Real Simple etiquette expert Catherine Newman advises a reader on how to discourage physical wedding gifts.

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Q. I’m getting married in October. My fiancé and I are over 45 and well established in life. Both of us have houses and have been married before. We really don’t need standard wedding gifts. Is there a way to ask for a gift card or just cash without being rude?

Name withheld by request

A. Congratulations! And how lucky you are to be at a point in your lives where you want for almost nothing, save each other. According to traditional etiquette, gifts for a remarrying couple are not mandatory, particularly from people who gave you or your fiancé a wedding gift the first time around. And this is probably just as well, since your hunch is right: There is no acceptable way to ask for cash or gift cards without running the risk of seeming crass.

You could just decide to forgo all loot, gift cards and cash included. In that case, add a line to the invitations noting “No gifts, please” or requesting that guests make a donation to a charity in honor of your happiness.

Of course, some people will ignore these instructions and give you stuff anyway. But with any luck, they’ll be meaningful presents that you’ll treasure for life, not another set of salad bowls. And you’ll have communicated that the wedding celebration is all you really need.

Catherine Newman

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