Second Marriage

second marriageIf you are getting married for the second time around it is still a new beginning for you and your partner, a reason to celebrate and start your new life together and exciting for you both.

According to the statistics, four out of ten weddings that take place are now second weddings for one or both partners, and while those words 'till death do us part' are spoken once again, there are many reasons why those vows are no longer in place. 

The death of a partner or a break down of a marriage is certainly a traumatic, lonely and sad time in anybody's life and to find love again can be a truly magical time after so much unhappiness.

Planning your wedding for the second time around can be just as thrilling as the first time. Maybe you never had the wedding you wanted, or you could not afford it and this could be the perfect time to finally have the wedding of your dreams.

You may not want to make it a lavish affair or invite so many guests.  Just the two of you going away to some far off paradise could be what you are planning.

Whatever or wherever you are planning, it is still your special day and you will be just as excited and nervous as any bride can be.

You may find some of the following tips can help in the planning of your second but still so important wedding day.

Second Marriage - Invitations and Guests

You will want to match your invitations to reflect the type of wedding you are having.  If you are going for the full ceremonial wedding then your formal invitations would be appropriate.  If you are having a relaxed ceremony, your invitations should reflect this.  Sending out invites for the second time round the chances are that it is probably going to be you and your partner doing it (as opposed to having your parents' details on the card).  If either of you have children you could include them in your invites with wordings such as:

Ms Smarty Pants
with her daughter, Penny May
Mr Teddy Bear
with his son, Jimmy James
request the pleasure of your company at the joining of their families

Or the more relaxed wedding invitations could read along the lines of:

The Von-Trap Family would love you to share our special day of celebrations when we join together as one with the Goodyear Family.

You may find that you will have built up a good relationship with your former partner's family and will have to put some thought into whether you really want them to attend. Between you both, you might find you have 4 sets of families to contend with and the last thing you want is any type of friction between them. 

The same applies to your friends.  You will no doubt both have friends that you shared good times with while you were with previous partners.  Talk to any such friends and see how they feel about seeing you with somebody else and make it clear from the onset that you don't want them, or yourself, to feel uncomfortable in any way.  Good friends will of course know this already and be happy for you.

Inviting your previous partners may not really be that ideal.  Even if you do get on with them, it may cause confusion among some guests and your new partner, or yourself could even feel to some extent embarrassed in some way.

Second Marriage - Wedding Ceremony

Just like any other wedding, you can have your ceremony almost anywhere you wish. 

  • Roman Catholic: Years ago the Roman Catholic religion would not accept that a marriage conducted by a priest could be dissolved.  Therefore if you got married previously in the Catholic Church it would under no circumstances allow you a second wedding. 

    If your previous marriage ended because of the death of your spouse the church would accept this.  In some cases the clergyman may petition the church to have the previous marriage that ended in divorce declared void, but only if the ceremony was a civil one and not held in the church.
  • Church of England: Before you make plans, go and talk to the vicar of your respective church.  If the vicar is willing to hold the ceremony for you, he will have to approach the Bishop of the diocese who makes the final decision.
  • Jewish Orthodox:  The orthodox Jewish faith requires divorced people to obtain a 'get' before they can remarry.
  • Jewish United (Reform):  When both parties are Jewish and there is documental proof of divorce, a Rabbi will happily hold the ceremony.
  • Jewish Liberal:  This is the modern Jewish religion and the most relaxed.  As long as both parties are Jewish, plus have documents to support the divorce, a second marriage can take place.
  • Nonconformist, Methodists, Baptist and United Reform: Although these churches take a more modern approach, it is still advisable to check with the local vicar.
  • Civil Wedding:  This is probably one of the easiest choices for your second wedding and with the vast selection of venues it can be one of the more popular ones.  Again, proof of divorce will be needed.

If religion is important to you and you wish to have the religious service, a blessing is similar to a traditional church wedding.  Even though you will already be married after having had a civil marriage performed, you can still have the sincerity and pageantry of a formal church wedding and take your vows standing next to the alter.

Second weddings can also be held at registry offices and if you are granted a licence you can get married anywhere from a castle to a stately home, abroad or in your own home/garden; the choices are endless. Getting a licence is not a certainty though.

middle aged coupleSecond Marriage - Children

There is a good chance that one or both of you will have children from your previous relationships and it's important for everybody concerned that the children are taken into consideration when you are planning to get married again.

How you tell your children depends on your circumstances.  Getting married without your parents approval is one thing, getting married without your children's acceptance can be painful and stressful.

Your child may feel that their other parent is being pushed even further away so if you are on good terms with your previous partner, it may be a good idea to have them there when you tell your children that you are planning to get married again.

Young children need to have things explained to them and reassured that whatever changes there are will not impact on their day to day life, or their relationship with the parents in a way that they would not want.

Having their help in the planning and giving them a role to play in the day will make them feel they are being included with the wedding.

You can make them feel extra special by giving them roles such as bridesmaid, flower girl, page boy or usher.  If there is an older male child, he could give you away or be best man. 

The children together can be invited to light a candle at the ceremony, making it a bonding and symbolic point for the joining of the two families.

Second Marriage - Outfits

There is nothing written in stone that dictates what a second time bride can or can not wear!  The choice is entirely up to you and how you want to dress. 

If you feel you missed out on the big lavish wedding first time around, you can now make up for this and have that dream wedding you always wanted.

You may just want a quiet ceremony with close family and friends around you or you may just want to fly away, just the two of you to somewhere exotic and far away.

Remember to think of your partner if this is their first time getting married, as they may want to go all out themselves by wearing tuxedos or top hat and tails, and after all, it is their day too.

If your partner points out things that you do not wish for, or like, the last thing they really want to hear is things like 'I did that last time', or 'we went there on our honeymoon'!  Talk it though with each other and be sensitive to each others needs and wants. They want to know that they matter the most to you and probably don't want to be reminded of your previous relationships.

Just because you have been married before does not mean you can not wear a full wedding dress again!  It's your day, wear what you want.  Some second brides leave out the veil but still go for the tiara or flowers in the hair.  Years ago it was frowned upon if a bride wore white the second time around, but nowadays many first-time brides' do not get married in white.  The colour of your dress is immaterial to what you want to wear.

If you don't feel comfortable wearing a wedding dress, you could opt for a flowing trouser suit finished off with matching hat and shoes.  A cocktail dress with a fascinator in your hair or a pair of jeans and a t-shirt! 

If you are going for the smallish wedding, a posy of flowers can offset any outfit.  There are some beautiful wrist corsages nowadays made from real or silk flowers if you do not wish to carry a bouquet. 

Second Marriage - Reception

old brideYour reception can be as lavish or as simple as you choose.  If you decide to go for the sit down meal and you have a table seating plan, you need to really think hard about where to put everybody if there is to be family or friends from your previous partners. More information can be found in our Seating Plan article.

A buffet would help in these situations and take not only the planning away from you and your partner, but may help in people getting along at the reception.  No matter if it's a first, second or third wedding, seating plans can be a problem with trying to ensure you seat those that get along and like each other, and it seems nobody wants to sit next to Aunt Florence!

Second Marriage - Gifts

With this being your second wedding, you may already have set up house together, or if not, chances are you will have separate homes.  Therefore, the last thing you want is to end up with too many toasters or irons. 

If you are inviting someone that attending your first wedding, they may feel a bit put out that they now have to buy you another wedding gift.  You can either omit these people from your wedding list (if you have one), or with them being friends and they want to buy you a gift, you could ask these to buy something from the lower price range.

You could, if you feel comfortable, ask for donations of money to help towards a new room in your house or something large like a washing machine or tumbler dryer.  While some people like to present you with a gift, there are others that are happy enough to give you the gift of money.  It's really up to you and if you are happy to do this.  Again, friends and family members are usually happy to go along with your wishes and what you really need.

Second Honeymoon

Your honeymoon, if you have one, can be turned into a family holiday with the children of both partners.  You may even wish to delay your honeymoon until the children are fully settled into life with their step parents.  Once this occurs and you are lucky enough to have somebody to look after your children, that longed for time alone honeymoon can then be taken.

Above all, and for whatever the reason the main thing is that you have a second chance at happiness and love.  On your special day, you will be sharing that happiness with your family and friends and however you celebrate it, whatever you wear, wherever you are and whoever is with you both, make that day one of those ones that will be remembered for ever!