Back to the Alter: Planning Your Perfect Second Wedding

Congratulations! Getting married is an exciting announcement, and you’re most likely eager to share this news with all of your loved ones. Only, this time — it’s a remarriage and second wedding, which still warrants a reason to celebrate. For second timers though, it’s natural to have apprehensions about how to properly plan for a wedding re-do.

First, remember this is your special event celebrating new love, so give yourself permission to do what brings you happiness. But if you still have concerns, check out the advice below.

Throw Away Those Negative Feelings

Wedding planning uneasiness can hinge on emotional anxiety. Don’t allow futile distress to overpower the excitement of planning your nuptials! Do these worries sound familiar?

  • I’ve already done the big wedding … Do I deserve another party and gifts?
  • My first marriage was a failure, and I feel shame and worry that my guests may judge my second go at it.
  • I can’t get rid of this nagging guilt for wanting to celebrate our commitment to each other among family and friends, again. Been there, done that, right?

To move forward, change your mindset. Drs. Les and Leslie Parrot, authors of “Saving Your Second Marriage,” emphasize embracing support, as well as communicating and “expressing your trepidation” with your loved ones. Additionally, practice positivity and grace during this exciting time, while never apologizing for what you want.

Speaking of What You Want…

Often, young first-time brides acquiesce in the visions and desires of a pushy mother or mother-in-law, who orchestrated what would be her dream wedding. Perhaps you wanted a more intimate, destination wedding but were coerced into a lavish affair with a never-ending guest list of people whom you barely know. This time around, reflect and learn from any regrets. Take control to make it an event that truly reflects you and your partner’s style and personality.

Respecting the Wants of First-Timers

If this is both a second and first-time wedding for the couple, the first step is to get on the same page, which may require compromise. A first-time bride may see this as finally getting her dream wedding, whereas her second-time groom may prefer a small, low-key event without the fancy frills. What sacrifices can you both make to land on middle ground?

You Made the Decision to Go All Out!

And that’s OK! Say yes to a white wedding gown, formal reception, four-tiered cake, beautiful venue and all the to-dos like reserving a caterer, booking a band and sending invitations. Keep in mind, however, invitations are key, as they aesthetically help illustrate the type of wedding guests can expect and can be worded to discreetly indicate the second-wedding status. Examples of wording include:

  • “celebrating our new start as one”
  • “celebrating the joining of our lives and families”
  • “celebrating the beginning of a new chapter (or life) together”

Something Completely Different

This is a fresh start in your lives, so why not throw a party that deviates from wedding No. 1 to symbolize your new chapter together? To go the unexpected route, throw a surprise wedding! For example, frame this event to be a family reunion, where you can reveal your marriage with a touch of spontaneity and simplicity. The pros?

  • Skipping stressful and expensive pre-wedding festivities
  • Eliminating the question of a registry and guests feeling obligated to give gifts
  • Not worrying about what people may think leading up to the big day
  • Reveling in the fun of a unique and nontraditional experience

Second Marriage Success

As you plan your next wedding, don’t overlook the importance of planning for the second marriage, which involves a new partnership and long-term commitment. Make sure to address the challenges of remarrying, such as blending families (stepchildren and stepparents); a past of any pain, honesty, communication; and potential unrealistic expectations such as “this is my second chance at a lifetime of pure perfect marital bliss!”

The Gottman Institute, an online research-based approach to relationships, offers “10 Rules for a Successful Second Marriage.” Make it a priority to discuss these rules together as a couple, right along with completing the wedding to-do list. Set yourself up wedding and marital success!

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