This week the Weddings Edition of Time Out Chicago came
out and…we’re in it!
I Do, Take Two: When it comes to “Wedding
Version 2.0,” encore spouses play by a different set
By Christina Couch
Photo: Nicole Radja; Photo
Illustration: Stephanie Gladney
So maybe your first marriage left you heartbroken, dirt
poor and feeling as if all the joy had been sucked out of
the universe. The good news is now you’re marrying someone
who’s sweeter, sexier and far more suited for forever than
the first one was. Here are ways to make your second wedding
memorable, without repeating the past.
Throw a big bash or keep it simple?
When it comes to walking down the aisle for the second time,
either a lavish wedding or a simple affair is the way to go,
so long as “Wedding: the Sequel” is a distinctly
different experience than the original. “There aren’t a
lot of taboos when it comes to second marriages, but I think
it’s tasteful to make the ceremony different than your
first one,” says Meghann VanderBaan, wedding planner and
owner of Blush and Bashful Events (2043 W
Wabansia Ave, 773-687-8834). “I always advise couples
to get creative, don’t feel like you have to stick to a
traditional wedding plan, and have fun with the
Erin Shea, a second time bride-to-be who lives in Roscoe
Village, says the radically different ceremony she chose for
her second nuptials is a reflection of how her new
relationship differs from the first marriage and also how
her personality has changed.
“My first wedding was a really elaborate, traditional
wedding. We had 200 people, a big sit-down dinner reception,
I rented a trolley for the whole wedding party, I had a big
diamond, honeymoon in Ireland, the whole kit and
caboodle,” she recalls. “When Scott and I decided to get
married… we knew that we wanted nothing resembling our
first weddings. We are two very different people than we
Skipping as much hoopla as possible, Shea and her future
groom plan to elope to a small dairy farm in Vermont on
October 25. Forgoing an engagement ring, formal reception
and gown—the bride plans to wear an ivory cocktail dress
from Nordstrom—Shea says the event’s simplicity shows
her increased attention to the relationship.
“For anyone getting remarried, you tend to focus a lot
on the marriage aspect, not the wedding aspect,” she
notes. “Besides, I think I would have stabbed myself in
the uterus if I had to think about things like flower
arrangements and invitations again.”
Get parental support or go it alone?
Don’t count on your parents to pay for the event, advises
Renny Pedersen, owner of Bliss Weddings & Events
(312-927-6090). Because second-time couples are
typically older and usually in a better financial position
to foot their own wedding bills, Pedersen says couples
should present the idea of remarriage to the parents but
shouldn’t expect anything more than a blessing in return.
“Financial support from parents [for a second marriage]?
That never happens,” she says. “That’s taboo.”
If your parents insist on chipping in the second
time around, it’s more acceptable to have them help with
the reception or honeymoon, as opposed to the dress,
invitations, flowers and the rest, VanderBaan says.
That’s exactly what River West resident Evey Caravello,
who got remarried last month, did. Caravello and her new
hubby paid for the ceremony itself—a quiet elopement on a
mountain in Sedona, Arizona—but took a little help for the
150-person reception at the Adler Planetarium they
threw upon their return.
“It didn’t really make sense to go through the whole
process of asking for permission [to get married] and having
[my parents] pay for it,” Caravello says. “They really
contributed to the party, but the ceremony was all about
what [my husband] and I wanted.”
To register or not to register?
Skip the registry. The key to having a classy second
marriage is recognizing that a wedding is an expensive
affair, not only for the couple involved, but for everyone
who shows up. Asking for a long list of home accessories a
second time around can quickly turn your friends and family
from supportive comrades to mutinous enemies. Instead of
demanding another set of china or high-thread-count sheets,
VanderBaan suggests thinking outside the traditional
“A lot of second-time couples opt for a registry that
puts money toward big-ticket items like their honeymoon or a
down payment on their first home,” she says.
Or consider asking guests to contribute cash to sites
like IDoFoundation.org or JustGive.org, which are designed to
support the charity of the couple’s choice.
Include the kids?
Only if you don’t want to come off as a jerk.
Incorporating kids from previous marriages into the ceremony
is a vital part of showing that the marriage isn’t just a
union of two people; it’s the creation of a new family
Pedersen encourages those getting remarried to think
creatively when adding children into the ceremony. Though
it’s completely acceptable for kids from previous
marriages to play traditional roles like bridesmaids, flower
girls or ushers, Pedersen says many of her clients design
their ceremonies to welcome children into the new
“I had one wedding where there were three little girls
and they all held a ribbon and a flower…. As the bride
walked down the aisle, the girls handed the flowers over to
form the bride’s bouquet,” she says. “At another
ceremony, the couple had special rings made for the
children, like the wedding ring but something similar that
the groom gave them to symbolize that he’s going to be
there for them, too.”
The important part isn’t what specific role children
play, Pedersen adds, only that they’re included as a
crucial part of the wedding ceremony. “We absolutely make
sure that the children have a huge role and that they’re
standing up there next to the couple the whole time,”
Pedersen says. “Anyone who doesn’t feel like they should
include the children isn’t putting their foot forward into
a good relationship.”