While it’s not something that first-time engaged couples who are wide-eyed and madly in love can relate to, planning a wedding the second time around is much more emotionally fraught. Going from walking down the aisle to getting a divorce to falling madly in love with someone else (months or years later) can be a roller coaster of emotions that toss your heart, your brain, and your wallet around.
The desire to throw a celebration for marriage number two can either be met with recurring eye rolls or an excitement that pushes you to forget all about marriage number one.
Take it from these brides who told us what planning a wedding for the second time felt like when the first marriage broke apart in a million nasty little pieces.
It Feels Horrible
“It didn’t matter that I met my second husband six years after divorcing my terrible first husband—our wedding felt horrible. You take a lot of baggage with you into your new relationship after an old one ends poorly (mine ended with husband number one cheating). So on our wedding day, even though I knew I loved this person, I felt hesitation and doubt—that he’d break my heart. Plus, your second wedding comes with a rush of memories from the first one, and it just feels weird and horrible. If I ever have to do this a third time, I’d skip the wedding and sign the marriage license in privacy.” - Laurel W., 45
It Was Easy
“The second time around is all rainbows and butterflies. What’s there to worry about? My divorce ended after six warlike months, battling over everything from our kids to our couch. When I entered my second marriage, I felt like I discovered how to frolic in the honeymoon-like state of mind for an extended amount of time.” - Martinique H., 34
I Felt Guilty
“Our divorce was nasty because I was the one who wanted to get out of the marriage. I wasn’t in love anymore, and [I] had fallen in love with a coworker, who I ended up marrying only three months after the divorce was final. I felt guilty about everything, but you can’t help your emotions and who you fall in and out of love with. I was mostly scared my ex-husband was going to crash our wedding and cause a scene. That didn’t happen, thankfully!” - Dianne T., 30
I’m Going All Out
“My first wedding was just like my first marriage, a joke. We got married at the courthouse with just 15 friends and family members. We had no money and honestly, we rushed into the marriage. We got divorced less than a year later, and it was so stressful because we didn’t have any money. So we were fighting over the little we had because we both needed all we could get. Fast forward 10 years later: I’m about to marry the best guy ever who has a good job and a lot of cash in the bank. He’s paying for me to have my dream wedding, and I’m going all out, giving myself what I deserve—a wedding that makes me feel like a princess.” - Rochelle B., 37
You Save a Lot of Cash
“This time around I am not spending $100,000 on a wedding. Plus, most of the people I invited to wedding number one, just three years ago, won’t spend the money coming to wedding number two or giving us a gift. I lost a lot of those friends in the divorce because they sided with my ex. (I cheated and the marriage ended abruptly and not on good terms at all.) So I don’t have a large guest list [this time]. Honestly, wedding number two will be small and inexpensive. It feels good getting married for the second time because without the stress of planning a big wedding, you really do just enjoy the excitement about the most important thing: the person you’re marrying.” - Alexis D., 33