Monday, March 19, 2012

Second Wedding Dos and Don'ts

First of all, let me say a shout-out thank you to my dear Jenny, for encouraging me to run with this blog idea. All my love, lady!

For those of you who don't know, (really, you don't?) my up coming marriage to Ethan will in fact be my second marriage. Long story short, my first marriage ended in divorce. C'est la vie. So yes, I am now a statistic and despite my ex-husband and I trying to live beyond the "starter marriage" stereotype, it is what it is. That said, naturally I myself, and others, have been comparing the two weddings (not the marriages), which leads me to this post.

The first wedding was more or less traditional. We cut some corners to save money, but overall it had the standard wedding elements and structure. This time, it's going to be much different, in a good way! The process of planning this wedding has been only mildly stressful, and definitely big fun. What I'm about to post are recommendations only, based on my personal experiences, things I've seen/read/heard and are in no way meant to pass judgement on anyone's wedding. Also, I will use "traditional" wedding terms like bride and groom, but I support gay marriage too. Love is love!  /end disclaimer

Second Wedding Dos and Dont's

  • Don't feel like you need to replicate, one-up, or completely out-do your first wedding. This is brand new wedding, to a brand new person. Guests (if you have them at the 2nd one and there are cross overs from the 1st wedding) may make comparisons, but gently remind them that you want this one to be different on purpose. 
  • Don't feel like you have to wear a formal wedding gown. In fact, I'd go one step further to say don't wear one. The beautiful dress I had the first go fit the time, wedding, and person. It's marvelous, but it's not me anymore. I certainly wouldn't wear that dress again, nor did (that's right, bought my dress already. Sorry, Ethan reads this, so no pictures yet!) I want to buy another wedding gown. Do throw caution to the wind and shake-it up a bit.
  • Do buy something(s) new. While it shouldn't be doesn't have to be a "wedding gown" per se, make it something new. Recycling a pretty dress you've worn a whole bunch will take away some of the novelty. Plus, shopping is fun! You could wear these, for example:

Fun and fashionable!
  • Do figure out what you really, truly want in your wedding the 2nd time around. Is it the opposite size and structure of your first? (Small, then big or vice versa, etc). Is it fancy or low-key? Guests, no guests, family only? Remember, this is you (and future hubby's call), so do what you want. This may sound like a no brainer, but don't do things you don't like, just because it's "traditional" or "for show."
  • Don't stress out the bride! (duh)
  • If it is your second wedding (or hers, or both of yours) don't expect it to be like your first wedding. In fact, expect it to be very different. 
  • Do express your opinion! You might want to leave it all up to her, but chime in here and there (even if it's about china patterns or napkin folding). If you really want to have something in particular, speak up! Most planners like the help; that makes it a little less overwhelming. 
  • Don't wear jeans. Just don't. At least put on khakis. And, like your bride, wear something new! 
  • If it's your second wedding and your wife's first, be prepared to go all out; she may want to have all the smells, bells and whistles. Just remember to speak up if you're not comfortable with something. 

DO throw a Bachelor Party if you want. DO NOT make an ass of yourself.
  • Do what the both of you want to do. It's your wedding (if I had a nickel for every time someone said "this is your day.." I'd have.. $1.05) and you get to make the decisions.
  • Don't get bogged down by the judgements of others. TV, bridal rags mags, friends, even family; everywhere you look someone has an opinion about your wedding. "But that's what has to be done," "but, you have to get a white dress," "at my wedding we did this and this and this. You should do that." Just shut them all out and do what makes the two of you happy.
  • Don't  stress over the guest list. Once you figure out the style, date and budget of your wedding, make a guest list that fits. If someone doesn't fit, or you're going to go over budget, or Aunt So-and-So made a scene at your Uncle's cousin's wedding and you don't want her at yours, don't invite her. Friends and family that truly love and support you will continue to do so, regardless of how you plan your wedding. 
  • Do choose a nice place for your wedding. Whether that's a church, a living room (we're doing it in Ethan's parents' front room, complete with bay window and fireplace) or the beach, just do it where you'll feel at ease. 
  • Do remember the point of the wedding; marriage and love. The wedding is the physical event, the ceremony, reception, etc. The marriage is what you are committing to each other; you're married to the other person because you love them. Never let that get lost in the shuffle. 
Higgins Beach, Portland ME Perfect Spot for a wedding. MKM 2012

Guests, Friends, Family
  • Don't judge. Whether it's the first, second or fifth wedding, whether it looks like yours or not, is traditional or funky, your job is to show up, smile, and support the couple. Reserve your judgments for at home. Remember, don't gossip about the wedding at the wedding or reception. You never know who is listening. 
  • Do honor the requests of the bride and groom. If they put something on the invitation that says "In lieu of gifts, donate to X Charity," or "In lieu of gifts, please help us fund our honeymoon," (*coughwelikethisonecoughcough*)  or even "GIVE US LOTS OF PRESENTS KTHNXBYE" then that is what you should do. If you're broke and the couple wants money, $50 is good enough (according to most of the wedding etiquette I've read, $50 would be an appropriate minimum for monetary gifts). Or offer to pet/house sit while the couple honeymoons. Get creative, but not to the point of buying things not on the registry, for example. 
  • Don't be offended if you aren't invited. Second weddings in particular will likely have an even more rigid/tight budget/guest list/intimacy level. Honor this. In our case, we're doing immediate family, and one or two guests. It's not that we don't love everyone and want them there, but we a) cannot afford a huge wedding and b) want it to be personal and intimate. If you didn't get an invite, you can politely inquire about wedding details, but don't be offended. It's likely nothing personal and lots of other people (including family) probably didn't get invites either. 
  • Do ask how you can help, or offer to spend time with the couple if you want to feel included (people rarely say no to a dinner invite, for example, and a couple may like to relax and unwind from the wedding stress). 
  • Do have fun! 
Feel free to agree, disagree, or suggest something I missed in the comments; I'd love to hear your thoughts! I look forward to my wedding so much and I can't wait to share the photos and [hip] story with all of you! 

xo MK


  1. This is honestly applicable to ANYONE planning a wedding, whether it's their first, second or 8th.