As long as good taste prevails, your wedding will be an event filled with things that represent your love and make you happy, even if it’s not your first. While the details may seem daunting, we’re here to prove that your “I Do’s” don’t have to be more complicated simply because it’s the second time.
HOW BIG SHOULD IT BE?
Instead of the “go big or go home” mentality that is so common for first marriages, an intimate and more private affair might be more appropriate – and more of what you and your fiancé desire. Consider inviting your closest friends and family to join you for a wedding in your living room and a reception in the backyard. Or, have a select group travel with you to the beach for a secluded ceremony and intimate reception on the sand. If you’re looking for a more casual way to celebrate your union, take a trip to the courthouse and then head to your favorite local restaurant for lunch. A smaller wedding will also help cut down on expenses, which can be a relief especially when you have children to raise and mortgages to pay.
Just remember, the size of the celebration is not a reflection of how you two feel about one another – even if you’re having cocktails with a half a dozen friends after a late afternoon trip to City Hall, it’s the love in the room that really counts!
WHAT SHOULD IT COST?
Most couples plan and pay for a second wedding on their own, so be sure to discuss your budget realistically and stick to it. You’d be surprised how easy it is to have a luxurious celebration if you keep the guest list small, or how many people you can celebrate with if you’re willing to have a more casual daytime affair.
This is one of the biggest questions brides getting remarried ask. There’s no set rule, but we’ve got a few guidelines you may want to follow as you decide how you’ll be decked out on your wedding day.
Match the formality of the event. If you’re getting married on the beach, a ball gown isn’t the best choice. And if you’re heading to the courthouse or having a cocktail reception, you may want to choose a shorter dress.
Make this wedding unique from the previous one. If you wore a princess gown to your first wedding, you may want to wear something more mature and subtle. Short dresses, casual long gowns or pants work for a second wedding, whether in ivory or another color.
Wear whatever makes you feel beautiful, comfortable and age-appropriate. There’s no rule that says you can’t wear white twice, so don’t be afraid to look at traditional wedding gowns in addition to non-traditional options. However, you may want to forgo more traditional elements like a veil or garter.
Take a cue from the stars. Getting remarried is nothing new, so let stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Reese Witherspoon’s second (or third…) wedding looks inspire you.
Consider a colorful wedding dress. While you can definitely wear white, you may want to think about wearing a dress in a bridal color like blush, mint green or light blue. Colored gowns are incredibly popular so there are plenty of bridal options to consider, but you can also look to non-bridal designers for an outfit in a hue that flatters you.
HOW DO WE INCORPORATE CHILDREN?
If you or your fiancé (or both of you) have children from a previous marriage, your ceremony is the ideal time to include them. Turn vows between the two of you into a ceremony that symbolizes the forming of a new family. There are a plethora of beautiful rituals you can use that can include your children and show them—and your guests—how important this joining of families truly is.
Have your children come down the aisle together and stand with you and your fiancé under the altar. Have them compose a list of wishes or promises to be read together as part of the ceremony, symbolizing their involvement in the vows you and your fiancé are undertaking.
Consider a spin on the ritual of pouring colored sands into a single vessel. Assign a color to each member of the family and have everyone pour their sand into a beautiful glass jar. The mixing of colors will show how you have all brought your individual identities together to form a new, technicolored family unit.
If you’re exchanging vows on the beach, have your florist make a garland of beautiful orchids tied with a ribbon. At the end of the ceremony, as your children to join you in holding the garland. Exchange wishes for your new family or have your officiant share a blessing, then release the garland into the ocean.
During the reception, have the children give a toast together to honor their new siblings and the family the marriage has formed.
SHOULD WE SAY TRADITIONAL VOWS?
While using traditional wedding vows are appropriate depending on your religious beliefs, you may want to write your own personalized vows to reflect the journey that the two of you have taken, the meaning of your union and the merging of your two families. You could write the vows together, both repeating the same vows to one another, or each write your own vows for a truly personal touch.
SHOULD WE REGISTER?
Most couples getting remarried have already established a home, meaning they don’t need items that are traditionally found on a wedding registry. There is also the possibility of upsetting or offending guests or family members who purchased gifts for your first wedding. If you aren’t in need of traditional registry items, consider skipping a registry or choosing a non-traditional registry like a honeymoon fund or charitable donations. Keep in mind that guests may still want to send you a gift to celebrate your marriage – Thank You note etiquette still applies, regardless of the number of times you’ve been married.
WHAT ABOUT THE HONEYMOON?
Celebrating your marriage with a honeymoon is a fantastic idea but, if you and/or your spouse have children, you may want to consider going on a “familymoon” instead. Taking a trip as a family is an ideal opportunity for the newly blended family to bond, as well as to continue celebrating the parents’ union.
If your children are older and don’t have as much free time to travel or have families of their own, consider extending the wedding weekend into a long weekend during which you can all spend time together, either before the ceremony or in the days after. Then, you and your new spouse can take a honeymoon just the two of you.