How much money should I give as a wedding gift?

Hey guys

What is the acceptable amount these days when you give money as a wedding gift?

The wedding I am going to is a colleague's I was thinking to give $100-150 (going on my own) but when I discussed with a colleague who's attending the same wedding said she's giving $50.

Another colleague said she is not giving any more (i.e. $0/no gift on the wedding day) because the bride's hens night already cost everyone $190pp

It is a half-asian wedding and cash-gifting is the norm for most asian cultures.

What do you guys think??


  • +9

    If it's an Asian wedding $150 would be the norm for a colleague =)

    • +4

      $100 was the norm 5-10 years back. It's $150+ now.

  • +26

    I'd give $100

    • +1

      Yes I was thinking $100

    • +1

      I went to an Asian weeding and I gave $100.

      • +3

        Its generally $100 per head, unless you know they are going to a SUPER SUPER expensive place, then you would go up to $150 per head.

        I usually variate it depending on location:
        Cheapo Takeway Place: $50
        General Banquet at Resturant (Most Chinese Style are this): $100
        High Class Banquet (e.g. 5 star hotel, upper classed Chinese Restaurants): $150

        If you don't really like the couple e.g. not really your friend but you are just showing up out of courtesy, then just buy them a cheapo but expensive looking present. lol.

        • +10

          If you don't really like the couple, just don't go - why even buy them a "cheapo but expensive looking present".

        • @PcisT:

          Cheap food(the cost of a cheap, but expensive looking gift) duh.

  • +4

    I counted 'an pao' from my brother's wedding, most people gave $100 but many of his Aussie colleagues gave $50. I've been to a couple colleague weddings and they've been happy with $100 from me (plus $100 from my gf also out of my wallet).

    What did they do on a hens that cost $190pp / did they know it'd cost that much upfront? IMO If it's too expensive to afford your colleagues should've given it a miss rather than take a free ride at the wedding.

    • random girly stuff..mani/pedi, high tea and dinner

    • +14

      I'm curious who'd not be happy with any amount of money (except for my old boss's uncle, who gave his nephew a used JB Hifi voucher with about $47.42 remaining on the card). This is what I don't get about weddings - it's an honour to be invited—not a right—and any gift should be appreciated, regardless how much it is. I don't think anyone knows the details of other people's financial situation and what they can/can't afford. For my wedding, I was just glad to have people there and spend it with us (particularly the interstate/international guests) and any gift was pure generosity.

  • +52

    I'd say $100 is fine. $50 is too low.

    The idea behind it (kind of) is to give what it probably would have cost for you to be there - venue/food etc.

    Normally for reception centres and the like it's pretty much going to be like $80 for venue/food plus other ancillary expenses so rounding off to $100 is fine.

    • +2

      Great advice.

      Whereabouts is the wedding? If it's in a nice area in a capital city in Australia (eg with water views), the reception venue alone could easily cost $200 per person.

      You could make a judgment call based on the quality of the venue and how close you are to the couple. From my experience I would say $100 or $150 would both be safe bets. If you don't really know them very well and/or they're holding a simple or casual wedding, then $50 might suit as well. If you're best friends with the bride or groom, then that's a different story!

      • +2

        fancy dinner in the CBD - they are having a very simple wedding, very small reception >30 people.
        I think $100 is a safe bet, 50 is a bit on the small side even for a simple, small wedding because if I am one of 30 guests the couple must feel close to invite me (though I am just a colleague)…

        • +2

          Any way of checking how much it costs per head? I'm from an Asian country and we check online how much it costs per head before topping it up with a bit. Usually ends up being about $120-150.

        • +1

          I do the same. The principle is to help the married couple recoup the costs of the wedding dinner so that your friends are not out of pocket.

          If you don't know the cost per head a trick is to think like a wedding planner. You can gauge a rough cost by looking up the restaurants menu (or online menu) and refer to their banquet prices. Your married friends would have negotiated something similar with the restaurant, ie. off a special menu or 5 to 11 individual courses.

    • +2

      This. Depends on venue and if you want to go above and beyond. $150 sounds reasonable though.

      • +4

        $150 is the new minimum, i mean unless you're an apprentice or unemployed, $150 is going to be nothing more than a few hrs to a day's work for most people.

        Paying less than $150 is like saying you wouldn't waste a day with that person.

  • +6

    usually its nice to give around how much it cost them for the reception alone, most places cost around $100 bucks a person

    if its a close friend or relative you prolly give more

    usually what you give them they will give back the same amount at your wedding

    • +3

      Gave $1000 + bottle of Remy Martin XO for family once.

      Close friend prolly = $250 - $500

      Not so close friend = $150 minimum

      Prolly wouldn't attend if they're only an acquaintance, unless few other close friends also attending.

      • +5

        Then you've got your sibling $2,000-$3,000. I gave my brother 2k, because I was a younger unmarried sibling. But I know my older sister gave 3k AND mum gave 10k. It's an Asian thing

        • +5

          Can I send the sibling adoption papers now or later?

  • +3

    few rules of thumb:

    giving and receiving money, be it "ang bao" or a "wishing well" or whatever is an expectation in asian cultures, probably more so than in western

    you pay depending on how much it cost to host the wedding

    pay depending on how close you are to the bride and groom

    i'd say that around $100pp should be fine, a bit more if you're particularly close

  • I'd go anything from $50 to $200 per head depending on how close to the person I am.

  • +2

    Agreed with the comments above. I don't like the trend of asking for money, although I understand both the utility and that is traditional in some cultures. I prefer to give a gift, as it gives me a chance to express my feelings for the couple, my individuality and put some ozb skills to work.
    So if asked for cash, I give it but also, throw a handful of small change in the well/basket.
    It will drive them crazy for years and years wondering who was the tight ar## who only gave them 85c.

    • +12

      But they might not need the junk you give them..

      Money is best..since they need to repay the cost of the food/venue

      • +7

        Exactly - not everyone loves that unique multi-colour toaster with neon lights you brought off eBay and thought was a clever gift.

      • Some venues even allow you to use the money received on the day to pay the venue.

        • +1

          Most venues don't care where the money comes from as long as they get paid!

    • +3

      [.. also, throw a handful of small change in the well/basket.
      It will drive them crazy for years and years ..]

      lolz :D

    • I would prefer to give/receive a gift too but think we are switching to money cos more couples are staying tog so they would prob have all the stuff they need already?

      Lol 85c all in 5c too? Alas, next wedding we are putting the money in red packets and writing our names on them.

    • Disgusting

  • +14

    Oh, and the other joke I have done (which my kids absolutely reckon is the worst Dad joke ever, and were disowning me) was to give a real Zimbabwe $100 trillion bill:

    I gave a cheque too.

    • +1

      A real Nigerian cheque?

    • You're the coolest dad ever..!!!! I'm gonna try this on my best friend :)

    • I'll take 10 please =D

  • +3

    $190 for the Hens night!

    • +1

      some maid of honour forgot sense…

      • there was no maid of honour/best man at this wedding. One girl organised it -_-

    • +1

      Yeah. She might have been happier with $190 x say 7 bridesmaids = luxurious Bali trip for two.

  • Interesting article.

    Would anyone have a clue how much to give if you were the bestman on the wedding?

    • +1

      I've been best man a few times over the last couple of years (yes, I'm at that age!) - each time I tried to (force) give money, I've been told to shove it up my "somewhere"!
      Reason is, best man = best mates. And money is not a part of that.

      • Thanks for that!

        I guess that situation applies if you try to hand over cash directly.

        But most of the time, theres either a wishing well or red envelope which is collected in the entrance. The bride and groom don't know about it till way after the wedding when it's all consolidated.

        • +1

          We never actually give red pockets to each other… amongst my closer friends, money goes in the form of bank transfers that then get returned with an "abusive" phone call when it eventually gets noticed. haha.

          The money in the wishing well doesn't actually get "consolidated" as such.. the contents are emptied out at the end of the night and counted against the guest list. Besides the ones with no names written on them, the couple actually knows how much each guest gave.

        • So basically, if you really, really wanted to give the money, you would put it in the wishing well with no name on it and deny it was you if they questioned you. You could even put it into smaller separate envelopes if you wanted if you were a very generous giver.

          I have never, ever, ever heard of someone transferring wedding gift money via bank transfer. They may as well an EFTPOS merchant facility set up.

    • +3

      I gave $300 when I was maid of honour

  • +4

    I had this issue not too long ago.
    I discussed it with co-workers and the responses seemed to range from $100 to $150 so we all made a pact that we'd give $125 each.
    I hope that was ok.

    • +6

      That seems like an oddly specific amount of money to give haha

  • +5

    going rate is $100-$150 for most Asian weddings….

  • I had my wedding last year and got about $75 per person.

    • did you guess those who gave you less than $50 ?

      • +1

        Why would you have to guess (presumably it came inside a card with "Happy Wedding, from <X>". And why does it mattter? If it's all about getting money, why not just invite your richest friends johns?

        • +8

          in Asian cultures, we tend to apply balance on gift givings, especially weddings. So you won't be giving $50 when they have given you $300 previously. And vice versa.

          and names aren't printed anywhere so there go the guessing game, especially if you did put some coins in there lol

        • it's really up to how it's organised..

          you could at your wedding have a guest sign in book or photo album and a relative that mans that particular area as your guests are given seating arrangement details….

          most weddings are like that

          someone there collects gifts on you behalf…and if it the gift doesn't come with a card your relative writes on the gift or tags the gift with a name.

          that way you know who gave you what .. and thank appropriately.

  • +3

    We still prefer to buy a present as opposed to giving money -there's something more personal with a gift that can be kept rather than $$$$$'s which will be spent on fuel, groceries etc. & soon forgotten. Also at one wedding we attended where there was a wishing well - not situated in the main area but by the entrance - somebody came in & stole it! - so the poor newlyweds were left with nothing.

    • There should have been someone from the bridal party guarding the wishing well, poor couple

    • gift registries people should have them

      • +1

        A good guide is if there's a gift registry, then not giving money and choosing an item is okay, but otherwise it's a faux pas these days.

    • +5

      Yep…. nothing like walking away from a wedding with 4 swanky new Toasters !

      • +1

        Unless you know the couple very well, even toasters are hard to pick - do they like some high end European brand, are they the minimalist type, do they prefer black, stainless steel, etc.

  • +9

    Thanks so much everyone for your responses!!!

    I'm more leaning to $100. $50 does seem too little

    • Most tables cost about $80 to 100 per person

    • +1

      Have you considered making something? My cousin made a mosaic for my brother and his wife - something with a personal touch can sometimes be more valued by the recipient than some money.

    • If you want to differentiate yourself from all the other $100 givers at the wedding, go for $99.90 instead. Chinese love the number 9 as it sounds like the word for eternity.

      • edit:you right :P

  • +1

    That depend on the guests who will give some money. In my case, they gave us up to $500 per guest to cover the wedding stuff.

  • A lot of these money basket wedding are easy target for arm robbery.

    There's like just one security guard posted out at the front with no gun.

    And as long as you are dressed up you can enter the venue easily.

    No name check etc..

  • +1

    Some of my colleagues gave us $25 for attending our wedding O.O

    I normally give $200-300 for close friends.

    • +3

      that amount is kinda a slap in the face…

    • +4

      Must have been an OzBarginer.

    • +3

      $25 per person is still better then $50 for a family of 3, high profile lawyers & a teenager kid. This was over 5 years ago, when it costed us $115 per head just for the food. No consideration at all, especially when we gave them $1000 for their wedding just a year before ours.

      • +6

        That's scum

        • +5

          high profile lawyers

          That's scum

          Bingo! ;)

      • +13

        Those lawyers did give you back $1000. It was $50 + lawyer appearance fee.

        • LMAO!!!

      • +1

        That's terrible.

        As I mentioned somewhere in the thread, sometimes it's the wealthiest and earns the most that give the least.

        Still, wow, $50 when you gifted $1,000.

        Self entitled selfish (profanity).

        • Haha,

          When I have dinner with my poor/middle income friends, we're always over by 1 person, everyone overpays enough that it adds to 1+

          At the same time, when I have dinner with my rich friends - lawyers, accountants etc we're always short by 1+… rarely do we ever tip.

          Very sad, especially since they richer friends like to over indulge more.

        • @Baghern: Or the richer friends just have better "money management" skills.

  • +6

    This would be if it were a typical asian banquet. Back then you could get away with giving $100. Nowadays, I'd say $150 minimum. You would want to give enough so it covers your portion of the catering and other extras (eg. Reception costs or making up the difference for people who give $25…)

  • +1

    Ummm why should the guests pay for themselves? Why should those throwing the wedding not be out of pocket?

    • +2

      Depends on the circumstances?

      If it's a crazy lavish wedding, then the ones throwing the wedding will always be out of pocket, because it's up to them how much they spend.

      On the other hand, if it's just a fairly "normal" wedding, if you are able, then it would be nice to be able to help out with the costs of the wedding. If you don't feel happy about this, don't accept the invite?

    • +4

      The money is a present.

    • +3

      The bride and groom will be out of pocket. It's just a nice thought to perhaps reimburse part of their spending. Given receptions easily vary between $80 to $200 per person (or more depending on how lavish it is), and once you include photography, band, decorator, cake, florist, and ceremony costs it can all add up to well over $300 per person (not to mention cars, clothes, make-up, etc).

      It's just a nice thought to help reimburse part of the couple's costs for the special occasion that they chose to share with you. When someone holds a 21st or 30th and takes you all out for dinner or puts on a bar tab, wouldn't you generally want to give them a decent present as well?

    • +1

      The guests don't HAVE to but it's just to help a little, especially if the couple is close to you or if they are young and not established yet. Wouldn't you like that if you are in the same situation?

  • +3

    A western reception generally cost between $120-$140 pp for anyone over 10…

    :-| such a pain in the backside should have eloped…

    • Yep, going with the elope option and a small cheap get together after the fact to celebrate :P Weddings are insanely expensive

  • +14

    Give what your comfortable giving.. not what everyone thinks is an appropriate amount. every one will be in different circumstances and have different expectations.

    if you are comfortable gifting $1000 then do so… likewise if you are also comfortable gifting $100 then do so.

    there is no obligation to the amount.

    I remember for my wedding I had a relative who migrated to Australia from overseas through sponsoring and was from a very poor background (mums cousin of some sort). he literally just got off the plane in his jeans and shirt and thongs and came to the wedding ceremony and gifted me $5 which he had on him.

    I was chuffed almost made me cry… because that was all he had on him when he got off the plane.

    • +1

      Lovely story. He gave you everything he had. His small gesture was the most generous there! I wish more people could look at things like you :-)

  • +8

    I don't understand this at all. I'm born here, but in my culture the people setting getting married pay for the wedding.

    Our friends and family are our GUESTS, it's a privilege to have them take a day of their lives to come to your wedding. It isn't about breaking even.

    If you don't want to spend any money getting married, don't have a reception at all. You definitely don't have one and expect the guests to pay.

    • +6

      Different cultures have different values I suppose.

      If you think about it, the idea isn't about expecting the guests to pay, it's just that when a guest attends a special occasion such as a wedding, they would normally bring a present.

      These days however, couples have become smarter and they know that the economic utility of presents < value of money. So, they ask that if you were going to buy a present anyway, please do not buy anything but instead help us out by giving cash. That way, everyone wins - the attendees no longer have to worry about a present that no one else has thought of, and the couple gets cash instead of random useless stuff.

      Of course, cash doesn't have the same sentimental value, but as someone who is currently planning his wedding, holy crap the expenses are phenomenal.

      • +5

        I can understand those gift wishlists and stuff but straight out getting cash seems tacky. It feels like you're paying for tickets to go to a wedding.

        If people choose to give cash that's fine, but there seems to be an expectation. I'd hate to have a loved one tight on money stress about coming to my wedding or avoid it altogether if they're afraid to say something.

        Gifts are a bonus.

      • +1

        Cash doesn't have sentimental value either does presents.
        Most couples I know of, and even myself, 95% of the presents we got were re-gifted to somebody else as we had no use for them. lol.

        I rather have cash so I can buy something which I will use which will then hold sentimental value of "oh that guy gave me cash to buy this".

        • So why don't you have guest registries? Then you'll get what you want

      • -1

        Totally agreed with you. Been there, done that, so I know how it feels.

      • Some couples getting married have been living together long enough to not need any of the presents one would normally get someone (and thus wouldn't have a registry either). Cash does in these cases present a nice alternative, which at the end of the day, is up to you how much you wish to gift them.

    • +6

      You don't have to understand other people's cultures but it doesn't hurt to respect them. Just because your people do things your way, it doesn't mean other cultures people can't do it their way.

    • I agree with your point, but just wondering, what do you feel if you are inviting 100 guess on your wedding, and they all showed up and with no present at all.
      what do you feel? Still feel blessed or pissed?

    • Not every thing in your culture is better.

      That's the beauty of having other cultures here, we can learn/pick from them.

      Western weddings a disgusting waste/burdeon on those marrying.

      The word "elope" is often used because of the hassle/expense of a Western wedding.

      The money gift thing Asian and many other cultures have is an excellent example we should copy.

      • The money gift thing Asian and many other cultures have is an excellent example we should copy.

        I reply with your quote

        Not every thing in your culture is better.That's the beauty of having other cultures here, we can learn/pick from them.

        (even though I'm Asian myself)

        Western weddings a disgusting waste/burdeon on those marrying.

        Yup, totally ok and guilt free shifting own burden to friends and relo. Totally not disgusting at all; have to minimize own cost at other's expense, just good financial sense.

        • -1

          Do you understand why we do gifts at weddings?

          Why its no longer relevant for most people?

          Its your choice to look at it negatively

          You sound like one of those self hate Asians, who choose to look at things purely from a western cultural point of view. I know a lot of Asians who went through that phase, all but one grew out of it.

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