You’re getting married again. Congratulations!
You’re building a life with a partner that makes you happy and feel loved and supported. Second marriages unite families and blend them together. It’s a special time to let go of the past and look toward a bright future.
But some couples feel uneasy about creating wedding registries for their second marriage. Given that couples marrying for the second time are usually a bit older and more established, they sometimes feel like there isn’t anything left to ask for as a gift. They have the home essentials. So why ask for more sheets and towels?
For others, having a registry for a second wedding feels tacky or over the top. It almost seems insensitive to ask guests, many of whom might have attended the first wedding, for more gifts. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Weddings are about celebrating love and wishing the happy couple well. What your families and friends care about is seeing you joyful and ready to start this next chapter of your life.
So what should you put on your wedding registry for your second marriage? Here’s what to know and how to follow gift etiquette so every guest feels excited and respected at your wedding.
Is it okay to have a wedding registry for a second marriage?
The short answer? Yes!
But seriously, wedding registries for second marriages are perfectly acceptable and expected by most wedding guests. The gift itself can vary now that you’re on your second marriage, but the meaning is still special. Your friends and family members want to celebrate you and wish you well.
Here are a few second-marriage myths and why you shouldn’t believe them.
Second marriages should have small registries.
Not true. Everyone comes to their second marriage from different places. Maybe you’re a widower and could use some upgrades around the house or even a nice vacation (more on this later). Or maybe you’re now blending your families and you have quite a few home good items in mind for your registry.
The bottom line is don’t feel that you can’t ask for what you want for your second marriage. It’s always okay to ask.
Wedding registries have to be done at a big-box or department store
The last time you tied the knot, you and your partner probably went to a store (Bed, Bath and Beyond or Crate & Barrel, to name a few) and walked around with scanners selecting wedding gifts for your registry. That type of registry still exists, but it’s not the only one anymore.
Many couples, even those on their first marriages, are opting for honeymoon registries and cash funds. Honeymoon registries function just like the traditional ones you’re used to, but most of the gifts are experience-based (think city tours, spa packages and accommodations) and guests contribute the money so you can book your tours and hotel reservations yourself.
You can also consider a cash fund, which is basically an online money pool. Anyone can give money, and they can decide how much they’d like to contribute. There’s no minimum or maximum.
I should only ask for home goods on my wedding registry
Nope. Not if you don’t have any home goods that you need. This is why honeymoon registries have become particularly popular. They allow you to ask for experience-based wedding gifts related to your honeymoon, so you and your partner can spend a romantic time together.
I should only have one wedding registry for my second wedding
Not true. There’s no law against having more than one registry for your second wedding. If you’d like to register at more than one store or have a small honeymoon registry and a small traditional registry at a store, that’s perfectly acceptable.
What gifts should I list on my registry for second wedding?
Okay, you’ve decided that you do want a wedding registry for your second marriage. Now what in the world do you put on it?
You may feel like you have a lot of the home basics covered. And why replace items that are in good condition and have a lot of years left in them? You might be thinking that most of the wedding gifts you really want are a little on the expensive side, but you shouldn’t fill up your registry with only items in the $200-$300 range (more on that below).
If you’re drawing a blank, here are a few gift items to list on your wedding registry for your second marriage.
Home goods for children
If you or your partner has a child from a previous marriage or if you plan to blend two families, then you will probably need new pillows, sheets, rugs, bathroom accessories and towels to accommodate everyone. Guests love to see these wedding gifts on registries, and they’ll feel good about helping their nieces, nephews, cousins and grandchildren feel welcome and loved in their new homes.
Want to make the moment more special and bond with your children and/or stepchildren? Have them pick out their own bedding and accessories for their bathroom.
Honeymoon spa package
This is a popular honeymoon registry gift both with guests and couples. Wherever you chose to go on your honeymoon, find a local spa and choose a few services that you’d like to do together. Then create a gift on your honeymoon registry (find out how to do that here) and set the amount.
Guests love to live vicariously through the couple, so they enjoy sending them on fun excursions. Just don’t forget to tell them about it later in your thank-you card.
You’ll need to find some way to pack for your honeymoon, right? New and quality luggage can make all of that packing much easier.
Going back and forth between a traditional wedding registry and a honeymoon registry? With Hitchd, you can add physical gifts to your wedding registry, just as easily as you would add experience-based gifts. Some guests will always prefer giving physical gifts anyway, so it’s never a bad thing to pepper your registry with some physical gifts.
Snorkeling, sky diving or zip lining
Remember how guests love to send couples on excursions that they’d also love to try? Then look no further than the adventure tour, another popular gift on most honeymoon registries. Guests tend to think about what they would most like to receive, so it’s no surprise that many guests choose fun, once-in-a-lifetime experiences that the couple will never forget.
To really get guests excited, do your research before adding the gift to your honeymoon registry. Find a tour company that you’d like to use and link its website link in your gift description.
That expensive coffee machine you’ve been eyeing
Remember how we said that you shouldn’t fill your wedding registry with expensive gifts? Well, that advice still stands, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for a few splurge-worthy gifts. There will always be those guests, usually parents and grandparents, who will want to give bigger gifts, so having one or two big-ticket items on your registry will be perfect for those guests.
Of course if you’re using Hitchd, you can also break up the large cost of a gift into smaller amounts so more guests can contribute. A $250 coffee machine can be broken down into five $50 gifts, so one guest can contribute just $50 or two $50 gifts if that’s what they want. This can also be applied to experience-based gifts.
Anybody who has ever booked a honeymoon will know that your hotel bill will probably be the most expensive part of a vacation. But if you have your heart set on a resort or a boutique hotel, then you can get some help paying that bill by adding your accommodations to your honeymoon registry.
This is another expensive gift that you will want to break down into smaller amounts, so keep those between $50 and $100 so more guests can give as they feel comfortable.
What is gift etiquette for second weddings?
When it comes to designing a wedding registry for a second marriage, there are a few gift etiquette tips to keep in mind as you’re deciding what to ask for as a gift. Here are some pro tips to keep in mind:
Do not ask for only expensive gifts
While it may true that most of the gifts you really want are more expensive (think high-end vacuum cleaners and appliances), you shouldn’t fill your registry with only expensive items. Just like with your first registry, make sure you have a mix of price points so that everyone feels comfortable with their contribution. If you’re using Hitchd, try adding a cash fund. That way, if the less expensive gifts run out, your guests can still give whatever amount feels right for them.
Talk with your partner about the size and scope of your registry
Just because you want a big registry doesn’t mean your partner does. Some people prefer smaller registries for their second marriages, but this is absolutely not a rule that you have to follow. Talk first, then start building.
Avoid adding gifts for kids
It can be tempting to ask for gifts for kids, but this registry should still be about you and your partner. It’s one thing to ask for new sheets and towels for the children that will be living with you, but avoid asking for video game consoles or clothing for kids.
Don’t expect everyone to give you a gift
Some guests who attended your first wedding will decide not to give you another gift. As far as weddings are concerned, all gifts, be they at a first wedding or not, should be considered optional, so don’t be offended if some guests come empty-handed. There will be plenty of guests who give gifts, and you never know what some guests might be going through in their personal lives
Thank your guests
You probably know this one, but it’s worth restating. Thanking guests for any and all gifts should be at the top of your mind, so don’t forget to send thank-you cards after your wedding. With Hitchd, you can send email thank-yous right after receiving a gift, and we’ll keep track of what sent what to make card writing easier.
If this is your second marriage, then it’s time to let your hair down and enjoy the moment. You’ll find that you have a little more freedom and a more relaxed vibe this time around, and you won’t feel obligated to the more rigid expectations of a traditional wedding, like matching bridesmaids dresses, dramatic venues or evening ceremonies. The same goes for your wedding registry. Have fun with it, and your guests will have fun with it too.
Ready to get started with Hitchd? Start creating your own honeymoon registry here.