Do You Need To Send A Wedding Gift If You Can't Make The Event?

There are plenty of things to consider when you're invited to see two people say "I do." Along with what outfit you'll wear and possible travel arrangements, you'll also have to think about a wedding gift. Fortunately, these days, you have a few different options.

For instance, instead of opting for something that simply stays within your budget, you can pick up a present that's rather expensive by going in on a group gift, according to The Knot. This will allow you to grab the priciest item on the duo's registry without having to break the bank. Ideally, everyone will chip in an equal amount. However, you can also choose to have individuals contribute what they can comfortably afford which, of course, might be more for some and less for others. That also applies to another option, which is simply giving the couple money as a gift. Although this might have been a little impersonal in the past, it's totally acceptable nowadays. Whether the married pair uses the cash to help pay for their honeymoon or puts it toward paying off debt so they can start off their life together without financial burdens, they'll surely be grateful for your monetary present.

At the same time, you might be wondering if there are certain circumstances when you don't have to give the couple a gift at all, like when you can't even attend the big event.

Send a wedding gift if you can but not if it's a stretch

Being invited to someone's wedding is usually an honor and you will likely want to return the gesture by giving the couple a gift. This is why you may also want to send a gift to the ceremony even if you're not able to show up in person. In fact, if you're a family member or good friend, then you should do your best to offer the pair a present for the special occasion even if you can't attend. On the other hand, if you're a casual acquaintance or coworker, then you can probably get away with sending a card with your congratulations. Granted, there's another reason why you may not have to offer up a present.

"[Etiquette writer] Emily Post has always attested to the fact that you should always send a gift if invited unless you've truly been out of touch for a considerable length of time," Kylie Carlson, the CEO of the International Academy of Wedding & Event Planning, told Vogue. "I'd like to think, however, that there is absolutely an understanding that if you decline the invitation and are not in a financial position to send a gift, then you don't, and that's OK. Instead, send your warm wishes with a handwritten note."

Of course, even if you can accept the invitation, there are a couple of other situations when a wedding gift isn't necessary.

You can contribute to the wedding in other valuable ways

The relationships in your life are surely based on mutual respect, common interests, and a genuine desire to show your support. That's why you can certainly give a wedding present if you're willing and able. However, that's also why the people getting married likely aren't expecting one and, frankly, they shouldn't just assume that they'll receive one from everyone they invite. As etiquette expert Elaine Swann explained to Brides, "It is important for people to realize that a gift is not mandatory. It is certainly appreciated and expected, but not mandatory."

Despite not having the extra funds for a present, there are other ways you might help to contribute to the wedding. That might mean being involved in the wedding party, which may require you to pay for a special dress or suit, as well as partially fund and, of course, attend a bachelorette party and bridal shower, and have your hair and makeup done on the wedding day. This can all add up and may see you spending more than enough money without also adding a gift on top of that. The same can be said if you're spending money on plane tickets and a hotel for an event that's out of town or a destination wedding.

Just remember, your bond and support for the couple getting married is the most valuable thing that you have to offer.