How Much Money Should You Give to Your Son as a Wedding Gift?

WhatToGetMy Instructional Article

Wedding finances are a delicate subject. Gift-giving and receiving etiquette is changing over time. Cash gifts weren’t common before, and now it’s completely appropriate to ask for money instead of gifts for the wedding. The trickiest part for you is deciding how much money should you give to your son as a wedding gift. You don’t want to give too little of course. However, giving large amounts of money is also a problem. Don’t worry, we’ll give you useful pieces of advice and a lot of tips to help you decide what to do.

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The bride and groom have probably thought of some creative ways to ask for money as a wedding gift. You should do the same when giving a gift. A thoughtful card can help you share amazing wishes for your son’s wedding. You should also consider writing a letter to welcome the bride in the family. Maybe even throw in a small sentimental gift. Those are very polite and thoughtful gestures and we’ll try to give you some more ideas and examples in the article below.

Before we get to the core of the article, we’d like to note the most important things:

  • Give what you can afford. You should help out your kids whenever you can, but you shouldn’t jeopardize your finance and retirement plans. Don’t put yourself in debt for one wedding gift.
  • Customs vary in different parts of the country, so it’s important to communicate with your son and his wife-to-be. Ask them about your involvement in the wedding and would they prefer some gift more than cash present. Even if the couple isn’t sure, they will appreciate your willingness for open communication.
  • You should give some material items in addition to your cash present. It’s always nice to have something in your house that reminds you of your family.

Factors that will help you decide

Your salary

If your salary is adequate, it’s completely normal to be generous with gifts for your son’s wedding. However, if you’re struggling financially, you don’t have to overreach and give more than you’re able to. We know you want to make your child’s day special, but your presence alone will do that. He’ll be happy that his parents are doing their best to help with participating or giving helpful advice.

Relationship with your son

There are a lot of questions you need to answer before you decide what is a suitable gift. For example, is he your only child? Are you close to him? Does he live in a different state? Do you want to let him know how much you care by giving gifts?

Think about it: if you see each other every day, you probably feel the need to give more. On the other hand, you might not be very close, which can also affect your decision concerning gifts. A lot of factors determine the amount of money you should spend on your son’s wedding, so it’s important to reflect on the relationship you have with him.

Other gifts

Some people have engagement parties, bridal showers, and other pre-wedding celebrations. If you’ve already given a lot of gifts then, you can spend a little less on the actual wedding gift. Approximately, you should double the amount of money you spent on other gifts to get an idea about how much to give on the wedding day.

Other contributions to the wedding

If you’ve already spent so much on wedding preparations, your “actual” wedding gift can be a little less expensive. That being said, you can, of course, continue with your generosity. Your son will surely appreciate all the help he can get.

Wedding location

It’s safe to assume that you can give less money if your son is having a destination wedding or lives very far. You’ll be spending a lot on a plane ride and a hotel, so your budget might be limited. We’re sure your son will be full of understanding and he won’t take it against you if you spend a little less on his wedding gift.

Wedding number

It’s implied that you go “all in” on the first wedding and a bit lighter on the second or third marriage. Couples are having a smaller ceremony for later marriages, so the gifts don’t have to be extravagant.

Solo or joined gifts

An important factor to consider is whether you’ll be giving gifts alone or with your partner. Naturally, you’d want to join forces with your son’s other parent, so you can give more. However, if you’re divorced, that doesn’t mean you should spend as much money as your ex. You don’t have to “match” his/her gift because this is not a competition.

The amount of money

When you take into account all previous factors, you’ll probably have a clearer picture of how much should parents give for a wedding gift. Let’s talk more about the actual amount of money. The ranges differ depending on the context. It can go from a couple hundred to several thousand dollars, so we can’t give you an exact number you should stick to. It all depends on what your budget allows you to give and how much you’re comfortable giving.

Some parents are helping their kids put a downpayment on a house, so they give $20,000, while others give around a thousand for the couple’s honeymoon. For someone in a tough financial spot, $500 can be too much. There is no “right answer” because everything depends on your specific situation.

Let’s put it this way. Avoid giving less than $150 because that is the average amount spent on gifts by the “regular” guests. Close family, of course, should spend more than friends and distant relatives. There is no maximum amount but try not to be too generous if your son doesn’t feel comfortable with that. It’s important to communicate about these kinds of things, even if it is “awkward” in the beginning. Offer your help and financial support and let your son know you’re always there for him.

Wedding costs

It used to be the “rule” that the parents of the groom should be responsible for the rehearsal dinner and flower arrangements. Nowadays, everything depends on the agreement between the couple and the families. Different cultures and social circles have different ideas about who’s in charge of what, so you must always communicate with the couple to avoid unnecessary confusion.

In modern times, most couples are paying for their own wedding. They are also making all the important decisions, so they might not approach you regarding finances. That’s why you should offer help and let them know you can help in some aspects of the wedding (cake, band, flowers). Even if the couple accepts your help, they still have the right to choose the details.

As we said, if you’re involved in planning the wedding, you can spend less money on the gift. You’ve already given so much and your son will be happy you’re involved. The willingness to help is appreciated more than the actual wedding gift. Take this into consideration when you’re planning your budget.

Discuss with your partner

We can’t stress enough how important quality communication is. Not only you should talk about wedding finances with your son, but you also need to discuss it with your partner. Even if you are separated, it’s a good idea to share a few thoughts with your ex about the wedding.

Before talking to the groom, parents need to discuss between themselves how they can help and how much they are able to offer. When you establish your budget and how much should you spend on the wedding gift, talk to the couple and offer help and support. Note that financial help for the wedding is a part of the gift and not a way to control wedding-related decisions.

Sweet gifts in addition to the cash present

If you really want to surprise your son and his future wife, consider giving them small and thoughtful gifts too. Cash wedding gift from parents is very much appreciated but for a “wow effect”, you need to add a few tokens of affection. Sentimental gestures can go a long way, so be sure to check out these ideas.

Personalized photo album

A printed photo album can be a nice addition to the wedding gift for a son from parents. Gather photos with the help of the bride’s parents and you’ll surely bring a big smile to the couple’s face. Make a timeline and include cute photos from the period when they were children to the period when they first met. Take them to the trip down the memory lane! In this digital age, a photo album is a unique gift that can bring families closer.

Memory box

Make a time capsule that can capture certain periods. Put the accent on the childhood memories and make a box that includes photos, favorite items, toys, artwork, and other cherished items. This gift would be greatly appreciated not only by your son. His bride-to-be would love it too! Also, your future grandchildren will be thrilled to get to know his dad as a kid.

Heirloom gifts

You probably have items that have been passed down in your family. It doesn’t matter what it is: a piece of jewelry or a book collection. If you give a family-owned item to the son’s future wife, it will be an incredible gesture. It will welcome her to the family and make her feel special. If you don’t have something that’s been in your family for generations, make a new tradition. Give something meaningful and say you would be happy if they save it for future generations.

Special art

Artistic gifts are always welcomed. If you’re not an artist yourself, you can hire one to make a unique picture of the happy couple. Alternatively, you can print a meaningful photo on canvas. It’s a great addition to the cash wedding gift and the couple would be thrilled to brighten their living room with a beautiful decoration.

Your budget comes first

Now that you’ve considered how much money the groom’s parents should give as a wedding gift, you will probably make wise decisions. Giving a quality gift to your son is very important, but, as we said, don’t go way ahead of your budget. If you can’t afford extravagant gifts, your son will understand. It’s more important to pay your bills and not go into debt, then splurging for one wedding gift.

Gifts from the couple

A lot of couples give small gifts to their parents as a token of their appreciation. They want to thank the parents for helping with the wedding and also show their love. If you get gifts privately, feel free to open them right away. However, if you’re given the gifts in public, for example at the rehearsal dinner, it might be a good idea to wait with unwrapping the presents.


A wedding is a wonderful celebration of love and gifts are just a small part of it. It’s important to consider proper gift etiquette but don’t let social rules distract you from enjoying the event. You should be more focused on the wedding reception and having fun, than on the actual cost of your present. A sentimental toast full of love will be much more heartwarming, so be sure to have one prepared.





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