Children are probably the single biggest issue, because these kids are going to be part of the new relationship, so they need to approve of it and be a part of it early on. "You're not just uniting a man and a woman; you're uniting a family," says Rev. Graf, who offers a variety of "family unity ceremonies" (variations on the unity candle and sand ceremonies). I've also heard the suggestion that children—rather than the traditional parents—could be included as hosts in the invitation, and I think I like it. What kid could resist the appeal of "Little Bobby McGee cordially invites you to the wedding of his mother"? Heck, I almost wish my parents would have a second ceremony so they could include my name in the invitation!
Children may be the most important family members in an encore situation, but they're not the only ones who are relevant. As I said, we were fortunate in that Nicole's family doesn't care about her first husband, which meant that, in many ways, the first wedding was a non-factor. Of course, many couples are not so lucky. The family might prefer the first spouse to the new one, or still have a hate on for the person who wrong their loved one. Either situation can be problematic, because this is bound to bring up comparisons with the first ceremony, and that's one of the things that everyone seems to agree should be avoided as much as possible.
Can I Get a "Do-Over"?
Since we didn't have to deal with either of those issues, what were the differences in our encore wedding versus a first wedding?
Well, first and foremost, experience was on our side. Nicole had been through all this before, so she knew the ropes, and that was something we definitely took advantage of. Six months after I gave her the engagement ring, we were already back from the honeymoon. We were able to plan a wedding (for almost a hundred guests—we're not talking a tiny affair) in a matter of weeks, with very little stress, mostly because of Nicole's experience. The fact that she's incredibly organized didn't hurt, though.