Navigate through your second (or third, or fourth…) wedding with this handy encore wedding guide.
Just because it’s not your first time down the aisle doesn’t mean your celebration should be any less fabulous (if you so desire).
With past experience comes a wealth of knowledge, knowing what previously worked and what didn’t. But now there are other factors to consider that you may not have encountered the first time around: How should the announcement be made? Are there children involved this time? What should you wear? Is an elaborate gathering appropriate?
Answers to all your encore wedding questions…
Who to tell?
If children are involved from previous marriages, they should be the first to know regardless of how they already feel about your fiancé. They are going to have a new stepparent and can feel estranged if they are not the first to know. Next to know should be your parents and immediate family members. If you have children with your ex, you should also make your ex aware of the change in family structure as soon as possible.
What type of style?
Don’t let us or anyone else dictate what type of celebration you should have. You may feel more comfortable keeping the event low profile, or you may see this as your chance to do everything you wanted to do last time. Regardless, you should try to make this wedding stand apart from the last one; if you previously exchanged vows in a church and followed it up with an elaborate reception in a hotel ballroom, consider a low-key gathering at a museum or a local park this time.
Whether or not your parents chipped in last time, you may want to fund this event yourselves, since you’re likely more established and settled as adults. (time to kick your budgeting skills into high gear!) In lieu of wedding presents, you could always ask your parents to pitch in to the cost of the reception, but you shouldn’t make anyone feel inadequate if they can’t or aren’t willing to contribute again.
Who to involve? Don’t assume that whoever was involved in your last wedding will want to take on the same role in this one. A bridal party of ten might be reluctant to cover the expense to be in another wedding. The same applies to any children as well. While you will inevitably want your children to participate in your celebration in one way or another, don’t force them to do anything they are not comfortable with. They can be as active as a bridesmaid or a flower girl, or they can be as unassuming as a reader or candle lighter if they prefer. Above all, reassure them that their presence is all that you ask in the end.How to invite?
The same rules apply to remarriages and first marriages when it comes to the announcements and invitations. Your stationery gives guests a glimpse of what’s to come in terms of style and tone. If you are planning an elaborate affair, send out formal invitations. If you are hosting an informal get-together, save the postage and send out a clever electronic invite. Browse our wedding invitations guide for more advice and etiquette on your invites.
What to wear?
First time or not, seeing yourself in a wedding dress can be delightfully enchanting. This time, you come equipped with experience and knowledge to know what will flatter you the most. Choose anything that reflects the style of celebration and your personality at this point in your life. It’s perfectly acceptable to wear white, although you may want to steer clear of long trains and veils, which are usually reserved for first time brides. The only real rule is that you should try to distinguish your ensemble from your previous look. If you donned a white Cinderella-style ball gown last time, consider a blush tea-length dress this time, or vice versa. Get more advice on planning your wedding attire with our complete wedding dress guide.
How to register?
Chances are, you are already settled into a life with everything you need. You can always register for those miscellaneous household items you always wanted but never got around to buying yourself, or you can set up a charity registry in lieu of traditional gifts. Or don’t register at all, since gift-giving at first and second weddings is purely optional; guests who choose to bring gifts may bring whatever they deem appropriate. More tips on registering for gifts can be found in our bridal registry guide.
What kind of shower?
If you’ve already had the customary “bridal bingo” shower, try something a little different this time. Get your closest girlfriends together for an afternoon of dance lessons, an evening of wine tasting, a day of hiking, or a weekend spa getaway. Consult our Meaningful Shower Ideas for inspiration.
How to honeymoon?
While including your children in the wedding planning process can be a rewarding bonding experience, you will probably want some alone time away with your new hubby when all is said and done. If your children are too young to be left alone, hire a nanny to come along for the trip, or travel to a kid-friendly resort where trained professionals can keep them occupied for the majority of the day. Otherwise, just pack your bags and run for the hills! Consult our honeymoon travel guide for tips on planning your honeymoon.