Tips and Considerations for Planning Your 2nd Wedding

Tying the knot for the second time? There are probably several questions running through your head. What needs to be done? What should be avoided? Planning an event can be stressful and with a second marriage, there are additional things to keep in mind. Whether it is a huge and grand wedding or a small and intimate one, a wedding is all about celebrating the love between two people. When it comes to planning a wedding, think about your vision for that special day as well as the impact of your nuptials on your loved ones. How to involve children in your wedding If you or your partner have children, it is recommended to tell them about your wedding plans before anyone else. Experts even say depending on the relationship, it might be best to inform them in the absence of your fiancé and do this no matter the age of your children. Invite your children to participate in the planning and preparations, and let them decide whether they want to be part of the ceremony or not. Forcing them to participate when they are not ready can create animosity about your upcoming nuptials. Make sure they have the option to contribute planning ideas so they feel part of the wedding before and during the ceremony. Your children may have a hard time accepting the changes that the blended future family may bring. Let them accept this at their own pace. Second marriages are often centered on the union of two families, rather than just the two of you. You can include in the wedding ceremony a family unity sign or painting, an exchange of jewelry not only between you two but including the children and even your grandchildren. A candle unity ritual might be a beautiful way during the ceremony to incorporate both families. Anna from Maryland contributed another tip based on her experience when planning her wedding to her current husband. She said she and her then fiancé talked about the wedding plans constantly and that overwhelmed the children they each had from previous marriages.  The children, who were high school and college aged at the time, wanted to discuss topics other than just wedding plans. They were inadvertently alienating their children with the constant conversation about the upcoming wedding. Once they were aware of what they were doing, they made adjustments and by not talking about the wedding plans all the time, their children actually became more interested in participating. Picking a wedding date When choosing a wedding date, consider where it falls on the calendar. Does it interfere with your kids or grandkids' holiday or summer vacations? More importantly, you will want to avoid a date that coincides with dates that are significant to each of your previous marriages, especially if those marriages ended in divorce. We heard from Kelly and she and her fiancé selected a wedding date that represents a significant day of the week and time of the year that is meaningful to when they met. She said establishing new traditions throughout the year is important for them to move forward as a couple. What to do about the dress? Who doesn't love dress shopping! Those going for an encore wedding are typically more mature compared to when they were married the first time. Consequently, second-timers tend to go for a more sophisticated look, which can reflect on everything from their wedding dress to their menu, music and floral arrangements. In the past, second-time brides were discouraged from going for flashy dresses like first-time brides. Sometimes, they were even told to avoid wearing white. However, the recent trend is that brides choose whatever they prefer. If they want to go for a heavy, white dress, then they should go for it. At the end of the day, the dress should represent your personal flare and reflect the theme of your wedding. Wedding Venue We heard from several women with opinions about the size and scale of a second wedding. Some women said they felt that after a divorce from a 25 year marriage, it was not in good taste to have a huge 2nd wedding in size and scale. However, other women shared that it is your day and celebrate as you wish. This might be your 2nd wedding but your spouse’s first wedding. Additionally, when considering the adage of doing what makes you happy as you age, your wedding venue should represent your vision for the big day. Just as we would with any event, be mindful when it comes to access to the venue, travel expenses and lodging. Maybe you are thinking about going to the Justice of the Peace and not inviting friends and family members. This sometimes causes tension with your loved ones who want to celebrate with you. Make sure you and your spouse are open and honest with loved ones so they know your thoughts and why you opted for the Justice of the Peace. Relationship experts tell us that your 2nd marriage will be starting off in a better place if you are respectful of other opinions but ultimately, make decisions as a couple. Let those in your life know it is not personal but rather a couple decision. Clear communication with not only one another but those close to both of you will ensure you are staying true to yourselves and getting the support of your loved ones. Creating your wedding list One of the most challenging aspects of planning any wedding is narrowing in on the wedding list. When it is your 2nd wedding, there are additional challenges. As a rule of the thumb, you should invite only the people who will be happy for you and skip anyone who may cause awkwardness, a distraction or other negative emotions that you don’t need on your wedding day. If your former in-laws are on good terms with you or still act as devoted grandparents to your children, you may consider inviting them or even each of your ex-spouses. This can demonstrate a level of maturity to your children and make this transition easier for them as well if your previous spouse or in-laws attend the wedding. Make sure you and your fiancé are on the same page though when it comes to invites. Don’t be surprised though if some attendees you thought were your friends choose not to come because of loyalty to your ex-spouse. Anna shared she was disappointed that friends she shared with her ex-spouse choose not to come to her wedding because they did not want to appear disloyal to her ex. Wedding shower and wedding gifts When it comes to a bridal shower and a second wedding, consider a “sprinkle” rather than an elaborate shower. One recommendation is a small gathering of close family and friends and smaller, token gifts. Take the opportunity to share your excitement with a nice brunch or dinner out together. If someone rally wants to express their happiness with a gift, accept it graciously but keep the emphasis on celebrating the upcoming marriage rather than gifts. In terms of wedding gifts, your friends and family may have already spent money on presents for your first marriage so consider communicating through word of mouth that you are not expecting gifts. Avoid putting on the invitation “no gifts” because it might take away from the overall invite. Some couples marrying for the second time suggest a donation to their favorite charity or a gift card to a favorite restaurant. When it comes to a second marriage, focus on celebrating the relationship rather than the gifts. Ultimately, your wedding ceremony and reception should be everything you envision. Include traditional wedding rituals or create your own, new experiences to ensure your 2 nd wedding is unique from your first wedding. Make sure your family is involved in the planning and wedding day as much as they want to be included. This is your 2nd chance for love and happiness and your wedding represents the start of your new life together.

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