When I proposed to Nicole last October, it was the first time I'd ever gone through the craziness of purchasing a ring, but it wasn't the first time she'd gotten one. This would be her second marriage, making our wedding—like about a third of the weddings in America these days—an "encore wedding."
So what exactly are the rules of an encore wedding? According to Rev. John Graf, Jr., the nondenominational minister who performed our ceremony, "There is no right and wrong." As with a first wedding, the unique desires of the couple are what matters most. In some ways, there's more flexibility, because at least one party probably already has the "big" wedding out of the way. As Graf advices couples, "You can have whatever you want."
Despite the general lack of rules, however, pretty much everyone agrees that it's poor form to compare the current wedding to any previous ones. Nicole admitted to me that although she was able to offer a wealth of experience from her first wedding, she felt she often had to be careful not to make it sound like a comparison.
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For the most part, though, we had it easy. Neither of us had children from previous relationships, Nicole's family didn't care for her first husband (in fact, her mother has pasted a magazine photo over his face in the family portrait taken during the first marriage), and my family— well, I'm an only child from a very close family, and this was my first marriage, so that's how they treated it.
Any of those elements could have made things more complicated.