weddings

From $0 to $500: We asked 12 women how much they put in wedding wishing wells, and why.

Wishing wells are a divisive thing.

They might cut out the emotional labour that comes with finding the perfect wedding present, but in return, you’ve got to contend with the umm-ing and ahh-ing over how much to give.

You don’t want to blow the budget, but you don’t want to come across as a tight arse either.

It’s a delicate balance.

Wedding Wishing Well: Yes or no? How much? Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

To clear up the confusion – or maybe add to it, soz – we asked 12 women how they navigate the tricky financial decision, including what factors they consider.

And their answers were absolutely fascinating.

From absolutely nothing to $500, this is what they said.

Allison

“We live rurally, with most of our family in the capital cities. So adding in hours of travel, fuel, accommodation etc. we sometimes don’t give anything! I believe you’re there to celebrate and can give as much or as little (nothing) as you want.”

Sar

“I think anything less than $50 per person is rude. Unless of course the guest is unemployed or has fallen on hard times, which I’m sure the bride and groom would understand. I am not partnered and give $100.”

Talia

“150 per person. I feel like that covers the cost of your seat. I’ll do $200 if it’s a close friend, $500 if I’m in the Bridal party and $100 if it’s a destination wedding.”

Alana

“Minimum $150 – to cover the cost of your seat plus extra. I pay more if I’m in the Bridal Party – around $500 usually plus a gift from the Bridal Party. So expensive!”

Bronte

“Depends how much the engagement present and hens party cost and whether I had to travel far for the wedding (and if I’m in the Bridal party or not). But I think $100 to $150 per person is reasonable.”

Clare

“I’m poor. I walk up and say into the wishing well ‘I wish you well’. If they know me enough to invite me to there wedding, they know I will be doing this. My friends know me, and that I hate weddings. By the time I get to the wedding, I have been to a bridal shower, a bachelorette party (sometimes interstate), or as some expensive holiday house for a few days. I have been a bridesmaid EIGHT TIMES, every time I had to pay for my own dress, the transport and/or paying for a hotel. The last four weddings have cost me $2400-$6790.”

Laura

“I think it’s based off your own income. I went to heaps and heaps of my friends’ weddings in my early 20s when I was a cadet newspaper journalist earning under $40,000 a year, so I used to only give $50, but on top of my flights and other things, that was what I could afford and I think that’s ok. Also, I’m giving no one $500 to get married, sorry, not even my own family.”

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wedding wishing well
It's an emotional minefield. Image: Getty.

Kee

"I'm up to my seventh of eight weddings since August! All of them were destination weddings. I give $100 for standard, $150 for fancy and $200 plus for best friends. Never heard the $500+ thing for Bridal party, but we're still expected to pay $100-150 for destination weddings."

Millie

"This is the system I work off of. $150 per couple for randoms or people who aren't close friends. $200 to $300 per couple for close friends and family. $300 to $500 per couple for immediate family. The same rules would apply, even if you're in the bridal party."

Rikki

"I wing it as I go. It's probably sub-consciously decided by how much I know or like the person/people getting married. I feel very strongly about the fact that there is no hard rule - people should only give what they want/can afford. You don't invite people to your wedding so you can get money and presents or to cover your costs. They're there to help you celebrate."

Yvonne

"I think at least the cost of the meal if they are paying it for you. We paid $80 a head 10 years ago, so it's going to be around $100 a head at least for an average wedding venue these days. We paid for our family and had a gift registry for them to use, we covered alcohol for everyone and asked our friends to cover the cost of their own meal, and no wedding gift so we could afford to have everyone there."

Janine

"Each one is different. It depends on the venue, who the friend or family member is, what we did for the hens, if they are a friend of mine or my hubby, or both of ours, how many weddings I have on during that season, time of year. They're all contributing factors..."

How much would you give to a wedding wishing well? Tell us in a comment below.

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