Today as many as 30 percent of all weddings involve a bride or groom (or both) who have been married before and are now widowed or divorced. Growing up in the ‘60s in a large Irish Catholic family, I didn’t even know anyone who had been divorced. Today the situation is completely reversed. Friends and family are delighted when their loved one finds someone to share their lives with after a first, or even second, marriage.
This area of wedding etiquette is where I get the most questions, so I’m going to share with you the most frequently asked questions.
What should be my first consideration when I’ve made the decision to remarry?
You. Then you should consider the effect this marriage will have on your children. They should be the first to know. Listen to their concerns, and realize that you are uniting two families. There could be some fear and uncertainty.
Who should be next to know?
Your parents, then your ex, if you have joint custody of your children. Your ex-spouse could be a huge asset when it comes to reassuring your children.
Can I announce it in the paper?
By all means.
We are hosting our own wedding, so is it proper to request no gifts on our invitations?
I personally feel it’s never correct to note ‘no gifts’ because that assumes people intend to bring them, and properly, one never hosts gift-giving events for themselves.
We have so many friends who insist on giving us a gift; Is is it OK to register?
Go ahead and register, even if you don’t want or expect gifts. I suggest lower-priced home, bar or pool accessories.
Who should we invite to our wedding and reception?
You can properly invite anyone, but avoid former in-laws, ex-spouses, and close friends of your ex.
Should we have a civil or religious wedding?
Civil weddings are the most popular for encore weddings, but religious weddings are entirely appropriate. You should make an appointment with your clergy to see if there are any hoops you have to jump through to comply with the tenets of your faith.
Who should walk me down the aisle?
Anyone. If your dad is still around, it’s perfectly fine for him to escort you. (He is not giving you away, just serving your escort.) You might ask your mother, your child, your children, a best friend, or just walk by yourself.
What should I wear?
A dark business suit is always appropriate for men. Today white is a color for joy or celebration, so whites, ivory or any soft pastel that is flattering is the most appropriate.
Can I wear a veil? A blusher? A train?
My first instinct is don’t wear a veil, but that seems to be dated as it’s now perfectly acceptable to wear a veil. But blushers and trains are definitely wrong.
• Attendants, someone to escort you down the aisle, a rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, or a formal procession.
• Duplicating your first wedding in any way, marrying in the same location, wearing the same dress, using rings from former relationships, first wedding traditions (throwing the garter, tossing the bouquet and feeding each other cake), or discussing former spouses at any time during this wedding.