Gift Giving Etiquette for a Second Wedding

When someone takes multiple shots at holy matrimony, how does that affect the gift giving situation?

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #339

Author Fawn Weaver once said, “Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.” And with that choice, it’s totally okay for people to ditch the first edition of their “happily ever after” for a second chance at the fairy tale ending of their dreams. But when someone takes multiple shots at holy matrimony, how does that affect the gift giving situation?

When it comes to giving a wedding gift, there are many factors that go into deciding the type or level of gift you will purchase. But whether you’re a best friend or distant cousin (only seen at weddings), having to make multiple wedding gift purchases for the same person can get rather, well… exhausting.

But have no fear, we’ll tackle this one together with my top three quick and dirty tips for proper gift giving etiquette for the second wedding.

See also: 3 Rules for Wedding Gifts


Tip #1:  Timing Matters

My friend, Mark, has a super nice brother who at 32, has been married and divorced twice in a span of eight years, and is currently engaged for a third time. In wedding number one, Mark went all-out for his little brother, spending a whopping $700 on a piece of furniture—which his ex-sister-in-law now owns. On wedding number two, he spent nearly $500 on a piece of artwork, which again, his newly ex-sister-in-law now owns.  So, with wedding number three, Mark is a little miffed about having to shell out more money on a gift, on top of his tuxedo, planning, assisting, and other obligations that come his way. Not to criticize his brother for getting married more than once—this is very common and not something to be embarassed about—but when it comes to the gift, should Mark be expected to purchase a lavish gift each and every time? Or is it proper to make round two (or three, or four) a little less glamorous? I recommend seriously thinking about the time frame between the marriages when deciding on that second gift.

Now, if someone’s second marriage is several years apart (once in their twenties and then in their thirties for example), there is room to spend an "equal quality gift" as you did the first round. Plus, years have gone by and your relationship with them is presumably stronger, thus calling for a more generous gift. However, three weddings in eight years? This is not exactly normal, unless you’re a Kardashian, of course.  So with a second marriage gift, I believe it’s improper to expect the same guests to shell out the same amount money each time.  Granted, his brother should not be penalized for two failed marriages in less than a decade, but neither should Mark for feeling that this wedding gift should go down in the record books either. If you decide to go for a “lesser-priced gift,” don’t bring it up or point it out. If you bought a work of art the first time and settled for a gift card for the second, that’s your decision. Gifts are not about money—they’re about the thought. And when you rack up multiple marriages rather quickly it’s unfair to make people think otherwise.