5 Tips for Making a Second Wedding Special

P.S. You can still wear white!

Updated 11/05/19

Photo by Giuseppe Marano and Monica Leggio

People sometimes still get a little weird about second weddings, but there’s really no need. “’Til death do us part” isn’t how things always play out—and that’s OK. There are a lot of second marriages out there. It’s not a cynical take on marriage, it’s just an honest one. And, of course, there are a lot of marriages that do last, where couples do live happily ever after—but every marriage is different. Sometimes life happens. It might be that a spouse passes away, that your circumstances change, or that you simply fall out of love and realize that the best decision for both of you is to be happy with other people. 

And in that way, second marriages can be really special—because it’s a second chance, a new start for happiness. A lot of the time, the couple will feel more empowered and assured, knowing that they're more comfortable with what they really want. But the tricky part can be how to make the second wedding as special as the first. Often, brides have a lot of questions about a second wedding: Do you still wear white? Can you have another huge party?

The truth is, your second wedding can be whatever you want it to be—here are some tips to keep in mind. 

Make It As Big (Or As Small) As You Want

A lot of second wedding advice tells you to keep a second wedding small and intimate—and if you want to, go for that. Some people don't feel the need to go through all of the fuss a second time. But a second wedding shouldn’t feel like an apology. If you want to have a blow-out bash, then go ahead and have a blowout bash! You don’t need to be demure about it if you don’t feel like it. It's still your wedding, so if you want it to be big and over the top, then go for it. It's totally OK to own your decision to get married again, and the people closest to you should support that.

Rethink Traditional Family Roles

One of the great things about a having a second wedding is you'll likely feel freer to mix things up some more, including incorporating your family in new and meaningful ways. So if your father has already walked you down the aisle once, you might want to skip that and opt for a family sand ceremony instead or incorporate some of his favorite music into the festivities. 

If either (or both!) of you have kids, a second wedding offers plenty of opportunities for them to participate in the ceremony. As flower girls, bridesmaids or young groomsmen, sharing readings during the ceremony, even walking you down the aisle—there are so many ways the two of you can include your children in a heartfelt and meaningful way. (And let's not forget about the fantastic photo ops when everyone's looking so lovely!)

And if one of you has had a spouse pass away, there are a lot of ways to incorporate them into your second marriage—if that feels like the right thing to do. From simple words of remembrance or a blessing by a mutual close friend or family member, to including one of their favorite poems or passages in the readings, or having cherished family photos on display—don’t be afraid to include their memory.

Relax Some Formalities 

Likewise, if you felt more bound to tradition during your first wedding, you may feel that you can inject a bit more personality into the wedding day. Writing your own vows is a great way to make your second wedding unique and really put your stamp on it. Or you may want to choose a more low-key reception venue, a day-time wedding, or more fun and silly entertainment. Of course, if you'd prefer for everything to be more traditional, that’s OK too—what’s so amazing is that the choice is totally yours

Consider Your Guests

Depending on which direction you choose to go with your second wedding, you may also want to consider relaxing some of the formalities for the guests, as well. If most of your guests have already given you a wedding present, perhaps opt to forgo a wedding registry this time around. And keep in mind any expectations you placed on them for your last wedding: Destination weddings are a lot of fun, but if guests paid thousands of dollars for a tropical wedding just a few years ago, it might not be fair to have them do it again already. It will feel that much more unique if this wedding doesn’t completely mirror your first wedding, so make sure they're special in their own way.

Wear Anything You Want

Finally, the wedding dress questions—can you wear white to your second wedding? Of course you can. A lot of advice will suggest that you veer away from a second wedding dress and that you should opt for a cocktail dress, a pantsuit, or an ultra-chic jumpsuit—or maybe another color besides white. But you know what? You can wear a wedding dress if you want to. You can wear 10 wedding dresses if you want to, and change every hour, on the hour, into one more white and more dramatic than the one before. The point is, the decision is yours. Again, a second wedding is not an apology—you don’t need to play it down. If you feel more comfortable in a pantsuit or more casual wear, that’s great—but if not, then skip them. You’re starting a life with someone and you want to do it authentically—so wear what feels right to you.  

Planning a second wedding can feel like a daunting task—especially when you want it to feel as meaningful as the first. Just remember, you are still in the driver’s seat. This is your day, and so as long as you make it authentically yours, it will be special. 

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