11 Worst Wedding Gifts for Newlyweds

When it comes to wedding gifts, it’s not just the thought that counts.

Guests at a wedding
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to wedding gifts, it’s not just the thought that counts. The money counts, too. The average wedding guest will spend $127 on a gift for a family member — according to an American Express survey — and $99 on a gift for a friend. You’re wasting your money by giving gifts that couples don’t want and won’t use.

The safe course, naturally, is to stick to the couple’s gift registry. “The key to giving a good wedding gift is pretty simple: Get the couple what they want and what they have asked for,” says Sarah Trotter of Lasting Impressions Weddings of Minnetonka, Minnesota. Nothing on the registry you like or can afford? Then give cash as a wedding gift, says Trotter.

The 1,803 adults surveyed by American Express agree:
37% prefer gifts from a registry, followed by cash (31%) and gift cards (13%). Just 5% want a gift that’s not on the registry. (And if you insist on going off-registry, at least include a gift receipt.) 

More recently, the wedding planning website TheKnot.com advises spending $75 to $100 on gifts for distant relatives and co-workers, $100 to $150 for relatives and friends, and $100 to $200+ if the wedding is for a close relative or close friend.

Here’s a look at some of the worst wedding gifts to give, based on feedback from wedding experts and wedding participants. Consider yourself warned.

Bob Niedt

Bob was Senior Editor at Kiplinger.com for seven years and is now a contributor to the website. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.