Second wedding questions

stu2900December 28, 2009

DD is getting married for the second time in October. Her first marriage was 5 years ago and ended in divorce within 13 months. Her fiance has never been married and has a small family. The want a quiet ceremony with close family and a few friends and then maybe a dinner after, not a reception with dancing. I guess what I'm looking for is ideas and etiquette suggestions for second weddings like this. I've honestly never attended a wedding for someone who's been married before.

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That sounds lovely and very tasteful.

In fact, it sounds almost 'suspiciously tasteful' -- meaning straight out of the ettiquette books written in the time when second weddings were supposed to be kept kind of quiet and discreet... I suspect that if you dig out some old ettiquette books (think 1940's through 1970's) you'll find lots of suggestions for the 'excrutiatingly correct' wedding for the second-time bride that may be right up their alley. (No veil, less formal or more sophisticated dress.)

More modern bridal books geared toward older brides might also have some great suggestions, though IMO, some offer too much 'ettiquette lattitude' in favor of sometimes gauche practicality. (Gift registries, how to request cash instead, etc.)

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 6:33PM
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What the couple wants sounds perfect. Generally, the length of time between the first and second marriage should be considered when planning the second one. If your daughter had been single for 10 years or more, she might want a bit larger wedding. As long as both she and the groom agree on it, their planned wedding should be just right.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 7:40PM
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"Suspicious" or not, that's what they want! They're both professionals in their 30's and are paying for this themselves. After the large first wedding, it's become important to DD to have only people she is close to at this wedding. Has anyone been to a "reception" that was a dinner only? Their thought now is to have the ceremony in the same room as the dinner. Have any of you been to this type of weddding? I'd love to hear about small weddings you've been to. I guess I'm used to doing things on a larger scale and am having trouble downsizing.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 8:08PM
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Actually, Hubby and I HAD that kind of wedding. (2nd marriage for both, in our 30's and 40's)

We had the ceremony in a private function room at a lovely local restaurant - about 25 people altogether, just adult family and closest friends. Then dinner was held downstairs in a private dining room. Invitations were by phone, cake off the 'regular' dessert menu, Justice of the peace officiating. It was lovely, low-stress, and both elegant and cozy.

Are there any restaurants nearby that host weddings and corporate functions? Might be worth a few phone calls to see...

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 10:52PM
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I've been to several small weddings like that one, and not only second (or later) marriages -- also older couples, families in mourning, families on tight budgets or short time frames, wanting to have it in Grandma's nursing home, "destination" weddings, etc., etc.

I'm not quite sure what your question is. You asked for "ideas and etiquette suggestions for second weddings like this." But you also said that the bride and groom are hosting the wedding themselves, and it was their own choice to have a small wedding. So I am having trouble thinking of what etiquette decisions or "ideas" you have to come up with.

It sounds to me like you are a little disappointed by their choice; perhaps you feel that if you can find authority to show your daughter that etiquette no longer insists upon understated weddings for second-time brides, she will reconsider. But it doesn't sound from what you wrote that her reason is fear of social censure or something, just that it's their preference ("After the large first wedding, it's become important to DD to have only people she is close to at this wedding").

If you have more specific questions, maybe we can give suggestions. But if the couple are planning it themselves, the only advice I can give is to step back and let them do it, attend and enjoy yourself, and tell them that everything is lovely!

Congratulations to your family.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 11:08PM
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From your own posts.....

"The want a quiet ceremony with close family and a few friends and then maybe a dinner after, not a reception with dancing."

"...that's what they want!"

Professionals? 30's? Paying for it themselves? Back off and be a guest, for heaven's sake!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 1:06AM
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I agree!!! What they want is perfect.

As with all weddings what the bride and groom want should be of the utmost importance. If they are paying for it and making all the arrangements, then I'd let them go to it. I echo asolo--back off and be a guest

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 1:56PM
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My second wedding was just like that. We had both been married before and had both done the large wedding with people we didn't even know in attendance and both of us wanted something simple and small this time.

We actually had the wedding outdoors in a park, then the reception in the private room of a restaurant. There were about 35 people.

We selected three dishes at the restaurant in advance and presented that small menu to the guests. That enabled everyone to have a choice while making it easy for the restaurant to serve everyone quickly and at the same time.

We brought our own "wedding" cake with us which we'd OKed with the restaurant in advance. It was a regular round cake, pretty but not wedding looking. It was a red velvet cake and we put a small glass sculpture of two "love birds" on top rather than the typical bride & groom topper.

There was no music. We served wine in addition to the meal. The reception followed the ceremony immediately so everyone drove right to the restaurant from the park with no delay for pictures. My BIL actually was our photographer and took lots of photos during the cermony and candids before and during at the park, and after at the reception.

It was simple and fairly easy. We had our family and close friends only. I did a very simple invitation on the computer. I specified no gifts (I know you're not supposed to do that but I didn't want gifts!) but I got a few anyway.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 2:25PM
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Gee, I'm almost sorry I asked. I'm not disappointed by their choice at all. DD asked me to see if there were maybe any ideas they hadn't thought of that might be of interest to them. Part of the problem they're having is finding a place that is not too large or too small for the event. Lowspark your wedding sounds lovely. Thanks for the information.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 3:13PM
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We attended a lovely smaller wedding and smaller bat mitzvah on a rented party yacht. It was perfect. We sailed the large bay in our area for 4 hours while we dined, danced and chatted. Then our DD and her groom loved the yacht idea for their rehearsal dinner, and their party yacht was one that John Wayne had owned. All his family and their friends flew in from a small town in the south and were wowed by the dinner and cocktails on our cruise of the bay. It gave the out of towners a memorable evening.

If you live in a coastal area, you might check out the availability of party yacht rentals.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 4:32PM
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As a wedding planner, I have helped with numerous smaller weddings that had a meal, but no dancing. In May a couple will be married in the morning at a resort 100 miles from here in a room that opens directly onto a lake. For the reception, they will go upstairs to another room for a brunch. They anticipate about 25 to 30 family members, most of whom will be in the resort community all week-end. It will be simple, yet nice.

I have also had couples who had a church wedding then went to a restaurant for a luncheon reception. There are many, many options for your daughter, depending on what is available in their community.

I love the idea of the yacht wedding. That is the kind of thing I would do if I were ever getting married again. It is unique, yet personal.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 7:28PM
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One of my musician friends got invited to a weekend jam session on a farm. A wedding broke out. Everyone had a great time, per my friend. The wedding was a surprise to everyone except the JOP and the happy couple. They called it WedStock.

I don't know what the weather would be like in your area in October, or what is near your home, so some of these suggestions may not work.

Garden or park
Wine bar
Golf course/country club
Beach (lake, ocean, river, stream)
Someone's home or back yard
I *love* the yacht idea
Hotel banquet room
Bed and breakfast
Sometimes historic homes are available for rent
Museums, aquariums, etc.

Are there any particular etiquette situations that need addressing? The biggest one to be prepared for is that someone WILL be offended about not being invited to a smaller wedding. That person will probably surprise you, but weddings have really weird effects on people. Just be ready to be shocked.

I hope the planning is as fun as DH and I had lo those many years ago.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 10:13PM
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Oooh, I love the yacht idea, but I don't think there are too many around central Illinois. We do have a few riverboats, though. That would be fun. DD has found a bed and breakfast that looks nice. She's going to see it this weekend. She's also talking to the country club.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2009 at 1:03PM
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My sister had a similar wedding. Ceremony in the Church, Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres then dinner. It was in a private room in a very nice restaurant. They did have 3 or 4 string musicians playing. Very nice, very elegant and very small.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2009 at 2:00PM
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A friend of mine was married at a church and had a reception for 20-25 friends in a private room at a restaurant overlooking a river. Gorgeous view, lovely wedding.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2009 at 11:57PM
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Sorry if I sounded snippy.

It's hard for us to recommend restaurants or other venues, though; we don't know where you are.

And we also don't know how many people you are talking about. "[C]lose family and a few friends" could mean anywhere from 10 to 50 or more, depending on the size of your families and what they mean by "a few" (3? 12?).

If it's going to be a really small group, say, under 25, I think I would go with a terrific restaurant in your area. If it's more, I'd consider hiring a caterer instead; that would give you more flexibility on both the venue and the menu.

They can really have fun with all the options.

Congratulations again.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 6:26PM
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I was recently remarried, and my wedding was exactly what my husband and I had hoped it would be. For us, being with our immediate families was the most important thing, so we planned a wedding on the East Coast (we live in California) at a time when all of our brothers & sisters could attend. There were 35, including about 12 nieces and nephews. Our wedding was held at a Victorian Bed & Breakfast near DH's mother's assisted living facility so that she could attend. We reserved the entire B&B, had the ceremony outside on the patio, and had wine and hors d'oeuvres on the large porch of the house. We had a classical guitarist play during the ceremony and the cocktail hour. Dinner was supposed to be back on the patio, but thunderstorms threatened so our caterer quickly set up the dining room and a smaller adjacent room for all of us. We had an iPod programmed with a playlist of music to play in the parlor for our first dance, which was a swing dance. After that, no one really wanted to dance, but that was fine. We had cake on the porch (no thunderstorms after all!)

We didn't have attendants, although I asked my 2 teenage sons to escort my mother down the aisle, and DH's son escorted DH's mother. I wore a simple white dress (Craig's List) and DH wore a white jacket. I bought flowers at a wholesale florist and put them together with a freelance florist (Craig's List again). I had a bouquet, DH and my father had a boutonnière, and our mothers had small corsages.

My young nephews passed out wedding bubble tubes which our guests blew after the ceremony. I cringe when people clap after ceremonies, and walking through a cloud of bubbles was one of the highlights of the evening.

DH spent a lot of time searching for a photographer, which is easy (but time-consuming) to do now that so many post their portfolios on the web. We were so happy with how unobtrusive the photographer was, and looking at the photos never fails to warm our hearts.

It was hard to find a venue from across the country, but once we settled on the venue everything else just fell into place.

Oh, we also made our own wedding invitations.

My parents weren't involved in the planning but contributed by purchasing the wine and champagne (they offered, we gratefully accepted).

Best of luck to your D on her wedding - have her focus on what's most important to her, as the possibilities for a happy wedding are almost endless.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 2:17AM
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