Another Walk Down the Aisle
You never thought you’d head down the aisle again, but now you’re planning a second wedding.
“Divorce happens. Death happens,” says Lynn Dale, principal at Lynn Dale Events, who also planned her own second wedding.
For older generations, second weddings were hushed affairs. Today people understand the commonality of getting remarried, and they’re ready to celebrate second marriages – just with a little extra thoughtful planning.
Get on the Same Page
Brides and grooms can have different ideas about their big day, so talk about it. “I wanted to run away and elope. He wanted big because he’d never been married before,” says encore bride JoAnna Castle of Indianapolis. Castle compromised, and the couple opted for a scaled back event for 150 family members and friends at their April wedding. “It was a blast!” says Castle.
Know Your Priorities
This time around, you’re older, wiser and know what’s important about this special day with your new mate. “It helps having had the experience before, says Christina Bellantoni of Los Angeles, who remarried last year. “Pick the things that matter most to you. Stand your ground and be flexible about everything else.”
Try Something Different
Use the opportunity to redefine tradition. With three weddings between the two of them, Rose Swearingen and her husband wanted to their wedding to be something neither of them had done before. The Mesa, Ariz., couple decided on a destination wedding. “We are absolutely in love with the Big Island of Hawaii, so we decided to get married there.”
Make it Affordable
Your second wedding may be exactly what you want, but as Courtney Fontenot, wedding planner at Alpha Prosperity Events says, it’s usually what you also can afford. “Encore couples are usually a little more mature and may not be spending the $25,000 to $35,0000 on the wedding.”
Say Yes to a Different Dress
Don’t be the mature bride who’s desperately trying to look young. “The princess with the train – that ship sailed the first time,” says Dale. Choose a dress that makes you feel great and reflects your style and the tone of the event. Dale herself chose a sassy, yet age-appropriate Vera Wang mini-dress paired with great shoes.
Honor Your Children
Whether the first marriage ended due to divorce or a spouse’s death, children of all ages can have trouble adjusting to the idea of someone new marrying their parent. “Change is sometimes difficult for kids,” says Fontenot. While children may not agree with the idea of a second wedding, they still need to respect it.
Respect their needs too. It might be a great idea for your children to participate in the ceremony, but they may not be comfortable being the center of attention. Don’t force it, but try to find another way to honor them. Dale, for example, created a bouquet that untied into multiple smaller bouquets that she passed out to her and her husband’s children.
Gift registries are important for first weddings, but for your second, it’s unlikely you’ll need more stuff. Dale says if your guests ask to give gifts, you can respond, “Your presence is the only present we require,” or ask for charitable donations. “If people ignore a no gifts policy, be gracious,” says Dale.
However, Fontenot says registries for second weddings can serve a different purchase, like provide a honeymoon package, family trip or help with buying large household items.
Enjoy Your Day
The second journey you take to the altar may have come through the painful end of a first marriage, but remember that’s shaped who you are and how you approach this day. “My own spirit was freer in it. That allowed me to enjoy the moment more,” says Bellantoni.