June 10, 2011

Tying the knot: The second time around

Not too long ago, many couples believed that getting married for the second time called for a smaller, more pared back celebration, rather than the elaborate and extravagant event often denoted by first time nuptials.

Today, however, with second time weddings becoming more commonplace, staging an event with all the trimmings is entirely up to you – and also marks the chance to get things right!

Remember that the focus should be on celebrating having found new love and embarking on a new beginning, regardless of whether it’s your second trip down the aisle.

In truth, how you celebrate your wedding can be as elaborate or intimate as you choose, but keep in mind there are still certain things to be mindful of when saying “I do”… again.


While it seems to be popular opinion that your second wedding dress should be considerably more understated, many second-time-around-brides are disregarding stuffy and outdated protocol and wearing something a little less conventional.

If you prefer to wear white, do so, or alternatively this is your chance to wear a truly remarkable gown in any colour you wish. If you really want to break away from the traditional bridal look a sexy slip dress or beautiful suit will certainly save you from looking “the princess” on the day.

Your second wedding dress should ultimately reflect your personality and fashion sense – without necessarily adhering to the traditional “bridal” look. Also, take your cue from the style and formality of your wedding ceremony and reception, as your dress should be a reflection of this.


While many couples these days are already paying for their weddings anyway, when it comes to second weddings, the cost most definitely falls to you.


As you will be covering the cost for the entire wedding – and since you probably have accumulated enough household goods already – consider setting up a honeymoon gift registry. Another popular idea is to have a “wishing well” whereby guests can give money anonymously.


It goes without saying that inviting guests from your past may throw up certain questions as to what is appropriate. Every couple’s situation is different, but as a rule it is advisable to avoid inviting former in-laws and ex-spouses, even if you’re on good terms.

You may also want to keep your guest list free from those people you’re “supposed” to invite, who often make the list for first time weddings, such as a distant second cousin or family friend you only see once a year.


Once upon a time wording wedding invitations was a pretty basic part of the wedding planning process – as the bride’s parents were traditionally paying for everything, wedding invitations were from them.

These days however, with divorce, blended and untraditional families, invitations have become slightly more complicated. As a result many invitations can now be quite informal, lending a much more modern and personal touch to these invites.

With second weddings, many couples word the invitations from themselves, eg. “We request the pleasure of your company for our special day”.


Generally, the bridal party is smaller the second time around. It is perfectly okay to use the same friends or family in your second bridal party as the first, but keep in mind this may be a good chance for a close friend or family member to be included that wasn’t the last time. It’s also completely acceptable to have no bridal party, too.


Writing your own vows the second time around is a romantic touch and a nice way to personalise the ceremony, instead of using formal vows. Some couples find it a nice thought to include the children from previous marriages into the vows, thereby ensuring they feel included and accepted into the new family. Again, this is a personal decision dependant on the family dynamics and is entirely up to you as a couple.


Any reference to you or your partner’s previous marriages is a big no-no. Not only will it make guests feel awkward – not to mention you and partner – it will serve as an untimely reminder that you’ve done this all before and is obviously not the most romantic anecdote to the day.


Particularly when your previous wedding – or in some instances, weddings – was a traditional church ceremony followed by a large sit-down reception, you and your partner may decide that something a little more intimate or informal is appropriate for your nuptials.

As is the case with every wedding, the location really comes down to personal preference and what you want your wedding day to entail. Parks, beaches and gardens are all fabulous options, but it is equally fine to remarry in a church (if your religion permits).

A large number of second time around couples do decide to elope to minimise the fuss and the stress of planning a wedding. For others, a destination wedding is the best fit and many of the world’s premier locations – from Fiji to Los Angeles – all offer fabulous wedding packages where an expert team will take care of everything, from your dress to your accommodation to the flowers and even the photographer.

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