Having a Second Wedding? Some Thoughts to Ponder

Second marriages usually involve dealing with issues that weren’t around for the first one. Though the logistics of planning a wedding might go a little smoother with practice, a couple planning a second marriage also has to deal with some tricky issues — including red tape, paying for the wedding, and children from previous marriages.

The most important thing to do is to get your marriage license, which takes a little extra documentation for “second-timers.” If one or both of the parties were married, you need to bring proof to the clerk’s office that you’re divorced. Most couples bring their printed and notarized divorce decree. If the spouse has passed away, you’ll need to bring the death certificate.

A second marriage also usually involves different methods of financing the wedding. If your parents paid for your first wedding, they might not feel compelled or even eager to contribute a second time. Sure, it’s possible they might contribute, but typically it’s the couple themselves that shoulders the cost of the wedding. If this is the case for you, it’s important to settle on a budget beforehand. Also, along with all these financial considerations, it’s important to emotionally prepare for the fact that second weddings don’t always generate the hype and excitement among friends and family that first weddings do. It’s just one of those facts that go along with being human, and nothing to take personally.

Wedding attire is another issue for couples planning their second wedding. Many brides entering a second marriage shy away from white, haunted by the feeling that white is reserved for first-time brides, and guests might disapprove. Nonsense. Wear whatever color you want. Since a second wedding is likely to be less formal, you can run with an even wider array of colors and styles than before — including the whitest of whites, if that’s what tickles your fancy. Don’t let the possibility of a few raised eyebrows dissuade you. It’s your wedding, not theirs.

Another consideration you probably didn’t deal with the first time around is children from a previous relationship. It’s important to talk about marriage plans early on in the engagement, so children can get used to the idea. It’s also important to inform your ex about your wedding plans at roughly the same time you tell the children. That way you’re not putting any children between you and your ex, or burdening the kids by asking them to keep a secret from another parent. After your children have time to get used to the idea, ask them how much they want to get involved. Children feel important when they’re consulted in just about any capacity, and they’re often eager to participate in the wedding itself. If your kids are involved in the wedding, they’re much less likely to feel resentful about it, or ignored.

Finally, while a second wedding is usually less formal, it doesn’t have to be. If your budget can accommodate your desires, the choice is entirely yours. There’s no reason in the world why you can’t hire a string quartet, arrange for white-gloved butler service, and wear a train that rivals Princess Di’s.

Even though the second wedding comes with a few extra hurdles to clear, many couples find themselves feeling more liberated — somehow set loose from all the traditional burdens and minutiae of the first wedding. To some, the second wedding might be a little less of an event. But to the couple themselves, it’s just as special as the first marriage — and often, even more.