Second Marriages and Beyond

In today's modern society it is not uncommon for people to have second or even third marriages. Traditionally, these "encore marriages" were celebrated quietly. Today, however, they can be as formal or informal as the couple wishes and is considered a celebration of two people finding each other and celebrating their new lives together.

Who to Tell

The first people you should announce your engagement to are your children. Be prepared; there might be some shock or resistance after the announcement and you will need to answer any questions they might have. Try to calm their fears and explain how their lives will changes.

After your children, the people you should tell next are your parents. If you have joint custody with your ex-spouses, tell your ex next.

Everyone else can be told face-to-face, over the phone or via email. You also can put an announcement in the newspaper.

Engagement parties are not usually held for second weddings, although if you would like to hold a party and announce your engagement to everyone there, you can.

Who to Invite

With a first marriage, it is customary to invite friends of your parents and other people whom you do not know well. For remarriages, you can focus on inviting the people who mean the most to you.

Formal invitations are not necessary. Gifts are also not expected or required, although you may still want to register just in case the people who love you want to buy you a gift.

Avoid inviting your ex-spouse or ex-in laws. This can cause awkwardness, sadness or tension for both you and them.

Bridal Shower

Bridal showers are not expected for remarriages. It is understood the couple already has everything they need to run a household. If a party is held, it should have a theme and all gifts should be related to that theme. The gifts also should be inexpensive.

If someone would like to throw you a shower, the same rules apply as a traditional wedding shower. No one should be invited who isn't invited to the wedding and under no circumstances should you host the party yourself.


There are several things to take into consideration when planning your second wedding ceremony. If you will be having a religious wedding, check with your church or synagogue to see what you need to do in order to marry again. Allow several months for any paperwork that may need to be done.

For remarriage, you don't need to have attendants, although most couples do opt for a best man and a matron of honor. The bride also doesn't need to be giving away. She already was giving away, at her first wedding.

If you have children, you'll want to incorporate them into the ceremony in some way, but ask their permission first.

Although once it was taboo for a second time bride to wear white, today she can wear anything she chooses. It can be a white bridal gown, a cocktail dress or even her best fitted suit. Veils and trains, however, should be avoided. Both of these symbolize innocence and youth. And orange blossoms should be left out of the bouquet as they symbolize virginity.

Finally, remember don't wear the same engagement and wedding rings or wedding dress you wore in your first marriage and don't get married in the same location. Your second marriage is a new beginning and a fresh start.


  • Great second time

    I'm am remarried, and have clearly understood some of these suggestions. I didn't care about a big wedding, because I had one and all the bells and whistles the first time. However, my husband had not, and I wanted him to feel special. WE each had left our old lives, and really had no homes of our own. Our children had homes, and we had to decide where to live, and what to buy. Our friends gave us a shower because we had nothing but a coffee pot, bed and kitchen table . Our children were in our wedding, and my grandchildren . So to each their own !!

    Shelly 2016-06-02

  • Why the no veil

    This is a second marriage for both of us. Our wedding party is made up of our children. All but one are adults and they are very happy for us. I am a widow and will be wearing a veil but not a train. As Christians, my future husband and I are abstaining until our wedding night so the veil seems appropriate. .

    Bev 2015-04-09

  • Awful

    The pomposity in these 'rules' about a second marriage are just amazing. Healthy people in bad marriages, end them and each party is free to move on and find happiness again. I agree tell children and folks and be prepared. Like this piece people love to judge. Perhaps the second wife has never ben married before. Why shouldn't she celebrate and have all the things she is entitled to as a mew bride, or a bride again? Isn't it better for two unhappy people to get divorced rather than cheat because of some apparently valiant excuse (kids) or less so, their finances? You obviously disapprove of second marriages and it's not loving at all.

    Helene 2015-03-19

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