So, who hasn't been in that awkward spot where you're going to a wedding and you frankly just don't know what to get or what to spend on the couple? Don't pretend this has never happened to you; it's happened (or will happen) to everyone!
Gift registries may not be an option or if they are, perhaps you don't want to be the one "splurging" on $350 ceramic kitchen knives. Whatever the reason, if you find that you are writing a check, there's a basic rule of thumb to determine just how much you should be spending on the couple:
Family (close family--not distant or once-a-year-contact type)
This is your family, so don't be cheap. Plan to spend 1-2 times what was spent on each guest. Last year, the average cost per person for a wedding was $213. Therefore, you can expect to shell out $200 - $400, though you should air on the generous side and make it $250 - $500 (or $1,000 if you're super generous).
Friends (your close ones, the ones you don't have to be polite to)
This is your inner circle. While they may seem more like family than your real one, you don't have to be as generous. However, you don't want to be THAT CHEAP FRIEND! Know what I mean? Plan to spend $150 - $300. It really depends on your relationship, your budget and ultimately, your gut instinct.
Colleagues / Coworkers (the good, the bad and in-between)
This is where you need to use your own discretion. There are those you love and those you hate. Keep your feelings out of it and be the better person; you don't want to be fodder for convo at the water cooler. It's totally appropriate to hit it around the $50 - $100 range. More for those you really are close with, but definitely not necessary. DO NOT dip below $50. Even if they're the worst person ever, you can't un-give a $25 Olive Garden gift card! Do you really want to be THAT person?
TIP: DON'T show up at the wedding with your gift in hand, unless it's not possible. Your gift should be sent to the bride, her parents, or some configuration, thereof. Just try, try, try not to arrive with a gift. It's kinda crass, FYI.
Click here for ideas on WHAT TO WEAR to the wedding and look chic, fabulous, and possibly, better than the bride!!!!!! :o