Our advisor is getting married over winter break. None of us are super close to him and the wedding is going to be a very private event that none of us are invited to.

Should all of us (his graduate students) chip in for a wedding gift for him?

What is the etiquette for this?

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    Might depend on the culture of the region. Where in the world are you? – gerrit Dec 12 '12 at 17:19
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    If you happen to be one of my students, then yes, I would like a gift. And sorry for not inviting you, but the wedding is in Australia. – Dave Clarke Dec 12 '12 at 19:18
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    @DaveClarke: all the best then! :-D Great comment. – walkmanyi Dec 12 '12 at 20:35
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    We're in the US if that changes etiquette, thank you for all the tips! I think we're going to all chip in a little bit to get him a gift card to a local restaurant that he and his fiance like and a congratulatory card. – Zai Dec 13 '12 at 16:59

You must do something. Building social relationships with your work collegagues is really important. If other students are organizing the collection and suggesting an amount, I would give that much. If they are organizing the collection, but not suggesting an amount, I would chip in two beers worth of cash. In some cultures two beers will be on the generous side, while in ther cultures it will be on the cheap side. It won't be out of place in any culture. If no one is organizing the collection and you want to take charge, then I would suggest asking people to chip in one beer worth of money (all students should be able to afford this). If no one is organizing a collection and you don't want to take charge, go out and buy a card and get the other students to sign it.

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I laughed here; can't imagine my supervisor getting married. It is just nice to see the supervisor involving in life..

For the question, Why not? It is a big day for your supervisor. Just make sure the gift come from group of students not only one student. If you missed the first day after his return (assuming he's going on vacation for marriage), then no need for a gift. Either ways, a verbal congratulations is a must here :)

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    And by no means should it be terribly expensive. Perhaps about $5 US per student would be collected to purchase a single gift. Note that my monetary amount is in line with Daniel E. Shub's "two beers" standard. – Ben Norris Dec 12 '12 at 21:22
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    Supervisors are also humans :) ... sometimes – Suresh Dec 14 '12 at 3:39

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