People tell first-time parents to treat their first child as if it’s their second. In other words, be more relaxed, let more things go, embrace the moments more above your anxiety about doing things perfectly.

Now, not that we want people to have a second marriage, because you want every marriage to last, but I want my couples to treat their wedding the way I see people treating their second weddings.  The differences I see can be boiled down to one word: relaxed.  All of my couples come with amazing stories, and ideas, and we blend all of these things into a ceremony. I think I attract many second marriages because for their first wedding they might have been more traditional, and they are looking to expand a bit (and not be reminded of or copy that first one). 

So what are the differences? 

Most of my second wedding couples write their own vows, even if they are also repeating more traditional vows.  I see this as a way to really focus on what it is you are promising that day, what your values and goals are for the marriage.  Even if couples don’t want to recite their own vows, I encourage them to write a letter to one another or write private vows.

The weddings themselves are more pared down. The couples are often paying for everything themselves so they aren’t as pressured to invite those who might not matter as much to them.

When unplanned things happen (a vendor is late, someone forgot the certificate, where are the rings?!), they simply look to one another to work it out and generally shrug it off, rather than feeling like they are “answering” to family or other hosts.

The thing you see mostly with second marriages that I love the most (because all those things above are found in SO many of my other couples as well) is that there is a blended family, and there are children involved.  The ceremony becomes in a very real way about merging two families, rather than two lives. There is an understanding of how lucky they are to have found each other, and they know that it isn’t all easy but that it’s worth it.

Finally, although many couples appreciate each other, and that is the thing I hear most from all brides and grooms, there is from experience an understanding of how fragile marriage and relationships can be at times, and how lucky they are to be with their chosen love.

Best of luck with all your weddings!