Top tips for planning a second wedding

PUBLISHED: 11:39 28 September 2016 | UPDATED: 11:39 28 September 2016

Second time around

Second time around


More than 30 per cent of weddings are now second marriages, but just because you’ve done it before doesn’t mean you have to make it a small affair. Francesca May looks at the myriad of options for couples saying ‘I do’ again

Planning a second wedding may feel at times as though you are walking through an etiquette minefield - everyone has an opinion on what is or isn’t appropriate. Having been a second time bride myself, here’s my guide to planning your big day - from what to wear to creating wedding gift lists.

Choosing the right venue

Getting married for the second time doesn’t have to be an intimate affair, in fact there are often more family and friends on both sides to consider.

The trend for second marriages has often been to keep it low key. Many choose the registry office for a simple ceremony, but if you had a small wedding the first time round this might be the perfect opportunity to do everything you missed out on then. With such a huge range of wedding venues from converted barns, to manor houses and even magical yurts there’s so much choice. So do explore all your options.

Though the South West has many stunning civil ceremony locations to choose from, in recent years churches have become more open to the idea of hosting second weddings. If you both feel this is the perfect venue for your wedding then don’t rule it out without first making some enquiries.

What type of wedding breakfast do you want?

The food you serve your guests at your chosen reception venue is also a big deciding factor for second time weddings. Couples often want a more relaxed feel to the day. Instead of the usual formal three course meal, you could opt for a barbecue, buffet or hog roast. This allows guests and the happy couple to spend more time socialising.

Second wedding dresses and attire

The good news for second time round brides is that the rule about not wearing white for a second wedding has gone right out the window. You can wear whatever colour feels and looks good on you. Most brides getting remarried have already had their “princess in a white dress” moment the first time around, and so opt for a more mature look such as a brocade suit or a simple cocktail dress. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be a princess for the day if you want to opt for the big white gown. Don’t be persuaded to keep it low key if you want something more extravagant. Remember it is your wedding day and you must do what makes you both happy!

Include your children

If you have children (or grandchildren) it’s a lovely touch to make them a special part of your second wedding. Whatever their age there will be an important role for them to play: they could be a flower girl, ring bearer, bridesmaid or groomsman, or even the best man (or woman) or your maid of honour. Perhaps they would like to read something during the ceremony? Or make a special toast during the reception? My children were so excited to be a part of my big day that we had a countdown on a chalkboard at home to really make them feel a part of it. We took turns to update it daily.

A popular second wedding trend is to speak a family vow to the children after the bride and groom’s vows. For example: ‘I, (name), solemnly promise that I will care for you, love you and honour you as my own’. Some people also give a small token gift or piece of jewellery, saying something like: ‘Take this as a symbol of our family, and our love for you’.

For an extra special touch why not include your children’s names on the wedding invitations? For example: ‘Adam Hall and Chloe Banks invite you to join them as they celebrate their wedding, and together with their son James Hall and Abby Hall, become one family’.

Wedding gifts

The general rule is that gifts are not mandatory for a second wedding. This is because traditionally wedding gifts are to help a couple set up their home, and the presumption is second time brides and grooms already have their own homes together.

However, gifts are now much more common for a second wedding and you can register a gift list and let your guests know, just as you did for your first wedding. While you may have many basic home items, you are setting up house for your new relationship and may want to register for new bedding, dinnerware and other items that reflect your shared tastes.

Alternatively many couples opt for a honeymoon fund, so guests pay into a honeymoon pot for the couple to put towards their dream trip together as a married couple.

Paying for your wedding

The rules on who pays for a wedding aren’t the same the second time around. Typically the bride and groom split the costs of a second wedding. Whether or not they contributed to the costs of your first wedding, you shouldn’t expect parents or relatives to chip in. Of course, if they offer, you may accept their help graciously.

The style and budget for the second marriage often depends on what was involved in the first. Couples often keep the traditional elements of the wedding but personalise aspects of the day to match their style.

As a second time bride my biggest piece of advice is do what is right for you as a couple and don’t be persuaded to meet other peoples expectations. Enjoy the planning and make the day about spending it with the people you want to, whether that means a small intimate affair or a large extravagant event.

Remember, you’re older, you’re wiser and you’ve got some experience under your belt this time, so make the most of it and enjoy the experience!

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