Planning a Second Wedding

Children in a second wedding bridal party

A second wedding requires planning. Incorporate a few great ideas to make the process easier. There are several questions you need to answer before you can plan a second wedding. Some of these include location, theme, formal or informal ceremony, who to include in the wedding party, and who to invite.

Second Weddings Plan: Formal or Informal?

Many brides planning their second wedding may prefer not to have a traditional ceremony with a white gown and a catered reception at a hall. Although there is nothing wrong with having a traditional wedding if that's what you prefer, many couples prefer to plan more creatively for second weddings.

Since today the boundaries for weddings and wedding ceremonies are prone to follow flexibility and personal preferences rather than antiquated rules, couples can plan in any way that strikes their fancy for a subsequent marriage. Informal weddings, Beach weddings, and outdoor weddings are popular, and you can choose a wide array of options for entertainment, such as a Hawaiian Luau or barbeque with a band or DJ.

Including Children

Whether one or both of the couple has children from the previous marriage, many are concerned with a second weddings plan that ensures the children are incorporated into the festivities, or at the very least, don't feel left out on the nuptial day. Some couples, in fact, are actually choosing to make children a part of the ceremony itself, utilizing a ritual innovated by Dr. Roger Coleman, a Missouri Chaplain called the "Family Medallion Ceremony." This brief ceremony occurs after the rings have been exchanged between the man and woman. Children receive a medallion of interlocking circles that signifies the love of the new couple and the child, and can incorporate a pledge or promise that both the natural and step-parent will love and cherish the child/children.

Other plans to include children in a second wedding can be:

  • Allowing children to be in the bridal party, as ring bearers, flower girls, ushers, or other attendants, depending upon their age
  • Allowing the children to participate in the lighting of the unity candle
  • Giving children some sort of special recognition during the service or ceremony
  • Bestowing another meaningful or symbolic gift, such as a family necklace or ring, during the service
  • Allowing children to stand with the couple or in a circle as the vows are recited

Choosing family-friendly reception sites can also make the children feel special. Some couples may even opt for visits to zoos, amusement parks, aquariums, or a reception at local miniature golfing center for post-wedding entertainment.


Who to invite to a second wedding is sometimes trickier than a first wedding. Choosing to invite ex-spouses, ex-in-laws, and mutual friends, colleagues, or acquaintances is a very personal decision. While some couples opt not to invite the ex and the ex's family due to possible tension, other parties may have maintained good relations with ex-spouse and may feel it is in their children's best interests to have the well-wishes of the other natural parent at the wedding.

Many people opt to plan on inviting only close friends and family members for subsequent weddings, but again, this is a very personal decision. If you have a large extended family or a number of good friends, for example, it may make sense to have a larger wedding.

Bridal Showers and Gifts

Bridal showers are usually considered inappropriate for second weddings, so most women don't plan on them. Although wedding gifts are not considered mandatory obligations for second weddings since the traditional purpose was to help a young couple set up house and home, most guests will bring gifts. It is an individual choice whether couples register for wedding gifts. Often the couple discovers needs in combining households, and these can be met through careful gift registry planning.

Brief Planning Checklist

The needs you'll have at a second wedding may differ in some respects, but there are many aspects that may remain the same. Unless you are having a very creative, unusual or destination ceremony for your second wedding, the following components should probably be part of your plan:

  • Invitations and reception RSVPs
  • Wedding dress or bridal Attire
  • Tux or groom's attire
  • Bridal party attire
  • Church or other location for the ceremony
  • Area for the reception
  • Music or entertainment for the reception
  • Wedding flowers
  • Wedding cake
  • Meal or appetizers for the reception
  • Wedding favors
  • Gifts for bridal party
  • Thank you notes for guests

With a little thought, planning for a second wedding can be an enjoyable and exciting rather than a stressful, time. While it's important to remember the needs of the soon-to-be blended families, it's also important to carefully consider the needs and wishes of yourself and your future spouse for this special time.

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Planning a Second Wedding