An old Sinatra songs croons, Love is lovelier the second time around…Anyone considering an encore wedding needs to know a few things—and a trip to your local library, an online query, or a consultation with a wedding planner or a fine florist will be directed toward the proper etiquette.
If either of you have children from previous weddings, they should be your first priority. Spend some time with each child alone, and reassure them that they will always hold that special place in your heart. Be ready for any and all reactions. But whether they are 5 or 35 years old, it may take some time for them to acclimate to another person in your life. But as naturally as a parent always wants happiness for their children, the child—even an adult child whose nose is in the air—usually comes around.
Since most encore weddings are hosted by the bride and groom, the invitation might start out with, Mary Jones and John Smith invite….If parents or a parent is hosting, it could read, Mr. & Mrs. Jack Smith invite you to the wedding of…And if children are a part of the picture, you might consider, Mary Jones and John Smith, along with their families…
WHAT DO WE WEAR?
Men have it relatively easy, unless you want a black-tie encore wedding (something I do not suggest). A dark suit, proper shirt, tie and shoes are always correct. As for the bride, the days of the white or beige suit are gone. Pick something that you feel attractive in. If you want that long white dress, wear it. Just not the same dress as your first wedding. Other than not wearing a blusher veil, in the words of Noel Coward, anything goes.
I cannot begin to tell you how many old friends come out of the woodwork to invite me to lunch (dinner, coffee, etc.) and ask me to give them advise on second or third weddings. Sometimes encore brides come in a bit shy, or anxious. I quickly congratulate them. Once we start planning, they get excited and by the end of the appointment, they have that ‘bridal glow,’ just as the first-timers do. It’s really one of the joys of my job.
I always suggest to brides they take the high road to quiet quality. But for encore weddings, I’m afraid I’m going to have to eat those words. The reason is, whether it’s just a small family affair or a lush banquet, it’s a time for giddy celebration and fun. Finding love a second time is so very special. Why not? You’ve not concerned how your wedding pictures will age, and as mature adults, there are not many occasions as glorious as this. So have fun!
WHAT ABOUT GIFTS?
It is always unthinkable to put ‘no gifts’ on the invitation. I suggest you get friends and family to spread that news. Better still, why not put the word out that you want donations to go to a cultural or educational institution? I am sure all will donate to wherever they feel their gift will do the most good.
I also think that the soon-to-be bride and groom should tell any ex-spouses about your decision to re-marry. It’s a case of common courtesy—better to hear it from you than on the golf course—or the grocery store—from well-intentioned friends.
Who will escort the bride? If you’re lucky enough to still have a parent around, I would ask them first. My next choice would be the oldest son or a brother. There also have been processionals where the couple walked together with their children—all are appropriate.
I remember a family member’s remarriage: The officiant, instead of asking, Who gives this woman..? (which, at this point, is a little silly) said, Who supports this couple in their love for each other? There was a fist pumping We do! from their families and friends. Another goosebump-raising phrase used by the savvy officiant was to say, I now pronounce you a family, after asking each partner’s child to join them on the altar.
As always, hire the best quality purveyors you can afford. Never hesitate to ask for professional opinions. Seek quality and turn it over.
And the last thing I’ll recommend is that you live happily ever after. Isn’t love the greatest?