How to Plan Your Second Wedding: Tips and Etiquette

Husband and wife in wedding attire.

Whether your spouse passed away or you just went your separate ways, the idea of finding love for a second time is certainly a romantic one. But along with a second wedding comes a lot of decisions you’ll have to make. After all, how do you plan your second wedding so that it stands out from your first? These tips will help you get started.

Take Traditional Formalities with a Grain of Salt

Whether you stuck to wedding traditions for your first time or not, feel free to relax those notions for your second wedding. It’s all about you — if you feel tied to certain traditions, go for it! But if you’d rather go with a daytime wedding, book a smaller reception venue, or forgo some of the more well-known traditions, the choice is totally up to you. Choose an engagement ring and wedding bands that you absolutely love, rather than focusing on what your friends or family will think of them.

Make Your Second Wedding Unique

The last thing you probably want to be reminded of on your second wedding day is what your first was like, so we recommend making your wedding as unique as possible. What would you have done differently with your first? How is your relationship different? Does your partner have ideas about the wedding day that you never thought of before? Keep your options open and go for something different.

Make the Event as Big or Small as You Want

If you’ve been looking for advice online, you may have heard that second weddings are “supposed” to be small and intimate. The truth is, there is no hard and fast rule for how big or small your second wedding has to be. If you want to go big, then by all means, go big! If you’d rather keep the guest list tiny, that works, too. Just remember that whatever advice you may receive, it’s your wedding…and you get the final say.

Rework Family Roles

One of the cool things about a second wedding is it gives you the opportunity to change things up. You may even have more family and friends you’d like to include this time around, which gives you plenty of options for incorporating your family into the wedding day. If you have kids, having them participate in the wedding is a great way to show them that you’re molding into an entirely new kind of family! Whether it’s a flower girl role, bridesmaids, groomsmen, or even the person walking you down the aisle, the options are plentiful.

If you or your partner have had some family members pass since your last wedding, you can still find ways to incorporate them into the ceremony. Try choosing a sentimental reading or blessing, or make a photo display that guests can check out after the ceremony to make sure no one gets left out from your big day.

Choose the Right Attire

Another piece of unsolicited advice you may receive will be that you’re not supposed to wear white to your second wedding. We say wear whatever you want! White, pink, purple, black — the choice is up to you. You can even pick out outfit changes if your heart desires. This is the start of a new period of your life, and you should enter it in whatever way you feel best.

Spend Time on Your Guest List

It might be tempting to invite former spouses, family members, and more to your wedding. If you feel strongly about having someone there, then you definitely should! Just make sure you and your partner both feel comfortable with the guest list before you move forward with inviting everyone. Since it’s a second wedding, there may be some trickier decisions to make when it comes to your guest list. Take your time to make sure you’re inviting only those whom you want to be there on your big day, and not just focusing on obligation.

Spend Time on Your Wedding Parties

Just like your guest list, spend some time deciding whom you’d like to include in your wedding party. Chances are, you’ve gained and lost some friends and family between your first and second wedding, so your wedding party may very well look different this time around. The most important thing is that you’re surrounded with those you love!

Decide Whether or Not You’re Going to Accept Gifts

You may have heard otherwise, but it’s still definitely acceptable to create a wedding gift registry if that’s what you and your partner want. Even if you decide you don’t need gifts, chances are there are friends and family that will want to give them anyway! What you want/need will probably be different from what you were asking for at your first wedding, but that’s totally okay. Talk with your partner to decide what works best for the two of you.

Consider Eloping

If all this wedding talk is already starting to stress you out, it may be time to consider eloping! Some of the hang-ups people have around eloping are that your family won’t get to see you on your “big day,” but considering they’ve already attended a big celebration for your first wedding, they probably won’t be as bothered by it this time around. Remember, your wedding is about you and your partner, and however you decide to go about it, the focus will still be on the love the two of you share.

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