For second weddings, many things are different. You are a little older, hopefully wiser, and with a better sense of what you want your wedding to be like. Maybe you feel more deserving of a party and less likely to kowtow to etiquette rules. You are perhaps more in tune with decorating tastes, have a clearer idea of what you don’t want and no longer feel the pressure of parents’ views. This time you may have even written your wedding vows together.
More fun planning
Often you look back and think of all the things you would have done differently. Trust yourself: you have the knowledge that only a ‘been there, done that bride’ has. You can have more fun planning this time around because there doesn’t have to be much pageantry, if that’s what you want. Quite liberating really!
The key is getting the balance right; going overboard may seem tasteless, while trying to measure up to past wedding celebrations may leave you feeling underwhelmed with a new and improved day. It’s like starting afresh with more life experiences under your belt.
Backgrounds to second weddings can be varied, which can influence decision-making; a divorcee getting it right second time around, a widower who’s taking a leap of faith in love or a couple who want to renew their wedding vows.
Burning question about the dress
When it comes to the dress shopping, the gown’s formality should match the tone and theme of your wedding celebration. It should also reflect lifestyle, personality and fashion sense.
One of the burning questions for a second-time bride has to be, is it OK to wear white? Yes, if you want a traditional white wedding gown with all the trimmings, and why not? White used to represent virginity but now it is a symbol of joy. The trend to wear a white wedding gown was set by Queen Victoria but before 1840 most brides wore their best dress in any colour.
A majority of second-timers choose not to wear a veil or have a train, but it’s down to personal choice. Other headpiece options include flowers, hair ornaments or a beautiful hat.
Know what flatters your figure
A good tip when shopping for that all-important second dress is to choose the right cut for your body type to highlight your best features and downplay the bits that concern you. After all, most of us have a few more lumps and bumps way past our twenties that we don’t want to show off to the world.
It helps to know what flatters your figure and, if you aren’t sure, seek professional advice from specialist shops. Wear flattering underwear, because good lingerie makes all the difference to the shape of a dress on the body. Consider a cocktail-length dress or long dress that can be shortened at a later date, or a beautiful couture silk suit or dress with tailored jacket that you could wear again.
Second weddings tend to be a more intimate affair with smaller guests lists, but there’s no reason why you can’t throw a big party after the ceremony.
Involve the children
If either of you have children from a previous marriage, it’s important to involve them in the ceremony. Young children will jump at the chance to be a flower girl, ring bearer or junior bridesmaid. Giving them these roles makes them feel part of the integral part of the celebration. Trust your children with responsibilities such as greeting guests and handing out the order of service. You may even get them to join you at the altar and exchange personally written vows that emphasise new family themes.
Finally, you may be on good terms with your ex-spouse but it may be best if you don’t add them to the guest list. The focus of the day should be looking forwards, not back. If in doubt, you could always hold the ceremony in secret, like one couple I recently met who got married in New York and told everyone afterwards while on their honeymoon. It was far less complicated and much more romantic, they said.