Second Marriage and Nothing to Show For It: Should You Register For Gifts for your Second Wedding?

A husband- and wife-to-be contemplate a bridal registry for their second marriages

Sometimes things become tricky when you remarry. Current etiquette speaks against re-registering for gifts. But when you own nothing from your first marriage, what should you do?

Dear Wedding Guru: “My fiancé and I are going to be married each for the second time.  Both of us ended up with nothing out of our first marriages: He gave everything to her, and I had to sell most of my stuff. I’m living with my parents, so I still haven’t acquired anything. We’d like a small wedding (inviting just our families), but have a big reception for family and friends. Since we}re both starting over, is it appropriate to register for gifts for the reception? I’m not having a bridal shower or anything like that, but to be honest, it’d help to get gifts since we’re starting out with nothing!”

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Dear Hudson Valley Bride-to-be: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you and your fiancé setting up a bridal registry! Every guest assumes that being invited to a wedding usually means giving a gift to the newly married couple. Here’s the sticking point: As you compile your guest list, you need to ask yourselves whether you’re inviting the guest because you genuinely want the person to attend your wedding... or just so you can get a gift.

As you begin your new life together, those closest to you will — of course! — be happy to help you build up your “inventory.” That said, do not expand your list with people who are too much outside your circle of friends and family. (Remember, some of these people are not invited to your wedding, just the reception.) If you’re pretty sure your guests will be delighted to share your happiness — whether it’s in the church or at the reception hall — then you’re on safe ground. Be sure to ask yourself how you’d feel if you were invited to only half of a gift-appropriate function. If your motives are honorable, you will not be overstepping the rules of etiquette.

» Read more about giving wedding gifts
» Read more from The Wedding Guru blog
» Submit a question to the Wedding Guru
» Hudson Valley Weddings 2011


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About This Blog

Tying the knot shouldn't put knots in your stomach, so whether you're the blushing bride, hubby-to-be, or even a wedding guest, The Wedding Guru Judy Lewis can answer all of your wedding-related questions.

This blog hails from, the one-stop resource for services and products, promotions and specials, a Regional Bridal Show schedule, Wed Shop, and links to money-saving and wedding-related Web sites.


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