Second wedding gifts

Q: A friend of mine is getting married for the second time and I am not attending the wedding, do I still need to buy a gift? I gave a nice amount of money as a wedding gift to her first wedding.

A: No, you have no obligation to give a gift whether you attend or not. The rule of thumb is one wedding gift per bride or groom, lifetime. It is nice, however, to send a card of best wishes.


  1. Lilli

    I disagree with this advice in that one wouldn’t bring a gift to a friend’s second wedding. Obviously there is no need to buy a gift if you don’t attend, but a small token of your affection for the couple should be brought if you attend the second wedding. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, but it’s a kind gesture. Also keep in mind that this may be the first marriage for the other half of this couple.

    • Lilli

      The only exception to gift giving would perhaps be if the same couple were marrying for the second time, and you attend their first wedding.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      The reason for this rule is wedding presents are generally intended to help the couple start their life together. If you gave one of them a gift already, you already provided that help as the blender you gave the first time should still work. If you want to give another gift, you are of course allowed.

  2. elizabeth

    This seems to make sense if you are referring to your female friend. What about a man getting married for the second time to a woman who has never been married? You have to presume his ex-wife took that blender…and the new wife who has never been married has never received any wedding gifts. That doesn’t seem right to me.

    • Alicia

      Why would you assume the ex wife has the blender? Both men and women cook and it varies by couple who is the cook in the family.
      The rule does not preclude giving gifts if you wish but the obligation to give a wedding gioft in response to a wedding invite is only one per person. So the never married persons side would still be giving wedding gifts by obligation and likely the twice married persons side would be giving some if smaller gifts not out of obligation but out of joy for the happy couple. You are always allowed to giove gifts you are just not obligated to give more then one wedding gift per friend. For example I just got invited to a wedding where the bride got married last year to someone else was divorced within three months and is now getting married again within a year of her previous wedding. The bride is not a close friend or family member but the sister of one of my friends. I was invited to the last wedding fiasco and am invited again. I’m declining and I’m not giving a wedding gift. Her first wedding I declined and gave a nice waterford vase. However, as I can not afford nice waterford vases for myself I’m not giving two in one year to a friends sister who was already dating her now fiance at her previous wedding. Normal wedding invites require a gift. This rule prevents people like me from having to shell out for a yearly vase for someone. Now by contrast I’ve been to second weddings that are seperated by more then a year that the couple is obviously happy and right for one another and that I am actually close to the couple in those cases I give a normal wedding gift.

  3. pcl

    If a marriage only lasts 2 months, does the couple need to return all the wedding gifts? If the gifts are kept by the couple and thank you notes have not been sent by the time of the break up, does the couple need to send thank you notes?

    • Alicia

      The couple does need to send thank you notes. They should have already done so. The fact that the marriage could not last two months does not absolve them of the thank you notes. They do not need to return wedding gifts as the wedding did indeed take place even if a sadly short marriage.

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