Second Weddings. Planning a different wedding.

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A friend of mine recently got engaged and is planning what is to be her second wedding.  She’s a little bit older, been divorced a few years and has grown into an entirely different person. She started telling me about her desire for a smaller, more intimate wedding, a nontraditional wedding dress and her ultra laid back approach to her bridesmaids. As she was excitedly explaining the details of her wedding, I asked her if this was a total departure from her first wedding. Her response was immediate, “Oh yes,” she said.  This go round was going to be completely different.

I find this is a common theme amongst my friends who have been married previously. They are typically in entirely different circumstances, usually with kids, and the considerations when it comes to planning their weddings are not what they were the first time. I’m not suggesting that a second wedding is better than a first wedding, I’m just noticing that talking to a 2nd time bride is very different than a 1st time bride.

The trend I’ve observed from these brides is their desire to have an event just as meaningful and special as their first, but with emphasis on different things.

They want it smaller.  Maybe their first wedding was a giant affair with their friends, their families’ friends and everyone they knew growing up.  A first wedding is typically a family rite of passage. Your parents are moving into a different role at the same time that you are and their friends want to celebrate right along side your friends. With the 2nd wedding, the idea that this is “new” has worn off a little.  Not that it’s not special, and your parents are probably incredibly excited for you, but the truth is…it really is a union of two people without the added generation “changing of the guard” so to speak.  Most of the brides I have talked to just express their desire to simplify. They want the support of their loved ones, but that is usually a smaller group of people. They are busy.  They have kids. They have to figure out how to consolidate the “stuff” from two grown people living on their own and they don’t want to spend months pouring over a giant guest list and mulling over centerpieces. I have MANY friends who had courthouse second weddings and a party afterward. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!

They want a dress that makes them look AND feel good. I was laughing as this very same friend of mine went into a tirade of how she detested the white wedding dresses she attempted to try on since getting engaged.  She looked me in the face and said, “I’m 36 years old, I know what looks good on me and what doesn’t. White hardly flatters anyone.” She will be walking down the aisle in a flattering non-white, non-princess dress this go round. She found a beautiful dress that she looks and feels great in and that is what she’s going with.  I loved how she knew what she wanted and was not afraid to go for it. Personally, I would tell any bride that these days it’s safe to ditch the traditional white dress if it’s not you…but I know that for many gals, they have had their eyes set on the princess wedding dress since they were children and there is nothing wrong with that.  Most 2nd time brides, I know, though, just don’t want to go traditional.

They want a less expensive wedding. I don’t know of any of my friends whose parents had a fund to donate for their second weddings. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. I’m sure that happens…and that’s cool.  Most of the time, however, you are lucky to get your parents to pony up for one wedding, so forget two.  I say this is a GREAT thing.  I know that first time brides do struggle over making everyone happy given that the bill is usually being at least partially picked up by a parent.  So while you may not have thousands of dollars of someone else’s money to spend, you do get an event that is in your complete control.  So you may have to skip the world famous Mixologist flown in from Paris and everyone may not get a puppy as a favor, but are you really going to miss these things?  Having a family and close friends-only ceremony in your backyard can be just as memorable, and sometimes more so than all the extra expenses. Those that care about you will want to see you exchange vows with your love and not go into crazy debt doing so.

Second weddings are no less special than first weddings. Your love and commitment to the one you love is never to be treated like anything other than sacred. I say go forth boldly with your wedding planning. Get the exact ceremony that you want and bring the ones you truly love and who truly care about you into the fold to share it with you!

Did you do something nontraditional and cool for your second wedding?  Comment and share with us!

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