Second marriage weddings are becoming much more common, which means many of the wedding traditions are changing. There are a number of alternatives and choices that may fit your individual situation. Your decisions may be determined by you and your fiancé’s age, whether children are involved, or if this is a second marriage for either of you.
Announcing Your Engagement for a Second Wedding
When children from previous marriages are involved, you should tell them first. Chances are they already have an idea, but they still need to hear the news from you. A second marriage wedding should be handled carefully and with love. You want them to feel they are gaining another caring adult in their lives. You don't want them to feel as if they're losing a parent or having an existing parent replaced. You also need to notify a former spouse when children are involved, preferably before the children spill the news.
Afterwards, let your parents know the good news; then, of course, tell your friends and relatives. Traditionally, if it's the bride's second marriage, a formal announcement is not made. If it is the bride's first, and the groom's second marriage wedding, a formal engagement announcement is customary.
Planning Your Second Wedding Ceremony
If the bride is getting married for the first time, then everything remains traditional. The second marriage wedding may be as formal and religious as you would like, depending on your particular-denomination.
One of the first things you should do when planning a second wedding is to find out all regulations or restrictions on the remarriage of a divorced person. Your house of worship or officiant is a good place to start.
If the bride has been married before, a semi-formal or informal wedding is usually chosen, rather than a large, very formal wedding. The exception to this would be if the bride never had a large, formal first wedding, or has no children. Another exception could be when it is the bride's second, but the groom's first marriage. In this case the groom's parents may want to host the wedding or the couple may choose to pay for it themselves. In any case, it is not right to expect the bride's family to pay for a second large wedding.
When it is both the bride's and the groom's second marriage, it is best to have a tasteful semi-formal or informal wedding. It may still be in a church, chapel, home, hotel, or club. There should be a maid or matron of honor in the ceremony but no bridesmaids. Similarly, the groom should have a best man but should only have ushers if they are needed, and they would not stand at the altar. When there are children from previous marriages, the couple may want to involve them in some way, depending on their ages.
The Second Wedding Dress
With the increase of second marriage weddings, designers in the bridal industry are making a great number of beautiful dresses for the encore bride-to-be. You may select a romantically feminine, lacy dress of mid-calf or ankle length in white or ivory, or a traditionally elegant knee length dress or suit in white or pastel. What you choose to wear will depend on the formality of the ceremony, the time of day and, most important, what you feel good wearing.
Yes, you may wear white. However, a veil, the symbol of virginity, should not be worn. Instead, wear a hat or a wreath of fresh flowers. You may also want to carry a bouquet or a flower-trimmed prayer book.
Invitations and Announcements
When the ceremony is larger than just a few close friends and relatives, including, say, thirty or more guests, you should send printed invitations. Usually the person who is hosting the ceremony and reception issues the invitations. Again the wording of them will depend on your individual situation (examples are given in the chapter on invitations).
Gifts are not expected for a second marriage wedding, though many guests may choose to send one. Accept any gifts graciously and acknowledge them with thank you notes. It is not correct to indicate "no gifts" on the invitation.
When a large reception follows a small ceremony, a formal reception invitation should be sent to all the guests; simply insert a ceremony card for guests who are invited to both.
The Second Wedding Reception
The reception may be any size or style you wish. Neither the bride's nor the groom's previous marriages have any effect on this. Having a large reception is a nice way to include friends who couldn't be a part of the ceremony.
You may still toast with champagne, cut the wedding cake, and have a "first dance." You might want to consider omitting first wedding customs like tossing the bride's bouquet and garter.
Reaffirming Your Wedding Vows
Reaffirming wedding vows is becoming more popular, especially with couples who had civil ceremonies or eloped, due to convenience or lack of finances. The renewal of vows occasionally takes place shortly after the wedding day, but more commonly takes place years after the couple was originally married.
The couple may choose to repeat the same vows they once said, or they may want to write new ones that express the way their love for one another has grown over the years. The ceremony possibilities for a reaffirmation are varied. You may choose a small ceremony with close friends and family, or a larger one that includes new friends you have acquired over the years. You may want to have it in a church, in your home, or in the garden, a perfect symbol of the life you have nurtured together. It's a nice idea to make children, if there are any, a part of the ceremony. Many choose to combine it with a special anniversary, such as the tenth or twenty-fifth. Then they have the ceremony first, followed by a festive party.