Should You Have a Bridal Shower for a Second Marriage?

A second marriage is certainly worth celebrating, but is it okay to throw a shower?
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
Senior Editor
  • Kim writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in etiquette and planning advice
  • Kim manages freelance writers for The Knot Worldwide
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Kim was Associate Bridal Editor at Washingtonian magazine and Associate Fashion Editor at Conde Nast’s Brides Local magazines
Updated Nov 30, 2022

If you're planning your second wedding (also called an "encore wedding"), you're in good company. In fact, nearly 10 percent of respondents to The Knot's Real Wedding Study are getting hitched for the second, third or fourth (or more!) time. And even if you're in the thick of wedding planning, you might also be thinking about potential pre-wedding events, such as engagement parties, bachelor or bachelorette parties and, yes, wedding and/or bridal showers. But does throwing a bridal shower for a second marriage go against proper wedding etiquette (whatever that means)? Is it okay to receive wedding shower gifts for a second time? Can you invite the same people to a second wedding shower? We're here to give you all the answers on bridal showers in honor of second nuptials.

Is it Appropriate to Have a Bridal Shower for a Second Marriage?

In the past, couples where one or both of the partners were getting married for the second time were discouraged from hosting a big weddings and related events. Nowadays, it's totally acceptable and actually encouraged for couples to plan the wedding they want, whether it's huge, small or something in between. And the same goes for bridal showers—if the bride or couple feels comfortable having a shower, then they should have one.

What Types of Showers Are Suitable for a Remarriage?

The only rule for a bridal shower for a second marriage is that it differs in style and theme from any shower held for the first marriage. Otherwise, bridal showers for a second marriage can range from intimate get-togethers to full-scale events. If you'd like to throw a shower for a soon-to-be married couple where one or both partners is getting married for the second time, talk to them about the type of event they'd feel most comfortable with. They may have strong opinions, or they might prefer that you take the lead.

Also, think beyond the traditional bridal shower. Perhaps a couple's shower, where both partners are guests of honor and loved ones of all genders attend, might be more appropriate. Or, consider hosting an activity shower, where guests participate in a cooking class, pottery painting or spa services.

And gift giving doesn't have to be the main event, either. If the couple doesn't have a traditional gift registry because they have all the housewares they need, you might opt for a recipe shower (where everyone brings a recipe to share), a stock the bar shower (everyone brings their favorite booze), or a lingerie shower (where, well, you know), just to name a few ideas. You could even throw a shower where each guest's "gift" is a short toast or speech to celebrate the happy couple.

Who Hosts a Bridal Shower for a Second Marriage?

Traditionally, members of the bridal party or wedding party host the shower, and this holds true for a second marriage as well. However, the maid of honor and/or bridesmaids aren't the only ones who can throw a shower. The parents or future in-laws of the bride can host the shower (this used to be considered gift-grabby, but it's totally acceptable these days), as can other close friends, family members, coworkers, you name it. The most important thing is that family and friends coordinate so that multiple showers aren't thrown in the same city (a couple can have multiple showers in different locations if they have loved ones scattered around the country or world).

Who Is Invited to a Bridal Shower for a Second Marriage?

A common worry regarding bridal showers for second marriages—can we invite the same people who were invited to the first wedding shower? Yes, there absolutely can be some overlap between the two guest lists. The couple is celebrating a new partnership, a new marriage and a new life together—and their community of loved ones should be invited to show support. However, it's really up to the couple who should be invited to the shower—some couples may feel uncomfortable inviting a huge crew of family and friends and prefer to keep things small, while others may want to invite a larger group of loved ones. The most important rule? Those invited to the shower must also be invited to the wedding.

Should Guests Bring Gifts to a Shower for a Second Marriage?

Unless the invitation explicitly says "no gifts" or the shower has a theme where guests are asked to bring recipes, bottles of alcohol or other nontraditional presents, guests should bring a gift to a bridal shower for a second wedding. Wedding shower gifts are typically selected from a couple's wedding registry (registry info is usually available on the couple's wedding website or may be printed on the shower invitation), and guests usually spend between $50 and $75 on a shower gift. If there is no registry, guests can choose their own presents, whether it's a personalized gift, special keepsake, gift card or useful item for the newlyweds' home together.

What If the Bride Doesn't Want a Shower?

If the couple would prefer not to host a shower, family and friends should respect their choice. However, loved ones can still do something nice for the couple to celebrate their impending nuptials, whether it's taking the bride or couple out for dinner, to a spa for massages or to see a show or concert. The idea is to treat the soonlyweds to something special, in celebration of their upcoming wedding day.

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