Planning my second wedding: funny how what was important the last time isn’t this time

Guest post by Krista
blog-18
Photo by Whitney Lee Photography. Coloring book by Alicia Traveria.

The first time I got married, I was so concerned about doing everything perfectly “by the book.” I spent hours in book stores, searching for the ideal wedding organizer with the most detailed, complete checklist. This became my bible as I diligently followed the checklist and timeline to ensure that everything was done just so. I think I went to at least three wedding fairs, although, I did get to eat a lot of cake that way. I had eight bridesmaids and four usherettes because I didn't want anyone's feelings to be hurt! There were 250 guests, some of which I don't think I had ever met.

When it came to the ceremony, I didn't really care about it. I just picked the standard options the church had. The reception was chicken, cake, champagne, twinkle lights, and tulle. I spent so much money on tradition and listened to everyone's wishes and did my best to accommodate them all. And when all was said and done, I had the perfect, traditional, expensive, generic wedding to a man I wasn't meant to be with.

It's been a few years and I'm engaged and planning for my second wedding. I've grown up a bit and now know more about who I am. Plus, I have the right guy as the groom. This time around, I'm not at all concerned with how things are “supposed” to be done. There is no “book” and I'm not going to please everyone else. We are spending time, energy, and money on the things that are most important to my H2B and me, things that are uniquely us, and things we will remember.

I've realized that all the tulle, champagne, and twinkle lights that were so important last time may make the “perfect” wedding, but it doesn't make the perfect marriage.

Right now, I'm totally consumed with the ceremony, scouring the internet (especially Offbeat Bride!) for just the right words and working with my man to come up with something that clearly represents us. We will be writing our own vows to share with our guests what our relationship means to us. I'll be walking myself down the aisle, after all, it's not like I was given back to my father after my divorce. I'm not sure yet whether I will have any bridesmaids, and if I do, it will only be one or two true friends who have always been there. And our guest list for the ceremony is restricted to immediate family and close friends. The party later on is open to some extended family and friends, but only people that we both know!

My wedding is still over a year away, but this is the last time I'm doing this… and this time, it actually means something. I want to make sure that every piece of this wedding reflects us perfectly, not “by the book.” I've realized that all the tulle, champagne, and twinkle lights that were so important last time may make the “perfect” wedding, but it doesn't make the perfect marriage.

As much as I look forward to celebrating with family and friends, the thing I'm looking forward to the most is spending the rest of my life with my favorite person. And that's what it's all about.

Comments on Planning my second wedding: funny how what was important the last time isn’t this time

  1. Great post! As a second time bride myself, I can totally understand and relate. I too did everything the “right” way, all to appease the masses. This time around we are doing it “our” way, because this time around I know I have the right man, and we know that this is OUR day, not my moms, or to make the guests happy! And I find myself doing the same thing with the vows, really taking our time with them. Funny thing is, my first wedding, I never shed a tear of joy. This time, we are 14 months out and every time I think of standing in front of my man, saying everything I want to say…I start crying (tears of joy)! If I make it through the ceremony coherent, it will be a miracle. Just one more sign that I’m (finally) with the right man! 🙂 I’m going to go text him I love him now! LOL

  2. This was my second time around, as well, and I have to agree with everything you said here. I did everything “by the book” the first time. My ex wasn’t really involved in the planning at all and why would he be? He was just “the groom”. Wedding planning is for girls, right? So, my mom picked the flowers, bridesmaid’s dresses, the colors and the venue, the food and the cake, the officiant and the ceremony. I designed my own dress, but that was all, and it was white. Nine years later we had had a marvelous son, but the marriage was a mess. We divorced.

    This time my husband and I planned everything together. We wrote the ceremony ourselves and had a friend perform it. We had a sand ceremony for my now 10 year old son that he STILL talks about. We had a relaxed, fun dinner and and even more relaxed, fun after party with a fireworks show that lasted for two solid hours. We had a geeky cake, geeky t-shirts and geeky favors. It was the most “us” that it could possibly be. And, honestly, our relationship was the biggest focus of the entire day. Not the food, clothes, cake or fireworks. It felt wonderful. The memories of my first wedding were “meh”. The memories of my second wedding make me glow inside.

  3. I feel just the same. Been there and I’m doing that lol. I hope you have a wonderful day that reflexes your future together

  4. I am another second-time bride. The first time took a lot of ideas from “the book,” but I referred a lot to the Anti-Bride Guide. We were perfectly happy with the wedding. In fact, I still think it was one of the least painful weddings I’ve been to.

    I had an off-white dress, but it was just a normal inexpensive formal dress I fell in love with. We had the wedding in a university chapel, with a judge officiating, and a reception in a local restaurant afterward. It was nice and easy, and it fit at the time. But now I’m different, and my new (first-time) FH is different, and we want our wedding to reflect that.

  5. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Do you know that I actually remember telling my best friend when planning my first wedding that it wasn’t for me, it was for my parents who very much *expected* a traditional, formal wedding out of me. However, like the writer and many others here, the perfect wedding didn’t translate to the perfect marriage.

    My memories consist of all of the things I was NOT allowed to do during my wedding, including (but not limited to…) not wearing a dress that exposed my shoulders to not even daring to think about shoving the cake in my husband’s face. All of the *rules*…

    So here I am, 43 and 20 years down the road. I have met the love of my life (and if you want to talk about Off Beat…I am still married and living with my first husband who KNOWS all about this other man and is completely happy and supportive of the love we have found).

    I find as I try to plan this wedding…I am having a very difficult time. I want desperately to *be married* to him…to spend the rest of my life loving him. However, I have absolutely zero interest in planning another wedding. I feel GUILTY about this because I should be really excited right? Maybe I feel ashamed that I failed the first time and don’t deserve another wedding?

    That said, you have all given me so many wonderful and creative ideas and inspiration to really focus on the joy I am feeling and let myself go and have FUN. THANK YOU!

  6. I loved this post. I am a 1st time bride, so we are doing this all by the seat of our awesome pants. This is about us, and appreciating the people who have supported us through our long (11 year – High School Sweethearts) relationship, but that hasn’t stopped certain family members from asking dumb traditional-wedding-style questions when they should know by now that we are anything but.

    Should be an interesting year. Congrats and good luck on planning your second time around, best time around, last time around wedding

  7. So very true, although I had a last minute lucky escape fromt eh wrong husband. This time aqround doing things very much our way – much to the horror of his mother – but that’s half the fun. Our wedding is a celebration of us and our marriage, not the final event.

  8. Can this be posted on a billboard somewhere? I have several friends that are doing EXACTLY the first wedding that is described here.

    • I guess the question is, are THEY happy with it? I know several non-offbeat brides that WOULDN’T have it any other way!!!! If the parents are directing the show, that’s another story!

  9. Great post! And because I know you and love you two in real life, reading this became emotional for me!
    You and I both know that the perfect wedding does not equal the perfect marrigae. Thank goodness we have found the right people this time and were given the chance to do things for US.
    Your wedding will be amazing! I can’t wait to witness it and your future life together!

    And a note to other brides… my May 22nd wedding was nothing traditional and some people questioned some of the ideas I had (your groom in a black kilt? you in a black dress? serving cheese curds? um…). And you know what? It was PERFECT!!!

    • Definitely not! I’m a first time bride and I watched my friends have pretty much the traditional wedding. I’m left wondering what they would have changed. So glad I realized that my FH and I just don’t fit the wedding I had always assumed I would have. I’m with the right person, and our wedding will be celebrating that! Now I can’t imagine why I thought I would have to have a big wedding, a white princess dress, my dad giving me away, and all the rest.

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