How Much Money People Gave For Wedding Gifts In 1948

How Much Money People Gave For Wedding Gifts In 1948
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While cleaning out my Grandma’s apartment I found something called “The Bride’s Book” where my grandparents wrote down the amount of every monetary gift they received at their wedding.

As of writing this, Grammy is still alive. But she’s 95, dementia is really starting to take hold, and she is now living in a nursing home; I was tasked with cleaning out her small apartment.

While emptying the place, one of the more interesting things I found was something called “The Bride’s Book.” The book is a keepsake organizer where one is meant to journal details about, and perhaps post photos of the engagement, bridal shower, family trees, the wedding dress, the wedding party, ceremony, honeymoon and wedding gifts.

In my grandmother’s book, by far the most interesting pages were about the wedding gifts my grandparents received. It is pretty clear they asked all their wedding guests for money because that is really all that is logged: amounts from over a hundred people.

Over my lifetime the monetary wedding gifts I personally have given have been amounts of either $50, $100, $200 or $300, depending on how well I knew the couple. Had I not been cheap and poor I probably would have given my brother and his wife five hundred instead of three, but so it goes. My range: from $50 to $300 is in 21st-century dollars, but how much did people gift in 1948?

Below are photos of my grandmother’s “Bride’s Book” in order. The gift pages are at the end if you would like to skip to those, but I think the whole thing is kind of cool to see.

“The Bride’s Book”

The Cover


The Inner Cover


The Engagement Page

Just the date. No other details, hmmm.

The Bridal Shower and Bridal Shower Gift Pages

No gifts logged for the shower. Did they not care much about those gifts, or perhaps get this book closer to the wedding?

One Half of a Family Tree

The other page photo didn’t come out well, but the layout is the same.

The Wedding Gown Page

Some people may have taken a photo and pasted it here, I guess.

The Wedding Party

Reasonably sized wedding party…

The Honeymoon Page

The Antlers in Lake George, New York no longer exists as a hotel, motel, or resort.

Wondering what The Antlers looked like back then?

Seems the place is luxury condos now.

The Wedding Gift Log Pages


How do the 1948 Gifts Compare to Now?

Most of the gifts range from $5 to $20 with one gift of $40, but that was from the bride’s parents.

How do these amounts translate to 2019? For the answer to that we turn to an online calculator which calculates inflation.

$5 in 1948 bucks is $53.68 in 2019 dollars.

$10 in 1948 bucks is $107.36 in 2019 dollars.

$20 in 1948 bucks is $214.74 in 2019 dollars.

$40 in 1948 bucks is $429.46 in 2019 dollars.

With my current gift range being from $50 – $300, and knowing what people from the past gifted, I now feel much more confident about whether I’ve been giving proper amounts.

Altogether my grandparents collected about $1060 1948 dollars. (I may have counted wrong with five or ten here or there and didn’t want to count again, but I’m sure the 1060 figure is close.)
And $1060 in 1948 bucks is $11,380.64 in 2019 dollars.

Not a bad haul!

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Steven Richard

Steven Richard is the publisher here at Unruly Stowaway. He has written a memoir which will be released one day.

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