Do You Have to Give a Gift at a Destination Wedding?

All your questions, answered.

bride and groom at their destination wedding


Destination weddings are some of the most fun, but they also can be the most expensive. Flights and hotel rooms can rack up quickly, especially if the wedding is in a remote location or at a luxury property. So, if you're already shelling out just to be there, do you also need to spend money on a wedding gift?

While your inclination might be to skip the gift given how much you're spending to attend the wedding, tradition states that any wedding invitation comes with the obligation of sending a gift to the couple. However, the amount gifted is ultimately the decision of each individual guest and even provides the opportunity to get creative! If the wedding is particularly expensive, you can opt to send a lower-cost gift as a token of your good wishes, instead of the usual amount you might spend for a non-destination wedding. Comparatively, you may opt to present the couple with a sentimental gift such as a handmade photo album, decor for their home, or even pay for an excursion on their honeymoon. Gestures such as these are often less expensive yet equally meaningful.

You may still want to send a little something as a gesture, whether it's a pretty frame, a bottle of wine, or just a card with a nice note.

Some couples hosting destination weddings that cause guests to incur higher costs may request that their guests not buy a gift at all. In this case, it would be up to you whether or not to still present the couple with a gift.

Timing is also key: Don't plan to bring the gift with you. Instead, purchase and send it in advance of the wedding so that it arrives before you've departed, or just after the couple returns home, just as you would with a regular wedding present. Even if you plan on giving cash or a check, make arrangements to send it in the mail instead of taking it on your trip. You don't want to be responsible for extra money lying around your hotel room and neither do the newlyweds.

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