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Second Wedding Etiquette (5 Do’s And 5 Don’ts)

by Sonya Schwartz

I have to start out by congratulating you. It may not be your first wedding, but that just means it should be twice as cherished. It’s easy to understand that not everyone gets it right the first time, there are many reasons why marriages split up in the first place. There’s also the possibility that your first spouse has passed on, and if that’s the case, I offer my condolences. 

Now, let’s skip back to the matter at hand. Planning a second wedding with adequate knowledge of what’s acceptable and what’s not. Now don’t get me wrong, a second wedding shouldn’t be boring, and it’s up to you to call all the shots. 

However, second-time brides do have to consider a few tips to guide them through the planning process of this special, yet slightly controversial day. Without beating about the bush, here are a few second wedding etiquette tips that should help couples getting married for the second time. 

5 Important Do’s

1. Make sure you let your children know

Make sure you let your children know

Here’s the truth; every wedding is special, whether you’re doing so for the first time or even the third. However, second weddings can’t exactly be like the first. When planning a second wedding, you have to be more tactful. What do I mean? The first time you got married, it’s possible you didn’t have your children yet, or they were too small to remember. 

In this case, it would have been a lot easier to just make a public announcement online or even keep it to yourself and make it a private affair. When children are involved, second weddings don’t allow such luxuries, the children of both couples have to be the first to know about this new union. 

Another person you may have to inform is your ex-spouse. If he is still alive, it would be respectful to let him know that you’re moving on. Of course, depending on your relationship with your ex, you can do this at your own discretion. However, if your ex is still close to your children, or part of your lives somehow, it’s better he hears the news from you, and not anyone else. 

2. Feel free to have bridesmaids and groomsmen

It’s up to the bride and groom to decide if they want to have maids of honor or groomsmen for their second wedding. There’s no wedding etiquette that rules against that. As the bride, it’s up to you to decide which of your friends will stand beside and behind you while you make this big decision, again.

If you feel like doing things more different from what was done at the first wedding, then by all means, but those little tweaks. However, don’t feel the need to downplay the wedding ceremony because you feel it’s less important. 

3. Make a gift registry

As the bride and groom, your guests may still want to get you gifts, and as you’ll learn shortly, the choice is solely up to them. However, to help guide them on which gifts would be more appropriate, it’s best to create a gift registry. 

As a couple, you probably already have a lot of things from the first wedding. A gift registry would help anyone planning to get you a gift know exactly what both of you would like. Also, remember to make the wedding gifts reasonable and not too luxurious. This is especially important if you’ll have the same guests that attended the other wedding at your reception. 

4. Feel free to cut down the guest list

When you're saying your vows the second time around, you’ll probably want the right guests at the wedding reception. You want friends and family that will support you, wish you well, and be happy for you. That’s why it’s important to watch who you invite. If you want a large wedding reception, then, by all means, go all out. 

However, it’s best to keep everything a little more intimate so that on the wedding day. You’ll know you’re surrounded by a crowd that appreciates you and your new spouse. 

If you don’t want to be rude, you can send out wedding invitations and encourage people to RSVP. By making the reception a ‘strictly by invitation’ affair, only the people who actually want to be there would put in the effort to attend. 

5. Learn what the rules are for a remarriage

When you’re getting married the second time around, it’s best to know what kind of wedding dress to wear, whether or not you can have a church wedding, and what you can do financially. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or plan a big event. Just remember to cross-check the important things.

If you plan to have the wedding in a religious institution, then ensure you ask the minister if they wed divorcees. Also, ask them about the wedding dresses they accept and other helpful pointers. Most churches that wed divorcees may not have issues about your dress, but it’s still important to know what is allowed and what to avoid.

5 Important Don’ts

1. Don’t expect your parents to cover the expenses

Don’t expect your parents to cover the expenses

If your parents covered a lot of the expenses for the first wedding, then please don’t expect them to cover the costs for the second wedding party. It’s a bit inappropriate to do so, and if you don’t have the funds at the moment, it’s better to be patient until you gather up enough money. 

Asking your parents to help out financially would be putting a double strain on them, and it’s better to decline even if they offer to help out. You may want an extravagant wedding party, or your partner may want a super luxurious event. In this case, both of you should be ready to pick up the costs. 

Remember, there’s no need to do something extravagant. If you don’t have so many funds at the moment, then only work with the budget you have.

2. Don’t try to re-create your first wedding

Nobody is saying you shouldn’t wear white, neither can anyone stop you from throwing a lavish engagement or bridal party. This is not the time to outdo the initial wedding day you had, it’s more special and significant than that. 

Rather, focus on making this day special and unique for you, your partner, and even your children. Your children may want to get involved more, and you and your partner could have so many personalized ideas about the wedding day from the cake, to the guests invited, the colors, and the venue. 

3. Don’t feel the need to ‘tone down’ the wedding

You may receive advice from your parents or in-laws not to make a big deal about your day. Keep in mind that this day is still about you. As much as you don’t want to go overboard, you shouldn't make it drab or boring either. If you can afford to, get a chic wedding dress, the venue of your choice, and the decor or cake you want.

4. Don’t wear a veil

We have established that it's totally okay for brides to wear white, however, what may not be acceptable is wearing a veil. It’s a rule of thumb that pregnant brides and those getting married the second time shouldn’t wear a veil. Of course, you’re open to breaking the rules if you want to, I’m just here to reiterate them. 

It would be better, however, if you leave the veil out, as it’s more suitable for ladies who are tying the knot newly. 

5. Don’t expect gifts

This may sound harsh, but couples exchanging vows for the second time shouldn't feel entitled to gifts. If the wedding guests you invited already bought presents for the initial engagement and wedding with your ex, please give them a breather and don’t make hints or jokes about it. 

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You can still create a wedding registry for anyone who feels obliged or kind enough to come bearing gifts again. 

FAQs

Who walks the bride down the aisle in a second wedding?

There’s really no written law for this, if you want your father to walk you down the aisle at your second wedding, then that’s acceptable. It’s all up to you to choose whoever you feel is suitable for the job. It could be a sibling, one of your children, an uncle, or even your granddad.

Is it tacky to have a big second wedding?

Second weddings don’t have to be dull, cheap or private. You can still plan a luxurious wedding ceremony and invite as many guests as you may wish. Just don’t go overboard trying to prove a point, or if your new partner just wants family and friends around.

What is an appropriate gift for a second wedding?

Taking into consideration that this is a second marriage, it’s best to give the couple something they would actually cherish. In this case, giving them an experience may be better than material wedding gifts like blenders, juicers, and the likes. A gift card for a boat cruise, dance classes, or a theater performance would be nice. 

What color should a bride wear for a second marriage?

The bride can still wear a white wedding dress if she wants to, second weddings may not mimic the regular traditional wedding, but it doesn’t have to be so different. Don’t think about what the wedding guests will say, it’s your special day, so do what makes you feel happy.

Are second marriages happier?

Not everyone has a good experience in their first marriage, for various reasons, couples either rush into marriage, fall out of love later on or lose a good spouse. The idea is that men or women getting married again are making a more mature and well-grounded decision. However, there’s no certainty about this. In fact, a study shows that second marriages are more likely to end in divorce.

To Conclude

Did you enjoy reading this article? I sure hope you did. Remember, it is still your day, but I hope you take important pointers like informing your children first and not feeling the need to downplay things. Don’t forget to share this article with someone it would help, and kindly leave your comments below, I would love to read them. 

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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