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Should a Couple Register for Gifts if it is a Second Marriage?

A second marriage for one person might be a first for another, and gifts will still be necessary.
A couple getting a second marriage may already have common household goods.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2014
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In general, it is considered perfectly acceptable for a couple to register for wedding gifts if it is their second marriage. While it is acceptable, according to most etiquette experts, people attending one’s second marriage ceremony are not in any way obligated to give gifts. Especially when such people have already attended a first wedding, a wedding gift has already been given. One can only modestly expect one wedding gift in a lifetime from a person.

Many couples on entering a second marriage have already better established themselves financially. In fact they may be in possession of two houses, and a variety of home supplies. If the couple does not wish to receive gifts, they can politely say so on a wedding invitation. Alternately, couples can write that they might prefer a donation to a favorite charity in lieu of wedding gifts. Couples must still abide by the rules, however, to not expect any gifts.

However, a second marriage for one fiancée might mean a first marriage for another. For example, if a woman marries a divorced man, and this is her first marriage, the woman’s family and friends should reasonably be expected to give gifts. Registration can be made known to all who wish to celebrate the woman’s marriage by selecting a gift for her and her new husband. The prospective groom on the other hand, should not expect gifts from his family, nor should his bride to be.

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In actuality, the expectation of gifts during a second marriage, or a first for that matter, is considered bad manners. No one is ever obligated to give one a gift, though it is customary to do so. Generally attending the second marriage ceremony obligates one to bring or send a gift unless the couple specifically requests no gifts. Brides and grooms, however, must be absolutely surprised by the receipt of gifts, and not treat them as payment for guests attending a wedding.

Registration for gifts for a first or second marriage is a discrete process. Wedding invitations that contain information regarding gift registry are not a good idea. Only when the couple is pressed for information, can they disclose their registration information. Bridesmaids, groomsmen, and family members are excellent at spreading this information, which remains information and not demands for a gift.

Even though manners indicate not asking for gifts, most people do expect couples that are embarking on their second marriage to register for gifts. Most people reasonably expect to give a gift at a second marriage, and are helped by the information of what the couple might like. Thus it is both common for those invited to the wedding to bring a gift as it is for couples in their second marriage to register for them.

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oasis11
Post 3

@GreenWeaver - I do think that wedding gifts for a second marriage wedding is fine. I disagree with the notion that a second baby shower should not be held. I had a baby shower for my daughter that was given by a friend and I was also given a second baby shower when I was expecting my son from a coworker.

Both offered to give the shower and I did not solicit anyone to do this. They really wanted to do this and it was a lot of fun. I think that it depends on the circumstances. For example, I don’t think that a member of the family should give the shower. It is probably better for a family friend to give the shower instead.

GreenWeaver
Post 2

@BrickBack - I agree with you. It is different than throwing a baby shower for a second child. I think that having a baby shower for a second child is not proper etiquette because it is assumed that you already received a lot of gifts for your first child and you should be set for your second child.

However, wedding gifts for second marriages are perfectly acceptable in my book.

BrickBack
Post 1

I know as a guest going to someone’s second wedding I would give a gift to the couple because it may have been a while since their first wedding and they would like to celebrate it.

In fact not too long ago I went to a wedding and it was the bride’s second wedding, but the groom’s first.

The bride was married when she was 19 and divorced within a year. She was now almost thirty so I did not see anything wrong with the couple registering for gifts.

In fact it makes the gift giving easier for people attending the wedding. The couple worked with my husband and if it wasn’t for the wedding registry we would not known what to buy them because my husband knew the couple but not that well. I think that this is perfectly acceptable second marriage etiquette.

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