Wedding Gifts: The second time around

by EPI Staff on January 6, 2010

Q: My cousin is getting married-it’s the second wedding for both her and her fiance.  My sister says it’s rude to not give a gift, but I gave a present the first time.  Do I really have to give another?

A: No.  Those who gave gifts the first time have no obligation to give again.  But some family and friends of a remarrying bride or groom give anyway, simply because they want to celebrate the couple’s happiness.  Before you do anything, check in with other family members:  Many remarrying couples forgo gifts entirely.  If that’s the case, your cousin should let people know by word of mouth, since any mention of gifts on the invitation is an etiquette faux pas.

{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

Curious February 18, 2010 at 7:14 am

I’m confused by the question. Is the same couple having a second wedding? Or are the bride and groom both divorced and remarrying. If they are having a second celebration, I agree a gift is completely optional. And it is certainly true the tradition of gift-giving at weddings was to help provide furnishings to a young couple just starting out who often had very little to their own names, thereby eliminating the need to give a gift for a 2nd marriage. But in the modern age, our society places so many stigmas on a non-traditional marriage (remarrying, same-sex). Having known many people who struggle for their families and close friends to accept their relationship choices (divorce and remarriage are very painful choices), my opionion on gifts is different. If this is a couple with whom you are particularly good friends, a small gift is a very appropriate way to show them that you wish them the very best. Also, I have always felt, if you attend a wedding, someone is buying you dinner and drinks for the night. A gift to the happy couple is the standard way to acknowledge your appreciation for their hospitality.

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Daniel Post Senning February 18, 2010 at 8:37 am

I believe the question is meant to suggest that often people are invited to a wedding knowing one party or the other, and often times that person (the one they know) has been married before. I do like the way you are thinking about this. You are correct that in many situations it would be both appropriate and advisable to give a gift at a ‘second’ wedding for exactly the reasons that you describe. The idea that giving a wedding gift is in some way an exchange for the cost of inviting a guest is incorrect and leads many people to believe that the value of the gift should equal at least the value of the dinner. While this is an easy rule to remember gift giving is a more subtle and personal choice than this rule implies, as you indicate in the beginning of your post.

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Anna July 31, 2013 at 9:22 am

I will be getting married for the second time. My fiance is divorced, and I am a widow. I have put on the bottom of our invitations “best wishes only please”. This is our decision to marry a second time, and I do not feel it is appropriate to expect gifts. This is why bridal showers are not given to second-time brides. I feel this is a classy way to handle the situation. And stress-free; I will not have the task of writing out thank you cards afterwards!

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Megan May 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Dear Anna,

You are very classy person and thank you so much for your response. In today’s environment many people are still struggling to make ends meet. Such is the case of my situation.

My neighbor’s daughter divorced three years ago and now is getting remarried to her boyfriend of 2 yrs. Both she and her husband have a jobs, she has everything from a previous marriage and are well off.

I was just going to send them a very nice card congratulating them on their marriage but twice she has sent me her wedding invite which is to take place 600miles from where I live. Included in her invitations has been her gift registry of very expensive gifts.

Being unemployed I cannot afford any of these gifts. I only hope that my neighbor and her daughter and husband to be are not offended for my just sending them a very nice congratulations card.

Megan

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Kathleen March 1, 2010 at 6:57 am

My nephew and his bride to be mailed magnets with information on where to shop for the couple, a magnet assoiciated with one’s wedding is bad enough however, to make it worse these were mailed three months before the invitations. I found this to be terribly rude, however my husband thinks I’m over reacting and nixed my suggested gift; an etiquette book. What do you think? By the way the wedding was four months ago and we haven’t received even an acknowledgement of the gift.

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Ashley Paige September 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Its called a save the date! Its a new common practice to let out of town guests know about a wedding in a more timely manner so they can make travel arrangments. I mailed mine 6 months before the invitations. You are over reacting and they have a year to send you a thank you note. Perhaps you should get yourself an etiquette book and take a few lessons from it.

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Winifred Rosenburg September 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Actually, the year rule is a myth. Newlyweds should send thank-you notes as soon as possible. Most people expect them within 3 months.

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Elizabeth September 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Winifred is absolutely right. Thank you notes should be sent out promptly for those gifts that arrive prior to the wedding, and they should go out promptly after the wedding as well, three months at the outside. Notes take all of two minutes to write, and if both the newly-wed husband and wife did 5 a day, you would have dispatched with them in short order.

Also – save the date cards NEVER have registry information printed on them.

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Hev June 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I was trained by loving, caring and considerate parents that anyone who doesn’t send a thank you note immediately has very little couth. No matter what the occasion, ESPECIALLY a wedding. I hand wrote 213 personal thank you notes to my family and friends during my airplane trip to and back home from Aruba and am thankful that I did. Berating someone who has lovely manners is an affront to yourself, as well as everyone that has read this.”So shines a good deed in a weary world”-Roald Dahl

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Elizabeth June 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm

I support this sentiment, as long as your husband also wrote 200 thank you notes as well. The idea that the wife is responsible for the gratitude is outdated, and it doesn’t give the husband an opportunity to step up as he should.

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Winifred Rosenburg June 19, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Not necessarily. I agree with your sentiment that it shouldn’t be assumed that the wife should bear all the responsibility. However, in a marriage it’s not required to split every task 50/50. Sometimes it makes sense for one person to handle one task and the other person to handle another based on preferences, talents, and skills. For example, I generally write all the thank-you notes for my husband and myself because he’s not comfortable writing letters and I enjoy it. On the other hand, if we need to call someone my husband will usually do it because I’m not comfortable on the phone and he is.

Anna July 31, 2013 at 9:32 am

Save the date cards should only have the couple’s names and the future date on which they will be married. These cards can go out up to a year before the actually wedding date. When the bridal shower invites are sent out, upon these is where the gift registry information should be included. Thank you cards for gifts given at showers and weddings, should be sent out promptly, so guests will know the gift has been acknowledged.

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Michele March 16, 2010 at 7:37 am

When my husband and I married, it was a second marriage for me, no ceremony or party 1st time. Because we were combining two households, traditional gifts were not needed. We registered at Target and the things on our registry were more family gifts, camping items, board games, etc. The point being if you wanted to give a gift, these are things we could use, ultimately most folks gave us money or traditional gifts, later many told us they could not see buying Monopoly or Clue as a wedding gift. When I receive wedding invites, often for people I do not know, like a co-workers children, I tend to send a card with a small monetary gift and forgo the ceremony as I don’t feel the need to participate in what should be a family and close friend affair. If it is a family member or close friend, I try to choose something more personal either from their registry or something I have made personally for them, whether I am attending or not, regardless of if it is a first wedding or a second or more. When someone is re saying vows or re marrying the same spouse, a card wishing them well is normally all I feel is needed, although sometimes a bottle of wine may be appropriate, much like if invited to their home for dinner.

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barb April 17, 2010 at 11:52 am

Is it necessary to give our daughter a wedding gift if this is her second marriage? After all we footed the first wedding.

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Graceandhonor April 19, 2010 at 4:44 am

A gift for a second wedding should not approach the same cost as hosting a first wedding. And more importantly, don’t you want to demonstrate you support your daughter in starting her new marriage, despite any problems you’ve encountered with her? Necessary? No. Loving? Yes.

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Naomi May 12, 2010 at 6:09 am

Is it appropriate to have a bridal shower for someone getting married for the second time?

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Graceandhonor May 12, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Sure, as long as the guests were not invited to a shower for her first wedding, and the bride doesn’t get carried away with gift registries.

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Babs October 31, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I am the mother of the bride. It is my daughter’s second marriage and his first. She had a shower and was only registered at a travel agent. I gave them an American Express gift card worth $200. What would be an appropriate amount to give them as a wedding gift? Do I have to give a gift at all? I am torn.

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Alicia October 31, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Gifts should always be in proportion to your own budget and how close to the gift recipient you are as well as your feelings about the happiness of the event. So yes as her mother you should give a gift. only you can determine the price. I would encourage you to give an item maybe an heirloom or something to be treasured into the future as your gift will thus over time gain meaning.

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Winifred Rosenburg October 31, 2011 at 6:43 pm

You don’t have to give a gift assuming you gave her a gift for her first marriage. If you want to you can spend however much or little you want on it, but your gift card more than covers your obligation.

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Moving forward October 9, 2012 at 1:31 am

My friend is re marrying in a few weeks. He is 47, she is 48…. He was married for 20 years the first time. His parents are fronting the whole wedding, inviting all of their friends and having 275 people! I find this appalling and in such bad taste. As though they are trying to pretend the last 20 year marriage never happened. Am I just being overly sensitive about this?

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Elizabeth October 9, 2012 at 10:19 am

I agree with Alicia. Why do you care how lavish their wedding is? Evidently they are thrilled about committing themselves to one another, they have the money to celebrate with many people, and want to share the day. Who is getting hurt in this scenario?

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Anna September 4, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I don’t get your complaint at all. I’m guessing it has nothing to do with pretending the first marriage didn’t happen, but celebrating the second marriage because it is just as important to them as the first was.

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Alicia October 9, 2012 at 5:51 am

The lavishness or spartan aspect of a second wedding has no comment on the first wedding. If the hosts and couple are happy then any size formality ect is lovely and wonderful. The only mistake is judging them on this. If you can not find it in you to be happy and to joyfully enjoy the celbration of their wedding please RS VP no.

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Beth November 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm

My brother is getting remarried — to his first wife. It is a small, destination wedding to which no family are invited. I feel I should acknowledge the wedding with a small momento or gift. Any suggestions?

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Alicia November 7, 2012 at 9:48 am

Sounds lovely! Whatever kind gift or memento that is an expression of your affection, something they would like, and within your budget is fantastic. There are no rules on exactly what to get.

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Lyndsey December 11, 2012 at 11:25 am

Q: My father-in-law is getting married in a destination wedding to his long time partner. (His second wedding, her first). They have been together for almost twenty years, and lived together for more than ten. My husband will be in their wedding party, and they are generously paying for his airfare and resort costs for the trip. We will be taking care of my travel costs, as well as those of our three children. What is an appropriate gift for a parents’ remarriage? They have an established home, and I feel like a monetary gift in this situation is impersonal. Any suggestions?

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Elizabeth December 11, 2012 at 11:28 am

How about a framed family portrait? A really special bottle of wine or other spirit? A work of art (or craft)? Tickets to some experience? His and hers monogrammed robes?

It really depends on their interests and hobbies, and you know them best.

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Alicia December 12, 2012 at 11:06 am

First Congrats to your father in law and new mother in law. The best gift for any occasion is always something in your budget that will please the person or persons getting the gift. There is no hard and fast rule on what to give in different situations. So go with what would please them. Some ideas: A nice tree planted in their yard to symbolize the new family in your family tree. Nice toasting flutes to celbrate their marriage, a hot air balloon ride or other experience , a case of champagne or wine one to open on wedding day, 1 for each of 1st 10 years of anniversary , one for another special occasion. Something else that would make them happy

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Tara January 12, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Why are so many couples refusing to feed their guest at wedding and having a cash bar. But they clearly tell you where they reg. for gifts in hinting that you must buy from their choice of shop.

This will be my 4th wedding where I will be travelling to the event at my own cost (including my family of 5) and no meal no drinks will be offered.

I am wondering if I should decline the invite and explain why. What are your thoughts?

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Just Laura January 12, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Please do not explain why. Simply decline the invitation, and send a nice card expressing your best wishes.
You and I both know exactly why more and more couples are doing this. Instead of throwing a party they can afford, they are throwing one they can’t afford, and expecting others to foot the bill. This may not even be the couples’ fault – sometimes families pressure them into it. That’s not much of an excuse, but I wanted to point out to you that there may be another side to these “gimme” types of weddings.

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Lenna January 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm

This will by my first wedding and his second. He has been divorced over 10 years.
I get along great with his entire family and they have embaced me as part of the family from day one.
We are in our early 40′s and do not need anything for our household.
I thought it was a great idea to register for our honeymoon as this is really the only thing we need.
My future MIL said I should also register at a store (which I planned on for those who are not computer savvy). The thing is SHE wants to go register with me for very expsensive pots and pans that I do not feel are necessary. And on top of that I would like the focus to be the honeymoon regisitry.
My future MIL has since advised me who I should and should not invite to the wedding and/or shower due to him being married before. We then had the same conversation in front of one the couple she said not to invite because they were at his first wedding. THEY were shocked – THEY want to celebrate with us. THEY will be invited… at least to the wedding.
What is the proper thing to do when it comes to people I want to invite to both events. Do we give them the option to decline? I love his family. I dont want to hurt his family members by not inviting them because that is what his mom feels is right. And I dont want to tick her off either ~ we actually get along very well.
Part of my says this is my wedding/shower not hers. I should be able to invite who I want.
Another part says they already gave a give for his first and I shouldn’t impose.
I am so torn ~ PLEASE help.

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Elizabeth January 14, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Whenever you invite someone to something, they have the option to decline. No special framing or description of that option is necessary.

But I’m not sure why you need to have a shower in the first place?? The point of showers is to help couples get started with the necessities of a household. You say you already have those things. A honeymoon registry is … of dubious value – it’s just another way of asking people for money. Surely people will give you money as wedding gifts. And you can certainly have a honeymoon registry for wedding gifts. But now you say you want to hit people up again at a shower? Usually showers are designed around the bride opening up gifts – what will you do, announce the amount of money that someone gave to you? Your MIL wants you to register because she can anticipate how awkward this will be. One alternative would be to have a “welcome to the family” event, or a “ladies lunch” or “tea.” This would allow you to have a nice event with the women of the family and friends, without asking them for an additional gift, which is after all the point of a shower.

You are absolutely right, though, on one point – you can invite anyone you want to the wedding, and the fact that they were present for the previous wedding has nothing to do with it. I’m not sure why your MIL has anything to say about it?? It’s your wedding, you and your fiance will issue the invitations, case closed. The point of a wedding isn’t the giving and receiving of gifts, its about celebrating life milestones. Perhaps this needs to be explained to her?

The best thing for you to do might be to back away from your FMIL, to discuss things a little less with her, and allow your fiance to deal with her a bit more. You can also appeal to etiquette authorities (Emily Post, Miss Manners) whenever she comes up with something out of left field, like “don’t invite Aunt Sally to the wedding since she was at the first one.” People are not actually obligated to give a gift for a second wedding. (Most will, and they will give a gift they feel comfortable with. So no need to preempt it in any way.)

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Country Girl January 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm

1) Politely let your future MIL know that it is in line with good etiquette for you and fiance to choose a guest list comprised of anyone you like. You can inform her that while you are aware that etiquette dictates one wedding gift per lifetime (so guests who have already given fiance a wedding gift are under no obligation to give another) you would still love to have them share your special day.

2) A shower’s purpose is indeed to shower the bride/couple with small gifts to start their new home together. That said, if someone has offered to throw you a bridal shower and you would like to accept, you certainly may. But if you don’t want/need any small household items, Elizabeth hit the nail on the head. You should instead have a different type of gathering, neither calling it a shower nor expecting gifts.

3) Just because you want or register for money for your trip does not mean that all guests will feel comfortable giving that, which is fine and should be expected. Some will select or make a gift on their own, some might like a more traditional registry as an option. So even if you feel you have all the things you need, you might take a look at some store registries. There may be some little gadgets or items that you have always wanted but never bought for yourself: KitchenAid attachments, small decorations, special napkin rings, nice towels, etc. It could be a fun bonding experience to bring future MIL along; just don’t let her talk you into registering for things that you don’t want or need.

4) Be aware that while it surely sounds great to you and your fiance, there will probably be mixed feelings on registering for a honeymoon from your guests. Some may see it as an easy tool to give you what you want, but others may still find it distasteful. (Another thing to consider is that if you use an online honeymoon registry, your guests will have to pay a fee to give you money.) You might instead let your maid of honor (and MIL and mother) know that you and fiance will be planning a honeymoon to xyz, so if someone asks for gift ideas, any gift to help you on your travels would be greatly appreciated. And you may already know (but it doesn’t hurt to include it when talking about registries): It is in very poor taste to include any registry information in your wedding invitation. Registry information should be given only to those who ask for or seek it.

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Lenna March 14, 2013 at 10:20 am

Ok ladies – this situation has taken a turn for the worse for me.
My future MIL is now saying that I cannot invite my fiance’s friends that I have become friends with. We have vacationed together for crying out loud.
She is saying NOBODY that was invited to his first shower can be invited to mine.
I am not comfortable with this. I have become close with his family and feel like I would be slighting or insulting them if I do not invite them. On top of that I dont want to offend her either. And, some of these same relative are helping with stuff for the wedding.
They have the right to decline, I am not expecting gifts. What is wrong with me inviting them???
I feel that this is going to be a huge issue between us and I really do not want that.
This is not her thing but she is making it hers.

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Elizabeth March 14, 2013 at 10:34 am

Again, may we ask who is actually hosting the event? If it’s a third party (like your MOH), then you should just feel free to ignore your MIL’s pronouncements. If she’s hosting, then you may have trouble getting her to invite people she is adamant about not inviting. You should have your fiance speak to his mother. These are his friends and family as well as yours, and he might be able to intervene with his mother “more strenuously” than you. Who knows where she is getting her thinking. I don’t agree that the one shower per person rule is hard and fast. I always understood it to mean “invite people only to one shower per couple, when that couple is having more than one shower.” You’ve never had a shower before while your husband (or rather, his former wife) did. I don’t agree that most people dislike showers – often times a shower is a nice free lunch (sometimes with drinks!), and it’s an opportunity to catch up with friends and family in a pleasant environment. I do NOT think of them as solely obligatory. Perhaps you can suggest to your FMIL that you will be sure to register for many inexpensive items (like towels, placemats, etc) that would allow the second-timers to give you a token gift. I think the possibility is much more likely that people will be hurt to be left OUT of an event rather than offended that they’ve been invited. As you’ve said – they can decline to attend! I wonder if you shouldn’t speak with someone she’s planning to omit about this, someone very outspoken who can be very clear that they would prefer to be invited?

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Lenna March 14, 2013 at 10:54 am

Elizabeth – thank you.
My sister, friends and FMIL will be hosting the shower, my mother passed away 20 years ago.
She keeps telling me that I have no say in what happens (which I get, I am not planning someone else’s shower, this is mine).
We have decided to register for some smaller items (thanks to previous posts). And that is her point, they already gave and would feel obligated to give again “we just dont do that in this family”
My fiance is not the first in his family to have a second wedding but I am not aware of how everything went with those, I was not around then.
I will ask a few a of them. As I said they are helping with making things (runners, napkins and some other smaller things) and would feel rude to not extend an invite.
I thought I was alone with my thinking and then I asked around and my friends and family simply do not understand either.

Alicia March 14, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Technically she is right on the etiquette. A shower by its nature is about gifts. It is rude to invite anyone but the closest family to multiple showers in honor of the same person. So your grooms friends and family all were invited the first time to his first weddings shower to invite them to a second wedding shower is too much. A shower is about gifts no matter what you say someone sees the word shower they would never attend empty handed.
Your polite options
1.change shower to some other prewedding party not gift centered like a ladies lunch or a bridal tea
2. Limit your guest list to those who were not at the previous wedding except immediate family and wedding party

Your not so polite option but still an option
1. Direct the hostess to invite whomever you wish but know that your future MIL and likely most of the grooms female relatives an friends will feel that you are behaving in a rude and tacky manner.

MIL is right on the etiquette but unless she is the hostess she does not get final say. But stop saying you do not expect gifts at a shower a shower is a party centered around gifts if that is truly what you feel change the party to something not centered on gifts.

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Sutton November 1, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I agree on everyone’s replies, but if you’re concerned about correct etiquette…It’s not “good” etiquette for a family member to host/give a shower. A family member can host anything that does not require the guests to bring a gift like a tea, luncheon or party, but not a shower. So your FMIL & sister should not be hosting your shower. People do it all kind of ways these days though.

Alicia January 15, 2013 at 9:44 am

You and your fiance should invite anyone you wish to the wedding. If they did or did not attend the previous wedding is unrelated info. If you want them at the current wedding is all that matters. Anyone who is invited to the wedding may be invited to a shower. Make sure that everyone invited to the showers is invited to the wedding(ie are you inviting your mom and mother in law to be friends to the wedding? if not they should not be invited to the shower or showers) Other then bridesmaids, mothers of bride and groom and sisters of bride and groom nobody should be invited to more then one shower.
Honeymoon registries are just an inefficient way of asking for cash. Some people ( me) will not give to a honeymoon registry as they feel it lacks lasting value. I always got taught that you buy a wedding gift you hope will endure as long as the marriage endures. Honeymoon stuff endures two weeks and I would never wish a two week marriage on someone. So register for some real items because some people (me ) would never give cash or honeymoon registry. If no guidance you will get random stuff which can be great or awful. Also it is nice to look at something and think oh my nice cousin bought me that for my wedding. One of my cousins refused to register and asked for money most of the family gave her money the money was frittered away. I gave her two things a very nice le creuset pan in her wedding color and a check. She has repeatedly told me that the pan is one of the few items she got and the only one she uses every single week. She has long forgotten who else gave her what and how much and even that I gave her a check too. But the nice pan gets used and lasts.

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Confused Mother March 19, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Some guidance and proper etiquette would be much appreciated.

My daughter and her young man recently announced her engagement only for us to find out they were already married. In fact, they had married 8 months ago; her 2nd, his 1st. She is 28 and he is 22 years old.

They married without telling our side of the family as they knew we would not approve. She only knew him 7 months before marrying him. When she met him she was engaged to a different man. We had spent approximately 6 months planning her wedding, purchasing her gown, paying for a DJ, putting a deposit down on the venue, etc. We were going to do much of it ourselves to cut costs as I’ve been a single mother with a completely absent father.

A little history: her first marriage was to a young man I did not approve of and she had just turned 18 so I did not give my blessing. This resulted in her moving out and marrying without her side of the family. Their marriage lasted 3 years before they divorced. With the 2nd young man she planned to marry I couldn’t have been happier. He as mature, focused, had a good career and would have provided very well for her. I wasn’t thrilled she called off her engagement due to a guy who was giving her the attention her fiancé wasn’t.

So, my daughter and her husband plan to have a wedding with bridesmaids, walking down the aisle, wedding reception, etc. They have already taken their vows in a flower garden, with a bouquet and wearing a simple long white dress. . I don’t believe it’s appropriate to have a wedding once a couple has already married one another; that special moment is gone. A husband and wife can’t turn into a bride and groom as that moment has come and gone.

My Mom, Aunts, Uncles and I do not plan to partake in the event they are planning. My daughter is offended we don’t want to participate. I don’t feel we should have to as we don’t approve of all that has happened including her jumping from one relationship to another and their secret 8month marriage. (Yes, I do believe she is the product of a broken marriage with childhood issues relating to her absent father.)

I welcome your guidance on this situation.

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Alicia March 19, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Yes they are married. If they present this to guests as a marriage then yes they are basically lying. However if they present this a a vow renewal or a religious blessing of the marriage that has already taken place then I strongly encourage you and other loving family members to attend and celebrate but not fund this event. This is your daughter and you love her and clearly wish only the best for her. She is married to this man and if they want to do a fancy vow renewal on their own dime then you should accept that and go and be happy for them. However, if presenting it as a marriage when already married that is where the etiquette issue of basically playing guests false comes into play. This is one of those secrets since already out to family is probably already out to friends and there is no reason to keep up the pretense everyone likely already knows and if they do not they will find out at the vow renewal and be mad at the falsehood and that could ruin the vow renewal. Encourage daughter and son in law to announce that they eloped several months ago and are planning and hosting a vow renewal and reception for those who were not at the wedding.

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Elizabeth March 20, 2013 at 5:54 pm

You are technically correct that it is improper for your daughter to have a wedding when already married. If she can be persuaded to have a vow renewal, as Alicia suggested, that would be ideal. However, I disagree with your whole family’s boycott of this event. For goodness’ sake, this is your daughter, and you already missed her first wedding. (I have no idea WHY she was married secretly, I’m sure she has some reasons.) For the sake of your relationship and family harmony, my advice would be to apologize and for your family to go with a smile on your faces. It’s better to have a good relationship with your daughter, or to take steps to repair it, rather than to be “right.” You can be “right” and be estranged, or you can be “wrong” and have a relationship. I would guess that she wants to make these vows in front of those she loves/those that love her. That is something to support no matter what the legal conditions of the people saying them.

(I just want to note that if your daughter was the one writing in, for sure I would say: it’s improper to have this kind of event. But that impropriety doesn’t necessarily correspond with your family’s extreme reaction to boycott.)

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Winifred Rosenburg March 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I was thinking along the same lines as Elizabeth. It reminds me of a story my mother told me about one of her friends. Her friend has a daughter who at the time was dating a foreigner. I guess my mom’s friend was concerned that he was using her to eventually get a green card so she told her daughter “I don’t ever want to hear you’re marrying him!” After some time went by, the mother eventually notice her daughter was wearing a wedding ring. She said “Why are you wearing a wedding ring?” To which her daughter replied “because I’m married.” Her mother said “Why didn’t you tell me?!” She said “You said that you didn’t want to hear about it.”

The moral of the story is you can’t make decisions for your children. They’ll make decisions for themselves, especially when it comes to things like marriage. Boycotting major life events won’t stop them from happening, it just stops you from being there for them. I’ve strayed from the etiquette subject so let me return to it: etiquette does not allow you to police other people’s weddings and relationships, even your children’s.

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Chris July 28, 2013 at 10:35 am

I have a question about gift giving. After the bridal shower for a family member, the bride broke up with the groom. There was never a formal acknowledgement that the wedding took place, we just never received a wedding invitation. Also, gifts were never returned. I would not have taken my gift back, but would’ve liked an acknowledgement.
One year later and the bride is marrying someone else.
Is it proper etiquette to give another gift?
I feel obligated to but my husband does not. We are torn.

Thank you!

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Alicia July 28, 2013 at 10:54 am

No you do not have to give a second wedding shower gift. A thank you would have been required regardless.
But one wedding gift per bride or groom is all that is ever required even second weddings do not require gifts if gift was given at first wedding.

Given that bride is a year later getting married to someone else think on the bright side she avoided a divorce

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Rick August 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Really?? I can’t believe some of these answers,, do you know how much it costs to have a decent wedding???, try $15,000 to $25,000, If you are fortunate enough to get an invitation,, you should give a gift with that in mind. Of course the people who want to know if they have to give a present always expect a present for each of their birthdays or did your family and friends say to themselves ” I gave a present last year. I guess any excuse to be cheap. Classless….

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Alicia August 13, 2013 at 9:01 am

A decent wedding is not about the cost or money that s spent it is about gracious hospitality and celebration with the happy couple.

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Becky August 13, 2013 at 10:23 am

Amen Alicia! There should be no correlation between the cost of the reception/party and the value of the gift given. Each should be tailored to the means and meaning of the host or giver at that given point in time. Expectations of anything more is simply greed. Unfortunately, many couples and families are overly focused on the return on investment for a reception, they completely loose the joy of surrounding themselves with love and support for a beautiful occasion. It’s a business transaction with flowers and fancy clothes. And as Rick points out there are those who also ‘keep score’ in gift giving……

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Just Laura August 13, 2013 at 10:48 am

I too agree with Alicia.
A “decent” wedding is one where two people have agreed to join their futures together, surrounded by those they love. My wedding didn’t cost anywhere near $15,000 for 40 people and an open bar. My brother had an intimate ceremony with his wife prior to his deployment – I think they spent a few hundred on cake and her dress? I consider these more modest weddings to be perfectly “decent.”

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Aimee August 15, 2013 at 4:32 pm

I cannot attend a second wedding for a nephew due to distance and budget. It is a second wedding for both of them. The parents of the groom have openly stated they are not giving a gift as they fhave bailed him out of a franchise and paid plane tickets to his new job. I’m torn between being happy tooted the bill for failed franchises and plane tickets to a new job in the oil fields.
Relatives are asking me what to give them. Before my recent change in employment I asked the couple if they were registered. I haven’t decided what to give let alone if my budget will allow it. They’d been posting suggestions on Facebook and Pinterest expressing ideas of money for a honeymoon, a down payment, a bbq, etc. Their response beyond the postings was to thank me for showing so much caring. I am now left in an awkward spot. They’ve recently posted how they’ve spent well below the average for the wedding and honestly feel $7,700 expenditure would make a great repayment to his parents! My husband is not amused with their manipulative antics.
How do I proceed without hurting them and hating myself?

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Alicia August 15, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Do not hate yourself no matter what you decide. Second weddings do not require gifts. That said I would likely send a token gift something small and inexpensive but thoughtful.

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pam August 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I am attending a wedding of a family friend. This is her second wedding and his first. I attended her first wedding and first bridal shower and send a gift to her second shower. I will be giving them a monetary gift. Does it have to be the same as I gave the first wedding? I got married a year after her first wedding and she gave me the same amount. I feel like I can give less this time around.

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Elizabeth August 28, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Actually, according to rules of etiquette, giving a gift at all isn’t required for a second wedding. If you want to give the couple a token, I would recommend that it be in the form of an object rather than money. They can appreciate the sentiment behind a thoughtful though less expensive gift. With money, that’s a lot harder to do.

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RGM November 14, 2013 at 8:39 pm

What is the proper money amount to give to a sister who is marrying for the second time???

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RGM November 14, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Please reply to the above statement!!

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Winifred Rosenburg November 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm

As stated above, gifts are not required for second weddings if you gave a gift for the first wedding. If you choose to give a gift, the value can be whatever your heart desires.

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MDR December 12, 2013 at 9:01 am

My father who is 70 years old is getting married (he was divorced from my mother, and widowed by his second wife). The ceremony is a small family and a few friends at the VFW. We are not close, but his my only father. What is an appropriate gift for this situation. After all, he told me that I didnt need to come, but could if I wanted to. I actually found out about the wedding on facebook to tell the truth. The wedding is scheduled for 2 days after Christmas on a Friday evening 5 hours away. I’m torn between giving a gift and a bottle of wine or a monetary gift. Thanks for your guidance.

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Alicia December 12, 2013 at 9:27 am

There are no hard and fast rules on gifts. However this is your fathers wedding. I’d give something that shows you accept his wife. Kindness and acceptance of her is probably the nicest thing you can give. Not sure what says welcome to the family in your family but whatever that is that is the nicest option.

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Winifred Rosenburg December 12, 2013 at 10:18 am

It is totally up to you. In fact if you gave a gift for his second wedding, you don’t have to give one now. I think the bottle of wine is a nice idea.

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Anna March 11, 2014 at 4:09 am

It has been 15 yrs since I have been married. I finally found the love of my life. We are going up North to have a 40 person ceremony with close friends and family. With a horsd’voeur reception afterward. Being in Annapolis, we thought we would break away after the reception and get crabs with whom ever would like to join. Then off to my favorite piano bar. My daughter feels that we should just go to the JP and be done with it. Instead of having in her words, “A horse and Pony Show” I am still choosing colors and dresses. I asked her to be maid of honor. She excepted graciously, however when it came a dress. Her response was she will wear what she wants, and if she comes she will be there, if not she won’t.
We were going to have the wedding here in Florida and it was a finical hardship for my children, so that is why we decided to come up North. My friends are very helpful, however my daughter is not.

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Alicia March 11, 2014 at 8:18 am

A wedding is not a dog and pony show. Your daughter is not being gracious at all. Congrats on getting married to someone you love, how wonderful!
As far as plans what I understand is one after the other
Wedding location 1
appetizers reception hosted by you location 2
Crabs not hosted by you location 3
Piano bar not hosted by you location 4

Some issues I see
1. Crabs and piano bar there may be confusion as if people should go or not and if things are being hosted or not being hosted by you(and husband)
2.you are going dressy dressy casual dressy. I’m a Chesapeake bay girl but crabs get messy that is why people often eat them over brown paper and on decks. Even the best crab picker will make a but of a mess and in a wedding or wedding guest dress you will mess up suits and dresses and get old bay stuck under your fingernails. mmm old bay hands. This could ruin yours and every one elses attire and people will then need to dress up again to go to piano bar. ( What is your favorite Annapolis piano bar I’m in the area and would be interested)
3. By the time you hit piano bar you are on activity 4 and your guests will be tired.

Suggestion
1. Talk to daughter about why she is not willing to be celebratory about your wedding does she have issues with you getting married ?
2. Do crabs day or night before wedding as a casual event
3. Only on wedding day do three activities wedding, reception, piano bar. Most people will not have the energy for all four and that includes you and your husband and not switching dress codes. The after event at piano bar if not hosting make it clear.

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Elizabeth March 11, 2014 at 11:56 am

I agree with Alicia regarding the sequence of events and the differing dress codes. Regarding your daughter and her dress: usually in a small second wedding such that you are describing, the bride and groom usually do not have a big wedding party because then the majority of the guests would be standing up rather than witnessing the ceremony. If your daughter is to be your only attendant, it would make sense for you to allow her to choose her own dress since it does not have to match anyone else’s. A new dress, especially a bridesmaids dress, can be quite expensive. It may be that she already owns something suitable, or wants to purchase something she knows she can wear again. In any case, focus on the joy of the occasion and don’t sweat the details.

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Roe March 31, 2014 at 8:50 am

What is the appropriate wedding gift for a second marriage to a daughter and future son in law? We want to be generous but are not sure what is considered appropriate.

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Alicia March 31, 2014 at 11:15 am

The gift should be in keeping with your fiscal means your joy in the wedding and what you think will please the bride and groom. So many options exist and only you know what will be appreciated within your budget.

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Ashley April 11, 2014 at 10:08 pm

My friend had her first wedding just under 4 years ago, in her home town. I flew out for her wedding and give her a nice gift. I got married a year ago and never received a gift, though she did help out with by bringing farmers market flowers to the wedding. She spent about $25 on them. No biggie as I’m grateful for her help and friendship matters more than gifts. But now she is getting married again and again it will mean multiple flights , hotel, etc. Is it in poor taste to not give a gift this time? This will be her fiance’s first marriage.

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Winifred Rosenburg April 12, 2014 at 7:07 am

Because you gave her a gift for her first wedding, you are not required to give a gift this time.

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Grace May 18, 2014 at 11:39 am

I’m getting remarried for a second time. My first wedding I was 28 years old. Now today, I’m 50. With my first wedding we were both of the same background, Italian -Canadian. Now I will be getting married to an Eygptian-Canadian. When I prepared my first wedding, I had no meddling from my fiance’s family. Now that I’m preparing my second wedding, his family meaning the sister-in-laws NOT even the mom (she’s so SWEET) are butting in. He says it’s a cultural thing and not to pay attention, to simply let them talk. However, I am hot-blooded and though I don’t explode in front of them because I keep it in, I end up fighting with my fiance. HELP!!!

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jean June 14, 2014 at 5:47 am

We are invited to a good friends second marriage to his first wife (they are re-marrying each other) When asked where they are registered the response was ” we already have two of everything”….We did not know them the first time around. Wondering if a gift is even appropriate?

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David June 14, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Since you did not know them during their first go, and, she said they have two of everything, I think it would be appropriate to give them a gift of something they couldn’t possibly have, like an exotically ethnic art/craft work or a certificate for a spa treatment for two.
I wouldn’t show up empty handed or you might not be invited to their third.

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Teresa June 17, 2014 at 10:08 pm

What if you are invited to a wedding of a cousin who was married before and his wife has passed away and the woman he is marrying was never married before, what type of gift should be given?

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Elizabeth June 17, 2014 at 11:26 pm

There is no hard and fast rule. Wedding gifts are based on your affection for the couple, your happiness at their union, regional custom, and of course your own means. While it is your cousin’s second marriage, it is his fiancée’s first. Personally, if I were attending the wedding, I would not differentiate between a first and second wedding and I would just give the usual amount. A cash/monetary gift would be better than an object, I would think.

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Rose Roy June 19, 2014 at 6:55 am

A friend we have known for years, twice divorced, but just recently married her boyfriend of 10 years in a private ceremony they we didn’t know about until after the fact. Which was fine, no hurt feelings. We have been invited to their home for dinner, a week after the wedding. My question, other than bringing a wedding card should we bring a gift/gift card and if so how much is appropriate? I have recently retired do to illness and my husbands job was also reduced to half. We are not poor but we can’t afford to many extra expenditures like we could before. Please advise.

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Jody June 19, 2014 at 9:20 am

Rose, were you invited to the dinner as a special “let’s celebrate our wedding” event or a regular “let’s have friends over for dinner” event? If the latter I would bring a gift only if you usually do so for such events. Whatever you decide to do, I don’t think there’s any rule you need to follow, except to keep it within your budget.

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Elizabeth June 19, 2014 at 3:49 pm

I don’t know if I understand the point of a card. A card is a written message that you send to people when you aren’t able to speak to them in person. And sometimes a card accompanies a gift so the receiver knows who it is from. I don’t think you are obligated at all to give these people a gift. Why don’t you send your card in advance, instead of hand-delivering it, and then simply offer your friends your hearty congratulations when you arrive?

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Liz August 27, 2014 at 10:30 am

My 42 year old niece is getting married for the second time (she actually got married in front of the justice of the peace) to her husband Brian. This is Brian’s first marriage. What is proper etiquette for gift giving in this situation?

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Elizabeth August 27, 2014 at 1:21 pm

The rule technically is that you give a wedding gift to someone once during their life. So, if your niece was married and divorced (and you gave a gift for that first wedding), then you would not be on the hook were she to get married a second time to someone else.

Your situation sounds different – your niece had a private civil ceremony and now they are doing the big white wedding? But she has only ever had one husband? If you gave a gift for the civil ceremony, you would not be obligated to give a gift (although you very well may choose to). If you have never given her a wedding gift and you will be attended this “wedding,” then it would be appropriate to give her a gift.

I would also add that even though technically you are not obligated in the first scenario to give a gift, most people would not feel comfortable attending a wedding without giving a gift. If it were me, I would give a gift if I were attending in any case.

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Mary Ellen September 16, 2014 at 5:54 pm

My sister passed away and my brother-in-law remarried and invited us to the wedding. He verbally said “no gifts – we have all we need” when he told us he was getting remarried. For the wedding we had to stay overnight in a hotel because it was a good distance from our home and it was a cash bar. Were we wrong to not bring a monetary gift? We gave a card. He and his new wife are hurt that we did not give an “offer of generosity” (money) and his daughter says it sends the message that we do not support the marriage – even though they know we do without a doubt!

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Lori C September 16, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Call your brother in law. Let him know you took him at his word when he verbally told you “No gifts. We have all we need.” Tell him you are very happy for him and his new bride and were glad you were asked to attend his wedding. Next call your niece. Let her know her father verbally told you “No gifts. We have all we need.” Let her know you had the same conversation with her father, told him you were very happy for him and his new wife and you were glad to be asked to attend the wedding. Now since the misunderstanding has been rectified…Money is considered a gift. Your brother in law specifically asked for no gifts. You gave a nice card. Attending wedding shows support for the union. It doesn’t matter you paid for a motel room and paid for your drinks. I hope you were not implying this was your “gift” to the couple. And I have never heard of a “offer of generosity”.

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Elizabeth March 14, 2013 at 11:48 am

I find it odd that she feels that she needs to reiterate to you “that you have no say.” When people are hosting a party for you, it’s obvious that you are not in direct control of all aspects. However, I just planned and hosted a baby shower with two other friends for another friend of ours, and she had ALL the say when it came to the guest list, as well as the date/time. I co-hosted a wedding shower for my sister, and I would say that it was a group effort. She (the bride) had a lot of input on the venue, the food, etc. Perhaps you could circumvent your FMIL by having your sister send out the invites to your preferred guest list? As a woman who has a pretty controlling MIL, I would advise you to stand up for yourself early on in the relationship. Or you could be in for a long life of being ordered around and dictated to by that person! It’s also best to find out now how far your husband will go in supporting you. Again, these are his friends/family, and his shower too – he has a stake in it, and in you being happy.

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