In an era of “glass half full” vs. “glass half empty” there are still those that believe the glass is still worth lifting in a toast to love. Many people are embracing love over statistics, bad experiences, past faux pas, and friendly naysayers and following their heart and remarrying. This profusion of second, or third or even fourth marriages, popularly termed ‘encore weddings’, become the joining of not only two people but possibly two families. Because both parties are wiser and hopefully more confident in their choices their perspectives differ to that of first time couples. Age, family ties and a more appreciation of the budget may hold a pervasive weight on wedding decisions.
Different personal past experiences mean different wedding etiquette comes into play and should be looked at. For example the hierarchy for announcing the joyful event follows a very different order:
1. Tell the children first (if there are any from the previous marriage).
2. Then the ex-spouse (regardless of the quality of the relationship and especially if there’s children from that marriage).
3. Next is family and siblings. If you are in good standing with ex-in-laws or a widow/widower, including the in-laws is appropriate.
4. Finally your friends and co-workers.
The focus should be on the family from the previous marriage which is a shift from just the newly engaged couple.
Some changes in typical first time wedding etiquette may also include:
1. Wording invitations to include children as the ones making the announcement and giving the bride or groom away.
2. Forgoing the larger ostentatious wedding for a more intimate one and eschewing a formal registry for an informal one. Register for specific hobbies or events because most likely you already have what you need to start a household. Even if you do not wish for anyone to give gifts, a registry helps those who feel happy to do so and will prevent duplicate gifts or unusable ones. (Never put “No gifts please” on your invitations; this is a huge etiquette error.)
3. Do not expect parents to pay for the event but if they offer you can graciously accept.
4. Specialty showers are a better option and friends who gave gifts at your last wedding are not obligated to give another gift.
5. The bride may wear white or any color she chooses. Do not be tied to traditions this time around.
6. Finally, make sure you put closure to your first marriage on all levels: legally, financially and emotionally. This helps make a fresh start for your new life together.
Look at you dressed in a sharp suit/elegant tux. The role is “Best Man”. You will be navigating some tricky situations, thinking on your feet and protecting your assignment: the groom. So keep calm and not mildly intoxicated and you should come out of this in stellar shape.
Responsible is your code word and all involved – groom, bride, their parents – will see that you are the best choice. You will be punctual, tactful and always presentable in appearance. Your ability to listen to the groom and act as an intermediary is crucial.
Some of your duties include:
• Bachelor partying preparation
• Prompt delivery of groom to ceremony in good condition
• Official witness
• Help execute proficient photo ops
• Evacuate guests to reception checkpoint
• Deliver reception speech with a cool head
Rehearsal and Dinner
The official wedding schedule should be finalized by or before the rehearsal dinner. Your job is to know all the fine details/times and to pass it along to the ushers/groomsmen, ensuring they know their individual duties (where to stand to greet and seat guest, where to pass out programs, keeping the front pews vacant for the VIPs, assisting in parking navigation and helping rally the troops for photo ops). Familiarize yourself with the venue, the layout of the parking lot, photographers/videographers line of site, nearest restrooms, where you and the groom will be standing, etc. Confidently introduce yourself to the minister. You should become familiar with ring bearers/flower girls names and their parents in case a disruptive tantrum needs to be neutralized quickly. At the dinner you will stay sharp and make sure the groom does the same.
Wake the groom in plenty of time to acclimate to the day ahead (secure three alarm clocks for this important task). Calm his nerves by assuring him of all the positives that go with this decision. You will help him dress making sure he looks as exceptional as you do. Verify location of the ring! Remember phone/chargers, and wallet with a lot of tip money. Arrival time is three hours pre-event so allow for traffic and car mishaps. Pass out boutonnières.
You will greet guests in the reception line in a charming fashion. Your speech is set and ready.
You will also introduce the father of the bride as the speeches commence. Further duties will include starting the dancing after the newlyweds first dance, packing the car for the honeymoon, transporting any presents to the correct location and returning all rented clothing including the grooms.