– AskCheryl – Etiquette for a Second Wedding - Anything Goes?

Today’s letter comes from a bride who has been previously married. She wants to know whether the etiquette for planning a second wedding differs from when planning the first wedding. Read on to find out!

Dear Cheryl,

What is the best way to handle a wedding when it’s the bride’s second wedding, but the groom’s first? We’re both around 40 years old- I have children and my fiancé doesn’t. I really want to do the right thing when it comes to planning our wedding!


Dear Lisa,

Rest assured, it doesn’t matter if one of you has been married before. Nowadays, anything goes when it comes to second marriages, and any type of wedding is perfectly correct. You may have family situations to consider, but from an etiquette point of view, there are no “rules” to be broken.

Every couple should follow the same steps:

  1. Determine a budget.
  2. Determine your guest list.
  3. Plan your wedding.

The first thing to do is sit down with your fiancé and decide what type of wedding celebration you both want: a small intimate affair, a large celebration, or something in between. Even though you have been married before, you don’t need to limit yourself, and you may have any type of wedding you and your fiancé desire. If you want to wear white, wear white. If you wish to have attendants, then have them.

Whether small and intimate or large and elaborate, choose a wedding that makes you comfortable and reflects your personality as a couple.

Set a budget and make a guest list. Then pick your venue and the type of wedding you can afford based on those you’d like to invite. Ask yourself: “Can I afford this venue and entertain this number of guests within my budget?”

As I mentioned earlier, sometimes, with a second marriage, family situations must be considered. Be mindful of others’ feelings. If possible, I would recommend including your children in the process. Make your wedding a family event by having them in the ceremony or giving them a special role.

Here are several articles that may be helpful to get your planning started:

  1. Love and… Remarriage: Etiquette for an Encore Wedding
  2. AskCheryl: Etiquette for a Second Marriage
  3. Encore Wedding: Planning a Wedding the Second Time Around
  4. Ask Cheryl: Which Traditions Should We Keep For Our Second or Third Marriage?
  5. Wedding Traditions: Which Ones to Keep and Which Ones to Toss

Best of luck, and remember: center the event on celebrating your love and commitment to one another, and all the other details should fall into place.

If you have questions or comments about gift giving or wedding etiquette, please comment below or email [email protected].

Emails in this column are received from readers. Emails may be edited for spelling and grammar or to remove sensitive information; however, we are careful not to alter the intent or content of the question.

Cheryl Seidel is the founder and President of RegistryFinder.com, an intuitive search engine that helps gift givers quickly and easily find online registries for weddings, baby showers, graduations, and more.

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