“It just feels a little ridiculous,” my friend says, looking embarrassed. She’s in the middle of planning her wedding, and it should be exciting and bubbly and, yes, stressful, but in all the right ways. But there’s a problem: It’s her second wedding, and she’s not sure she can make such a big deal out of it.
Once she starts talking about it, the fears come on fast. She’s worried she shouldn’t wear white or have the same over-the-top reception as before and about whether the invitations are too similar. And it’s tough to see someone who went through a bad marriage and an even worse divorce feeling awkward embarking on a happy, healthy marriage—just because it happens to be her second one.
And she’s not the only one who feels self-conscious about wedding number two. Even Charlotte fretted about it on Sex and the City, because it can feel strange to make a big hoopla the second time around. Sure, my bank account may take a beating from attending multiple weddings, but that’s no reason to hold back. It’s your wedding, after all. So here’s why your second wedding can be just as exciting as the first.
Second Marriages Are Better, According to Science
Really. Science says that second marriages are often more successful than the first ones, in part because of more realistic expectations. One study of nearly 3,000 British couples found that second marriages were linked to a higher increase in happiness. Plus, while around 45 percent of first marriages end in divorce, only about 31 percent of second marriages do. So just because you’re doing it for the second time, you don’t need to be shy about it. Be confident that you’re going into it a little older but a little wiser. It may be your second one, but if it’s the right one, that’s all that matters.
You Can Tailor It How You Want
You shouldn’t hold back on your second wedding just because it’s your second—but you can also tailor it to feel right. If you think you’ll feel weird using the same bridal party, you don’t have to use them. If you feel strange asking people for gifts again, suggest donations to a charity instead. If it’s important to you to have a different setting and feel, that’s OK too; your second wedding doesn’t have to look anything like your first. Now, you shouldn’t go out of your way to make it different, but if it’ll make you more comfortable, remember you can make it work for you.
Second Marriages Can Be Just as Romantic
Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Ronald and Nancy Reagan—some of the most famous couples in history were second marriages. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton had two marriages to each other. OK, maybe they’re not the best example, but you get the point: Second marriages can carry every ounce of romance that the first had. Sometimes even more so. Don’t feel it lacks the spark of the first one. Instead, the fact that you’re older means you’re probably basing it on real love rather than just infatuation.
You Can Use Your Knowledge Wisely
You know all of those things you stressed about in your first wedding? All those little details that you realized could have been done better, cheaper, or easier? Well, now you can. You learn so much planning a wedding, it would be a shame not to use all of that knowledge to make the second one go smoothly. A lot of brides leave their first wedding thinking that they wish they had a do-over, so why not take advantage of yours? It should all run smoother this time around.
Ultimately, It’s Your Day
A wedding is just about you and your partner—not about any of your relationships that came before. It doesn’t matter if you’ve dated one person or dozens, this is about your current partner. Plus, some people who are getting married for the first time may have tons of relationships under their belt. Or maybe they’ve been with other people for way longer than they’ve been with their fiancé. Who cares? Every person’s romantic history and story is different. We learn from what came before, whether it was a marriage or not. So just think of today as being about you and your partner. It’s about how both of you want it to look.
Getting married a second time around is bound to feel a little odd. After all, the first “till death do us part” didn’t work out like that. But that’s OK—now you have experience on your side and studies have shown that it can make all the difference. Don’t worry about the fact that it’s round two. It’s still your wedding, and it’s still on your terms.