Return to the Altar: Planning Your Second Wedding (or Third, or…)

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Whether you’re divorced or widowed, if you’re getting married for a second time (or more) you probably feel like you’ve been blessed with a new opportunity for life-long love and happiness. Congratulations! Now before you cue the band to play “Second Time Around“ (it’s a great first song for non-first-time couples), you’ve got some planning to do! Here are a few tips to help your return to the altar be as special and beautiful as possible.

Dress
Get your white on, girl! Yes, you can still wear that universal symbol of purity, even though the jig is up with the whole virginity thing. Actually, while white used to symbolize innocence during the Victorian age, it is now perfectly acceptable for brides of every age and degree of wholesomeness. Let’s be honest: If white were reserved only for virgin brides these days, everybody that I know would have worn hot pink down the aisle. Ivory, cream or any other shade you choose is also just dandy. Don’t think you need to “tone down” your dress to be more simple since it’s the second time around. The length and style of the dress should reflect the formality of the ceremony. If you would rather something simpler, you may want to consider cocktail length, or even an elegant pantsuit if that’s more your style.

Invitations
Your invitations should be worded like any other wedding invitation, depending on who’s hosting (translation: paying). With second marriages, there is a greater chance that the couple is hosting the event themselves since they’re presumably a little bit older and more financially equipped to do so. If you are hosting, the good news is that second or subsequent weddings tend to be smaller and less formal. If a couple is more mature, there is a chance that their grown children would even host the affair – that is in the unlikely event that they have chosen to get a job instead of claiming rent-free residence in Mom or Dad’s basement while they “take a break” after graduating from college a mere eight years into their diligent studies. Kids today.

Vows
These will probably be worded a little bit differently than original wedding vows. Click here for some ideas. Alternatively, this is a great opportunity to write your own vows, since you probably have a clearer picture of what marriage means to you than many first time brides and grooms do.

Involvement of Children
Depending on the ages of the children, they can be intimately involved with wedding preparations from centerpiece construction to music selection (teens will love this, but you may have to lay some ground rules so that you don’t end shaking your booty to “Get Ur Freak On” during your first dance). There are several ways to involve the children in the wedding ceremony, including having them serve as attendants, flower girls/ring bearers if they’re young, or reading a special passage or blessing. Some people include vows for children in the ceremony, but I believe that you need to tread very lightly here regarding what children of any age are asked to promise to their new step parent or step siblings. A unity candle ceremony or a sand ceremony involving all immediate family members might be more appropriate.

Registering
If you choose to do a wedding registry (this is perfectly acceptable, by the way), do it as you would for a first marriage and include registry information on your wedding website. However, many couples choose not to register for a second or subsequent wedding because they feel like they already own the items that they need for everyday life, or that many friends and family members already bought them gifts for their first marriage. If you choose not to register, it is still not appropriate to include that (or any) gift-giving information on your invitations. Simply use your website, or word of mouth, to spread the word that you do not wish to receive gifts.

“I Do Take Two”
IDoTakeTwo.com is a website devoted entirely to re-marriage advice and tips. You will find a wealth of useful information there. Happy planning!

about the author
Sarah Sarah has been editing the blog at mywedding for four years. She enjoys watching classic movies, spending money on eyeliner that she never wears, and convincing brides to write thank you notes.

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