Parents' gifts are given as a token of gratitude for a lifetime of love, in addition to their time, effort and expense in support of the wedding plans. Great sentiment and emotion arise when parents' value, love and friendship is considered, and that great sentiment and emotion now leads to a greater willingness to spend more on the parents' gifts. These days, it may be much more than in years past, even as parents might not be paying for the wedding. There's a delightful disconnect between the amount parents spend on wedding contributions and the amount couples spend on the parents' gifts. There is no sense of 'well, they didn't spend a lot on the wedding, so we don't have to spend a lot on them.'
We also see a rise in parental gift spending thanks to the interplay of 'your side, my side' dynamics. If one partner plans to spend a lot on their parents' gift(S,) the other partner may find themselves spending more on his or her own parents' gifts, so that there's no sense of favoritism for any parents.
Just like with bridal party gifts, parental gifts are now also gaining more budget ground because there are so many spectacular items in the gift sector, those indulgent cashmeres and brand-name perfumes at $150 a bottle, the things parents might not buy for themselves. Couples want to indulge their parents with an upscale gift, from a parent's 'dream brand' or fashion label, to mark this special time in the family's life, not just the bride and groom's life.