With Pippa Middleton’s wedding last weekend leading the way, it’s officially wedding season!
If you’re planning your own ‘wedding of the year’ – and its your second* wedding after divorce, then the good news is that it’s time to rip up the rule book!
(*Or third, or fourth, or fifth….)
The great thing about second weddings is that there really are no rules. You are older, wiser (hopefully!) – and probably paying for The big day yourself. The journeys taken by you and your partner to this day will have taken many twists and turns, and these will also shape the way you want to celebrate.
Most second weddings are more low key and with smaller guest lists than first-time weddings. But that doesn’t mean they are any less complicated! In fact, conventional wedding etiquette doesn’t really cover the myriad of possibilities that second weddings present – from who will give you away, the role that your children will play, your vows, whether to have bridesmaids or not, and the guest list (some couples even choose to invite their exes!).
So it’s up to you and your partner to make your own rules based upon works for you.
This time no one is going to raise an eyebrow if you don’t wear white (though some may well raise one if you do!), if you wear a full length or short dress, or even trousers.
You can opt for an intimate ceremony at a registry office and limit the guests to close family or a couple of friends before heading off for a quiet supper, jet off to somewhere hot and sunny for a beach ceremony, or host a party for your mates with a Strictly Come Dancing dress code.
You can spend the day in a forest, or opt for the glamour of a stately home. You can choose a theme, keep things traditional or keep the entire thing secret. You’re grown-ups – so you get to choose – and it’s no surprise that many couples opt for an alternative day, unique to them, without the conventional wedding trappings.
Here’s how to think outside the wedding box:
1. You’ve had a wedding before so you can definitely benefit from being a little older and wiser about what worked last time (not spending an absolute fortune, for instance!). If you have a vision for how you want your wedding to be – simple, elaborate, themed, traditional – then stick with it. Do ask for input from your partner and close family and friends of course, but otherwise only listen to advice that you have asked for.
2. With so many potential details to sort out, have the wisdom to know you can’t control everything. With the best planning in the world, things will still go wrong (who left the teenagers on their own with the Prosecco? Why did your best friend turn up with a guy she only met two weeks ago? Is it going to rain or not?). You’ll have a lot more fun – and a lot less anxiety – if you can shrug your shoulders and accept that not everything will go to plan.
3. You’re probably paying for this wedding yourself, so know your budget and work with it. Your true friends – and you probably have many by now – love you and are there to celebrate with you. They’ll still turn up and have fun whether you spend £50 a head for dinner, or £5.
4. Second weddings often have a smaller guest list and you are therefore less likely to risk offending anyone by not inviting them. But if you’re planning a wedding somewhere exotic, don’t assume your select group of friends will be able or want to, pay to travel. If their attendance really matters to you, then you may need to arrange something closer to home.
5. Ultimately your second wedding is about love and commitment to your new partner, your new extended family, and the first steps of your future together. Keep that at the forefront of your plans, and it will be a truly wonderful day.