Etiquette Daily’s Greatest Hits: Wedding gifts the second time around

Etiquette Daily’s “Greatest Hits” are questions that generated a great deal of conversation when they were originally posted. At the Emily Post Institute we have learned that some etiquette questions never go out of style and are bringing back a few of these popular conundrums for your further consideration. Enjoy!

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.

6 Comments

  1. Jodi

    My brother is getting married for the third time, and it’s the bride’s first. She is upset that our family did not have a shower for her, but attended one thrown by her friends and family. Should I have had a shower? I did not think it was proper etiquette.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      You never have to throw a shower for anyone. Add to that, if you did throw a shower you should not invite anyone who gave a gift for one of the previous weddings, which I’m guessing is most if not all of the people you might have invited. Also, strictly speaking showers should be thrown by friends, not family (although hardly anyone follows this rule anymore). Since she already had a shower I don’t see what she’s upset about. If you would like to and you think it would make her feel better you can throw her a bridal brunch or some equivalent event where gifts are not required.

  2. Becky

    Although I think the ‘rules’ are being eroded, it is generally not appropriate for any family to host a shower (wedding or baby). Family hosting appears almost as self serving as the honoree hosting their own shower. With that said, perhaps some event hosted from his “side” (friends/family) would have been a nice gesture to the first time bride (it’s not her fault your brother has had 2 previous marriages). Maybe host a tea, luncheon or dinner party introducing/welcoming her, and recognizing their upcoming marriage….but not creating a gift giving event. You can also take the opportunity to express your frustration with a little levity….”i’m sure Brother’s friends would have loved to do a shower for you, but my dear brother has to go and complicate those darned etiquette rules by not picking the right lady the first or second time. And to make it worse, the family can’t really host a shower since that’s another no-no. But please know that we all are so happy for the two of you and are just as happy to have you as part of our family.”

  3. JUlia

    Wedding Gift Etiquette question:
    After my husband were married, we made it very clear with all of our friends, who attended the wedding, that I would keep my last name (i.e. not change it to his).
    We received a large number of non-returnable monogramed gifts with his letters on the various items. He is also pretty upset about this, as he feels that my last name isn’t represented on the gifts. I already sent out thank you notes for the gifts, but I am a bit annoyed.
    Just for future notice, what is the etiquette on this type of gift giving?

    • Elizabeth

      It’s interesting that monogramming is so popular with your friends…I was married 6 years ago, I kept my last name, and out of 220 guests I don’t think we received ANY monogrammed items! Personally, I think you may be making a mountain out of a molehill. I don’t know what the protocol would be for a monogram when two different first and last names are represented…I think the form is simply not set up to accommodate two different names. Perhaps your friends think of you as the type of people who would like monogrammed stuff, and went with their best guess? In this day and age, I cannot imagine that your friends were actively trying to express disapproval of your retaining your maiden name. I would chalk it up to cluelessness or simply not thinking about it that hard. I would go ahead and use the towels or whatever they gave you. Does each and every item in your home need to “represent you” completely? You did the right thing by thanking your guests politely for their gifts, and I would leave it at that.

    • Ruth Peltier

      I noticed you said that AFTER you and your hunband were married, you made it clear that you were keeping your last name. If the wedding was the first itme they were told this, they had probably already ordered the monogramed items and could not change them.

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