Second weddings: what you need to know

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

Essential advice for celebrating second marriages

Are you taking the plunge for the second or even third time? Let us help you plan your special day.

Legal marriages

To get married for the second time you will need to supply either a decree absolute proving that you are legally divorced from your previous partner, or a death certificate if you are widowed. 

In a second marriage where children are involved, there may be legal considerations in respect of guardianship, inheritance and (for women) the name you take. To find out more, seek advice from a family law solicitor.

Choosing a service

Religions vary in their attitude to second marriages. You will need to approach your intended celebrant well in advance of making any firm plans. They may suggest a civil ceremony, followed by a church/temple blessing. 

A lot will depend on your religious views, those of your new partner and whether you are a regular attendee at a place of worship. You may have to shop around for a sympathetic minister. Having said that, second marriages are very common these days and most ministers have an understanding approach and will work with you to find a suitable solution.

Talk about it with the kids

Tell your children as soon as possible, so that they have time to adjust to the idea. If they have regular contact with your ex‐partner then it is best to tell him/her at the same time ‐‐ otherwise your children will be keeping your secret. To talk over any worries you have as a parent during this potentially tricky situation, call Parentline on 0808 800 2222.

Speak to them about how much they would like to be involved in the day. They may like to take part as much as possible. If this is the case, you might ask them if they’d like to be attendants, or perhaps to make a reading.

Who pays for a second wedding?

If this is the second marriage for both parties, you’re likely to be paying for the wedding yourselves, which may mean you are on a tight budget. You don’t need to spend a fortune to have the wedding of your dreams. Plan your budget and work around it. There are always ways of keeping costs low, from making your own wedding cake to spending your honeymoon close to home.

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