Second Wedding, Second Chance

This blog is anecdotal from one of our bridal stylists who has been through the experience for a first and second wedding.  She is sharing her experience in this post, as well as valuable advice on how to plan a second wedding.

Take One —

I went all out for my first wedding with a large Polish-Catholic wedding which was held in my childhood church where I attended elementary school. The reception was held at a country club in an upscale neighborhood. My parents planned and paid for a very traditional affair. As a chronic “people pleaser,” I tried to please everyone with my wedding. Although I had doubts on whether or not I wanted to go through with it, there was no way I had the guts to back out of it. The wedding was when I was 22 years old.  Although I was somewhat happy with the way all the details turned out, it was really more my parents’ affair.  We had 250 guests, a live band and lots of food and dancing.

I chose a wedding dress that I thought I should wear rather than what actually suited my body type. I never had a trial hair appointment either. I remember sitting in the chair the morning of my wedding watching my hairdresser just sort of winging it without really have a solid plan in place.  He took a stick that looked like deodorant and began rubbing this pomade on each strand of my naturally curly hair, ringlet hair. I pondered whether not liking my hair was a valid reason to call the whole event off. 

Back in the day, most brides didn’t have their makeup professionally done either. 

I remember looking at my drug store brand eyeshadow palette thinking how I could transform myself into the best version of myself. I stared into the mirror at my purple eyelids, my updo that looked like a bunch of ramen noodles in a high ponytail atop my head topped off with a lace and sequins tiara.  I remember thinking, this is supposed to be the one day in your entire life where you are supposed to feel the most beautiful and I felt ugly. I actually thought about not going through with it because I felt that I didn’t look pretty enough to be a bride. 

I had such great role models for marriage in my parents that I thought this would be a snap. Unfortunately, I didn’t choose wisely. I wanted so badly to have that amazing love story, but I didn’t get my happily ever after.


Take Two —

At the age of 35, I didn’t really think I would be a bride again. I was engaged to my high school sweetheart this time around. I think I wanted to do everything opposite of how my first wedding was. There were even times when I would push him away to see if he would break, to see if he would become what I had always known men to be. He never did. 

Second time around my outlook is different.  Maybe a little jaded, but definitely more down to earth.

I was feeling guilty about having a wedding again. I remember walking into bridal shops and feeling out of place around the 20 something brides who were all blushing and giddy in their search for the perfect dress.  I remember waves of cynicism coming over me looking at these innocent girls saying to myself ‘hope it lasts.” It wasn’t that I was worried about my next marriage or scorned from the first.  It was more of a feeling of don’t be too surprised if you don’t get your happily ever after on the first go around.  After all, isn’t the divorce rate in this country 52%? Odds are, half the girls in that bridal salon will be doing this again at some point in their life, right?

Still a people pleaser and wanting to make everyone around me happy (some things never change), but our wedding planning was much more relaxed and low-key this time. We paid for it ourselves with very little outside help, which really helped avoid all the standard wedding stresses, too!

For my second wedding, things were very different.  I was older with a better sense of what I wanted my wedding to be like.  We planned it together, in six months, which I felt was all the time we needed. Being more in tune with myself and my style made planning easier and more rewarding.  We picked the location and had 50 guests. Our photographer took more photojournalistic style instead of the posed portraits taken at my first wedding. 

Initially, I felt uneasy about planning another wedding. Hadn’t I done the celebratory thing already? Did I deserve a party again? My family and friends had already given me gifts. Should I even be registering for a new teapot? The one I already have works just fine. No one said anything, of course, but I still felt funny. I talked to someone who said every wedding is a reason for celebration. 

A lot of second time brides still feel ashamed and carry a sense of failure over getting divorced.  Gone are the days when a second-time bride had to sport a conservative suit or a low-key visit to the courthouse. While old-school etiquette says second timers should skip all the frills of a wedding, I say this is your first time as a bride to him, Mr. #2. Just because your first marriage didn’t make it doesn’t mean there isn’t reason to celebrate. 


You’ve found love again and couldn’t be happier. So, what’s with the nagging second-time bride guilt? Here are some tips on how to get over the guilt of first-time failure and move onto second-time bliss.

1. Prepare – Talk to a minister or counselor.  Take a marriage preparation class.

2. Communicate – Talk to close friends and family members. Saying something along the lines of “I have to confess I feel funny about asking you to do this for a second time, but I appreciate your support.”

3. Think positively –  Don’t spend time worrying that guests are calculating whether this marriage will last (and if they’re placing bets on it).

4. Be graceful –  Never apologize to anyone for what you are doing.

Having more life experiences under your belt gives you a better sense of who you are. Remember, every bride wants to look and feel beautiful no matter what number marriage it is. 

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