Second Wedding 101: Tips from a Second Time Bride
Published date: 23rd September 2020 | Author: Laura Spencer
Planning your second wedding and feel slightly overwhelmed? Second time brides can certainly feel this way.
At the start there is lots of excitement around what you could do better and very differently to the first time. But then there is the little voice which rears its ugly head, saying ‘you can’t do that, it is your second wedding’.
First Time Round
I went all bells and whistles for my first wedding, with a classic church ceremony at the most beautiful romantic village Castle Combe in Wiltshire. The reception was held at a country retreat Lackham House in Lacock, which had the most enchanted grounds.
For my first wedding, I certainly chose a wedding dress that I thought I should wear rather than what actually suited my body shape. Choosing a wedding dress with a large price tag also affected other areas of my budget. Therefore I had to pull back in areas such as the invitations (which I handmade myself) as well as the photographer and even the wedding cake! Was I a little bit Bridezilla? Maybe.
Second times a charm! At the age of 33 never did I think I’d be engaged again. The proposal couldn’t have been more perfect, romantic and oh so special. I was whisked away for a romantic weekend to Bath. After a very relaxing couples massage at the Bath Thermae Spa we arrived at our hotel No.15 Great Pulteney Street.
We entered the room, and the floor and bed was covered in rose petals. There was champagne and a large bouquet of blooms sat on the table with a card addressed to me. I read out a special poem he had written and then he pulled out a massive rock! Of course, I said yes!
Now most people would perhaps want to give it a little time before starting the wedding planning and thinking about the wedding venue. Not us! I think because we’re both in very structured, organised roles we just knew we wanted to book everything as soon as possible.
First time around I wouldn’t have thought of using a wedding directory. However, the second time around we used For Better For Worse and found our perfect wedding venue, The Great Tythe Barn in Tetbury. We searched by county and found it so easy to shop through all the options. We then popped an enquiry over through the site and hey presto! Before we knew it we were viewing and booking our wedding day.
Wearing a White Dress
Having a very traditional big white dress the first time round may mean you want to go for something a little different. Second time round you certainly want to look very different on your wedding day! The polar opposite of the first time in fact. Having spent a large amount on my wedding dress for the first marriage, I wanted to ensure I had enough budget for other important areas second time around, such as the photographer.
After a lot of scouring the internet I had a budget in mind, it was stripped back. Then I came across a news article about H&M and how they had started a wedding dress range. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, the dress shape and style I wanted for a fraction of the price. I instantly ordered my second wedding dress! There is no reason why you can’t wear a white dress to your second wedding. After all, you are still a bride, even if it is the second time round. It doesn’t make your wedding day any less special.
If like me you love the option of a high street dress then get some inspiration here. Also, If you simply need a little extra help second time round, this article will give you some great ideas for your second wedding.
The Guest List
This can be a tricky one for your second marriage. Whether it be because you are still close friends with your ex-husband’s family or because you invited someone to your first wedding but you’re not as close with them now. It can be a bit of a minefield and that’s no exaggeration.
There are certainly no rules saying you can’t invite your ex-husband to your second wedding. Perhaps a lot of time has passed and you’re good friends now? As long as you talk everything through and no one feels uncomfortable, then there would be no issue.
I took the approach of letting my husband have more guests than me at our wedding second time round. I felt that I wanted to take a step back, seeing as though it was my second marriage and I didn’t feel the need to have a big guest list to have a special wedding day.
The Seating Plan
Seating arrangements are something that needs careful planning the second time round. My husband’s parents are divorced and although they are on civil terms, we knew they wouldn’t want to be sat near each other. After speaking to many friends, we decided to ditch the whole traditional top table arrangement. It would simply cause more issues and we didn’t feel it was worth the difficult conversation.
After a lot of thought and planning, we decided to go for a different approach and have the Best Man and Bridesmaids on our top table. Having children on a wedding day can be another added factor to consider. Our two children sat with my parents in front of us so we could be near them but without having to worry about them.
The Gift List
Seeing as though many of your guests may have been at your first wedding, the whole present etiquette can be very awkward second time round. Don’t fret, the majority of your guests will love to buy you and your partner a wedding gift.
Instead of a traditional gift registry, another option would be a voluntary contribution towards your honeymoon. People understand that budgets can be stretched second time round. My parents very kindly paid for my first wedding, the second time around we funded some of it ourselves and my husband’s parents contributed. Times have changed and people are far more open to a more modern way of giving a special wedding gift.
Taking His Name?
If like me you had children from your first marriage, choosing whether to take your new husband’s second name isn’t as easy as you may think. I had to strongly consider my daughter’s feelings. She is now the only person in our household with a different name and I’d be lying to say it doesn’t bother her.
There are however alternative options that you could explore. For example, blending both surnames and taking a double barrelled approach is something you could consider.
Learning a Lesson
Like many things in life, if we could do something all over again we may naturally do things differently. As a second time bride, I found making a personal list of what I loved about my first wedding and what I didn’t, helpful. I evaluated it and knew where I was going to invest more of our wedding budget.
Just because you have been married before, it doesn’t make it any less exciting. Enjoy the ride and focus on what you both want. Celebrations can be as elaborate or intimate as you so desire. There is no stigma surrounding a second wedding.