So you’re getting remarried. You know what that means, it is time to make things a little more exciting and do things different the second time around. Parents forced you to have a massive wedding the first time, go small and intimate. Eloped and never got your fancy day, go big and pull out all stops. Got kids, make this a family event and get them involved. Second weddings are just as much fun as first weddings, so have some fun and enjoy the ride.
A few key things to know:
Get your kids involved: If you have children, involve them in the ceremony. You are bringing two families together so it is important to get things off to the right start. There are lots of ways to get them involved, including letting them be flower girls or ring bearers. You can also let them usher or have a formal family medallion ceremony or unity candle ceremony. Reassure your children that their presence will be appreciated regardless of their roles on the big day. As a nice gesture, seat them at your table during the reception.
Engagements Second Time Around: The very first people you should tell about the upcoming wedding are the children either of you have from previous marriages. You should also let you ex-spouse know as a gesture of good faith. Then it is up to you to let your family and friends know just a like a regular engagement.
Register for Gifts: It is your second marriage so you probably already have all the household stuff you could ever need. Most of the time we suggest you skip the registry. Instead, arrange for guests to make donations to a favorite charity in lieu of wedding gifts.
Second Wedding Dress: Have some fun. The good news is that the old rule about not wearing white for a second wedding has gone out the window. If you went traditional for your first wedding, maybe your should go for a vintage wedding dress. If you had a courthouse marriage with a simple dress, go all out and get your white ballgown. Good second wedding etiquette means skippig the veil, that’s something most second time brides don’t know.
Flowers, Photography & Music, Like a First Wedding: This is your wedding, first time or second doesn’t matter. Book the vendors your want and be as simple or as extravagent as you want. Match the vendors and solutions to your style and budget and you can’t go wrong.
The Honeymoon: A Family Moon, where you include your children or even go one step further and make it a destination second wedding are a great way to celebrate. If your children are old enough to stay home alone, go for that island adventure by yourselves, but fair warning, if you have children and they’re feeling anxious, a honeymoon alone can hurt their feelings.
Bridal Showers for a Second Wedding: For the same reason that wedding gifts aren’t always given, bridal showers for a second-time bride are not always thrown. This is really a persona choice and often your friends will decide whether or not to throw one for you. Focus on finding something unique and fun to do.
Involving Children in a Second Wedding: Yes, we know this is listed a second time. It is really really important. f you have children, you should make them a special part of your second wedding. Perhaps they would like to read something during the ceremony, or make a special toast during the reception. A popular second wedding trend is to speak a family vow to the children after the bride and groom’s vows. The Family Medallion ceremony invites them to participate in the ceremony, signifying the creation of a new family. It involves a small medallion or piece of jewelry, saying something like “Take this as a symbol of our family, and our love for you.” Other couples instead will simply ask their officiant to bless them and declare them one united family. The unity candle ceremony and other unity ceremonies are perfect for second weddings as well.
Second Wedding Vow Samples
Sample Wedding Vows for a Second Marriage
To make wedding vows more meaningful and personal, we strongly encourage couples to write their own remarriage vows for their second wedding ceremonies. Original vows, written from the heart, serve as a source of strength and inspiration for a lifetime.
When you write your own wedding vows, acknowledge what your upcoming marriage means to you. Focus on what makes your relationship so special. Describe what your partner, the marriage ceremony and spending the rest of your life together mean to you.
If you don’t have a flair for writing, don’t worry! We have several sample wedding vows that you can use (the whole vow or simply the parts that appeal to you), which have been specially written for a second marriage ceremony.
“I marry you with my eyes wide open. You have helped me let go of the past, and I embrace the future. Thank you for making me laugh again. Bless you for taking my hand as we begin anew.”
“I offer myself to you as a partner in life. I vow to love you in sickness and in health. I commit myself to encourage you in good times and in bad. I will cherish and respect you all the days of our life together. Starting anew once again, I give thanks that I have found you. May our marriage be a gift to the world and our families, as your love is a gift to me.”
“God has given us a second chance at happiness. I come today to give you my love, to give you my heart and my hope for our future together. I promise to bring you joy, to be at home with your spirit and to learn to love you more each day, through all the days of our lives. My love for you is endless and eternal.”
“Because of you, I laugh, I smile, I dare to dream again. I look forward with great joy to spending the rest of my life with you, caring for you, nurturing you, being there for you in all life has in store for us, and I vow to be true and faithful for as long as we both shall live.”
“Since I have found you, I have found a new life. The decision to commit to share that life with you is one I make happily and with full confidence in our love.”
“(Bride/Groom), [Life/God] has given us a second chance at love. I come today to give you my heart and my hope for our future together. I promise to bring you joy, to be at home with your spirit and to learn to love you more each day, through all the days of our lives. My love for you is endless and eternal.”
“I am proud to marry you this day, (Bride/Groom). I promise to wipe away your tears with my laughter and your pain with caring and compassion. Together we will wipe clean the old canvases of our lives, and let God, with His amazing artistic talent, fill them with new color, harmony and beauty. I give myself to you completely, and I promise to love you always, from this day forward.”
“Secure in the knowledge that you will be my constant friend, my faithful partner in life, and my one true love.”
“On this special day, I give to you in the presence of God and all these witnesses my pledge to stay by your side, in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, as well as through the good times and the bad.”
“I promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, always be open and honest with you, and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”
Sample Wedding Vows for weddings including children and blended families.
“I,____, take you, ____, to be my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health…for all eternity.”
I, _______, take you now, in the presence of God and these witnesses, to be my wife/husband. I promise to love you, to hold you and to honor you, in good times and in bad, to enjoy you, to communicate with you always, and to console you when you need consoling. I will give thanks for you each and every day, and cherish you with all of my heart until our time together on earth has ended.”
“________, I promise to be a good and faithful husband/wife to you, and also a patient, loving father/mother to (children’s names), caring for them and providing for them as my own. I promise to be their strength and their emotional support, loving them with all my heart forever.”
The children—now part of a loving blended family—can then repeat “We do” after these words:
“And now, (children’s names), do you promise to love and respect your parent’s new husband/wife? Do you promise to support their marriage and new family? Do you promise to accept the responsibility of being their children, and to encourage them and support them in your new life together?”
Sample Second Wedding Vows for the Mature Couple
“I offer you the autumn of my life, brisk and vibrant. I promise to be a companion worthy of your precious friendship. I pledge to you compassion in good times and bad, encouragement in sickness and health. It is my intent that our life together include our large circle of friends and loving families. While we cherish the memories of our individual pasts, we will create new experiences and memories in our new life together.”
Getting Remarried: The Planning Checklist
Just because it’s not your first time down the asile doesn’t meaning that there’s any less planning involved! We’ve compiled a must-read checklist to get you ready for your walk down the aisle. It may not be your first time down the aisle, but that doesn’t mean there’s less planning to do! Use the following checklist to make your second wedding wonderful and special:
12 or More Months Before
Decide on the guest list
If you have children, ask them to be part of the wedding party
Begin the search for ceremony and reception sites
Create a budget
Start shopping for a dress
Book the photographer and videographer
Book your florist
Start thinking about the entertainment–DJ? Band? iPod?
Six to Eight Months Prior
Create the menu
Choose attendant dress color, but let them pick the actual dresses
Begin honeymoon planning
Start working on a song list
Four to Six Months Prior
Attend pre-wedding counseling (if desired)
Start browsing for invitations
Shop for wedding rings
Choose the groom’s attir
Three Months Prior
Hire wedding day transportation
Order the rings
Order family medallions (for placing around the neck it each child–it symbolizes the creation of a new family!)
Finalize the guest list
Attend parties in your honor, such as a bridal shower
Two Months Prior
Mail the invitations
Make wedding programs
Attend final dress fittings
Make a list of favorite songs, along with ones you don’t want the DJ or band to play, if applicable
Two Weeks and Counting
Apply for a marriage license
Get a haircut, or at least a trim
Contact guests who haven’t RSVPed
One Week Prior
Provide caterers with a final headcount
Make a seating chart
Confirm all arrangements
Two to Three Days Prior
Get a manicure
Double-check the flower order
Write all final checks
Ask someone to return rented items after the wedding
Ask someone to deal with all wedding-related questions
Provide caterers/DJs/other professionals with an emergency phone number for contacting you the day of the wedding
One benefit of getting remarried is the experience you have. You have been there and done that so you are better prepared, especially learning from your errors and not repeating them. The great news is that for your second wedding you can really do whatever you want. Want to wear vintage beach dress or a high-fashion ballgown, go for it.
Your second wedding dress should reflect your personality, lifestyle and fashion sense. Take your cue from the size, time and day, and formality of your wedding ceremony and reception. With so many available design and fabric options, you should have no difficulty finding a gown that matches your personal style and taste.
It helps to know what flatters your figure when you’re shopping for that perfect second wedding dress. Whether you’re pear-shaped or petite, top-heavy or tall, choose the right cut for your body type to highlight your best features and downplay those that concern you. Bring along a friend, your mom or even your teenage daughter to get a second opinion, and be sure to wear the appropriate undergarments so you’ll know exactly how your dress will look on your big day.
Now, there aren’t too many etiquette attire rules for second-time brides, but one rule that still holds true is to forgo a blusher veil that covers the face, a traditional style reserved for the very young, first-time brides and one of the few real fashion “don’ts.” (Note: Etiquette expert Peggy Post says it’s acceptable for encore brides to wear a veil that cascades down the back if your wedding is formal.) Try substituting a hat, hair ornament/clip or fresh flowers. Splurge and have a professional stylist come to your home to create a glamorous updo! Be sure to schedule this appointment several months before the big day so you can try out different styles and hair ornaments. You don’t want any last-minute surprises, and you may decide to cut or even grow your hair.
Common Second Wedding Dress Questions
Can I Wear White? In today’s fashion world, the answer is a resounding “yes”! Now regarded as a symbol of joy instead of virginity; white is a perfect color for dresses for a second wedding. Pastels, champagne and ivory are also popular color choices for your second wedding dress.
Do I Have to Wear White? Who says you have to wear white? Especially if it’s your second time down the aisle — embrace the colorful gowns that have been coming down the bridal runways like Kenneth Pool’s purple A-line gown. Great for many body shapes, this gown is regal and classic in shape, while memorable in shade.
How About Vintage Second Wedding Dresses? Whether you’re off to a daytime garden party wedding or you’re getting hitched at city hall, a 50’s-inspired classic tea length gown, like those by Monique Lhuillier, is as sweet as it is chic . The layers of tulle make these dresses light and comfortable for carefree movement on the dance floor.
Contemporary Second Wedding Dress? A contemporary look for the second-timer who wants to be covered up, a lace ensemble, like those from Christos, goes the distance. The long sleeves are sheer so they cover while still revealing skin. The perfect look for a sophisticated bride — keep the accessories minimal and let your outfit shine.