Going the traditional wedding route isn’t always an option for a second or third wedding, as many would rather try for a different type of ceremony. Planning a modern midlife wedding doesn’t have to include a church, a big white dress, or any of the other staples normally associated with nuptials. Check out a few non-traditional ideas to help jump-start the planning process:
Reinvent Old Traditions!
Send out invites via Facebook, avoid a gift registry, or choose a notary as your officiant! Have guests donate to your favorite charity rather than giving you gifts, or register for “fun” presents, such as camping or swim gear. There’s virtually no limit to what you can do with wedding traditions, so think about what you really want and ensure the ceremony and reception are exactly what you want. Fancy, relaxed, black-tie, casual…it’s all up to you!
Have Fun With It!
Second and third weddings are generally more laid-back than first go-rounds.
“I think with second or third weddings, there’s a real freedom to do it your way,” says Ariel Meadow Stallings, author of Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides. “Many folks have more traditional first weddings and realize that the traditions they were trying to uphold aren’t relevant to their own lives or their lifestyles. Second or third weddings can be more fun, more casual, and put the focus entirely on celebrating together.”
Infuse your sense of humor into your wedding, whether it include a photo booth with zany costume options, or an Elvis impersonator officiant. The bottom line is, have fun!
Get the Family Involved!
Children are often big parts of second and third weddings for obvious reasons.
“I love it when couples integrate their children into their ceremonies,” says Stallings. “I’ve seen everything from brides being walked down the aisle by their grown sons to families with younger children actually having their kids exchange ‘family vows’ with them.”
Bring your children into your wedding however you want, whether adding them to the wedding parties, designating one as the ring bearer, or having the kids do a reading. Whatever you do, just make it about family!
Make It Personal!
Small, private ceremonies are also quite popular according to Master of Divinity and wedding celebrant Virginia St. Claire, who operates InHeavenWeddings.com, a Hawaiian wedding service.
“Second and third marriage ceremonies make up more than 50 percent of my business,” says St. Claire, who adds, “most of the time, they don’t have a big entourage of family and friends. A lot of the time, it’s very intimate.” St. Claire says that while first weddings are often extravagant (and stressful), smaller, less formal second or third weddings are the ones that appear more genuine. “I feel that people are more true to themselves in planning a second wedding,” she says. “With the first wedding, they’re trying to please their families or do what they think is expected. But by the time they get to the second or third wedding, they’re more emotionally mature and careful. A lot of times, people have been badly hurt after a first marriage and with a second marriage, it just seems more sincere. They’re very tender with each other, these couples.”