What Sort of Gift Is Appropriate for a Second Marriage?

Wedding gifts

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Weddings celebrate the decision between two people who love each other and decide to make a lifetime commitment, making this a great opportunity to offer gifts. However, some factors can be confusing.

With the rise in the number of second (and third or fourth) weddings, you might have questions about the proper etiquette of bringing or sending a gift and what to give. Remember that this is a new start for this couple. It's never bad form to give a gift, so if you're ever in doubt, act on the side of generosity.

You never have have a true obligation to give a gift, regardless of whether this is either of the couple's first or fifth marriage. However, giving a gift is still a nice thing to do, whether or not you attend the wedding (or if they even have one). A gift is part of the celebration and shows that you are thinking of them on their special day. It also shows your support for their new life together.

Types of Gifts to Consider Giving for a Second Marriage

The type of gift may be different from something you would give to a couple who has never been married before. Chances are, this couple's household is already set up. They have all the toasters and kitchen gadgets they need, and their bathroom is probably well-stocked with towels and linens. If you give them more pots and pans, they might not have room for them. 

If you're on a limited budget, you may want to go in with others for a nice gift. Coworkers can throw a nice luncheon and take a collection for a gift card. There is nothing wrong with being creative with gifts, such as babysitting for children from a previous marriage or adding extra money for the honeymoon.

Second Marriage Gift Suggestions

Find out if the couple has registered at a store and choose something from the registry. If they haven’t, consider a gift card to their favorite restaurant or event you know they will both enjoy. A gift card for a couple's massage or dinner cruise will probably be appreciated. Some couples may have everything they need and request a contribution to a charity or special cause.

Additional wedding gift ideas for second marriages:

  • Couples cooking lessons
  • Dance lessons
  • Golf or tennis lessons
  • Movie theater gift cards
  • Home decor store gift card
  • Hardware store gift card
  • Personalized barbecue set
  • Personalized stemware
  • Crystal vase or serving dishes
  • Personalized towels
  • Personalized doormats, door hangers, or mailbox covers
  • A month (or more) of housecleaning service
  • A month (or more) of lawn care or landscaping
  • Monthly subscription for something they both enjoy (wine, chocolate, fruit, or other food the couple enjoys)

If the couple has children from a previous marriage, you may want to include a family gift, such as a gift card for dinner out at a family-friendly restaurant, tickets to a theme park, or a gift basket filled with foods and family activities such as movies, music, snacks.

If the couple has absolutely everything they need, they may request "no gifts." This doesn't mean you're off the hook on giving them something: Generosity is still in order. Find out what their favorite charity is and donate to it in their honor. This may be a gift or money for an animal shelter, overseas mission, or health research organizations. Just make sure the charity is something the couple endorses and believes in.

If you are in doubt about a specific gift item, ask. It's always better to give them something they want and can use than something they'll only pull out when you visit.

Other Considerations for Attending a Second Wedding

If you are attending the wedding of someone who has been married before, you'll need to be sensitive about the feelings of both the bride and groom. This is a brand new relationship with a couple trying to get a fresh start in life. Don't bring up the first wedding during the ceremony or reception, even if something funny or interesting happened. Don't repeat the gift you gave either of the people for their first marriage. That would be insulting and embarrassing.