The following is a re-post from an old blog/column I wrote for another medium a long time ago. I've tweaked it a little to bring it up to date while hopefully keeping the content intact.
One of the greatest honors a friend can bestow upon another friend is to invite said friend to his wedding. One of the next greatest honors a friend can bestow upon another friend is to not invite them to his wedding.
As I recall from my single days, wedding area single person's nightmare. Between the married couples and the couples who want to be married, a single person can be hard pressed to find a friendly face or even someone to hang out with at a wedding. But at least you know this going in and can prepare for it.
I've been invited to dozens of weddings in my lifetime. There were some that I couldn't attend due to finances, schedule conflicts and even a broken leg. There were some I shouldn't have attended because I really didn't know the wedding party or there was no open bar. I've even gotten invited to the engagement party yet not the actual wedding. Faux pas or oversight?
The wedding present has evolved over time for me. My friend who got married five minutes after graduating college got screwed because while I did what I could, I just didn't have sufficient income to give them a decent present. Those who waited a few years before tying the knot were able to at least offset the cost of my plate with my wedding gift.
I use to do this thing where I would wait until after the wedding, and then go look at the registry. Usually there are a ton of one-offs like the last two pieces of an 8 piece plate or soup bowl set and I would swoop in and snatch these items. The bride is happy because she now has a complete set of her dishes or wine glasses or whatever.
Nowadays I generally give cash because it's easiest for me and preferred by everyone. Too many times have I seen wedding couples at the end of the night trying to collect a table full of presents that just won't fit in their car trunk. Hint to Guests: spring for the shipping and handling to have the present sent to the happy couple's home before the wedding. They'll appreciate it and you might even get seated at the cool table.