Planning a Second (or Later) Wedding

Wedding Cake

As the fairy tale goes, little girls plan their dream weddings (presumably to happen by their 21st birthday) from the time they can first don a princess dress. But life isn’t a fairy tale, and sometimes the first trip to the altar isn’t meant to be. But returning to the altar, whether divorced or widowed, can still be just as magical and joyous—with the blessing of experience and a renewed outlook on love and commitment.


Yes, you can wear white (again). Everyone’s wearing them, whether or not it’s their “first time,” so find that perfect dress and wear it proudly. But, you’re also just a free to shake it up. Wear what you want, and match it to the style of your ceremony, whether formal, informal, “period,” or “theme.”


Depending on your age(s), you can plan a ceremony much like what most people expect at a wedding, or you can make some adjustments. Don’t want a long aisle walk? You can choose to skip it. Feel awkward about the bride being escorted by her father (or that isn’t a possibility)? Involve parents in other ways (as part of the wedding party, or dad escorting mom before the bride enters) and go solo, or choose to be escorted by older or adult children.


With experience comes reflection, so your second (or third, or… ?) wedding is an excellent opportunity for crafting your own vows. Life and marriage likely look different to you now, and the commitment you’re making to your new spouse has new meaning—and it probably reflects a greatly knowledge of what’s ahead and more realistic expectations than perhaps the first time around.


A second (or later) wedding is a perfect time to include the children (“yours,” “mine,” “ours”), and for more than just the traditional flower girl or ring bearer roles. Older children can be part of the wedding party, and also have other roles both within the ceremony and in planning the event itself. Teens will love helping to choose music and create playlists for the reception, and may even have their own musical talents that they can contribute as part of the ceremony or party. Kids can also contribute menu ideas. Rituals such as lighting unity candles or pouring unity sand to signify two becoming one can be expanded—including your children—to demonstrate that one family is being formed through this union.


For a fun, intimate, and much less formal event, consider a surprise wedding. Invite your loved ones for another event or occasion (a holiday or open house are good options), and surprise them by holding the ceremony once all the guests have arrived! The invitations help ensure that the people you care about are available and in attendance, but the simplicity of a house party relieves a lot of wedding-planning pressure.

No matter how formal or informal, simple or lavish, your second (or later) wedding can be everything you’ve dreamed—and more!

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