– Ask Cheryl – How Much Should I Give for a Second Marriage?

It’s very common to receive an invitation to an “encore” wedding, meaning a wedding of a couple who is getting married for the 2nd and even 3rd time. When deciding on a gift for them you may wonder what is the appropriate amount to spend based on the fact that this is not their first time “around the dance floor.”

Dear Cheryl,

My friends are getting married and this is the second time for both of them. How much money should I plan to spend on their gift?


second wedding
Photo Credit: courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings , Photographer: Greg Fink

Dear Jim,

These days, there is often not much of a difference in the traditions of a first and second marriage. However, there is a traditional etiquette rule that applies to gifts for a second wedding. If you were invited to a first wedding and gave a gift, you are not expected to give a gift for the second marriage.

Other than that, traditional gifting etiquette applies. If you receive an invitation, it is customary to send a gift, whether you can attend the wedding or not.

The amount you spend is entirely dependent upon your budget and closeness to the couple getting married.

It’s often hard to know what to buy for a more established couple. Knowing that friends and family will want to send a gift to celebrate the occasion, many couples getting remarried are now creating gift registries to help guests know what they need or prefer. You can search by name on RegistryFinder.com to find out if they have created a wedding registry.

If they don’t have a registry, check out these excellent gift suggestions on our blog post, Wedding Gifts for a Second Marriage.

Some couples that have been married before and are of a more mature age will make it known that they do not want gifts, so you can and should follow those wishes.

If you have questions or comments about this post, or about gift giving, bridal shower, baby shower, or wedding etiquette, please comment below or email [email protected]

Questions in this column are received from readers. They may be edited for spelling, length and grammar, or to remove sensitive information. However, we are careful not to alter the intent or content of the question.

2 thoughts on “Ask Cheryl: How Much Should I Give for a Second Marriage?

  1. Hi Cheryl,
    If my husband, myself and our two adult children are invited to my nieces wedding in which we are not attending, how much should we give as a cash gift?

    1. Hi Michelle,
      It’s difficult to determine how much to spend or give for a wedding gift— and with good reason— it’s a matter of opinion and what you feel you can afford.

      The wedding gift is a long standing tradition representing a token of your affection and support for the couple getting married. There are no “hard and fast” rules, but the amount is based upon your budget and closeness to the couple, as well as the customs in your area.

      My article, How Much Should you Spend on a Wedding Gift?, gives general guidelines and are averages for all income levels and regions of the country. Since it’s a close family member getting married, you would typically give more than a friend or acquaintance.

      Whether to choose to attend the wedding should only affect your gift if it affects your budget. Some might give less when they attend because they had to spend for travel costs and accommodations, which may take away from their wedding gift budget. I also have heard that some feel they should give less if they don’t attend since the parents of the bride or the couple is not feeding them; but those two things are not and should not be related to one another.

      Do you want to give a group gift from your whole family, including your adult children? Typically an adult cousin would purchase or give their own gift. However there is nothing wrong with giving a gift from all four of you.

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