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Wedding 2.0: What to do differently for your second wedding

Planning a second wedding may leave you overwhelmed by the prospect of another trip down the aisle. Ease the anxiety with these expert tips for a fabulous second wedding.

Bride and groom

Scale back

Bride 2.0 says: “I started off thinking my second wedding needed to be bigger and more extravagant than my first, but in the end, we both decided to keep things simple since it was a second wedding for both of us. We stuck with close friends and family and only ended up having around 50 people and we really felt like that was better than going all out.” Crystal, 37, Austin

You’ve already done it once, so if the idea of another supersized event is making you crazy, opt for a smaller wedding instead. “Keep your guest list small by inviting only those people that are closest to you. No large bridal parties either,” says renowned LA wedding planner Wayne Gurnick.

Wedding planner and CEO Anita Malik agrees. “Cut out the excess. It’s much easier with second weddings to eliminate the meddlers and extra stress,” she says and notes that most parents won’t be as involved the second time around. Instead of bridesmaids, Malik suggests having children more involved if your fiancé has kids from his first marriage. “Make it a family affair, and keep the focus on building a strong union.”

Do it your way

Just as it may have been during the planning for your first wedding, it can be easy to get sucked into what other people want. This time, take the reins and take charge. “Don’t be shy about celebrating. It’s OK to register a second time, it’s OK to have a shower. This is still a big moment in your life, and there is nothing wrong with honoring it and enjoying the moment,” affirms Malik. “Most people have other people to please for their first wedding, but your second wedding is a chance to do it your way. Go big, go small, just make sure what you do reflects what you and your second husband want.”

Bride 2.0 says: “My husband and I went back and forth for months about what we wanted to do for our wedding, which was the second for me and first for him. We ended up opting for a destination wedding in Scotland, where we both have family. It was very small but something that really meant so much to everyone involved.” Laura, 34, Chicago

Go anti-traditional

plane tickets

One of the best things you can do for your second wedding is to buck tradition and do things differently. “Wear a dress in your favorite color, skip the white. Skip the lace and long train, and include a distinctive fashion element such as an incredible piece of heirloom jewelry,” suggests Gurnick. “Replace the more traditional protocol such as garter and bouquet toss with a special presentation of the bouquet to an honored guest.”

Gurnick also suggests having a destination wedding at your dream vacation spot to really create a unforgettable event. “Turn your wedding into a weeklong celebration with close family and friends.”

Include your children

If you and your fiancé have children, why not get them involved in the wedding planning or ceremony itself? “Incorporate your children in your ceremony. Include them in your vows and have them stand with you for the ceremony,” recommends Gurnick. “Even if they’re adults, ask them what kind of wedding they’d like to see,” adds Malik. “You want them onboard, if possible.”

Forget about the first wedding

Make a note: If this is a second wedding for only one of you, then defer to the person who has never been married, when possible, says Malik. “Let that individual have their day, their way. Ideally, you both want this to be their one-and-only wedding, so make it the once-in-a-lifetime vision.”

As tempting as it might be to recall your first trip down the aisle, put it behind you. “Don’t bring up the first wedding, period. There’s no need to remind each other of the past during the wedding planning process and certainly not on the big day,” says Malik. “Especially avoid the topic during arguments. It will only add fuel to the fire.” On that same note, Malik also warns against trying to imitate or pull ideas from the first wedding. “Leave the first wedding behind, completely in the past.”

Making it work

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., (aka “Dr. Romance”) psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage (Adams Media) shares her tips to avoid repeating your past relationship mistakes and making your new union work.

First off, you shouldn’t feel like you’re always right and always know what to do. “You and this new person are doing a new thing. Seek to work as a team to figure it out as you go along,” Tessina advises. “If either one of you is in charge, there’s probably a problem. If you’re working together, even though it’s not too smooth, it’s probably going OK,” she says.

The second key to making marriage number two work: Don’t keep secrets. This means talking about past relationship issues and being willing to share your emotions and reactions with each other, says Tessina. “Getting to know each other is the key to developing a working relationship,” she explains. If you’re afraid that telling the truth (whatever that may be) will upset your partner, you need to do it anyway. “You need to test that right away to find out if you can get through the problem. Screwing things up is the way to find out if you can fix them together.”

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