16 Must-Know Second Wedding Etiquette Rules for Couples & Guests

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Second weddings are becoming more common these days, as people find love again after divorce, widowhood, or other circumstances. However, planning a second wedding can be tricky, as there are different expectations and sensitivities involved. As George Will said, “The definition of second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”

Therefore, it is important to be respectful and thoughtful when organizing a second wedding. In this article, Viva Wedding Photography will reveal the secrets of second wedding etiquette and help you make your big day a blast! Whether you are a couple or a guest, you will find helpful tips and advice from us.

1. Second Wedding Etiquette for the Bride and Groom

1.1. How to Announce Your Second Wedding to Your Loved Ones

This is the most challenging part of the second wedding etiquette. Maybe the most important rule to follow while planning a second wedding is to be careful about who you tell and how.

You should start by telling your kids (if you have any) about your upcoming wedding. They deserve to know first and foremost. Accompanying you should be your parents, close relatives, and closest friends. if you are on good terms with your ex-partner, you may want to break the news to them personally. It’s better than letting them find out from someone else.

Announce Your Second Wedding
Announce Your Second Wedding (Image: pixabay)

1.2. Should You Have a Registry for Your Second Wedding?

Despite what you may have heard, the answer is yes. Even if you clarify that you don’t want presents, well-meaning loved ones may still want to get you something to celebrate the occasion. In that case, it’s best to assist them in finding a wedding gift that truly expresses who you are and what you value.

Prioritize the things that are truly important to you. Don’t bother with necessities like a stove or oven if you already have a functioning household. Now is the perfect moment to shop for new fine china, everyday dishes, or whatever else has been on your mind.

Second Marriage Etiquette About Registry
Second Wedding Etiquette About Registry

1.3. Is It Appropriate to Ask for Money Instead of Gifts?

Nothing wrong with wanting some cash for your second wedding! After all, you and your partner have probably built a cozy home together and don’t need more stuff. What you really need is some extra money to make your dreams come true, whether it’s a romantic getaway or a home makeover.

But how can you follow the etiquette for second wedding gifts and let your guests know without sounding rude? The trick is to be subtle and gracious. For instance, you can create a cash fund registry site or ask a close friend to spread the word for you. This way, you can skip the awkward chats and still get what you wish for!

1.4. Should You Invite Your Ex to Your Second Wedding?

Second Wedding Protocol Related To Invite Your Ex
Second Wedding Protocol Related To Invite Your Ex

Unless you and your ex had a really close and friendly relationship, the answer is no. Following second wedding etiquette, your ex need not be invited to your wedding. You should consult with your future spouse if inviting an ex-lover is OK.

If you remain connected to your in-laws after the death of your first husband, you may wish to extend an invitation to them to your wedding. Nevertheless, you should be prepared for them to offer condolences instead of attending.

1.5. Can You Have a Bridal Shower and a Bachelor/Bachelorette Party?

That’s a more complex scenario. Celebrations such as a bridal shower and bachelorette party are allowed if it is the bride’s first wedding. Several of the typical items given as bridal shower gifts, such as dishes, silverware, and cookware, are things that the bride should already have if this is her second wedding.

Of course, many newlyweds choose to update their home furnishings to show off their status as married couples by purchasing brand-new items. Talk it over with your loved ones. A wedding shower is acceptable in second wedding etiquette if someone offers to arrange a party for you and everybody is excited about the idea.

1.6. How to Involve Your Children in Your Second Wedding

2nd Wedding Etiquette About Your Child's Presence At The Party
2nd Wedding Etiquette About Your Child’s Presence At The Party

As soon as you say “I do” for the second time, share the exciting news with your kids! This is also a great time to talk to them about what they can do to help at the wedding, following the etiquette for second marriage.

Ask the officiant how you can include the kids in the ceremony. Maybe they can join you in reciting your vows, or read a poem that reminds you of your family. How about a group hug or a high-five at the altar to celebrate your new bond? The little ones can sprinkle flowers or carry rings, while the older ones can stand by your side as bridesmaids or groomsmen. You can also ask a child to escort you to the altar. The younger guests can help with tasks like distributing wedding programs and favors at the reception.

Don’t force a child to participate if they are reluctant. They may need some time to adjust to the idea of having a new parent, especially if they have gone through a divorce. Be patient and supportive, and they will eventually come around.

1.7. Can You Wear a White Wedding Gown and a Veil?

Second Wedding Etiquette About Wedding Dress
Second Wedding Etiquette About Wedding Dress

According to 2nd wedding etiquette, there are no hard and fast rules on what you can or cannot wear for your second, third, or tenth time down the aisle. You can still wear white with a veil if you want to, or you can choose a different color or style that suits your personality and taste. Wedding attire should be chosen based on how the bride feels about herself, not the dress’s color.

While the officiant at your ceremony may insist that you wear a veil, it is ultimately up to the bride to determine if she feels beautiful with or without one. Besides a hat, you can accessorize your head with a crown, comb, hairpins, flowers, or even a tiara.

1.8. Can You Have Your Second Wedding at a Church or Other Place of Worship?

Second Marriage Etiquette: Having Celebration At The Worship
Second Marriage Etiquette: Having Celebration At The Worship

Whether a formerly married individual can remarry in their faith’s sacred space is a matter of interpretation. Talk to your priest or minister about the remarriage “laws” in your faith. Perhaps this person would happily officiate the event, but not in their place of worship. A church blessing can follow a civil ceremony if desired.

1.9. Is A Big Party Possible?

One’s second wedding ceremony can be as little and simple or as large and elaborate as desired. Nowadays, a second wedding celebration can be anything from an intimate dinner with close relatives and friends to a grand affair with hundreds of wedding guests at a posh venue by the sea.

However, if you are looking for inexpensive wedding ideas for second marriage, you can still have a beautiful and memorable day without breaking the bank. Try incorporating new components and details into this one to avoid a sense of déjà vu from your previous wedding(s), such as a DIY decor, a potluck menu, or a casual dress code. It’s up to the newlyweds whether or not they choose to participate in reception traditions like the first dance, parent dances, wedding party entry, tossing the bouquet, and cutting the cake.

Inexpensive wedding ideas for second marriage
Inexpensive wedding ideas for second marriage (Image: Helgy)

1.10. Is Asking Our Parents To Contribute To The Wedding’s Cost Reasonable?

When it comes to second weddings, don’t expect your parents to foot the bill, even if they did for your first one. Most second-time brides and grooms have more money to spare and can handle the wedding expenses on their own. Of course, your parents can chip in if they want to, but it’s not a must.

1.11. Who Should Walk the Bride Down the Aisle?

Second Wedding Protocol: Who Takes Bride's Hand Down To Aisle
Second Wedding Protocol: Who Takes Bride’s Hand Down To Aisle

According to second wedding protocol, each second-time bride with living parents can have one of them walk her down the aisle(s), or she can walk by herself if she prefers. Even a second-time groom may want his parents to walk him down the aisle, especially if they have a close and supportive relationship. To further emphasize the union of two families rather than just two individuals, some couples have their child(ren) walk them down the aisle, which can be a sweet and meaningful gesture.

1.12. Is It Possible To Hold A Formal Wedding Reception?

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t have a formal wedding reception for a second marriage! You can still celebrate your love with your family and close friends by having them as bridesmaids and groomsmen or brideswomen. Of course, the wedding party has some responsibilities to fulfill: throwing a shower, attending pre-wedding events, and wearing a dress or suit that suits the couple’s style.

>>> Recommend reading: The Best Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette Tips For A Perfect Event

1.13. Is 40 too old to remarry?

Remarrying at 40 is not too late at all. In fact, many people discover a new chance of love and happiness in their second marriages after 40. According to the research of Paul Hemez in “Distributions of Age at Remarriage, 1960-2018”, the average age of remarriage for men is 46 and for women is 43.

Second marriage after 40
Second marriage after 40 – etiquette for second wedding (Image: pixabay)

However, a second marriage after 40 is not a bed of roses. It also comes with its own challenges and drawbacks, such as having to deal with the baggage and complications from the previous marriage. But the most important thing is to be emotionally ready and compatible with your partner, no matter how old you are. Age is just a number, right?

1.14. Can you have a second wedding to the same person?

Absolutely! Having a second wedding to the same person is not only possible, but also wonderful. This type of ceremony, also known as a vow renewal or reaffirmation ceremony, is a beautiful way to celebrate your love story. You may have different reasons for having a second wedding to the same person, such as marking a special anniversary, overcoming a difficult time, or simply saying “I love you” all over again. However, you should also be aware of some second wedding protocol that may differ from your first wedding.

During a second wedding ceremony to the same person, you rekindle your romance by exchanging vows and rings, just like you did on your first wedding day, but with even more depth and passion. The ceremony may also feature unique rituals or readings that you select to honor your journey together.

2. Second Marriage Etiquette For Guests

2.1. Do You Have to Give a Gift to a Couple Having a Second Wedding?

Etiquette for second wedding gifts
Etiquette for second wedding gifts

You are not obligated to provide a gift for a second marriage, but doing so is a nice gesture, according to the etiquette for second wedding gifts. It’s appropriate to inquire whether the couple has set up a registry, especially considering that many couples planning a second wedding are less likely to want to publicize theirs.

They’ll be flattered by your interest and will probably be happy to send you properly. If you can’t or don’t want to buy a wedding gift, at least send a card or note expressing your joy and gratitude for the happy couple and your attendance at the wedding.

2.2. What Are Some Great Gift Ideas for Second Wedding?

Wedding gifts for second marriages etiquette
Wedding gifts for second marriages etiquette (Image: Getty Images)

When it comes to second-wedding presents, the etiquette for second marriage suggests that they are more modest than those for the first wedding. What you give depends on your emotional and financial situation and how well you know the couple’s preferences. You should try to think of something that would delight them.

If you’re having trouble thinking of a present, consider whether they have well-established interests or hobbies. Gifts of experience, such as a couple’s cookery class, salsa classes, or a gift ticket to a favorite restaurant, are always well-received and allow you to break free from the traditional notions of wedding gifts(such as plateware or bedding).

>>> Further reading:

Second weddings can be just as special and meaningful as the first, but it’s important to approach the planning process with care and sensitivity. By following the second wedding etiquette of Viva Wedding Photography, you can create a celebration that reflects your love and commitment to each other while respecting the feelings of those around you.

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