Is sending a wedding gift mandatory -- even if we can't attend the wedding?

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Wedding invitations might be the best mail to get: Pretty calligraphy, heavy cardstock, and a peek into your friends' upcoming celebration — what could be better? After all that, it can be a bummer to find out you can't actually make it. Once you've RSVP'd "no" and put your card in the mail, do you still have to send a wedding gift? Our experts weigh in.

Traditional wedding etiquette states that, if you can't attend the wedding, you are not obligated to send a wedding gift. However, what you decide to do may depend much more on your relationship to the happy couple than on etiquette!

See More:The 50 Most Beautiful Wedding Cakes Ever

If you're not that close with the bride and groom, sending back your RSVP card is more than enough. You may want to send a congratulatory card, either during their engagement or shortly after the wedding, but RSVPing is the only thing you really must do.

RELATED: Gorgeous wedding gowns under $1,000

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Wedding gowns under $1,000
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Wedding gowns under $1,000

Reformation

"Eliana" wedding dress, $598, Reformation

Courtesy of Reformation/From Brides

Theia

"Blake" gown, $900, Theia available at BHLDN

Courtesy of BHLDN/From Brides

Melissa Sweet

Style MS251178, tiered chiffon a-line wedding dress, $758, Melissa Sweet available at David's Bridal

Courtesy of David's Bridal/From Brides

Lace & Liberty

"Glamour" wedding dress with high neckline and sheath skirt silhouette, $860, Lace & Liberty

Laura Gordon/Courtesy of Lace & Liberty/From Brides

Alfred Angelo

Style 2586, Venise lace and tulle wedding dress with tip-of-the-shoulder straps, $995, Alfred Angelo

Courtesy of Alfred AngeloFrom Brides

Morilee by Madeline Gardner

"Marisol" wedding dress, $849, Blu Collection from Morilee by Madeline Gardner

Courtesy of Morilee by Madeline GardnerFrom Brides

Badgley Mischka

Draped jersey gown, Badgley Mischka Collection available at Shopbop

Courtesy of Shopbop/From Brides

Simply Val Stefani

Style S2012, short sleeve Alençon lace bridal crop top, $399; Style S2022, tulle bridal skirt, $315, Simply Val Stefani

Courtesy of Simply Val Stefani/From Brides

White by Vera Wang

Textured organza wedding dress, $898, White by Vera Wang available at David's Bridal

Courtesy of David's Bridal/From Brides

Willowby

"Reagan" gown, $975, Willowby by Watters available at BHLDN

Courtesy of BHLDN/From Brides

Jenny Yoo

"Stella" luxe chiffon wedding dress, $600, Jenny Yoo

Courtesy of Jenny Yoo/From Brides

Dreamers & Lovers

"Holly" lace off-the-shoulder dress, $925, Dreamers & Lovers

Courtesy of Dreamers & Lovers/From Brides

Lillian West

Style 6467, lace and chiffon a-line wedding dress, $899, Lillian West

Courtesy of Lillian WestFrom Brides

Morilee by Madeline Gardner

"Maybelle" wedding dress, $698, Voyage Collection from Morilee by Madeline Gardner

Courtesy of Morilee by Madeline Gardner/From Brides

Moonlight Bridal

Style T768, tulle drop-waist mermaid wedding dress, Moonlight Tango

Courtesy of Moonlight Bridal/From Brides

David's Bridal

Style WG3829, Lace sweetheart wedding ball gown, $549, David's Bridal

Courtesy of David's BridalFrom Brides

Sincerity Bridal

Style 3983, off-the-shoulder lace gown, $999, Sincerity Bridal

Courtesy of Sincerity Bridal/From Brides

Morilee by Madeline Gardner

"Melody" wedding dress, $698, Voyage Collection from Morilee by Madeline Gardner

Courtesy of Morilee by Madeline Gardner/From Brides

Jay Godfrey

"Clarke" gown, $540, Jay Godfrey available at Revolve

Courtesy of Revolve/From Brides

Mignon

"Naomi" gown, $800, Mignon available at BHLDN

Courtesy of BHLDN/From Brides

Lace & Liberty

"Athena" chiffon wedding dress with beaded and sequined sleeves, $950, Lace & Liberty

Laura Gordon/Courtesy of Lace & Liberty/From Brides

Lillian West

Style 6446, chiffon gown with keyhole neck and open long sleeves, $949, Lillian West

Courtesy of Lillian West/From Brides

Jenny Yoo

"Vivienne" luxe chiffon wedding dress, $600, Jenny Yoo

Courtesy of Jenny Yoo/From Brides

Galina

Style WG3817, wedding dress with lace sleeves, Galina available at David's Bridal

Courtesy of David's Bridal/From Brides

Simply Val Stefani

Style S2011, sleeveless net re-embroidered lace halter bridal top, $315; Style 2012, crepe satin trumpet bridal skirt, $440, Simply Val Stefani

Courtesy of Simply Val Stefani/From Brides

Alfred Angelo

Style 2208, draped all-over lace wedding dress, $750, Alfred Angelo

Courtesy of Alfred Angelo/From Brides

The Stone Cold Fox

"Moss" sleeveless gown with spaghetti straps, $410, The Stone Cold Fox

Courtesy of The Stone Cold FoxFrom Brides

Tadashi Soji

"Marivana" lace gown, $650, Tadashi Soji available at BHLDN

Courtesy of BHLDN/From Brides

Sincerity Bridal

Style 3945, soft tulle and lace a-line wedding dress, Sincerity Bridal

Courtesy of Sincerity Bridal/From Brides

Morilee by Madeline Gardner

"Marine" wedding dress, $949, Blu Collection from Morilee by Madeline Gardner

Courtesy of Morilee by Madeline Gardner/From Brides

Galina Signature

Style SWG761, limited-edition cap sleeve crepe wedding dress with plunge bodice, Galina Signature available at David's Bridal

Courtesy of David's Bridal/From Brides

Moonlight Bridal

Style T763, Mikado sleeveless ball gown with pleats and side pockets, $630, Moonlight Bridal

Courtesy of Moonlight Bridal/From Brides

Badgley Mischka

"Heather" gown, $850, Badgley Mischka available at BHLDN

Courtesy of BHLDN/From Brides

Needle & Thread

Style 670477, embellished satin-crepe and tulle gown, $700, Needle & Thread available at Net-A-Porter

Courtesy of Net-A-Porter/From Brides

Adrianna Papell

V-neck sleeveless lace dress with mermaid skirt, $220, Adrianna Papell

Courtesy of Adrianna Papell/From Brides

Katie May

"Collette" ivory dress, $895, Noel and Jean by Katie May available at Shopbop

Courtesy of Shopbop/From Brides

Monsoon

"Isabella" bridal dress, $875, Monsoon

Courtesy of Monsoon/From Brides

Phase Eight

"Cathlyn" wedding dress, $890, Phase Eight

Courtesy of Phase Eight/From Brides

Reformation

"Poppy" wedding dress, $388, Reformation

Courtesy of vendor/From Brides

ASOS

Lace Applique Mesh Midi Dress, $226, ASOS

Courtesy of vendor/From Brides

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For a family member, it's nice to send a small wedding gift, if you can. Check out their registry and pick something that's relatively affordable, then include a note congratulating the couple on their marriage and saying that you're looking forward to celebrating next time you're all together.

See More:A Nontraditional Bride's Guide to a Traditional Wedding

Missing a close friend's wedding is tough, and you may feel inclined to celebrate as though you were going to be there. Choose a gift that fits your budget and that you feel reflects your friendship, and make a point to get together before the wedding so you can celebrate their engagement, even if you can't be there on the Big Day.

No matter what you decide to do, don't forget to RSVP! It's just as important to let the couple know not to expect you as it would be to tell them you're coming, so as soon as you know whether or not you can attend, fill out your RSVP card and stick it in the mail. No exceptions!

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