If you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile to get to a destination wedding, you do not–repeat do not–have to spend a lot on a gift. A destination wedding that requires traveling a long distance usually means spending serious money, after all!
Your Presence Is A Gift
Traveling to a Caribbean island, somewhere in Europe, a ski resort in Colorado or Vermont, etc. for a wedding is a big undertaking. You have to take time off of work, schedule babysitters if you have little ‘uns, book your plane ticket or arrange for a carpool situation, pack, book a hotel, etc. Willingness to do all of that in order to see your friends get hitched is a big deal. Your presence is therefore a wonderful gift–it’s the gift of showing up.
Purchasing a lower-cost gift from the registry or writing a check for a modest sum is just fine if you’re traveling for the wedding. No one is going to expect you to spend a lot on travel fare and pay for an extravagant wedding gift–that’s just rude!
Traveling With The Gift
Bringing the gift with you to the wedding means less room in your carry-on or checked luggage. Packing is often stressful, so why add to it? Send your gift through the mail, whether it’s a check or not. Do so prior to the wedding, as this is recommended in terms of etiquette. It is still perfectly acceptable to send a gift in the weeks after the wedding, however the sooner you send the gift, the better. The idea that you have a year to send a wedding gift is an urban myth.
Remember, no one expects you to spend a lot on a gift if you are traveling for a destination wedding. Give what you can and keep in mind that your real gift is traveling to see the happy couple!