When you are planning a second wedding (or maybe third) there are a lot of perceptions and misconceptions. This is not your first go around, so on the bright side, at least you know what to expect and have a few things in mind that perhaps you would have done differently your first time around. On the other hand, things may be a little more complicated. The good news is, much like your first wedding, there is no strict rule of thumb.
At the end of the day, this is your wedding. You can go as big or as small as you like. This is a celebration of you and your family and you want the event to feel like it resembles you. If this means inviting 400 of your closest friends and family, or if it means vacationing with a small group to a sandy isle, make your choices based on what makes you and your partner happy and excited.
What to consider when planning a second wedding:
Involving your kids
If kids are in the picture, you want to be sensitive to their needs and feelings. Weddings are a time of change for everyone, and that goes for them as well. If they want to be part of the celebration, make them a part of it. Bridesmaids, Best Man, Ring Bearer, etc. That being said, not everyone may want to participate and that is okay. Perhaps there is a behind the scenes role that can be played – like helping to select the music played at the reception or helping pick out the cake. There are lots of ways we can incorporate family and friends into these special life moments. In situations where there are delicate emotions at play, it is best for all involved to not force anything and allow everyone to be as involved as they wish to be.
What about gifts?
I have had people ask me whether it was appropriate to create a registry or have a bridal shower for their second marriage. My answer is: sure, why not? Depending on where you are in life, your new marriage may be involving a move to a new home or even to a new city. It is perfectly acceptable to create a list of items that you genuinely need. Marriage is an exciting thing, no matter what the situation, so don’t feel ashamed to celebrate that!
Small vs. large wedding
This is a personal decision and really depends on the couple. Some things to consider as you are planning a second wedding are who you want to invite, who might actually attend, and your budget. If you are struggling with whether to invite certain groups of friends but don’t want to hurt feelings, you can always opt for a small, private family wedding and throw a fun party later with friends. Destination weddings tend to be popular in first and second marriages because they often include a smaller group of those that are closest to you. Investigate all-inclusive resorts that offer nice package rates.
What about the relatives?
This can be an awkward subject, especially if you are still close with your ex’s family members. Should you invite them? Is that weird? The way I look at it, if you are still close friends with them, then they likely know about your new partner and are either on board or not. If you are unsure, I always lean on the side of being inclusive. If they are not comfortable they will make their own decision whether or not to attend.
Should I wear a white dress?
It’s your wedding, so you wear what makes you feel happiest and like the bride that you are. White dresses are still very common among second and third marriages and they allow you to rethink some bridal fashion choices you may have done differently the first time. Choose something that fits your personality and style.
This is your wedding and a celebration of the start of the next phase of your life. Your life may look different than the first time, but you are older and wiser and have the experience to make the choices that fit you best. When planning a second wedding, remember there is no right or wrong. Make this a day to celebrate with your family as you begin this next adventure.