Monday, October 19, 2009

Planning a Second Wedding - What's Appropriate?

With more than 50 percent of today's marriages involving a bride or groom who have been married before, social attitudes regarding what's appropriate in the wedding ceremony have evolved over the years.

Attitudes have changed a lot over the years and the word "remarriage" is rarely used today. In the past, couples quietly stated that they were going to remarry. Today, the couple happily announces their intentions to marry without the prefix of "re," indicating that they are going into the union with an attitude of making this union its own being rather than a repeat event.

Second weddings (or even third weddings, for that matter) now range from quiet ceremonies in a chapel or courtroom to celebrations with as much pomp as many first-time weddings.

However, some feel it's necessary to hold on to at least a few traditions and customs. Etiquette, after all, still exists and rare is the wedding that goes off without a hitch. Knowing how to handle any dilemmas that might pop up is wise for all brides.

Second-time couples are usually older and wiser than their first-time counterparts. More of the ceremony, reception and honeymoon decisions will be theirs, since they are often paying for everything, rather than those decisions lying with family members who are footing the bill.

Sophistication is often the name of the game with today's remarrying couples. Along with becoming older and wiser, the couple has a better idea of who they are, both individually and as a couple. Let that confidence show in the tasteful, classic choices that you make rather than being swayed by ultra-trendy (or even downright tacky) choices made by younger couples. As an example, an older bride knows her body and has a sense of style.

Most second weddings are less formal than a first wedding, but that doesn't mean they are less lovely. While a large, hoop skirt with long train and seven bridesmaids reeks of first-time, fairytale bride, an encore bride might take advantage of her confidence by wearing something that announces her sophistication and maturity. One attendant is more appropriate than your entire pack of sorority sisters, as well.

The guest list for an encore ceremony can still include all of your extended family and everyone you've ever met. However, most couples prefer to scale things down a bit and concentrate on inviting those who would be considered the most important people in your lives.

Children from your previous marriages, of course, will attend this wedding. If they're old enough to stand up for you as a legal witness, and if that's what you desire, by all means go ahead with this plan. If your children are too young to be witnesses, there's no reason for them to sit in the audience and watch. They can still stand up with you, as bridesmaids and groomsmen, junior bridesmaids or groomsmen, or they can stand with you for a special ceremony to bless your new family unit.

Will you be given away at your second wedding? Some say this tradition would be awkward since the one who would need to give the bride to her new spouse, at this point, would be her former spouse. However, there is a school of thought that frowns up on this theory since it would imply the antiquated view that the woman bounced from being under the wing of her father, to her first husband, and now to her second husband. With women being more independent these days and making their own way in the world, it's her choice whether she'll be given away. March down the aisle on your own, have your father or step-father accompany you, or have your oldest child walk you down the aisle.

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