The Etiquette of Second Weddings

Everything you need to know.

Photo: Pablo Béglez

For many years second weddings were planned to be simple, understated affairs, as though there's not as much reason to celebrate. But we say good riddance to all of that! Modern-day etiquette suggests that a second wedding is just as much of a special event as the first. Here are a few key tips to take into consideration for your second wedding.


Be tactful with your wedding announcement.

If there's any rule to follow with a second wedding, it's that you should be sensitive with how the news of the wedding is spread. If you have children, you'll want them to be the first to know about your wedding. Parents, immediate family, and friends should follow. Depending on your relationship with your former partner, you may want to let them know directly so they don't find out from someone else.

Break the rules.

If you're under the impression that a second wedding should be tiny, that you can't have a wedding shower, that you can't wear white, or that you shouldn't have a bridal party, think again. It may be your second, but it's still your wedding. These etiquette rules no longer have much standing and your guests certainly won't be thinking about them when they see how happy you are on your wedding day.

Let it be a family affair.

If your second marriage involves kids on either side, it's important to let them feel part of the wedding day. It may be that they do a reading during the ceremony, walk down the aisle with the wedding processional, or offer a toast at the reception.

Invite the people you most want present in your new marriage.

There are many etiquette advice columns that suggest not inviting exes or their families, but this one-size-fits-all approach doesn't suit everyone. If your relationships with your former partner's parents or children are relationships that still make way into your everyday life and you think they'd be comfortable at your wedding, it's okay to invite them. If they think they'd be uncomfortable, they will let you know and decline in their own way.

Register for gifts.

There was a time when registries were meant for first-time weddings only, but that season has passed. Feel free to put together a small registry for your wedding, which you can communicate on your wedding website.

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