Are You Really Asking For Gifts For Your Second Wedding?


Experts weigh in on what the rules are. 

So your friend got married. You were there to witness the beautiful day. It was nice; you danced, you drank, you brought a wonderful gift. Then…they broke up. 

Now your friend is remarrying someone else in a short amount of time. You’ll drink and dance no problem, but are you required to bring another gift? What exactly is the rule?

Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman tells Personal Space that part of it depends on if it’s an established couple who have good careers.

“Second weddings, with couples who are already established and have successful careers, often are celebrations with low expectations of gifts,” she explains. “While some guests will want to bring a gift to a wedding, other times couples will request instead a donation to a charity be made in their name instead of a gift.”

Diane says that the couple can expect a small gift if they’d like, but nothing outrageous or overly expensive is necessary.

“You can reasonably expect a wedding guest to want to give you something as a gesture of celebration and good will,” she says. “It can be anything from a modest picture frame to a weekend at their lake house with a chef to provide dinner one night. It depends on the relationship you share with the couple, and the budget you have to work with. Generally, if gift gifts are part of the celebration, the couple will provide a registry to make it easy on the guests.”

Wedding site The Knot says you’re not advised to give a second present for second marriages. 

“Traditionally speaking, you're not obliged…though it's obviously a wonderful gesture,” the site says. “Of course, it isn't at all rude to ask the couple if they've registered anywhere, especially since many second wedding couples won't be too keen on promoting their registry. They'll be touched that you were curious enough to inquire and will likely be glad to point you in the right direction. Even if you decide not to give a present, it's a good idea to write a letter or a card saying how honored you were to attend the wedding and how happy you are for the couple.”

Second wedding presents tend to be on a smaller scale, the site adds,  and “should be tailored to the interests of the couple and the comfort levels (both emotional and financial) of the gift-giver.”

No matter what you do, standard wedding gifts are not necessary. No pots, pans, toasters, bedding necessary. The rule is to get something small, personal, and thoughtful for your friend’s second time around. Or just send a note. 

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