No one is actually suggesting that you should make your wedding guest list based on who might give you more gifts. But be honest: Wouldn’t it be nice to know what you might be able to expect? What if you could tell what percent of your guests will be choosing gifts off your registry versus handing you an envelope full of green? A new survey out from Bankrate might give you a few hints to that effect.
Of the 1,000 adults surveyed, most (33 percent) said their typical wedding gift for a close friend or family member was valued at $50 to $100. Only 18 percent usually give less than that, while 21 percent give $100 to $150, and 26 percent go above $150. What’s really fascinating — and not at all meant to influence which friends and family you invite to your wedding, of course — is what those numbers look like when sorted by geography and age.
Northeasterners, for instance, are typically the biggest givers. About 30 percent of those surveyed from the region said they give $200 or more to close friends and family members, while only 13 percent of people from other parts of the U.S. give that much. When they’re attending weddings of more distant relatives or acquaintances, 46 percent of Northeasterners said they give $100 or more, compared to 24 percent of people from other regions.
It’s also apparently not just a stereotype that older wedding guests are more likely to give cash or a check than something from a registry: 46 percent of those aged 72 or older, along with 35 percent of those aged 53-71, said that was their typical gift form. That could have to do with tradition or with the relative ease with which they can write a check versus logging on to registry websites. By contrast, Gen Xers (ages 37-52) are big on physical gifts from a registry, at 34 percent, followed by millennials (ages 18-36) at 24 percent.
The survey also confirmed previous reports that some guests are just saying no to weddings because of the high costs involved. Among all respondents, 21 percent said they would decline an invitation if they felt they couldn’t afford it. Those between the ages of 37 and 52 were slightly more likely (26 percent) to make this decision than other age groups. Earlier this year, a Priceline survey said as many as 39 percent of millennials were choosing not to attend pricey weddings.
Bankrate’s Sarah Berger said that frugal guests don’t necessarily have to opt out of weddings they really want to attend, if they plan far enough in advance. That’s one advantage to those early invitations.
“Start budgeting for the big day the moment that save-the-date is posted on your fridge,” Berger wrote on her Cashlorette blog, “and you’ll likely be able to afford the trip to see the happy couple tie the knot.”
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