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Wedding Etiquette For Second-Time Brides

Planning a second wedding? For many couples who are getting married, it's common for either partner to have been married before. According to gettingremarried.com, nearly 50 percent of all marriages in 2003 were second weddings for at least one partner, if not both.

In the past, it was unheard of to plan a reception for a second marriage and most couples either chose to elope or have a small ceremony and dinner afterwards, inviting only a few close friends and family. But, times have changed and so have the rules of the game for what is considered acceptable when getting hitched a second time.

To guide you, here are some of Walpole's "encore" wedding etiquette tips, courtesy of weddinggazette.com.

  • Anything goes as far as a ceremony and/or reception. Keep it small and simple, or make it big. Either way,works today. The key is making everyone feel comfortable.
  • If you don't want guests to give gifts, do not include a note about no-gifts with the invitation. However, as you receive responses to the wedding, you (your fiance, mother, or your maid of honor) should let the guests know that their presence is more than enough. Still, some guests may still give you a gift anyway. In that case, it is totally acceptable to ask that they make a donation to your favorite organization or charity.
  • A bride who has been married previously can choose the wardrobe and flowers of her choice. While a white gown no longer symbolizes purity, many encore brides are opting for colored gowns and/or accessories. Many choose not to wear the blusher veil which, traditionally, symbolized virginity. Orange blossoms symbolize first-time brides, so encore brides may choose not to use them in their bouquets (but it's acceptable if they do).
  • Encore brides can be given away by a father, a brother, or even a friend. Or, a second-time bride may choose to walk down the aisle by herself.
  • Typically, the bride and groom host their own affair, but it is equally common for the parents of both the bride and groom to offer some financial support. However, such help shouldn't be expected if the parents contributed to the first wedding.

All in all, there are no strict rules to follow for second marriages -- only your future spouse and you can decide what's right.

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