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. I, too, am a second time bride in the process of planning a wedding for May. For my first wedding, it ended up being super-traditional out-do-each-other extravaganza between my mother and my FMIL (now xMIL). It ended up this huge, completely sterile event in a church (despite my wanting an outside, non-religious ceremony). My ex had nothing to do with the planning and kept trying to talk me into listening to his mother, my mother was paying for it all so I just kind of let her go with it.

    This time around, I’ve found the perfect man and we are planning a geeky, intimate, outdoors, non-religious wedding (with tons of cupcakes, bikers, and classic jazz!) One of our friends is licensed to legally marry people, and plans on wearing his motorcycle getup. We’re planning on two small cupcake towers, one with a z-day theme and the other with code vows (I’m still undecided on ABAP or C++). We’re also going to write our own vows to share with one another.

    I’m also really glad I’ve stumbled across this website. Not too many OBBs in my neck of the woods!

  2. Love this! I am in the exact same boat for the first wedding being everything I wasn’t, the perfection, the large amounts of people, the expenses, and all for not. This time around, with the right man, it’s going to be perfectly us and quaint as I feel a wedding should be. I feel like the first time was just the big show, a facade if you will, of something that was broken and never meant to be, but everyone else just saw this bright white and big wedding to hide the reality of it. I’m so happy to have read this and feel better that It’s OKAY to learn and grow after the first time around and that I’m not alone! Thank you for this!!

  3. I love this: “We will be writing our own vows to share with our guests what our relationship means to us.”
    I find it sad that some friends and family (probably most) don’t understand what our relationship means to us/stands for/how we regard it. I think looking at vows this way will be very helpful when I write my own.

    As someone not at all interested in having children, I do hope the people closest to me will understand my FH IS my family. It’s us. That’s all. A family of 2. (okay, us plus cat and future dog, but I am omitting that intentionally, in order to get my point across to folks who feel it’s not a “family” unless it has children/animals standing in as children.) Thank you to the person who wrote a whole piece about this on Offbeat Family. It really spoke to me.

      • Thanks Megan! Still getting the hang of navigating, so wasn’t sure where I saw it. My favorite so far. Made some people mad/defensive when I posted the link to my FB with a sentence about how I wish more people I know would be sensitive to this concept/others’ lifestyles. A good indicator that it needed to be heard. That said, I am a mega deleter on FB, so it’s gone now. Clean up crew of 1.

  4. This, in a bajillion different ways. I’m not even sure I can expound further. My wedding was fucking amazing, the marriage was not, but this time, THIS TIME, is going to be for realz.

  5. Great post! I am a second time bride as well and I agree with all these situations. We are having a much simpler ceremony at the beach with family only for ceremony and an after party for all our friends at a local bar. My fiancé is the best is such a big part of the wedding, from picking out small details, making matchboxes, putting stickers on favor boxes to even making the flower girl baskets (without anyone forcing him to!) Our wedding is ours and we are so excited to get married in two weeks! (9/12/15) <3

  6. This is exactly how it happened for me as well.

    The second time around I got the courthouse wedding I’d always envisioned (as opposed to the religious service forced on me during the first wedding) with the person I always suspected I should be with (long story). Because we wanted to be married but didn’t want to deal with “a wedding and all the traditional trappings,” we kept everything SUPER small and focused on the things that were important to us. For example, one important thing for me was having a dress that I loved and felt gorgeous in (I actually hated the first one). According to the bridal shop I went to, a lot of second-time brides say the same thing. Other than that, everything was pretty informal and downright perfect. Flowers from my mom’s garden. Photos by the local photography club I’m part of. Dinner at our favorite restaurant. The whole town wishing us well as we walked over to dinner.

    In the end, though, finally being with the right mate is what matters most.

  7. I am not a second time bride but I was engaged and has spent months planning a wedding before I called of the engagement. I have a very large family and there were expectations thrown that I thought were crazy. My mom kept going on about how many veggies needed to be in the buffet line and my aunt did not agree with the wording of the invitations. I also was not looking forward to the craziness of a big wedding. Fast forward many years and I did get married to the best husband! I had a very small wedding (20 people). There were many many.. many hurt feelings that we had decided to have a small wedding but it was the right thing for us. Our guest really appreciated the intimacy of the day as did we. Even as I still get off comments regarding disappoint about not being invited (still +2 years later), I still feel like I made the right decision.

    If you are a first time bride and reading though these messages, take it from a me. If any of their first time experiences are ringing true for you, listen to your heart and talk to your future husband. For me, breaking of an engagement was one of the hardest things I had do but it was worth it. You might be marring the right guy but for all the wrong reasons and it sets a negative tone for your marriage.

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