ARA: How do I best handle a second wedding?

A reader asks (via Facebook):

In 2010 my parents graciously hosted a beautiful wedding for me at what was then Dale Miller (now Taste) for about 250 family members and friends. Unfortunately, I was marrying an awful human being who was very verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. He ended up choking me on our wedding night so hard that his hands were bruised into my neck. I left that night.

Since then I have met the most incredible man who treats me like a princess and we have reached the point in our relationship where we plan to be engaged anytime in the next few months. I can’t help but feeling a sense of unrest over how to handle another wedding. There are plenty of resources for how to handle a second wedding due to death or divorce but my situation is different.

I don’t want to take away all of the fun of a wedding from him but don’t know how to handle it being my second. Do I have a shower? And if so how do you put it out there without seeming like you’re asking for more gifts? Same with the wedding? I’m afraid of offending some of my older more traditional family. Any tips or suggestions would be so hugely appreciated.

7 thoughts on “ARA: How do I best handle a second wedding?

  1. Judy

    First, find out what He wants for a wedding. Explain it to him as you have here. Does he want the whole big package? Then you know what the 2 of you want and plan accordingly.

    As for not wanting to ask for more gifts, one couple I know who merged households and didn’t need more presents, invited everyone to a summer outdoor party at their new house. Around 5pm a Rabbi showed up and performed the Surprise Wedding ceremony. This may be a bit extreme in your case, but instead of a shower, this could work for you as a way to announce the engagement and not have a shower.

    1. Rick

      A friend of mine did the same thing and when the Rabbi showed up we were all caught by surprise as we were both Catholic.

    2. KB

      I had the big wedding (100 guests) and got divorced. In my experience, the Baby Boomer group (and older people) look down on showers and big weddings for a second wedding.

      I am not that old (on the Gen X/Millenial fence) and I don’t believe it is appropriate to have showers or big weddings for a 2nd wedding. I think it is most appropriate to elope or keep it small (under 30 guests), but that is my two opinion.

      Another commenter mentioned that someone had a surprise wedding and the officiant showed up, I think this is a very neat idea.

  2. JO

    I really think it all depends on how you handled the return of presents from your last wedding. If it ended the night of the wedding I’m assuming you returned them all, in which case having another big wedding and receiving gifts is ok and I’m sure your family won’t think anything of it.

    As far as a shower goes- do you NEED more things? Perhaps it’s not necessary to have another one or your closest friends could just throw you a sprinkle? Also, if you are that uncomfortable with receiving more gifts then put on the invitation ‘no gifts please’, chances are most will still give gifts.

  3. Kathy connolly

    If your friends and family know about your first situation, I would think they would be very happy for you and want to celebrate with you. For gifts, ask for a donation to your local organization for abused spouses/families. Or any other organization. It can be optional but a goods alternative for those who want to go something. Enjoy this second chance in life!

  4. Roz

    Second weddings are old hat. Don’t fret. You deserve a second chance at happiness. Go plan your wedding and to HELL with ANYONE who dares to give you grief, especially given what you went through with husband number one.

    Even 20+ years ago, I saw many women dress up in full bridal regalia–I mean white beaded bridal gowns, white veils, the works–as they walked down the aisle a second time. As for me, in 1993, I wore an ivory, 2 piece tea length dress and a picture hat. Then I kicked myself for not dressing up more after seeing how other women really dressed up later on. I had a nice wedding the first time around, and a nicer wedding the second time. Everyone knew what I’d been through and was happy for me.

    PS If anyone gives you any lip, send them to me. I’ll straighten them out in a hurry. Best wishes and I hope that you’ve chosen wisely this time!

  5. Paul O'Brien

    I’ve read most of these comments & they’re all valid suggestions as to how to handle a second ( & hopefully your last) marriage.
    I guess the most important person is your future spouse. He should have the most input besides you as to what you both desire.
    Once that’s determined, the rest will fall into place.
    Good luck & Godspeed!


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