A Guide to Getting Remarried in Style
26 Aug 2008 9:12 PM by Sachin Gupta
It seems like everyone has an opinion on second weddings. "You shouldn't wear white" or "You shouldn't have such a fancy second wedding" or even "Eloping is what made the first marriage fail – you have to have a big church wedding this time." If you're planning a second wedding while trying to sort out etiquette from opinions, here's a guide for everything from what to wear to how to register. Don't worry - you're older, you're wiser and you've got some experience under your belt – this time should be a snap, right?
Second Wedding Dresses and Attire
The good news is that the old rule about not wearing white for a second wedding has gone out the window. You can wear whatever color feels and looks good on you. Most brides getting remarried have already had their "Princess in a white dress" moment the first time around, and so opt for a more mature look such as a brocade suit or a simple cocktail dress. However, if you eloped the first time, or simply want to have that Princess moment again, there's no reason why you can't. In fact, as divorce and remarriage becomes an evermore regular part of our society, the possibilities for what a second wedding dress can be are endless.
Ideas for what to wear to a second wedding:
a designer dress that you've been salivating over, but couldn't justify its expense – until now
an off-white floor-length sheath dress
a beautiful suit, in any color
especially if you looked like a demure princess the first time, wow 'em with a sexy slip dress
Announcing Your Engagement and Telling Your Ex-Husband or Ex-Wife
The very first people you should tell are your children. You can ask them if they'd rather tell their other parent, or if they prefer that you share the news. If you don't have children, it is certainly not mandatory that you inform your ex-spouse – only tell them if you'd rather they didn't hear it from someone else. Many people find that its easiest to send a letter saying "I wanted to share with you the glad news that John and I are getting married. I've already told our children, and asked them to be a part of the wedding ceremony." Afterwards, in the regular way.
Involving Children in a Second Wedding
If you have children, you may wish to make them a special part of your second wedding. Depending on their age, they may be a flower girl, ring bearer, junior bridesmaid or groomsman, or even the best man or maid of honor. Perhaps they would like to read something during the ceremony, or make a special toast during the reception. Make sure that they are comfortable with their role. If your children are especially young, you may want to invite their other parent to be there.
Something that is becoming more common is to include children in a second wedding with a family vow after the bride and groom's vows. For example, "I, (name), solemnly promise that I will care for you, love you and honor you as my own." Some people also give a small medallion or piece of jewelry, saying something like "Take this as a symbol of our family, and our love for you." Other couples instead will simply ask their officiant to bless them and declare them one united family. are perfect for second weddings as well.
One couple that I knew included their children's names on their invitations, saying "Diane Jones and Mark Smith invite you to join them as they celebrate their wedding, and together with their son Winston Jones, become one family." In this case, the bride was a widow. Divorced couples will want to make sure their ex-spouses are comfortable with such wording.
Registering and Wedding Gifts for a Second Wedding
Rules of etiquette state that gifts are not mandatory for a second wedding. This is because traditionally wedding gifts are to help a couple set up their household, and presumably, second time brides and grooms already have their own households. However, gifts are now much more common for a second wedding. You can register just as you did for your first wedding. You may wish to register for more fun things such as art work, or at a store like Sears where you can register for everything from furniture to electronics as well as home goods.
Bridal Showers for a Second Wedding
For the same reason that wedding gifts aren't always given, bridal showers for a second-time bride are not that common. Your friends may insist on throwing one. If so, look for an unusual theme such as "stock the liquor cabinet" where guests are asked to bring either glassware, bar accessories, or a favorite bottle of liquor. Of course, you'll have to have the guests over soon to enjoy the success of such a shower!
Who Pays for a Second Wedding
Typically the bride and groom split the costs of a second wedding evenly. Whether or not they contributed to the costs of your first wedding, you shouldn't expect parents or relatives to chip in. Of course, if they offer, you may accept their help graciously.