish a home or still be carrying a student loan so perhaps a more significant cash contribution would be welcome.

Older couples on the other hand are more likely to be financially stable and typically won’t have the same need for cash. 

Thinking About Your Own Financial Situation

Before you part with the cash for a wedding gift think about your own financial situation. Friends and family who invite you to a wedding typically wouldn’t want you to put yourself under financial stress in order to give them a gift. 

The type of wedding that you are attending is a good place to start your calculation of what you can reasonably afford. 

For most destination wedding couples will send their invitations well in advance not only to know who will be attending but also to give people time to book tickets. They will also be aware that most people need to budget for this kind of expense. 

Don’t forget that between receiving the invitation and the wedding date, things in the economy or your own financial situation can change. This may affect the size of the wedding cash gift that you will be able to make.

Unexpected expenses almost always have a habit of occurring when you least expect, medical bills or a car in the shop. 

So you shouldn’t make any definite decision about an amount until perhaps the month before the wedding to ensure that you are still in a position to give the amount that you intended

What Is The Etiquette For Giving Cash As A Wedding Gift?

What Is The Etiquette For Giving Cash As A Wedding Gift?

Do you give the cash at the wedding or send it beforehand? How exactly do you present your cash gift to the couple? These are some of the questions that you may be asking yourself about the etiquette of giving cash as a wedding gift. 

Most couples will have a box at the reception for receiving cards and monetary gifts. If you are going to give them cash, put it in an envelope with a card and make sure that they know who it’s from, so they can thank you later. 

If you are giving them a check make sure that you remember to sign it before putting it in the envelope. Avoid handing the cash or check to the couple at the reception as they will have so much going on, and it’s just another thing to keep track of. 

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You can always send a check to the couple before the wedding and this may actually help them out with any unforeseen or last minute expenses. 

Finally, consider the culture of the wedding you are attending.

If it is an American wedding then the above advice is good but if the couple are from a different country or culture it is best to inform yourself beforehand about their traditions and what is expected. 

Cash As Wedding Gifts For Different Cultures

In some cultures giving cash as a wedding gift is a tradition and expected if you are invited to one of these weddings. If you are not sure of the etiquette for different cultures make sure to look it up before giving money as a gift. 

Asian Weddings

Japanese wedding gifts include giving celebration envelopes filled with money. In this tradition, the amount is not based on the relationship to the couple but rather on the giver’s social status. 

A bride or groom’s boss for instance is expected to give more than a co-worker. Women in Japan are expected to give less as a monetary gift as they have to pay for their hair, make-up, dress and accessories. 

A similar tradition exists in China where red envelopes are given at many celebrations as a token of good luck; this also applies to weddings. The amount of money should be an even number because odd numbers are considered unlucky. 

European Weddings

European Weddings

At Italian weddings the bride carries a satin purse called la borsa. Guests at the wedding reception put gifts of cash of between $100-$400 into the purse if they want to dance with the bride or if they just want to help the couple out. 

In France there may be a pot commun or common pot where guests can deposit gifts of cash or checks. At Greek weddings money is typically pinned onto the bride’s dress by guests at the wedding reception.

This is done as part of a special dance at the reception. 

Spanish couples will even put their bank details on the wedding invitation to make it easier for guests to give a monetary gift. 

Jewish Weddings

Finally, at Jewish weddings if you are going to give cash as a gift then there are specific things to consider. First of all, you don’t have to give money and can give the couple a physical gift. 

However if you are going to give them money then it should be in multiples of $18. This is because the number 18 translates to chai or life in Hebrew. So you are wishing them a long and happy married life together. 

Final Thoughts

When you are considering giving cash as a wedding gift, consider your own financial situation before settling on an amount. 

If you can afford it then the next factor to think about is your relationship to the bride and groom.

Finally, consider the type of wedding and whether you will need to travel and calculate this expense. 

We hope you have enjoyed our guide to how much cash to give as a wedding gift and that it has been helpful. 

Lisa Plaitt