Second Wedding Gift Etiquette

marriage image by Mat Hayward from

Whether you're getting married for a second time or have been invited to a wedding celebration for an encore bride and groom, it's important to know the rules of etiquette associated with giving gifts. Knowing what to expect, as well as what to give, will make the occasion more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Bringing a Gift

In the past, most individuals who followed rules of etiquette did not bring gifts to second weddings, as it was not thought to be required. Individuals who are getting married for a second time often already have items that would be presented at a wedding, such as dishes and linens, but as second weddings become more frequent, some guests purchase gifts to extend love and support to the couple.


It is acceptable for the couple to set up a bridal registry, so that guests know where to shop and which items to purchase. It may be best for encore couples to register at retail locations that offer affordable selections as a sign of consideration for guests. Couples who are getting married for a second time are more likely to set up registries at specialty stores that feature items they are particularly interested in, such as camping gear or electronics.

Registry Alternatives

If a couple do not want to receive gifts, a nontraditional registry can be created so that guests can donate to the couple's favorite charity. This is a wonderful way for friends and loved ones to contribute to a good cause while still acknowledging the bride and groom's big day. Or, the couple can simply note on the invitation that the guests' presence will suffice as a gift.

Wedding Shower Gifts

If you're invited to the bridal shower for a second wedding, it's best to present the bride with a small gift that is just for her, as opposed to a traditional household item such as kitchen appliances or small pieces of furniture. Jewelry and accessories, as well as gift certificates, are acceptable presents, and it is also appropriate to give the bride a joint gift from several shower attendees.

When to Give Gifts

Proper etiquette suggests that gifts are actually not supposed to be presented to the bride and groom at the reception (presents should usually be mailed to the couple's new home, or to the home of the bride or groom's parents). However, it is acceptable to give second wedding gifts at the reception, as the occasion will likely be less formal and will be conducted according to the couple's wishes.