A Groom's Guide To His Second Wedding - Part I
Learn How To Avoid Second Wedding Disasters
A second wedding can be a blissful and memorable event or a battleground of feuding in-laws and sulking kids. It will test your planning and diplomatic abilities to the highest imaginable degree, but it can turn out right if you apply yourself conscientiously. I just had an old friend go through enough misadventures in his second wedding to write an entire book. I've condensed all his hard earned knowledge in these two Hubs.
Here are some quick tips to help you plan your very special "second day."
- It's much better to buy a $99 ring than to recycle a previous one. Actually it's better to use a plastic ring you just pulled out of a box of Cracker Jacks than use a previous ring.
- Don't get married on the same month twice. Keep your new anniversary special!
- Stick with standard vows. Previous entanglements should not affect the vows.
- Carefully review the Best Man's and other speeches to make absolutely sure that your previous marriage is never mentioned, and most certainly that no cheap shots are taken against your ex.
- Hold yourself down to a couple of drinks at most, especially if you are the kind of drunk who blurts out "dirty laundry."
- Make your second honeymoon night even more memorable than your first. You have now learned from your experiences, so show some romantic sensibilities.
- Honeymoons are always special, so don't put it off or go cheap.
The second ceremony is an incredibly important event which will create the foundation for your second marriage. The wedding has to be a complete standalone day, without a hint of reference to what happened before this wedding day. If you had a huge wedding in a major cathedral the first time around, go to Vegas and get married 10 feet from a craps table, or vice versa. You have to promote the feeling to your new bride that every single minute of this wedding day belongs exclusively to her and not any spectral figures in your past. If it means standing in front of the mirror an hour a day just to practice saying "yes dear" then that's what you'll have to do. This is her big day so don't even think about messing it up, as those are scars that never heal.
There truly is not a single aspect of a second wedding that necessarily has to vary from the first. If your new bride wants to wear a Vera Wang gown with a fifty foot long Princess Diana train (and you can afford it), then there's nothing wrong with that. The only customs that are usually not practiced are wearing the garter as well as throwing the bouquet and rice. However, even those are optional and can be implemented if both of you want.
Some religious institutions may refuse to remarry you. If either of you really wants that big church wedding you may have to do a lot of calling around, or even consider get married in a church of a different denomination.
An inordinate number of second weddings involve children in some way, shape, or form. Almost 30% of all marriages in the United States involve kids from another relationship and you can certainly be assured that they will always create some sort of tension. Even if they are old enough so that the ex doesn't have to attend, there can't help but be a balancing act between not involving them enough thus having them feel left out, and involving them too much to your new bride's chagrin.
There are some people who insist that the children be actually made part of the ceremony with their own sets of vows. Unless you're marrying a younger, sexier incarnation of Mother Theresa, this is not going to fly. Your lovely new bride has been looking forward to this day for her whole adult life and she certainly didn't imagine sharing her vows with someone's kids who might be shooting her "dagger glances." Keep the focus on her and by all means involve the children in ancillary roles as little flower girls or young ring bearers.
The same concept applies to unity candle or family medallion ceremonies. If absolutely necessary these sorts of rituals can be carried out at the reception, but the actual ceremony should be just for you and her. Two people are getting married, not the entire Walton clan.
A great way to keep the children happy and occupied is to set up a "young persons' reception" with all the trimmings including invitations from the children to their young relatives and their friends. If you organize this event properly you may be very pleasantly surprised to discover that the children won't even miss the "adult ceremony."
A Groom's Guide To His Second Wedding - Part II