The Encore Wedding: Why it's more fun the second time around

Today every wedding is regarded as an occasion for celebration on the scale of your choosing, regardless of the number of times you've walked down the aisle. Rules suggesting that a wedding be quiet or small because it's not your first are for the most part considered remnants of a bygone era. While you can feel free to ignore antiquated negative connotations, you might actually be able to use the old notion that a second wedding should be downplayed to your advantage. Without the expectation of formality and tradition (and having been through the process before) you are more likely to create a celebration you will truly enjoy, and have fun in the process.

For most people, planning a wedding is like nothing else you do in your everyday life. Especially for couples doing the bulk of the work themselves, the pressure to get everything right can be a major source of anxiety. The beauty of a second wedding is that one or both of you has some first hand experience with the process. You're also older and wiser, and chances are you'll have an easier time maintaining a balanced perspective about the whole thing, with the understanding that you are celebrating a relationship and a commitment more significant than any of the details of your party.

Couples planning a second wedding are often a little looser about the rules, partly because no one wants their second wedding to be a carbon copy of their first. Second weddings have an established tradition of being a little smaller and more casual, which is great news if you're planning your wedding on a small budget. Choosing a less traditional location for the ceremony and reception is a great way to put a different spin on things. If it's the summer, outdoor weddings in parks or on the beach allow for beautiful natural scenery and have the added bonus of being inexpensive.

If you've already planned one wedding, you're well aware of the extra touches that make a celebration special. Second weddings can be a chance to think outside the box and get creative with the details. There are lots of unique options out there when it comes to the guestbook, favors, decorations, even food and drink. Put the focus on having fun and dispense with some tradition if you want. There are some things you may choose not to repeat this time. You might have the photographer spend time on candids instead of endless posed photos of family members in every combination possible, for instance.

You can also use the lack of common expectations to your advantage in choosing your style of dress. Plenty of "encore" brides wear a traditional white gown, but many do not feel as limited to traditional expensive styles as they might have the first time around. There are many dresses in alternative colors and styles that would be beautiful on a bride. If you gave in to the pressure to do things "right" the first time at the expense of your personal preferences, letting your personality shine through in your choices this time will make for an even greater cause for celebration.

The bottom line for any wedding, whether it's a first wedding or a second, is that is should be a fun and romantic celebration of a new beginning. The wonderful thing about a second wedding is the absence of rules regarding what it can and should be. Being part of a wedding with a relaxed atmosphere is not only more fun for a bride and groom, but for everyone lucky enough to be involved.

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