The Second Time Around

When a bride is getting married for the second time, there is an endless list of things to consider before and after walking down the aisle. Here is a list of some of the most important items to think about before taking the plunge:

Who should I tell first? If you have children from a previous marriage, it is imperative that they are the first people you should tell that you will be getting married again. This is because this new announcement can be initially shocking or maybe even upsetting, as they could feel like one of their parents is being replaced or that this new person is taking you away from them. Regardless of if they like your fiance or not, it’s important to have an open and honest discussion with them so they feel like they’re a part of this big, family-altering decision.


Photo Credit: Tela Chhe

Do I tell my ex? If you have an ex, and you both share children together, you should notify them that you are getting remarried. We encourage you to call them and let them know directly rather than them hearing about it from your children, friends, or family. When doing this, make sure that you tell them individually rather than in front of your children. This will avoid your children witnessing a potential fight or disagreement.

What if I/they/we have children? Getting remarried not only is a transition for you from a single parent life to a married life, but often times, there is a shift in the current family structure. This shift can be incredibly difficult for children and young adults, as they may feel like they have no control, are having a parent “replaced”, or are losing their parent to someone else. While it may be difficult at first, it’s best to be open with them, converse individually and as a family, as well as involve them in the planning process. This involvement will help them become more familiar with your soon-to-be-partner and ease into the idea of sharing you with someone else.

Angry Kid

Photo Credit: Julie Monday

A great way to allow them to participate in the actual wedding is to have them be a flower girl or ring bearer. This will make them feel a part of this new family rather than alienated.

For those children who are older, consider having them be a bridesmaid, groomsman, greeter, usher, or have them hand out wedding booklets.

Sometimes, children will be uncooperative when asked to be a part of the wedding planning. If this is the case, don’t push them. Communicate that you want them to be a part of the planning and wedding because you love them and stress their importance in your life. Children can feel lost and forgotten during this time-consuming process and need to be reminded that they are still a priority.

Regardless of their participation, we encourage you to allow them to sit at your table. If they have family friends or cousins that are close in age range and are attending, ask your children if they’d like to be seated with them or you.

Depending on your style, there are different invitations that will suit your big day. For a less formal wedding, try an invitation that will allow you to mix and match your wedding colors. If you are having a more formal wedding, consider an invitation that includes monogram or one that is letterpress. Ribbons and sleeves are also ideal for a more classic style.

New Wedding Invitations

If you’re stuck on how to word the invite, here are a few ideas. If you’re hosting the wedding yourself, you can put your own names and have “request the honor of your presence at their wedding”. If you, or both of you have children, you can also include them on your invitations. For instance, “Ms. Claire Baker with her son John Baker and Mr. Alan Peters and his daughter Mary Peters request the honor of your presence at the union of their families”.

Of course these are merely suggestions and are subject to your specific situation.

Just because you’ve been married before, doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on a honeymoon. While you’ve been married before, you haven’t been married to each other! Go ahead and plan a honeymoon in a close or far away destination that you both would like to travel to, have new experiences, and enjoy each others company.

If you have children, you can also plan a family honeymoon. This can include activities where the whole, blended family can attend but that you and your new partner can escape for some peace and quiet. If your children are young, you can also consider bringing your babysitter along for the trip. That way, you can enjoy your children and will still have time to do activities with your new spouse while they romp around under careful supervision.


Photo Credit: Sasha W.

Can I wear white? Depending on your religious affiliation and beliefs, you may or may not want to wear white. There are not any rules so, for those who want to, we suggest that you go ahead and wear what you would like. This is your wedding day and it’s supposed to be what you and your groom want to do. Be sure to discuss it with your fiance to ensure you both are on the same page. Make sure to be yourself and showcase your personality. If that means a long white dress, then so be it!
Veils are typically worn by a bride during her first marriage but can easily be substituted with a jewel encrusted tiara, beautiful barrette, a dainty bridal hat, or even a beautiful flower.

Who should walk me down the aisle? Who ever you’d like! If you’d like your father to, you’re well within your rights to do so. Often times, brides who have been married before chose to walk down the aisle alone that is also acceptable. These days, anything goes, so do whatever you’d like… it’s YOUR big day!

Can I set up a registry? Setting up a registry is absolutely acceptable for a second wedding. Guests want to help your new beginning as husband and wife with things that you need and want. A registry is a perfect way for them to give you something that will help you marry your two lives together.
Already have the essentials? No problem! A registry that contains more fun or recreational items like hobby sets, electronics, or accessories for items you already have are great to include as well.

Who pays for the wedding? The bride? While the bride’s family usually pays for first-time weddings, for second weddings, generally the two parties share the expenses. It’s best to discuss this with your fiance, draw up a budget, and discuss what type of wedding you would like. Agree on the size, venue, and amount of people to come up with a realistic budget that you can stick to.

Keep in mind that if relatives offer to help, you are more than welcome to take it. Planning a wedding can add up, and if they offer, they really want to help make it a success.

Should I keep my wedding low-key since it’s my second? The stigma for second weddings is that they should be modest and sophisticated. This is mostly the case because many plan elaborate weddings the first time and want to just have a small, intimate wedding the second time.
Whether you choose to have a smaller, less extravagant wedding or have the wedding of your dreams (ie, you didn’t have enough money to throw your dream wedding the first time around), we say go with what you want and have fun!

Your Marriage License
It’s important to note that while your marriage application is generally going to be the same as it was the first time, this time you’ll have to provide your divorce decree. This covers a previous marriage, but if you’re a widow, you’ll need a copy of the deceased spouse’s death certificate. Every state is different, so confer with your local government office.

Prenuptial Agreements
No one wants to talk about prenuptial agreements, but chances are that if you’re about to have a second wedding, you may have assets that you’d like to protect should the marriage end in divorce. Depending on your financial standing, a lawyer may advise you to draw one up and have you and your fiance sign it before becoming married. While it’s not the easiest conversation to have before a big day, it could save you a lot of time and stress down the road. A little extra protection and piece of mind never hurt.

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