Reflections on a Second Wedding


Let me give my disclaimer now…I am in no way a wedding expert.  My mom taught my sister and me a great deal about appropriateness, good manners, social graces, and other rules that add up to proper etiquette.  She was a poor country girl from Tira, but that did not mean she did not have a good upbringing.

I would consider myself well-versed in etiquette rules.  Of course, my etiquette philosophy is that you must know the rules, but then do what works.  For example, I just wrote my sister and her husband a thank you note.  My sister prefers to be called by her first name rather than by Mrs. Last name.  So, her thank you note was addressed to her first name and his first name (the woman’s name goes first in this case), and their last name.  Did I strictly follow the rules?  No.  Did I do what made the most sense in this situation?  Yes.

Back to our wedding, both Mike and I have been married before, so we did not want a big wedding – we have both done that before and did not feel it was appropriate.  Since we have dated eight years, we did not feel we needed to wait.  We did want a wedding celebration since it is one of the few times our families would be together and because we wanted to share our happiness.

We had discussed Vegas, but since a wedding is a religious ceremony we decided against that idea.  Although we love to have fun, in no way did we want to minimize the significance of our marriage ceremony.  We had discussed a destination wedding involving a beach, but not all our family would have been able to make it due to time and health.

We wanted our wedding to be reminiscent of the home weddings held in the 1950s, like my parents had.  Nice, meaningful, but in no way over-the-top or shamefully extravagant.

In 30 days, we pulled together most of our immediate families, a caterer, flowers, violinist, marriage license, officiate, mementos of the evening, embroidered napkins, coordinating tablecloths, wedding dress, landscaping, hotel rooms, weekend of activities, gifts for each other, groom’s ring, cake, after party music playlist, invitations (well not printed, but online, which I thought I would never do, but it had to be).

Again, since it is a second wedding, not only did we think it inappropriate to make selections, but we are combining two households.  We don’t even have room for what we currently own.  Well wishes were all we needed!

Our goals for the evening were to get married, have fun, and create great family memories.  We did all three.  Probably a few things may have not been par with proper etiquette (my seating arrangements were off a bit, but they worked for our situation) or superstitions (we totally saw each other before the wedding).  But, it was our wedding, created our way, and we loved every minute of it.

My advice on second, third or fourth weddings, decide what you want out of the evening.  I think you will agree that the hoopla and gifts of a first wedding are not important this go around.  Then design a wedding that accomplishes your goals.  That will be an evening to remember…no matter where you hold it or who attends.

4 thoughts on “Reflections on a Second Wedding

  1. I read your “Second Wedding” product while I was copying your “Important Documents” article. Your wedding description sounds a great deal like ours. Although neither Jim nor I had been married before, we were older: he was 40 and I was 35. We had gone together for 12 years. We planned and executed our business in one month also. I did not go to the extent that you did. We married the week before Christmas, and we didn’t take time for details. We sent no invitations. Invitations were all verbal. We had not intended to have guests other than immediate family, but when my best friend and colleague at school announced our plans on the P A system at school, that plan changed. Also, after the school announcement, word immediately got to Jim’s Rockwell office. He told his colleagues that no one was invited but all were welcome to come.
    We wanted to be married in church, so we made arrangements with my FUMC for the sanctuary. I spent the month cleaning house for the reception, decorating for Christmas, ring shopping, Christmas shopping.
    Like you all, we didn’t need anything because we were combining two households. As I said before, with Christmas at hand, and at the time, we always went to the woods to get a tree as a family excursion, we had to fit that into our schedule.
    I had not had time to look for a dress, so my friend said that she would look around Greenville for prospects. Sure enough she found a perfect dress and bought it for me. The store clerk suggested that she might like to try it on to which my friend replies, “Oh, it is not for me; it is for a friend. She couldn’t come because she is in Sulphur Bottom cutting a Christmas tree.”
    When December 17 arrived, he and I both went to work. I had to give a presentation to the school board that day.
    Later, he picked me up at home and we got to the church, he with his camera around his neck. We didn’t plan on flowers, so when we got to the church, we remembered that because it was Christmas, poinsettias were everywhere. (Quite a bonus.) The guests had arrived, and we visited with them prior to the ceremony and took pictures. We didn’t think about a time limit for the ceremony. I kept noticing that the pastor kept peeking our of his study from time to time. To his great relief, we got around to the ceremony.
    Everyone went back to our house for the reception which consisted of hot chocolate or coffee, popcorn and cheese ball. My sweet mother-in-law was somewhat taken aback by our arrangements, so she insisted on providing a wedding cake. We think that everyone, who didn’t leave until after 11:30, had a grand time; I know that we and the domino players did. I don’t know why it was necessary to share this with you, but I always like to review our wedding for anyone who will listen.

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