Did somebody say wedding season? Continuing the theme of marriage-related questions, this one comes in from TM in Manhattan.

My are having a wedding this summer and I was wondering how much I should spend on a gift.  I last heard that you should spend the amount they are spending on you, but factor in involvement in the wedding, travel distance, etc.  Then I heard this isn't right and you should spend what you're comfortable with. Ask Gothamist, please steer me into the clear on this confusing issue!

The average wedding in the U.S. costs over $22,000. In the New York Metro area, however, the average wedding tops $31,000! So, if you attend a wedding in Manhattan with 150 other people does that mean you have to spend over $200 on a gift for your college friend, cousin or coworker? (Actually, $198 if you subtract subway fare.) If the wedding is in the Bahamas, Rome or San Francisco and your costs to get there exceed the amount the bride's parents spent per guest, are you therefore owed money?

The fact is there is no formula for determining how much you should spend on a wedding present. It all depends on your personal relationship with the bride and groom and your current financial situation. The groom's coworker at a large investment bank might spend a little more than someone who is working on his Ph.D., but then again that struggling grad student might be a lot closer to the happy couple and decide he wants to splurge on a KitchenAid mixer or a set of Calphalon pots. Everyone makes his or her own personal decision about how to wish the couple well as they begin their life together.

If money is tight and you can't afford something from the couple's Tiffany registry, you still have some options. Depending on your relationship with the couple, talk to them or their parents and ask if there is something else they really need or want that you might be able to afford. Some couples are up to their ears in champagne flutes and bed linens and might just appreciate a good bottle of champagne to toast with when they arrive home from their honeymoon.