PLANNING YOUR SECOND WEDDING
Congratulations on your second wedding! As you probably gather, not all newlyweds begin married life with the same marital history. The marriage may be a first for both, or one or both spouses may have married previously. These latter couples may enter the marriage with children and commitments from previous marital unions. The US Census Bureau report has an incredible amount of remarriage information on weddings in the US if you want to get into the finer details.
While second weddings are typically smaller and more intimate that first weddings, there are no rules if you want to have a grand affair the second time around too. So if you are taking the plunge again we have some useful tips and advice for making your encore wedding a memorable celebration.
ANNOUNCING YOUR ENGAGEMENT
Once you are engaged the very first people you should tell are your respective children if you have them. You certainly want to give them reasonable time to work through any emotional issues they might have and telling them well in advance gives them time to adjust to the idea of a new family arrangement.
If you are divorced with children then you must let your ex-spouse know about your upcoming nuptials. With older children you can ask if they would prefer to tell their other parent about your second wedding or if they would rather you do that. Regardless, you should try to let your ex-spouse know as soon as possible after you have told your children about your engagement so that they do not have to keep it a secret and can openly discuss their concerns if necessary.
If you are divorced without children then you do not need to mention your second marriage to your ex-spouse unless you are on good terms with them and want to share your news. However, if your first spouse died then you will want to be sensitive to your deceased spouse's families' feelings and also let them know.
Couples usually split the cost of their second wedding. Parents and relatives may or may not be able to contribute to your second wedding, and it's certainly not expected of them, so keep that in mind when budgeting for your day. Of course, if they offer, you may graciously accept their help!
INVOLVING YOUR CHILDREN
You should encourage your children to decide for themselves if they want to participate in your second wedding. Smaller children may be a flower girl, ring bearer, junior bridesmaid, groomsman or even the best man or maid of honor. Maybe they could read a religious passage or a special poem during the ceremony or make a toast during the reception.
Most importantly, be sure they are comfortable with their role and explain what is expected of them. If your children are very young, you may want to ask a family member or babysitter to care for them at the wedding. It is wise to also have a backup person for this in case something unexpected arises on your wedding day.
In order to remarry you will need to supply proof that you are legally divorced from your first spouse (known as a "decree of dissolution" in the USA and a "decree absolute" in the UK), or a death certificate if you are widowed. Be sure that your paperwork is in order well in advance of applying for your marriage license.
In a second marriage where children are involved ensure that you seek appropriate legal advice with regard to financial and inheritance aspects of your union and guardianship issues. It's best to call your local county clerk’s office to learn the specifics.
Although not a hard and fast requirement, a prenuptial agreement is worth serious attention if you are wealthy, own property or have the financial future of your children to think about. It’s not the most romantic subject, but it’s good to have protection in place. Be prepared to be completely open and honest about everything including what you own, what you owe and how you want to be together financially.
Bridal showers for a second-time bride are not usually given or expected. However, if your friends or family insist on throwing one, YAY for you! Of course, if you feel differently about it, let your maid of honor or close friends know early on in your engagement that you would rather skip this pre-celebration.
Second wedding showers can be tricky so here are some things to keep in mind. People who were invited to your previous bridal shower should really not be invited again, with the exception of your mom, very close relatives and friends who really want to celebrate with you. New friends can be invited, as well as your fiancé’s close friends and family members. However, if he has been married before, the invites should not include his friends or family who attended a shower for his first wife, unless you both agree they should come.
For couples who may already have all of the basic necessities, food showers, garden showers, or other themed showers may be more appropriate than traditional showers. Monogram showers are also a good option. Or, instead of a shower, your attendants might rather have a small luncheon or tea for you–sans gifts.
SECOND WEDDING DRESSES
Wearing a white dress for your second wedding is perfectly acceptable these days but you also have the option to wear a style and color that feels and looks good on you. Many brides choose a more mature look such as a brocade suit or a simple cocktail dress. However, if you eloped the first time, or really want that princess moment again, there is no reason why you can't do that. The only important etiquette rule is don't wear the same dress you wore in your first wedding!
REGISTERING & WEDDING GIFTS
The standard rule of etiquette states that gifts are not mandatory for a second wedding. Traditionally wedding gifts were given to help the newlyweds set up their home, and typically, second-time brides and grooms already have their households in order.
However, gifts are now much more commonly given at second weddings. You are free to register just as you did for your first wedding for items you may need in your new household. If you do not wish to receive gifts, you can politely say so on your wedding invitation or state that you prefer a donation to a favorite charity instead.
If this is a first-time marriage for one of you then it is reasonable to expect family and friends to give gifts for your first marriage. The one that is remarrying, on the other hand, should not expect gifts from his/her family.