A Guide to What’s Appropriate at a Second Wedding

A bride and groom at their first look.

If you’re about to tie the knot for the second time, congratulations! This is likely an exciting time of your life as you embark on a new chapter and relish in the love you’re receiving from a new future spouse. With the excitement of this time, though, likely comes some questions surrounding what’s appropriate at your second wedding celebration. While of course you’re free to celebrate this occasion however you choose, we’re here to break down what’s socially acceptable, and what you may want to skip this time around.

Consider Your Guests

If you’ve already been married once, you’ll definitely want to think through the experience your guests had at your last wedding when it comes to planning this one. For instance, if you previously had a destination wedding that required guests to travel and spend quite a bit of money, you may want to avoid imposing that on your guests again. Instead, opt for something closer to home so that your friends and family won’t need to spend quite as much to be a part of your big day.

Wedding Party

Bridesmaids wearing neutral-colored dresses.

You may be wondering whether it’s appropriate to have bridesmaids or groomsmen at a second wedding. This is a common question, and the answer is that it’s definitely acceptable to have a wedding party at your second wedding! Of course, if you decide not to have bridesmaids or groomsmen at this event, that’s totally fine too! But know that if you do want to have those special people standing up for you on this big day, don’t hesitate to plan for it.

Inviting Your Ex

You may wonder if you should invite your ex-spouse to your second wedding along with his or her family. After all, you likely spent a lot of time getting to know these individuals and they likely played a big role in your life for quite some time. This is tricky to navigate, and the general rule of thumb is not to invite these individuals, unless you have an extremely close relationship with them even post-divorce.

Religious Ceremonies

Wood pews in a church at a wedding ceremony.

Many couples still want to have a religious ceremony for their second wedding, but they worry about the rules surrounding this as they plan. This is something that you need to decide on with your future spouse as well as with your clergy person. There are different rules for different faiths on second weddings, so gain an understanding of what’s allowed and feasible with your clergy person and go from there.

Your Registry

It’s a common misconception that you can’t have a registry for a second wedding. This is actually not true! Since guests will still want to buy gifts even if you say you don’t want or expect anything, it’s actually helpful for a bride and groom to have a registry for their second wedding. Instead of registering for all the same home basics that you may have requested last time, though, register for things that need refreshing—like small appliances, linens, and everyday dishware. This time around, focus solely on things you really need and want to use rather than every single little thing that catches your eye.

Common Wedding Traditions

A bride walking down the aisle with two bridesmaids.

Many brides and grooms wonder if they should or can follow the same wedding traditions when they’re getting ready to walk down the aisle a second time. This is really up to the individual couple. For instance, you may want to mix things up this time. This could mean that someone different walks the bride down the aisle, in order to include an alternate family member who didn’t have the chance to play a special role in the first wedding. Do whatever feels right to you; feel free to embrace or skip any traditions you want!

What About the Kids?

If you and/or your future spouse have kids, you should absolutely try to include them in your big day, as long as they feel comfortable being a part of it. You can put them in the wedding party, have them do a reading, perform a family dance at the reception, or even incorporate the joining of two families into your ceremony to make them feel a part of everything. This is up to your discretion, but it’s definitely special to let them play some part in the day.

Second weddings are so exciting for all involved and they don’t have to be confusing to plan thanks to these tips and guidance.

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