I work with brides that are on their second, sometimes third, marriages and always feel sad when they seem to downplay the excitement of the wedding. I constantly hear that they have does this before so they don’t want people to think it’s weird if they “make a big deal.” Or that this is the second time around so we can just “keep it small and simple.” Even though the bride ultimately tells me she wants a big blowout party, once her family gets involved, I see her pull back and down play the whole thing. It is something that has always bothered me, but I never understood the reality of how it feels to share the news of your second engagement until one of my clients got engaged “for the second time around” and surprised her family with the announcement. After being there, in person, to see the reaction of her close friends and family from the start, I couldn’t help but feel even more compelled to write a “how to” guide for those of you who do not know how to react when someone is planning their second wedding!
When people are pregnant for their second child, do we say to them “well we were already excited for you when you had your first kid so good luck with that?” When we buy a new house do we say “I liked your old house just fine so don’t invite me over to see the new one. I’m good?” No! Even when you’re pregnant for your 4th child, we react accordingly with hugs and excitement and probably shock if you’re on your 4th child. Regardless – it’s happy news. Even when people buy new cars, they want to show it off and take you for a spin. Falling in love should warrant the same, grand reaction – or at least be higher on the list than a new car!
No matter how old you are or how many times it happens, falling in love and finding that one person that makes your world better is a happy event. Yes, if you’ve been married before, you thought you were in love and had met your person previously (or maybe you knew it was wrong.) But for whatever the reason is, it didn’t last forever. So when you feel that love and believe and know that this time it’s real, you want to celebrate with your friends and family. And it’s heartbreaking when their reaction revolves only around the past.
I’ve heard friends of my brides tell them “Your first wedding was a dream wedding. You don’t want to do something big again.” The truth is, I’ve planned many beautiful, expensive, “dream” weddings, but they weren’t the dream of the bride and groom. Often times, the first time around, our parents are paying because we’re younger and we end up getting their dream wedding. We worry about all the silly rules and including every person we’ve ever known. We struggle with choosing bridesmaids and multiple guest lists and pleasing the masses. A second chance at love means a second chance at a wedding too!
Perhaps some brides do want something big and lavish again, but this time around they want to do it their way. That’s totally acceptable! I can understand not doing a million showers again after all I disagree with the ridiculousness of a Sprinkle for a second or third child. But I never disagree with celebrating great milestones in people’s lives. Most brides do not even want the parties and showers that go along with an engagement, but all brides just want everyone to be happy with them!
It is my personal belief that trusting someone and allowing yourself to love again and get to the point of even believing you will marry again is an accomplishment after the disappointment and backlash of divorce. So truly finding that person and being ready to jump in again and not run scared should be the hardest part of getting married again. It should not be facing the peanut gallery and agonizing over what you can and can’t do on the wedding day (since you have already done this once.) If you’re anything like me, the peanut gallery was harder to get through than the divorce itself, so if I had to guess, those that reacted poorly to your big second wedding are probably the ones that took the divorce personally. News flash, peanut gallery, it’s not about you! Try celebrating your friends and family the way you would want them to celebrate you! Support – it’s a beautiful thing!
At the end of the day, for the brides and grooms that do get over their past and find themselves in love and in a position where they want to shout it from the rooftops, then shout it from the rooftops. Those that don’t want to hear it can put in their earplugs. Embrace your second chance and do what you want to do. Include whomever you want to include. More than likely, it’s your money this time around so there’s no excuse. Include people that are going to be positive and supportive to you and your love for the rest of your life. Don’t allow negativity in on an obligatory invite – Leave behind the past and the haters!