The etiquette around wedding gifts is the source of much confusion, and it only gets more complicated as weddings take on more unusual and bespoke forms. With many couples choosing to host a day-two party that’s even bigger than the wedding day itself, a new challenge presents itself – if I’m only attending Day Two, how do I approach gifts? In other words, should I give a gift if I only go to the day-after party? Here, we provide some sensible guidance for this head-scratching issue around wedding gift etiquette.
But first, why do couples invite extra guests on Day Two?
Traditionally, the day-two party provided the couple with an excuse to spend more time with their wedding guests, particularly if they’ve travelled a long way to attend their wedding. But, for a couple of reasons, we’ve started to see larger guest lists at second-day celebrations;
- In 2020 and 2021, Covid-19 restrictions and concerns about vulnerable guests prompted some couples to expand their guest lists on Day Two, after a more intimate gathering for the wedding – trend which has remained!
- Children are sometimes invited to the day-after festivities because the day itself isn’t well suited to kids.
- The venue’s capacity may restrict the couple in how many guests they can invite to the main event.
- The format of a day-two party – outdoor BBQ, buffet lunch in a pub, etc. – often lends itself to a bigger crowd with more flexible guest numbers.
In short, the day-after party allows the couple to invite guests that they aren’t able to accommodate on the actual wedding day.
Do I have to attend the Day Two party if I’m not invited to the wedding?
In short, no, but it’s polite to accept the invitation if you can. Declining an invitation for day two isn’t as tricky as declining a wedding invitation, for the simple reason that it’s almost always a more casual event, with less rigid guest numbers. As with declining an invitation to the wedding after-party (known as “The Afters” here in Ireland), there’s no need to worry that the couple will be offended – there’s a mutual understanding that you’re not among the couple’s very closest friends and family members, so they likely won’t be too upset. That said, it’s nice to attend if you can.
Should I give a gift if I only go to the day-after party?
Generally speaking, there’s no need to give the couple a gift if you’re only attending their day-after party, or another secondary wedding event, and not the wedding itself. While every couple and social circle is different, in our experience, the couple won’t be expecting a gift in this case. A hand-written card is a perfectly acceptable way to express your congratulations, buying the couple a drink on the day is a nice touch, too. If you really want to show your gratitude, a donation to a charity in their name, or a bottle of bubbly sent to their home in advance of the wedding, would be lovely. The couple will likely be pleasantly surprised, and appreciate the gesture. You’ll find more information on choosing a gift below.
I’ve decided to give the couple a gift – how much should I give?
Our general advice here is not to go overboard – if your gift is very generous, the couple may feel bad about not inviting you to the official wedding day. The custom at weddings in Ireland is to give a cash gift that represents a contribution towards the price of your meal, so you could apply this same logic to the day-two party. So, while the average wedding gift in Ireland is €50 to €200 per guest, the amount for a party with finger food or a buffet meal would be €50 to €75. By this reasoning, no gift would be required for a casual party without food. Of course, as stated above, none of this is really necessary. You should also take into account your relationship with the couple, and how much you can afford to spend. We’ve got more alternative gift ideas for when you’re not attending the wedding here.
Got another question that needs answering? Check out our wedding FAQ page!