Do You Have To Buy a Gift for a Destination Wedding?

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Attending a destination wedding can be pricey. According to The Knot, guests who flew to a wedding report an average spend of $1,440 — which of course can be more if the destination is further away. So, given that you’re already spending so much to merely attend the wedding, do you also need to get the couple a gift? Here’s what etiquette experts say.

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“If we are one of the extremely lucky ones being invited to a destination wedding, we are probably one of the closest family members or friends of the bride and groom,” said Maryanne Parker, founder of Manor of Manners. “In this case, obviously, we know the couple well — or at least one of them — and we can certainly prepare a nice gift.”

However, Parker emphasizes that when it comes to destination wedding gifts, it really is the thought that counts.

“You definitely should bring some kind of a small gift for the couple,” she said. “Usually, the focus shouldn’t be on the price but on the meaning, the connection and the sentiment the gift represents.”

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Joy Weaver, certified etiquette expert and author of “Socially Savvy,” agrees that thoughtfulness is paramount to the price tag when it comes to buying a gift for a destination wedding.

“There is no absolute ‘rule of thumb’ for purchasing wedding gifts, though it should be well-thought-out and something special,” she said. “The gift should be a reflection of your relationship with the couple, and should never be based on price. Consider personalized gifts such as a traditional or digital frame with photos from the destination wedding, an engraved vase or a bottle of champagne to save for their first wedding anniversary. Each of these gifts can be purchased for under $50.”

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No, If the Couple Specifies ‘No Gifts’

There is an exception to the rule above.

“Destination weddings can be expensive for those attending and because of the expected added costs, some couples insist to their guests ‘no gifts please,'” Weaver said.

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In this case, you do not need to bring a gift.

However, “those couples who do not communicate a no-gift request to their guests are expecting a wedding gift,” Weaver said.

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Last updated: June 3, 2021

About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 

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