Wedding Planning: Special Situations Part II
"I teach people that no matter what the situation is, no matter how chaotic, no matter how much drama is around you, you can heal by your presence if you just stay within your center."~Deepak Chopra
When someone is getting married for the second time, there are issues that are entirely different from the first time that will arise. This time around you may have questions such as, "Should I invite my ex-in-laws?"; "How do I tell my ex-husband or ex-wife?"; "When should we tell the children and grandchildren, (if any)?", or "Should we sign a prenuptial agreement?".
-The first people you should inform of your impending nuptials are your children. Once you have shared your news with them, they will most likely want to let their other parent know about it. You may want to sit down with your children and find out if they prefer doing it solo or if they prefer your involvement in the matter. Remember, you do not have to let your ex know if there are no children involved. However, if you want him/her to hear it from you first, then go ahead and tell them.
-Many couples that are planning a second or third marriage already have children. Since you will be blending families and creating a new husband and wife team, it is important to include your children, even adult children in the planning process. The children can be wedding party members, planning helpers, photographers, etc.
-Announcement of your Engagement can be made the same way as the first time.
-Typically, if this is the bride's second marriage, her parents are not obligated to pay for it. The expenses are usually shared equally between the bride and groom. If parents do offer to pay, then you may accept.
-Gifts are not necessary for a second wedding. Brides and Grooms marrying for the second time usually have everything they need. However, nowadays it is common to accept gifts for a second marriage and it is also acceptable to register for gifts.
-Bridal showers are not common for a second marriage. If family or friends want to throw one for you, it's perfectly fine.
-This time around, your vows will be worded a little differently than the first time. On the other hand, you probably have a clearer view of what marriage means to you than many first time brides and grooms do.
-Attire for a second marriage is pretty simple....wear whatever you want! Even if you want to wear a wedding gown again, so long as you're comfortable, go ahead. Just a reminder, if you do wear a wedding gown, eliminate the veil and the train this is reserved for first-time brides.
-Be budget savvy when planning a second wedding. If you are an older couple with responsibilities, you may need to factor that into your planning. Also, you are most likely working with a smaller budget than your first wedding. You should try your best to make smart purchases, scale things down where possible, take advantage of DIY projects and borrow or rent what you can.
Second and third weddings give couples the opportunity to do away with tradition and to just enjoy themselves. Plan fun and entertaining activities for you, your wedding party and guests. Who said things can't be better the second or third time around? Cheers!
Acknowledging The Children
While we are most familiar with the concept of traditional families, stepfamilies and single-parent families, the term "blended families" is still slightly ambiguous for most individuals. Many remarried couples have children from previous relationships, so the numbers of families blending to create stepfamilies is growing.
There are a number of ways to involve the children from the bride and/or groom in the wedding. Here are a few ways of involving your children in the event:
-It's always fun to have children make or help with the favors.
-You can also have them hand out the favors at the reception.
-Another great idea is having a child take care of the guest book.
-They will definitely feel involved if they assist with ushering the guests to their seats.
-A fun idea for children is to have them take candid photographs throughout the day.
-Let them help with the invitations by having them stick stamps on the envelopes.
-Depending on their age, they may be a flower girl, ring bearer, junior bridesmaid or groomsman, or even the best man or maid of honor.
-Perhaps they would like to read something during the ceremony, or make a special toast during the reception.
-Something that is becoming more common is to include children in a second wedding with a family vow after the bride and groom's vows.
-Some couples also give a small medallion or piece of jewelry to the child as a keepsake.
-Other couples choose to ask their officiant to bless them as one united family.
-The lighting ceremony of the unity candle and other unity ceremonies are perfect for second weddings as well.
Remember, kids are often shy so it is very important to be sensitive to their feelings. Giving them tasks behind the scenes is also quite acceptable especially if they are a little on the bashful side. If a child is reluctant to be involved in any activity, remember to be considerate and respect their feelings. It is never a good idea to force a child to be involved. Most importantly, don't forget to let them know that they are important and that's all that really matters to you.
Divorced or Separated Parents
How do you deal with divorced or separated parents? Whether or not this is a painful subject for a bride or groom, it doesn't have to put a damper or cause issues for you on your wedding day. There are challenges like figuring out whether you will invite your mother or father to the wedding which can be a very distressing decision to make. Hopefully, you will invite both parents. In many cases, divorced parents put aside their personal feelings in order to ensure that their beloved child has the perfect wedding day.
Here are a few tips for dealing with the issue of divorced or separated parents:
-Seating divorced or separated parents may need some thought and of course, planning.
1) Traditionally, the bride's mother is always the last person to be seated before the ceremony, and the first to leave.
2) If parents are on good terms, they may be seated in the traditional manner, (groom's grandparents, bride's grandparents, groom's mother and father and bride's mother).
3) If the bride has a stepfather and he is not walking the bride down the aisle, he would definitely accompany his wife, (bride's mother ).
4) if the father of the bride is escorting her down the aisle, he should sit in the second or third pew with his spouse, (if remarried). If he is not remarried, he can sit with relatives.
5) If the bride is being escorted by her stepfather, her father and his companion should be seated before the grandparents and before her mother.
6) If the bride maintains a close relationship with her stepmother, she may be seated after the bride's grandparents.
7) If the groom's parents are divorced, they may definitely follow the above seating order. However, instead of walking in together, the groom's father would follow behind his former spouse as she is ushered in and out.
8) if the groom's parents are divorced, his mother would sit in the front pew and his father would be seated in the second or third pew. Also, unless they are involved in the ceremony, they should be accompanied by their spouses or companions.
-If divorced parents are remarried and the bride is close to both her father and stepdad, making the decision of who walks her down the aisle could be a difficult one. Fortunately a bride does have several choices. If her stepfather raised her, it would be perfectly fine to have him walk her down the aisle. If the bride is close to both her mother and father, they can escort her down the aisle together. If she has a good relationship with her father and stepfather, they can both walk her down the aisle. The bride may also choose to remain neutral and have her grandfather, brother or close uncle escort her. A bride also has the option of going down the aisle solo. Whatever the bride decides, it is a good idea to let her father know in advance.
-If you plan on having a receiving line, bear in mind that the host(s) of the reception stand in the receiving line. For example, if the bride's mom and stepdad are hosting, they should stand in the receiving line. However, her dad would be considered a guest and therefore would not be included in the receiving line. Remember, divorced parents shouldn't stand in the receiving line together.
-One of the highlights of the reception is when the father and daughter dance together. However, if your intentions are to partake in this special moment with your stepfather, let your dad know ahead of time. Alternatively, you can have a dance with your father and stepfather individually.
-Seating divorced or separated parents at the reception doesn't have to be complicated. Although both parents will expect to be seated at tables of honour, it is not recommended that they be seated at the head/top table. You can resolve the issue by placing each parent at their own table which they will be responsible for hosting. Remember, it's best to give your parents space, so ensure that their tables are situated with a bit of distance between them. Doing this will enable your parents to unwind, relax and most importantly enjoy one of the most important days in their child's life.
-For the "parent dance," avoid hurting any feelings by having both parents and their spouses (if remarried) take the floor. If the whole dance thing seems too awkward for you, just skip it entirely. Don't forget to explain the situation to the bandleader or DJ ahead of time.
-Give some consideration to your photography. Let the photographer know about your situation ahead of time and advise them as to what shots you wish them to take. Divorced or separated parents may refuse to be in pictures together. It is a good idea to talk to them beforehand to find out what pictures they would be comfortable with. You may include stepparents in some photos but not necessarily all wedding pictures. Remember, you are most definitely not obligated to include any casual girlfriend or boyfriend your parents may have, in any formal pictures.
-When toasting during the reception, It is a good idea to avoid any awkward moments by having the best man toast the bride and groom first. Generally, the first toast would go to the parent hosting the wedding. However, the bride's dad is the first person to toast the bride and groom if both he and his ex-spouse are hosting the event together.
Your head must be spinning at this point, but don't worry, by thinking things through ahead of time, you should be able to avoid uncomfortable situations. Don't forget why you are doing all of this.....you are going to marry the love of your life and share the most incredible day with the people who have been with you from day one and loved you first, your family.