When it comes to wedding gifts, there's no right or wrong answer on how much you should spend. It's all about your personal budget. And cash is a completely acceptable gift, says Lizzie Post, etiquette expert and co-host of Emily Post's "Awesome Etiquette" podcast. Some couples even prefer it.
But don't make the mistake of sending your friends an envelope of cash without an explanation. You can't assume that the couple will automatically recognize it as a wedding gift.
When guests "send a check or cash without a note for what it's for, it can be really strange," Post tells CNBC Make It. "Just having a card with cash show up in it, people might not really get it."
Be sure to include a note. It tells the couple who the gift is from and it allows you to personalize an otherwise less-than-personal present. "It gives you the chance to write your intention," Post says. "You might write them an amount for something specific and say, 'I'd really love for you to use this toward your honeymoon, or whatever best suits your needs.'"
Even if you don't envision the money being put toward a specific goal, a note still "gives you a chance to express the sentiment, which is what we need in order for cash or a cash gift to be received well," Post says.
Post also recommends sending a check instead of a wad of bills, in case your envelope gets misplaced.
How much you decide to write the check for is up to you. "Your gift should always be within your personal budget," Post says. "You decide that based on your connection to the person getting married, your own gift-giving style, desire and generosity in that moment and what's feasible for you to do."
You can also ignore the conventional wisdom that you need to cover the cost of your meal or that you should spend the same amount on every couple, according to Post. Give what makes sense for your budget and your connection to the couple. At the end of the day, wedding gifts are meant to honor the couple and thank them for including you — not for leaving guests with mounting credit card bills.
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