There are many questions regarding wedding gift etiquette; many of which are cut and dry, others that are not. Here are a few questions clarified:
If I am invited to a wedding and cannot attend, should I still send a gift?
This is one of the most common wedding gift etiquette questions. The answer is, yes! If at all possible, you should absolutely send a gift.
What if I do not know where the couple is registered?
In this case, make a phone call. Call someone you think would have this info, as this sort of thing usually spreads by word of mouth. If not, you should call a family member, or ask the couple themselves.
If the bride and groom specify that they do not want gifts, should I still send a gift?
Yes, you should still send a gift. Some people do not want guests to feel obligated to spend money on them, but proper wedding gift etiquette would encourage you to ignore this. The good news is, if the couple does not have a registry, you can either 1) give them cash, or 2) be creative with your wedding gift! Sometimes it feels impersonal to get them something off of their registry (like the couple will never remember who gave them what dishes), but if you give them something unique that you personally picked out, they will likely always remember it. If it is the case that the couple is extremely wealthy, then write them a nice card and donate to a charity on their behalf. The point is: Do something that they will appreciate.
What is monetary wedding gift etiquette?
Some couples request cash, and some guests prefer to give money. If you are bringing a card with the money inside to the wedding, it is probably fine to include cash. Depending on the amount, it might be best to address a check to the couple.
If I am invited to the shower, do I need to get a shower gift and a wedding gift?
Yes! Being invited to a wedding is an honor, and being invited to a shower is actually even more of an honor, because the guest list is shorter and more intimate.
How much do I need to spend on a wedding gift?
This is a point of much debate. Most wedding gift etiquette experts say that across the board, it should be a minimum of $25 for a shower and $50 for a wedding. One thing to keep in mind is that a wedding is an opportunity to practice generosity. You should give what you can afford.
What if I am invited to a deluge of weddings in the same month and cannot afford them?
If you absolutely cannot afford to spend money on all of these wedding gifts, consider doing it in increments. Technically, you can send a gift up to a year after the wedding (which is when most registries close out), but it is recommended that you send the gift within six months. For example, if you are invited to three weddings in one month, set up a personal payment plan over a six-month time period, purchasing a gift every two months. Remember that the bride and groom would not want you to go broke on their behalf, so you do not need to bring them an expensive or elaborate gift. In this case, do the very best you can.
When should I send the gift?
Ideally, you should send it before the wedding if possible, but this is not required. All gifts should be received before the couple's first anniversary, however.