Wording Second Wedding Invitations to Include Potluck Dinner and Gift Choices


Question: My fiance are getting married in Mexico in January. It is his first wedding, my second. We are paying for this ourselves, so, we trying to keep expenses down. I have 3 children coming with us to be a part of the ceremony.

We are sending out Save the Date / Invitations and want to include a card with information on it such as – how to contact us if they want to come to the wedding, that we will be having a family potluck celebration of the wedding in 2 different states when we return and that we are not registered anywhere, however, cash gifts would be appreciated to go toward the wedding cost. I’m just not sure how to word things!!! HELP!!!

Thank you!!!

See Best Wedding Invitations Online and Ultimate Guide to Wedding Invitations.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Now

Dear Mexico Bride,

I can’t think of any polite way to word this either, as it is in no way polite. To ask your guests to give you cash to pay for your wedding is beyond improper. Plus, it is impolite to ask your guests to bring the party–your reception. This should not be a ‘pot-luck’. If you want a reception, you should pay for it.

If you have children involved in your wedding, you are expected to pay for them.

The rule is: you invite, you pay.

Best wishes,

Reader Response

I was planning on paying for my children to go to the wedding absolutely.

And just recently we had been invited to a couples’ wedding shower where the couple asked for no gifts, only cash and no one seemed to be bothered by this in talking to people.

I didn’t want to have a couples’ shower, as I thought that would be too much with a bridal shower, wedding, and reception. Our thoughts on the potluck were to compile favorite family recipes, and keep it informal, but we could pay for a simple get together.

Thank you for your help and input.

Remarriage Expert

You know, just because others do it doesn’t make something right or proper.

Every time I dine out I am always shocked to be sitting near someone who insists on blowing their nose at the table while others are eating. No one ever says anything but we all agree it is disgusting and Peggy Post lists this an improper table manners in her newest etiquette book.

When I am invited to a gift giving event I do not want to be told what gift I should select and the host shouldn’t be asking. The best part of gift giving is selecting the gift and the best part of gift-getting is seeing what the sender has selected for you.

Mentioning gifts on the invitation implies you are expecting gifts – an etiquette no-no. In addition – gifts are given only for the wedding, not the reception, so, anyone not invited to the wedding wouldn’t be obligated to bring a gift (although many do anyway).

If you receive a gift you cannot use, thank the guest, and then either return the gift to the store or donate it to someone less fortunate.

Plan the wedding you can afford to pay for without any help from your guests. Then, let whatever gifts you receive be the icing on the cake!

Reader Response

Thank you for your input. We weren’t asking for gifts from anyone who wasn’t invited. I just don’t want people to waste their time and money – both are too precious. I was delighted to be able to give the other couple exactly what they needed, not what I thought they could use, and so did many other people. When you register, you’re still telling people what to get you, I just don’t want things I won’t use or need. In my opinion, the best part of gift-giving, is giving from the heart, and the best part of gift-getting is knowing that. We’ll just invite everyone, and celebrate with everyone either at the wedding or at an informal get together months later. And if people ask about gifts, we’ll let them know that we are not registered anywhere and appreciate their thoughtfulness in considering getting us anything, and would love their blessings and prayers.

Thanks again!

P.S. – I sure hope I don’t sit next to you during allergy season – I would hate to offend you!

Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Now

Even though no one seemed bothered by being asked to give cash doesn’t mean they weren’t. It is never appropriate to ask for cash for a shower. This isn’t an appropriate gift. Plus, only those invited to the wedding can be invited to the shower. So, be very careful who is invited to your shower.

Remarriage Expert

If you’re that sick you should be home. If you do venture out then I would surely hope that you would excuse yourself to the bathroom. I know of no one who likes to review the bodily fluids of their dining partners. YUK!

Remarriage Expert

Right – and – with all due respect – we’re not giving opinions here. You asked us about etiquette. Our answers are based on what is considered socially acceptable as per the most respected etiquette experts like Peggy Post. We cannot tell you how to word an invitation which is focused on an improper element.

A few notes:

When you regsiter for gifts you are not telling guests what to get. You don’t even mention the registry in the invitations. If they want help they can look through the registry to see what you like and they can opt to select something but you’re not telling them that they must shop there, only that they can if they want.

Regarding the shower – showers are one of the few parties where gift giving is the focus and highlight. It just isn’t proper – or fun – to open gift cards or cash. Imagine how boring this would be for your guests since it wouldn’t be appropriate to open gifts and announcing “gift card in the amount of ten dollars”. [shocked]

Plus, many of your guests have probably already been to a shower for you for a previous wedding and, as per Peggy Post, they are not obligated to bring another gift. If someone offers to host a shower for you just politely decline or ask them if they would call it a bridal luncheon or something that does not focus on gifts.

Wow! Well, I don’t consider any of my friends to be liars, and had something like the couples’ shower we all went to bothered any of them, believe me, they would have shared it with me – after all, it wasn’t my shower! And the shower’s focus was not on gift giving at all, and quite honestly it shouldn’t be about the gifts, it was on the couple, you know the people getting married – it wasn’t about the stuff they were getting, it was about their decision to be married.

I’m not sure I understand what the improper element is that you are referring to either???

And for your information, several people have offered to throw me a shower and I have not declined, as NONE of the people here were with me in Japan when I married, or even knew me for that matter.

As far as a registry goes, you have to know where a couple is registered in order to look at the registry. And people don’t have to give anything ever, it’s always that person’s choice.

If you guys want to continue this, I have no problem, but if you had read my last post, it said – “And if people ask about gifts, we’ll let them know that we are not registered anywhere and appreciate their thoughtfulness in considering getting us anything, and would love their blessings and prayers.”

And allergies aren’t about being sick, that’s why they’re called allergies.

Again – thanks!!

I must say I’m so thankful that I am just an ordinary relaxed girl with good manners, who doesn’t have to live life by so many rules – just the ones in God’s book!

Remarriage Expert

Look, you asked us how to properly word your invitations to tell your guests that you prefer to have money as a gift. We cannot tell you how to do that properly because it is considered improper to mention gifts on a wedding invitation – period.

We’re not here to debate opinion, but to state fact and to give etiquette advice as per modern day standards and as per the most respected etiquette experts. You can choose to host showers, ask for monetary gifts and blow your nose while others are eating but – if you ask us what the proper etiquette is surrounding these subjects we will have to tell you everything above.

So – showers ARE gift giving events. They have been traditionally given to help the bride set up a home so the emphasis is on the gifts. If you want a giftless shower – great – you can call it something other than a shower so that all guests will understand that the focus is not on gifts and they are not expected to bring a gift.

Regarding the registry – there are many popular registries guests can check without knowing exactly where you are registered. In addition, many guests will ask. At that time it is proper to tell guests where you are registered. It is also proper to list this information on a personal wedding site or to be spread by word of mouth. You’re right, guests do not HAVE to give a gift but if gifts are expected most feel obligated to do so. We even get many posts from brides asking us what they should do if someone has come to their wedding and not given a gift. That’s another story.

Again, with regard to allergies – it doesn’t much matter why there are boogers running down your face. The fact of the matter is that it is disgusting. A good dining companion will be caring about the people around them and would not want them to also be suffering from seeing or hearing them constantly blowing their nose – which, by the way is what my God wants me to do – be caring about others feelings and not to be selfish and insist on my comfort over the comfort of others. If I’m miserable I stay home. If I need to blow my nose I excuse myself to the ladies room – even if I have to interrupt my dinner. However, we are not here to discuss religion – we are discussing what is considered to be socially acceptable.

Bottom line – nose blowing at the table and asking for monetary gifts are both considered impolite. I assume that if you asked in the first place then you cared about being polite. We’ve offered our answer. You can choose to do what you like.

See Best Wedding Invitations Online and Ultimate Guide to Wedding Invitations.