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.