Too many brides tell me that their wedding is going to be really "simple" because they've been married before. Why do I think "too many brides" say this? Because it doesn't matter if you have been married before, making the decision to accept the proposal of your current mate is really all that matters in the grand scheme of things. Having had a big wedding the first time around doesn't disqualify you from celebrating with all the bells and whistles this time.
I can certainly understand not wanting to plan anything for your upcoming wedding that would remind you (or your repeat guests) of your previous wedding — or weddings. You certainly wouldn't want to have the reception at your parents' country club again if you celebrated there the first time. And if you got married in your church and you're still an active member there, although it can feel awkward choosing to exchange vows someplace non-denominational or in another parish, most couples don't choose to get married at the same altar twice.
With that said, it's totally unfair to both halves of the couple to dismiss the idea of having fun or exciting plans just because you're not a first-time bride or groom. Especially if the person you are marrying has never been married, or has grand plans for a big bash. Remember, just because you got to have your dream wedding with somebody else doesn't mean your fiancé doesn't deserve to have his dream wedding with you, too.
More than one bride entering her second (or third) marriage has told me she won't be registering for gifts, or letting anybody give her a bridal shower, because she already got wedding gifts from all of those people once. Tradition, and the rules of etiquette, have changed over the years to accommodate real life. And real life means that people do get married more than once. It's okay to have a shower or bachelorette party for your second wedding, too. If it makes you feel any better, baby showers for second children were once totally taboo, but now they're common and totally acceptable. A gift registry is always a good idea if you don't want to receive things you might end up having to re-gift.
Try your best to put your first wedding experience out of your head when you start planning this one. I know it's hard not to compare, but think about it: How would you feel if your fiancé was comparing everything about you to his first bride? You shouldn't do that to him either. Before you start planning, sit down and have a real talk about what kind of wedding you each want to have and look for common ground.
If you had a huge hometown bash, you might consider a destination wedding this time — or vice versa. Eloping is perfectly acceptable if you both want to do some intimate and fun. Just make sure that you're not depriving your fiancé of his own dream wedding in your efforts to avoid repetition.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.