WEDDINGS: Marrying again comes with different rules
There are very few things on which I am an expert. Getting married is one of those things.
I don’t seem to be so great about staying married, but getting married? Why, I do that every five or 10 years.
f course, I only know about wedding planning from the man’s side of things. This involves showing up on the day you’re supposed to get fitted for your tuxedo and otherwise staying out of the way while saying “Yes, dear” a lot.
It’s not that hard.
As I understand it, the bride tends to put a bit more thought into the affair. How much thought depends on the bride, the budget and, not surprisingly, which “number” wedding it is for both she and the groom.
My first wedding was also my bride’s first, and took place three weeks to the day after we met. I was young, crazy and impulsive. I have no idea what my bride’s excuse was.
But there we were, walking down the aisle three weeks after we said our first hello’s.
Incredibly, the wedding was a fairly elaborate affair. My bride, as it turned out, was a planning Jedi, a guru of catering, tuxedoes, bridesmaids’ dresses and all things nuptial.
In three short weeks, she put together a beautiful church wedding with lots of guests, a formal reception, matching bridesmaids’ dresses, powder blue tuxedoes for the groomsmen (what can I say? It was the ‘70s), a white tuxedo for me (see previous ‘70s comment), and a big, multi-tiered wedding cake.
First weddings are supposed to be elaborate affairs, in my opinion. In a perfect world, first weddings would be the only weddings.
Regrettably, we live in a reality where things don’t always work out.
My second wedding came several years later. Though it was the first marriage for my intended, I was now on No. 2.
A second wedding brings with it a different set of rules. I’ve asked my friend Beth Allen about this; she works for Complete Wedding Services and has a little more insight into this stuff than most, certainly more than I do.
According to Beth, it was OK for me to still allow guests to bring gifts. The bride’s side of the family wanted a big affair, but both my new bride and I opted for something a little more low key. The wedding and reception were both held in a beautiful, rustic cabin-type hall just a block from where we lived.
We still had formal attire — matching dresses for the bridesmaids, tuxes for the grooms (black, this time, thank heavens). There was catering, a live band and a hammer dulcimer player who performed during dinner.
A very nice affair, but one that cost less than half what was spent on my first wedding and reception.
In an almost perfect world, a second wedding would be the last wedding.
My third wedding, though certainly the least ostentatious of the lot, remains my favorite. It was a humble, outdoor affair, set in our own backyard, which, I will admit, was lovely.
In deference to the neighbors, we had no live band, just taped music. A friend played guitar for the processional, and soon-to-be No. 3 Mrs. Taylor rented a floral arch from Kingdom of Flowers in Greenville, under which we stood to recite our vows.
The catering was nice, but not elaborate. Guests were asked to forego gifts. Unlike a first, or even second wedding, our reception was not intended to be a glamorous, “look what we can do!” affair, but rather an opportunity to get together with a handful of our closest friends and family, to have them share in the joy or our special day.
According to my wedding planner friend, Beth, the best weddings — those that people really enjoy attending — are rarely the most expensive.
“Some of the nicest weddings are the least expensive,” she says.
I have to agree with her. Though my third bride and I were working with a minuscule budget, we managed to put together a pretty nice affair and all our guests had a great time that’s still occasionally talked about nearly 20 years later.
If only the marriage had lasted that long. As I think we’ve already mentioned, it’s not a perfect world.
But that doesn’t mean your first, second or even third wedding can’t be. All it takes is a little creativity.