It is wonderful when couples get engaged and their thoughts turn to what type of wedding they would like. Depending on each couple’s circumstances and past history, there may be quite differing views on what the celebration might look like, which can lead to a lot of wedding stress. Therefore when planning your second wedding it is important that you are both on the same page.
If it is the first wedding for one of the couple, then chances are they, and their family might want to go down the more traditional route. Whereas often couples who have already tripped down the aisle would prefer something simpler, but just as meaningful. Getting on the same page early is paramount.
With second weddings, luckily today there are far less expectations or pre-conceived ideas. Couples are able to plan something that suits who they are now. It is an opportunity to reflect their personalities, interests and the message they want the world to know about their new found love. For many it is also an opportunity to bond their families together, especially if their children are not adults yet. Weddings that are designated as “The Joining of Two Families” are becoming increasingly popular and can be very poignant.
Often neither the Bride or Groom can put the amount of time and effort into planning their wedding that first time Brides tend to do. For these Brides it becomes their all consuming project for 6 – 12 months of their life. With encore couples they tend to be more engrossed in their lifestyle with busy or demanding careers, chaotic households (especially with children), school duties, community commitments and much more. Therefore, they need a way to plan a very special day, without creating even more wedding stress and pressure on themselves.
The best way to do this is to make five key decisions quickly. These five decisions drive or influence all the arrangements that need to be made. If clarity can be achieved early, then the planning can flow much more easily, and will be less influenced by well meaning opinions.
The Five key decisions to answer are:
- How much are you prepared to spend on your wedding, what will be your budget?
- When do you want to get married?
- Where do you want to get married?
- What style and theme do you want your wedding to take?
- Approximately how many guests do you want to invite.
As life tends to take over, we at Love2Last weddings strongly suggest that couples mark out in their diary a block of time to do this initial planning. Can get away for a weekend, or at least go to somewhere that is beautiful or meaningful to you both? Book a babysitter if you have to, don’t try to squeeze it in one evening after the kids have gone to bed. You will appreciate how important this time together will be later, when the pressure mounts and you have to make other decisions quickly. Once you have got some ‘space’, make sure you are both relaxed and present. Leave behind the worries and whatever ‘drama’ is happening at that moment. Start off by each of you describing what you would like for your wedding day.
LISTEN carefully to each other, and don’t interject. This is especially important for the Bride who typically has more idea of the details she wants. Empathic listening is important, ignoring what is important to your partner will lead to disengagement, arguments, resentment and less than happy memories in the long run. Once you have both described your ideal wedding (based on the reality of your lives and budget), then you can start to create something that you are both bought into. Discuss the potential issues that you may face e.g. family expectations, Ex-partner sabotage, children’s reaction etc. so you can prepare for any onslaught. Only then is it time to agree on the five key decisions:
1 Budget – How much are you prepared to commit to your wedding. Even if you want something small and simple, if you can afford it you might want something of high quality e.g. a Michelin Star restaurant for your after ceremony celebration. Be careful not to over-extend as this is the easiest way to create wedding stress. The wedding will not be enjoyable if you are constantly worrying about the cost, or know you will be paying it off for the next 10 years! Don’t just decide on one lump sum amount. Break it down into categories such as clothing (bride, groom, wedding party), ceremony, reception, flowers, transport, Honeymoon, wedding services, gifts and other. This way you have much more chance of defining a more realistic budget. I usually advise couples to ‘think of a number’, then double it and see if they can still afford that amount if they have overruns. 95% of second weddings are fully funded by the couple. Therefore you need to decide how you are both going to contribute to the budget i.e. equal/specified amounts, each pay for specific items or any other options. If parents are making any contribution, how and where will that be made. Lastly you need to decide how you are going to account for your expenditure. Will you create a separate bank or credit card account? What tracking tool will you use? How will you handle over expenditure in any particular area?
2 Date – Setting your wedding date will be influenced by many different factors. Costs can be significantly reduced if you decide to set a date during low season, mid-week or at quieter times during a weekend. Your date will also be influenced by your lifestyle, careers and commitments. If you have children, do you need to get married during vacation times so you can have a honeymoon or familymoon? Are there specific times to avoid due to exams, busy work periods (e.g. accountants need to avoid end-of-financial year), parental respite care and many other reasons. Are there specific dates to avoid such as your previous wedding anniversary, the birthday of a deceased loved one, or the date your divorce was final! Is there a particular season you would like to get married in, or is there a venue that you have set your heart on and you need to coincide with their availability? Also, give yourself enough time to make your arrangements otherwise more wedding stress will happen.
3 Location – You don’t need to decide on a venue immediately, but you need to have an idea as to where you want to get married e.g. the town where you currently live, where you or your partner grew up, where the majority of your guests live or a place significant to you. Alternatively, increasingly couples are moving towards a destination wedding for simplicity purposes.
4 Style and Theme –Deciding the style of your wedding will influence your budget, date and venue. Do you want a large traditional wedding, or a small intimate affair? Will it be religious or civil. Do you want a definite theme e.g. seasonal, specific interest, historical period, culture etc? Maybe just a coordinated color theme is sufficient. Deciding on a suitable theme that reflects your personality will help significantly with deciding on your wedding attire, flowers, decorations, type of reception, stationary and so much more. Just remember to go with something that you are comfortable with and suits who you are as a couple, otherwise you will find your wedding stress will ruin your day. Check on how easy (and cost effective) it is to obtain supplies to reflect the theme, and don’t be overly ambitious with the time it will take to develop the theme. It is great to have the idea of making things to fit the theme, but these little ‘personalizations’ can be very time consuming.
5 Number of Guests Deciding on who you want to invite will impact your budget and possibly the date and location. You don’t need to come up with exact numbers, just an idea for planning purposes. When you do start listing your potential guests, plan them in categories so you can cull whole groups if numbers get too large. If you are planning a small affair, and may not throw it open to your wider family, it is best to tackle this early and directly. If appropriate, recruit your parents or siblings to help field some of the disappointment. Letting them know your rationale will help them to manage expectations. Check out our article on Wedding Conflicts as your guests can create a lot of wedding stress. If you keep your numbers down you may avoid some of the problems that wedding guests can cause.
Once you have these five decisions under your belt, you will find many other decisions to be obvious. Don’t forget to keep a perspective as it is easy to increase the size and complexity of your wedding plans once you get onto Pinterest or Wedding sites, which of course will add significantly to your wedding stress. Go back to your original plans (made during your first bonding meeting) to keep you on track. Significantly moving away from your original plan will cause more stress, possible upsets and almost definitely more cost. If you would like more information on the 5 key decisions, then opt-in and download my information guide The Five key Decisions that will Catapult forward organizing your Wedding Day.
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