Getting Married for the Second Time

Getting married for the second time around can be a lot easier than the first time. You’ll have a firm handle on how the day should run, and probably some opinions on what you want, and don’t want, at the wedding. There are many reasons why you might be getting married again. Perhaps in your previous marriage, you fell out of love or your spouse may have passed away.

Either way, a second marriage whether it’s a new relationship or a rekindling of an older one, is a second chance at a happy ending.

Traditional etiquette dictates a second wedding should be simple and casual, however modern etiquette (and common sense) tells us you can do whatever you want!

Today we are going to cover off some advice for those of you having an encore wedding.

Announcing your engagement to the world!

A second marriage can be announced just as you would your first, by advertising it in the newspaper, posting it on Facebook, and phone calls.

It might be obvious, but just in case – engagement rings from the past should not be worn anymore, even on a different finger. All signs of previous relationships should be taken away once planning for the wedding and announcements are made. This is a fresh start with your new partner.

Second wedding planning with kids

When planning a second wedding, your first thought needs to go to your children, if you have any. The children should always be the first to be notified of your decision to remarry, as this will combine two already-established families. Don’t expect incredible displays of joy: kids may be hoping “Mum and Dad will get back together” and they will need a certain amount of time to accept the situation. It’s not that they are unhappy by your decision but rather unsettled by change.

The bride and groom’s parents and close family members like siblings should be the next to be informed and then the respective exes (if appropriate). The ex-wife or ex-husband should make an effort to appease the children and reassure them about their roles in the new family.

What should you wear at your second wedding?

You can wear whatever you like to your wedding. If you’d like to wear an elaborate white wedding dress, go for it. At the same time if you’re after a more casual and relaxed look you can choose a more demure cream dress instead of a white dress, or different colors entirely.

The important thing is that you feel comfortable and happy with what you’re wearing.

Bride and groom. Wedding. Adult man and woman bride and groom. Late marriages. Wedding unions. Marry after thirty.

Who should be invited to your second wedding?

Just about anybody can attend your second wedding. Close friends, family, your whole social circle if you like.

However, ex-spouses and former in-laws should not be invited even if you are on speaking terms to avoid awkwardness among the other guests. Plus you don’t want to put your new husband in the hot seat by asking if it’s okay to have your ex and any emotional baggage still there. You may also invite unfair comparisons by having the ex there.

Your children at your second wedding ceremony

If you have children, assign them an important part of the ceremony in order to foster unity. They can escort you while walking the aisle, do a reading, or serve as attendants in the event.

A mature couple in second marriage, with the daughter of the bride and her foster father.

Are bridal showers okay?

It’s perfectly acceptable for a bride to have a bridal shower for her second wedding. If you are concerned at all about offending someone with having a shower, just ensure you follow some traditional etiquette: only guests to the wedding should be invited unless it is a shower run by the bride’s workplace and her work colleagues are hosting. 

Traditional etiquette dictates anyone who attended the first wedding should not participate; I would leave that decision to your own judgment/particular circumstances.

Shop bridal robes

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

Whoever she likes! It can be the bride’s father, her children, a close friend, she can walk herself down the aisle.

Wedding gifts and registry

It’s completely fine to have a registry or wishing well for a second marriage. This advice on asking for particular gifts may help, as generally, you’ll be coming into a second marriage with two sets of household items rather than nothing.

wedding gift ideas for second marriages

  • Gift certificates—restaurants, spas, stores
  • Charity Donations
  • Coffee maker, pasta maker, cookbooks
  • New bed linen

Additional things to think about (and avoid.)

You want to make sure you’re getting married for the right reasons and do things differently than in your previous relationship. Divorce rates are a bit higher for second marriages and it only goes up for third marriages. It’s important you get married with no heavy baggage from the past weighing on your mind. Obviously, ex-partners and old relationships do play a role but don’t get married again if you still harbor feelings towards your former spouse.

Avoid –

  • Getting married in the same place as your first wedding. Choose a spot that’s new to you and your future spouse.
  • Wearing a similar wedding dress as what you wore in your first wedding.
  • Doing similar readings to your first wedding
  • Reusing old rings from a past marriage
  • Criticizing former spouses. Let’s keep negative past experiences in the past.

Are you getting married for the second (or third!) time? Do you have any questions or any advice?

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