Second Marriage Bridal Showers: Why the Heck Not?

A strict reading of wedding tradition condemns second marriage bridal showers. But do you have to be hidebound by tradition?

Traditional wedding etiquette takes a uniformly negative stance on second marriage bridal showers. According to the prigs among us, daring to have a bridal shower prior to a second or subsequent wedding is Just Not Done.

Whether you're divorced or widowed, the reasons don't matter. Some guardians of our morals even denounce the practice when it's the bride-to-be's first marriage if the fiancé has been married before.

Archaic Attitude

As far as Yours Truly is concerned, this attitude is just a bit old-fashioned, and smacks of self-righteous Puritans who need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th century, much less the 21st. Just because someone's getting married again doesn't mean they don't need a wedding shower.

By that as it may, if your buddy's getting ready to marry, it's your decision to make if you're the maid or matron of honor. If social constraints make it inadvisable, then take them into account. Otherwise, why not have a shower?


Your first consideration should always be: does the bride-to-be expect a shower? If you're not sure, just ask; don't make assumptions in either direction. Then check to see if the rest of her friends want to hold the shower. If so, what's stopping you? Those who don't like the idea need not attend.

I've heard of cases where the bride's own mother condemned the idea of holding a wedding shower because the husband (NOT the bride) had been married before. This attitude seems to assume that having been previously married taints you somehow, especially if it didn't work out and you divorced.

Here in the Real World

Other rulebooks will tell you that people who attended your first wedding's shower(s) should not be invited to showers for second or subsequent weddings... and if they are, they need not bring gifts. This is right up there with the rules that say family members shouldn't host wedding showers.

Supposedly, the idea is that if you and/or your spouse were previously married, then you don't need the gifts that wedding showers bring, since you've already established your households.

But let's be real. Just because you've been married before doesn't mean you have everything you need or want now. There are such things as divorce settlements; and in any case, in this wealthy era, how many people, male or female, actually need other people to stock their houses for them?

Nowadays, shower gifts are more for fun than anything else.

The Bottom Line

I think that we need to jettison much of the old wedding shower etiquette, because it just doesn't fit the circumstances anymore. We throw showers to celebrate joyous occasions, that's all -- so there's nothing wrong with second marriage bridal showers.

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