Getting Started on a Second Marriage

Organising your second (or third) wedding can be daunting. Does first time wedding etiquette still apply? Here are…

Getting remarried? Congratulations! This time around, anything goes. If your last wedding was at the registry, have the grand gala of your dreams. Prefer an intimate party with friends and family? That’s okay, too. Children are often a common addition to second (or third or fourth) weddings, making this a true family affair! Planning a wedding can be even more fun the second (or third) time around. Here’s what encore couples need to know.

1. Engagement

The very first people you should tell about the upcoming wedding are the children either of you have from previous marriages. This is very important: Even if your children adore your fiancé, they can feel very alienated if they don’t hear about it first. Your kids are going to have a brand new stepparent — no one should know that before they do.

2. Attire

Brides: Be yourself. Let your personality shine through. You probably wore a traditional dress when you married someone else — this time wear what you like! This also means that if you always wanted to wear the big white dress, but for some reason didn’t, do it now! You may want to skip the veil as the veil is generally a first time bride tradition. Instead, try a glimmering hair piece, or fresh flowers in your hair. Choose your attendants’ attire with the same philosophy.

Grooms: Same goes for you. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in — a lounge suit, pinstripes, a white tie, a dinner suit, or tails.

3. Children

Involve your children in the ceremony — after all, your fiancé will be part of their family, too. Let them be ushers, bridesmaids, flower girls, ring bearers, best men, pages, or organisers. That said, don’t just assume that they want to be involved. Always ask. If a child expresses reluctance, don’t push. Reassure your children that their presence will be appreciated regardless of their roles on the big day. As a nice gesture, seat them at your table during the reception.

SEE MORE: Second Wedding Dress Tips
SEE MORE: Worst Wedding Nightmares From Real Couples

4. Casual Or Formal?

Have the wedding of your dreams. Not formal enough the first time? Go all out on this one. Too stuffy the first time? Have a backyard barbecue complete with a limbo contest. Consider a soiree that creatively combines tradition with your own personal flair. There’s only one rule: Have fun!

5. Registry

Many encore brides who are independently settled or already live with their fiancés decide to skip the registry. Instead, they arrange for guests to make donations to a favourite charity in lieu of wedding gifts. If you forgot things you really wanted (cheese platter, chopping board, corkscrew) the first time you registered, remedy the error now. You may want to avoid silver, china, and crystal, since these items are associated with first marriages.

6. Showers

As you probably have most necessary household items, go for interesting shower themes:

  • Self-improvement: Ballroom dancing, scuba diving, a spa weekend.
  • Wine Cellar: Wineglasses, corkscrew, wine rack, membership to a wine of the month club, wine tasting classes.
  • Great Outdoors: Gardening tools, skis, camping equipment, binoculars, rock climbing lessons, a barbecue.

7. Invitations

If you’re planning a formal or elegant wedding, engraved invitations are perfectly acceptable. For an informal wedding, explore different ideas: Create invitations on your computer, or print them on Japanese rice paper. For a casual affair, write invitations on balloons (recipients will have to blow them up to read the message.) Don’t know how to word your invites? Here are a couple of ideas:

For couples hosting the wedding themselves, this is a common wording:

Ms. Jane Doe
Mr. John Smith
request the honour of your presence at their wedding.

Include your children for a thoughtful touch. For example:

Ms. Jane Doe
with her daughter Rachel Allison Doe
and her son Brandon William Doe
Mr. Joseph Jones
with his son Michael Jones
request the pleasure of your company
at the union of their families.

8. Money Matters

Generally, you two should share expenses. Discuss the type of affair each of you would like, and try to accommodate each other’s needs and wants. Draw up a budget and stick firmly to it. If relatives want to contribute, feel free to accept — and be sure to send a thank you note and gift.

9. Flowers, Photography, Music, and More

Go ahead and get the most beautiful bouquet, the best photographer, and a fabulous DJ or band. For a more casual affair, make a camera happy relative your honorary photographer. Have your own video camera? Enlist a few friends to take turns capturing the moment. These goodies depend on your budget and your wedding’s formality.

10. Rehearsal Dinner

A remarrying couple may certainly have a rehearsal dinner, even if the next day’s ceremony is informal and doesn’t require rehearsal. Traditionally, the groom’s parents would host the dinner; in this case, the groom may want to host it himself. You should invite the wedding party and their spouses, your parents, and your children — provided they can stay up late. Beyond that, the number of attendees is up to you.

11. Honeymoon

Including your children in your wedding planning can be a rewarding experience, but you should honeymoon alone and bask in wedded bliss. If you have very young children, vacation by yourselves for a few days, then take the children with you for a few more. If your children are old enough to stay home alone, go for that island adventure or European holiday.

Remember this: You might have been married before, but not to each other. Treat your big day as a unique, special occasion. It is a first for the two of you together. Happy planning!

by The Knot



  1. this is a great article thank you The Knot – i am in the processof planning my 2nd marriage and we have a destination wedding, i am feeling stressed. The other day, I visited a bridal shop, Galleria Corture for ideas of my dress and what you mentioned in the article made a lot of sense. I was told I should wear anything I like but he said I should where white – he will design my dress, it is already sounding lovely so here we go. I didnt get married in white on my first marriage so will do this time good luck in planning your second wedding, I will let you know how this all goes

  2. As we’re both 44, his second, my first marriage, we’re just doing what we want.
    Casual BBQ, DIY ice cream sundae dessert, Eiffel Tower gingerbread cake.
    No seating plan headaches, just 2 long tables for the adults, 1 for the kids – with pencils & butchers paper.
    DIY flowers & decorations with a couple of $20 posies, no cars.
    His kids are our attendants with two friends to act as our witnesses.
    His daughter is drawing a Family Tree guest poster for everyone to finger print & sign.
    I’m wearing a short 50’s dress with a blue petticoat. Silk flower fascinator & red shoes.
    Lots of lawn games & picnic rugs to lounge on.

  3. I am getting married again and would like ideas of what to do with mt furst wedding gown. I found it packed away when my fiancee moved in and it made him uncomfortable. Should I just get rid of it?

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