Saying "I do" the second time around is simply another joyous occasion of uniting two families. But mothers and fathers of the bride may be left with some lingering questions before the big day. Here are six of them to anticipate for second-time brides, along with wedding experts' advice.
Should he ask for our blessing?
When it comes to traditional wedding and engagement etiquette, it's very much an individual choice. President of event planning and design company EVOKE Jodi Moraru's second husband asked her father for her hand in marriage. "It's a very gracious thing to do," she says, adding that it's not for everybody. "At the end of the day, you hope there's a wonderful bond between the two families. You hope that everyone is really respectful of each other," she says.
Are we paying for this?
Parents tend to be less involved overall when it's a second wedding, according to Moraru. The occasion typically becomes the responsibility of the bride and groom, as parents usually aren't able to go deep into their pockets like they were the first time around. For this reason, the budget may be smaller. That said, if one or both sets of parents have the funds and are willing and happy to contribute, there's no reason they shouldn't, says Allyson Levine Joseph, creative director of Bob Gail Special Events.
Joseph recommends families sit down and have an open conversation from the very beginning to determine who they're still in touch with and who's important in their lives. Still, the focus will probably be more on the bride and groom's friends, as opposed to the parents' friends, according to Moraru. And the wedding is usually smaller overall. For Moraru's first wedding there were 200 people in a ballroom; the second was 90 people with a cocktail-style, late-night brunch reception. Leslie Price, founder of In Any Event, adds that there are no rules and every situation is different. In fact, some second weddings are the "big" one if the first one was an elopement.
What about wardrobe?
Every bride deserves to wear white, although some prefer to take stylish risks and choose something a bit more provocative, such as blue, silver, or gold, Price says. When it comes to dressing the parents, mom should obviously wear a new dress (not what she wore to the first wedding!) but dad can get away with the same tux, as long as he wears a new shirt and tie, Joseph says.
Do we give another speech?
The simple answer is: yes, and keep it short and sweet. Moraru thinks speeches should never be longer than three minutes and the focus should always be on the current couple. The past or an ex should never be brought up, even if it's an attempt at humor. It will likely backfire and feel uncomfortable for everybody, especially the bride and groom.
Do we acknowledge that it's a second wedding?
There's generally no need to call out the fact that this is the second time down the aisle for the bride or groom. The only difference in some second weddings is when there are kids involved, Moraru says. Little ones are more likely to be part of the celebration, acting as flower girls or ring bearers. "If there are no children, then there is absolutely no benefit or use to acknowledging that it's a second wedding, especially if it's a divorce," says Price. If the bride or groom is a widow or widower however, the family may want to recognize the loss in a tasteful way. Price suggests a section in the ceremony program that mentions those who are missed, but not including any photos of the deceased. Joseph agrees that it's a sensitive topic and can depend upon whether or not the family of the deceased is invited. "There's nothing wrong with an in memoriam or a candle at the ceremony," she says.