I think your friends will understand if you aren't able to go to their wedding. A nice card with well wishes would be nice. As someone who is getting married in 2012, without much money to put towards a wedding (we are both still making student loan payments and don't have great paying jobs), if you give the monetary gift ahead of time it would be wonderful for them to plan a bit of a honeymoon. Many people have said $1,000 is too much but you know what to do in your heart. If you only came up with the $1,000 because it was your travel cost then you could go a little lower. Just make sure that by giving the money you aren't giving away money that you need.