9 Wedding Gifts Based On Your Relationship To The Couple

Not all presents are counted equally. You’d think the most emotional part of a wedding would be when the couple ties the knot, but let’s be real — for the guests, it’s choosing the gift that brings with it a rollercoaster of feels. How much do you really need to spend? Do you even need to buy a gift if you’re in the wedding? Do you have to stick to the registry? Is buying someone bathroom products lame (even if they registered for them)?!

“There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how much to spend on a wedding gift,” says Jennifer Spector, Zola's wedding expert. “It's most important to give a gift that's within your means and that the couple will actually use in their newlywed home, no matter if it’s a $25 picture frame or a $200 set of cookware.” That said, the average wedding gift purchased on Zola is between $100 and $120, so that’s a good price range to stay within. “I also live by the 60-20-20 rule,” says Spector. “I set a total gift budget for every wedding and then I split that budget between an engagement gift, wedding shower gift, and a gift for the big day. I spend about 40 percent on pre-wedding events and 60 percent on the wedding gift.”

Also worth noting: If you’re attending a destination wedding — and paying for airfare and a hotel room — you should still buy a gift. “But it's OK to spend a bit less than you normally would in this situation. Your presence is part of the present!” says Spector.

It should go without saying that if you're super close to the bride or groom (whether a friend or a relative), you might want to spend a bit more than you would for a casual acquaintance. But if you’re still not sure how much to spend or what an appropriate gift idea is, Spector’s got you covered.

If You’re A College Friend...

Chances are you’re still decently close to the bride or groom if you’re willing to give up your time to attend their wedding. For you, “the $100 to $150 range is perfect, as long as that is affordable for you,” says Spector. “I love to give a gift that's unique and speaks to the couple.” An Airbnb gift card or a cool piece of technology, like a wireless speaker, would also be a safe bet.

$100 Airbnb gift card

Sonos Play:1 Wireless Speaker

If You’re The Maid Of Honor...

Even though the bride is probably one of your best friends, if not a relative, you’ve already spent a buttload of money on a dress, a bachelorette, a shower, etc. That means the $100 to $150 price range is still appropriate, says Spector. “Give them something extra memorable, maybe even something they can use at their wedding,” she says. Think: a set of champagne flutes (with a bottle of bubbles as a bonus), or a beautiful photo book for all their wedding snapshots.

Waterford Love Forever Champagne Flute, Set of 2

Artifact Uprising Hardcover Wedding Photo Book

If You’re A Bridesmaid...

Again, you’ve probably already done some damage to your bank account in the name of your friend’s wedding — but still feel like you need to pony up for something nice, “I really love the idea of getting all of the bridesmaids together to give an extra nice gift that’s something the couple really, really wants, like the best vacuum cleaner ever or a nice piece of furniture or even art,” says Spector.

Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 Vacuum

Custom framing for Framebridge

If You’re The Perpetually Broke Friend...

No one wants to be the guest who bought that one cheap spatula on the registry. It might sound counterintuitive, but “if you’re perpetually broke, the best thing you can do is donate to their cash fund,” says Spector. “On Zola, couples can personalize cash funds to help them purchase whatever they want from their first home to a dream honeymoon, and the average donation is around $100.” The beauty of this? Even if you can’t afford $100, donating whatever you can to what’s essentially a slush fund is less obvious than buying that spatula.

If You’re An Aunt And/Or Uncle...

Extended family members — think aunts and uncles and grandmas and grandpas — love to give more traditional wedding gifts, like dinnerware and kitchen appliances, says Spector. “The number one most-wanted gift by couples everywhere is the KitchenAid Stand Mixer,” she adds. Table settings are also a solid choice for kin.

KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Qt. Tilt-Head Stand Mixer

Willow Park Ashford 4-Piece Place Setting

If You’re A Cousin...

Look, you’re probably here because you’re blood. But if you can drink from their open bar, you’re old enough to buy them a gift from you, not from "the family." “If your mom and dad (i.e. the bride or groom’s aunts and uncles) are giving something a bit more generous, I think that cousins can get away with giving a gift that is less expensive and very fun!” says Spector. Like, say, a cheese board or a subscription to a monthly wine club.

Brooklyn Slate Slate Cheese Board

Winc Monthly Wine Club

If You’re The Godmother...

Godmother status means you once took serious responsibility for the bride or groom (in a worst case scenario, but still). “You should give you something that’s going to be useful, and you can probably afford a nicer gift for their kitchen,” says Spector. An Instant Pot or a Dutch Oven is bound to be appreciated. Ideally, they’ll pay you back by inviting you over for dinner!

Le Creuset Signature Round Dutch Oven

Instant Pot

If You’re The Work Friend...

You may be each other’s work wife, but if you’re not really friends beyond gossiping in the cafeteria and the occasional happy hour, you don’t need to go overboard. “If you're a work friend who’s invited to the wedding, under $75 is completely fine,” says Spector. “If you're a work friend who’s sending a gift to be extra thoughtful but you're not attending the wedding, under $50 is generous.” Stick to something basic that you know the couple will love, like a pretty frame or a set of kitchen mugs.

Umbra Prisma Multi Frame

Willow Park Ashford Stackable Mug, Set of 4

If You're The Sibling...

Ah, siblings. Can you really put a price on the love of your brother or sister? “I love the idea of giving your sibling a gift that is just for him or her to enjoy — something to help destress before the big day,” says Spector. “My sister baked me an entire casserole of macaroni and cheese, my absolute favorite, and hand delivered it to my Brooklyn apartment. I felt extremely loved and very full!” A massage or blowout and makeup session would also do the trick.

Zeel Massage

Glamsquad Blowout and Makeup Session