Second weddings are relatively common nowadays, and so are third (and even fourth) weddings. Finding love the second (or third) time around should be celebrated. If this is your second wedding, planning should be much more comfortable, given that you have experienced getting married before—you are now more aware of what you want and what’s important to you. You have an idea of where to splurge and where to scrimp on your budget when it comes to wedding planning. You are now more comfortable saying no when you need to.
But, second weddings can be complicated, with more people who may want to be involved and certain expectations from the watchful eyes of those who are around you. So here’s a guide to second wedding etiquette that will answer all of your questions.
Probably the trickiest part of planning a second wedding is the announcement. Since it involves previous marriages, always remember to be considerate and diplomatic when it comes to your second wedding invitation wording. If there are children involved, talk to them first. Depending on your relationship with your previous spouse, speak to him or her, especially if you share custody of the kids. You wouldn’t want them to hear about your wedding from someone else.
Once you have spoken to the people who matter most, and who will be directly affected by the marriage, you can send out the wedding announcement. Social media is a more commonly used avenue for any milestone, so be mindful of what you post on your feed, which both friends and followers can see.
Gone are the days when the bride’s family pays for the wedding, even if it’s the first one. The bride and groom usually split the cost of the second wedding. If your parents offer to contribute, graciously say yes, but don’t expect them to foot the entire bill.
While most second weddings only have two members of the wedding party, which are the maid of honor and the best man, there’s no rule that says that you can’t have your closest friends and family by your side on your big day. If this is something that you want, go ahead and have a wedding party for your second marriage.
You may also want to include your kids from your previous marriage at the ceremony. Depending on their age and comfortability, they can stand as junior bridesmaids and/or junior groomsmen, ring bearers, or flower girls. You can also give them other roles, such as walking you down the aisle, reading at the ceremony, or taking part in lighting the unity candle. Second marriages involving children are often made into a family affair, because more than celebrating the love of two people, it’s also the uniting of two families.
When it comes to second marriage wedding etiquette, you don’t need to invite everyone, especially not the people from your past. Sometimes the friends that you had during your first marriage are no longer part of your life. Do you invite your ex-spouse and his or her family? Mostly, the answer is no, but again, it depends on how it ended and how your relationship is with him or her now. Ultimately, you just invite the people you want most to be with you, and those who support you and your new marriage.
Wedding gifts and registries are not mandatory, but it can be an excellent resource for your families and friends who think of ways to indulge you. Have a small wedding registry that can serve as a guide to your wedding guests. Websites for the modern bride, such as Zola, can create a bridal registry from multiple stores for gifts, experiences, and cash funds, as well as group-gifting so that your workmates can pool resources and give you and your spouse a gift that you both can enjoy.
Go ahead and break other traditions. All brides can wear white, even on their second or third weddings. Go for color and style that makes you feel the most beautiful. Let go of the thought that it has to be small and intimate since it’s your second wedding. You can have a bridal shower and a big reception party. You can chuck the garter and toss the bouquet at the reception, and keep the dances and toasts. Stick to wedding traditions that you believe in.
It’s your wedding, so focus on what makes you and your spouse happy—you can have the wedding of your dreams. Your guests, who are people who love you, will support you and your love, no matter what.