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

Guest post by Krista
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.

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

  1. Hmm – I think it’s good info, but it’s also not so easy the first time around.

    Everyone (family) is much more involved and you want them to be happy too because it’s obviously very important to them, and maybe you want something traditional too, because that’s what you’ve always envisioned.

    I think a lot has more to do with being with the right guy. A traditional wedding doesn’t have to be crappy and it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a meaningful relationship or won’t have a meaningful marriage.

    I think the important part is more that you don’t let tradition DICTATE your wedding! There’s a big difference between wanting something traditional and wanting something else but doing the traditional because it’s expected.

  2. I am a first time bride-to-be, but I can totally relate to everything you’re saying. My fiance and I are totally determined to do things our way. Luckily for us though, both of our families are totally supportive of anything we choose to do for the wedding. They know us well enough to know that our wedding will be an “offbeat hoedown”, as I refer to it, and they are just happy for us. I can’t wait to marry my favourite guy in the world!

  3. great post i actually went thru a two month phase of teying to please everyone or doing everything by the book and a month ago i threw all the maagzines and anything else i had away because it was driving us (me and future husband) insane! Wqe know how we want our wedding and i dont need my ideas tainted by the idea of how a wedding is supposed to be. But its nice to see i havent been the only person suffering from all that stuff. Great post!

  4. I married once… I’d paid for the wedding entire because he was still “finding himself” and I listened to everything everybody else said rather than how I felt because I was unsure if what I felt towards him was “right.” Well, lesson learned: listen to my OWN feelings and never doubt them.

    I will be a second-time (and preferably LAST-time) wife to a super-sweet man who really LOVES me. And I have no doubts. I’m so glad, grateful.

    I understand the sentiments in this article… we’re doing just the same. I find myself unconcerned with “the details” and if somebody wants to do something, I say to them, “go for it.” I’m making sure what I want is done, and that’s it. Everything that felt backwards before feels right this time. I am ready for the whole planning part to be over with, though. We marry in late October, three days before my birthday. 🙂

  5. Been there, doing that. First wedding wasprefect, well,except the husband. THis time, I’ve got the absolutely-perdect-for-me guy. We have been together for many years, overcome many obstacles. I’ve learned that I need to celebrate whatever is good in my life, so we are having about 100 guests to share our joyful marriage. Ok, our 4 kids + 96 guests….. This time around, it’s all about what’s meaninful to ME. I no longer care about what’s expected.

  6. wow for a second there i thought i wrote this and forgot about it! i totally agree with everything you wrote….it was the exact same for me…then and now 🙂

  7. Thanks for putting into words what I’ve felt for the last couple of years! I was engaged and planning a wedding four years ago, and then I was un-engaged (in retrospect, THANK GOODNESS)…and then I realized that all the stuff I was so concerned about with the Wedding That Wasn’t was stupid. Next time around (whenever that is), I won’t be so hung up on what other people want. Thank you for posting this!

  8. As I am a happy single, I have no personal experience with relationships or weddings, but one of the lessons I have taken from this blog is major life decisions need focus, clarity, and a strong connection with who you are. There was a bride on here who had an offbeat hippy wedding the first time and a more traditional-ish one the second time. There was just recently a couple that included a TRADITIONAL Thai ceremony, and I don’t think that should suggest he can’t think for himself or she caved. Offbeat may shake off unwanted pressures or manipulations, but it shouldn’t be seen as some sort of proof you’re more together or ready to be married than those who want traditional. That sounds like a person just swapped out what they let go to their head.

  9. Great post! I was an off-beat bride the first time, mostly because as a wedding florist, I’m constantly around by-the-book brides who just seem lost and overwhelmed by the whole thing. Our wedding day was wonderful and, while the man wasn’t right, the day was. I wouldn’t change a thing about that day. If/when I get married again. It will be about US–as it should be for every couple!

    • never married but same here working with brides as a florist convinced me that the traditionnal wedding is not for me for the exact same thing. How you are planning your wedding gives a good idea how you will be on the day. Bridectulu does not vanish like magic. Simple wedding please, saw the opposite too much.
      my advice to brides: take up as much you can (and want to) and still feel somewhat relaxes and have fun. The stress and managing follows you until the end.

  10. Im also on my second wedding. My first was not me. I wore a cream watters and watters gown, got married at a plantation in june, had family and friends, had pink (barf), purple and cream roses. I wanted red….but NO, not in june is what I was told. Everything was pastel. Some this long story short so I can talk about the good stuff, I married my best friend froom high school who turned out to be a battering sociopath. So doing EVERYTHING by the book made me miserable!!!

    Now, I met an amzing man. He not only loves me but took my daughters in as his own!!! He is just an amazing person! I could not imagine my life without him. Im getting married on my fav holiday—this halloween! I doing a mixture of Edgar allen Poesque, alice in wonderland and masquerade all in one! Im having my red roses, black dress, amazing man, his amazing family, my amazing family and our beautiful daughters!!! I cant wait…..less then 6 weeks away!!!! Yeah!!

    Love your post I soooooooooo related to this!!

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