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with Relationship Speaker/Author/Coach...
Larry James

Encore Weddings
Is Love Really Lovelier the Second Time Around?

Larry James
Wedding Chronicle "Encore Weddings" by Larry James was featured in the Mar/Apr 2007 issue of The Wedding Chronicle.

Larry James was a contributing author to The Wedding Chronicle. Watch for a new article in each issue.

Congratulations to Larry James!

Larry James has been selected as the "Best Officiant" in the Greater Phoenix area by The Wedding Chronicle's 2007 Readers' Poll!
Read more!

When promises to have and hold, until death do us part fizzle, and the rings go from the left hand to the back of a drawer somewhere often we begin to search for someone new to love. Second marriages have become so common they've gotten a trendy name: encore weddings.

According to the U. S. National Center for Health Statistics, more than 4 out of 10 marriages in the U.S. involve an encore marriage for the bride, groom, or both.

The United States is a marrying country, with almost three-quarters of Americans marrying by their 35th birthday. And when we fail, we don't give up. Psychology Today states that a whopping 60% of remarriages fail.

Leslie Parrott, author, "Saving Your Second Marriage," says people go into their "encore marriages'' with "a mythical sense of security that they won't make the same mistakes again. Some gravitate toward people who are similar to their previous spouses.

Others get remarried to 'get even' with a former spouse, or for financial reasons. Still others rush into another marriage because, being divorced, they feel out of step with the community or wonder if they are 'bad' people."

Frank Sinatra sang, "Love is lovelier, the second time around, Just as wonderful, with both feet on the ground, It's that second time you hear your love song sung." Is it really lovelier?

It can be. You will have to be very focused on the relationship. Encore nuptials don't merely unite two souls but often three or four or more. And that's a challenge. Often, a measure of how far you've come is to see if you have the same problems you has this time last year. Marriage can actually be harder the second time around, burdened with pressures that the first marriage didn't have. Perhaps it depends on what you learned the first time.

Once the couple gets engaged, the children should be the first to know. After telling the kids, then the couple should inform their parents.

The bad news is this. Encore weddings often involve such issues as blending children from two separate families and the role of ex-spouses. If children are involved, that increases the probability that divorce will happen again, according to a Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey.

Children who grow up in a household in which the parents are not married or even living together are cheated out of lessons that could help them in their own marriages some day.

Some questions to consider: Where do the kids from prior marriages fit in? Who will discipline the stepchildren? What kind of relationship should there be with an ex-spouse? How do you include children from a prior marriage in your ceremony?

According to industry estimates by Time.com, the average second wedding costs about $12,000 - about the same as most first weddings. Don't expect parents or family to pay for an encore wedding. Funding the second time around should come directly from the bride and groom.

Some in the wedding industry say encore couples spend more money than first-timers, in part because they're typically older and have more money - their own money - to spend. The average encore honeymooner spends almost twice as much as the first timer.

Encore brides can have showers, but like showers for first-time brides, only those who will be invited to the wedding should be invited to the shower. Ask for "lifestyle gifts" that reflect the couple's shared likes. Never ask for cash. This rule applies to first-time brides, too.

The wedding gown should reflect the overall tone of the wedding. White dresses used to be considered symbolic of the bride's virginity. Times have changed. A bride should wear a color she feels comfortable in. Encore brides should wear cocktail-length dresses or couture suits that may be worn again.

A formal or casual wedding is perfectly acceptable. When it comes to the ceremony, the choice is yours. Find an Officiant/Minister who will allow you to customize your ceremony. Bringing any children either of the partners have into the encore wedding ceremony can also be rewarding, if the children wish to participate. It is a great way of allowing them to feel that they can also fit in, and contributes to, this new arrangement.

Consider doing a "Blending of the Sands" ceremony by including the children and a different color of sand for each child (Blending of the Sand ceremony with children). Have the children usher their parent down the aisle, read a verse or poem or include the children in the vows.

Most traditions for first-time weddings apply to encore marriages at the reception. However, tossing the bouquet and throwing a garter are unnecessary but optional. Both customs started as symbols for good luck to either the new couple or their friends.

Brides and grooms today are older, wiser, and much more independent - both in their finances and their thinking than ever. They want a unique (often "romantic"), personal wedding ceremony, one that expresses their own ideas about what a wedding should be - not their parents' ideas, or anyone else's.

Brides and grooms enjoy coming up with new ways to celebrate. Most know that "different" is good and will keep the attention of the guests and be most remembered and treasured by the bride and groom.

•    •    •

Copyright © - Larry James. All rights reserved.

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