ARCHIVE: Autumn 2007



      Editor's Page
     Premier Edition
                 by Susan Polyot


    Welcome to the premier edition of Encore Bride
    Magazine.  

    Encore Bride Magazine was developed as I was
    planning my own encore wedding and discovering
    how little information exists for re-wedding brides.
    Encore brides are an often-overlooked segment of the
    wedding industry. If statistics are accurate—with 1 out
    of 2 marriages ending in divorce—we are a large
    segment of the wedding market.

    My hope is that Encore Bride Magazine will help
    those planning their second (or more) wedding to
    navigate the process of re-wedding. We will explore
    issues that are specifically related to encore brides
    such as stepfamilies, ceremony and reception ideas,
    gown-shopping, and those messy etiquette-related
    dilemmas. We'll also take a look at some issues that
    are relevant to any bride.

    Encore Bride Magazine is about you, our readers. We
    invite (encourage) you to send your suggestions,
    comments and questions to us. With over 20 years
    experience as a counselor, plus the experience of being
    a stepparent and an encore bride, I will be looking at
    your questions and suggestions from both a personal
    and professional perspective.

    Thank you for reading this edition of Encore Bride
    Magazine. We hope you have found something
    helpful in it for your planning. Please share this site
    with family and friends. Oh yes, and congratulations!



    Gifts: Thanks or No Thanks?
                      by Susan Polyot

    The "gifts issue" can be difficult for encore brides.  It
    comes down to this: What do you do about receiving
    gifts from wedding guests?  Do you go through the
    registry process, do you tell people you want to forgo
    gifts altogether, or do you sidestep the issue, do
    nothing at all, and get what you get?  

    The answer depends largely on your personal
    situation.  Some encore brides are well equipped with
    household items.  They've already got their silver and
    china, and are established in their home.  Others, by
    contrast, have left their previous marriage with very
    little and are literally starting over.  In some cases, the
    groom, or his family, may want to participate in a
    traditional registry, particularly if he has not been
    married previously.  You've got to start by assessing
    your situation, and decide accordingly, keeping in mind
    that registries are designed to help new couples
    establish their home.  If your friends and family bought
    you a fine china service for eight two years ago when
    you got married, you may want to pass up the
    traditional registry now.  Manners and good taste
    trump all.

    If you don't need to establish a home, then don't
    register.  But, if you want your guests to know which
    items you and your groom are going to need as you
    merge households, registering can be a very good idea.  
    Since you re not just starting out, you likely have some
    basics.  Perhaps you don't need another toaster or
    blender, but you could use some cookware.  That's
    where registering comes in handy.  But if you decide to
    register, it is never in good form to include this
    information with your invitation, despite what the
    registry service told you.  It is becoming quite popular
    for larger department stores to "assist" you by
    providing registration announcements as an invitation
    insert.  This is to help you get things you need, they
    say.  It is to boost their sales, I say.  A wedding
    invitation should never be a plea for gifts.  It is an
    invitation to share in your celebration.  Tradition has
    made weddings gift giving occasions, but consider how
    tacky it is to suggest that a gift is necessary when you
    extend the invitation.  

    As in any wedding, friends and family should be the
    ones to answer the question of where are you
    registered.  Regardless of your decision on gift
    handling, don't let being an encore bride trample proper
    etiquette.

    For a number of reasons, an encore bride may decide
    she prefers to have no wedding gifts.  She may feel
    awkward about having guests bring gifts to an encore
    wedding, or she may be well established enough in her
    own home that the presence of friends and family is
    gift enough.  Again, any mention of gifts in your
    invitations, either for or against, is not in keeping with
    etiquette.  Instead, you can spread the word by voicing
    your preference through family and close friends.  But
    if a gift is presented at the reception, accept it
    graciously…and remember to write a prompt and
    gracious thank you note.  

    One exception to this rule, I believe, is the wedding
    that is a small gathering exclusively attended by close
    friends and immediate family.  In that case—and I
    know I'm bucking convention here—you could
    exercise a little more informality and clearly state your
    preference for no gifts if you so choose.  In all events,
    it remains important to not have it seem that the
    occasion is really about the gifts.



    The Honeymoon: Just You, Me, and the Kids
                 by Susan Polyot

    A honeymoon is the symbol of the bride and groom
    beginning their new life together as a couple.  By
    tradition, it's an intimate, romantic getaway; a special
    time to be shared by two people.  But, for encore
    couples, honeymoon plans can be a challenge if children
    are involved in your new marriage.  

    Is it strictly taboo for the children to go on your
    honeymoon?  No, not necessarily, if you follow a few
    basic guidelines, do some research, and take everyone's
    interests into consideration as you make your plans.

    If you are viewing your marriage as the blending and
    celebration of a new family configuration, you may have
    already decided that you wouldn't dream of starting your
    new life without the kids. Or perhaps, it's more of a
    practical matter. There may be no one to care for the
    children while the two of you run off to an exotic
    location. Whatever the reason, if you decide to bring the
    children, it is important to consider them as you and
    your fiancé make decisions about your honeymoon
    destination.

    Many resorts offer programs for children that will keep
    them busy during the day, leaving some "alone time" for
    you and your new spouse. These programs may be
    available on a full or half day basis.  There is usually a
    cost involved, even at some all inclusive resorts, so
    make sure you are fully aware of all costs up front, and
    learn about the specific activities that will be offered.  
    Check into those details before you firm up your plans.
    Also, check in with the kids.  Make sure the plans
    include things your children will be interested in.

    Larger resorts may have evening babysitting services
    available, provided by trained babysitters. Often, the
    babysitter is not an adult, but may be an older
    adolescent who has been screened by the hotel. Ask
    ahead of time what training and screening has been
    provided. This service is useful if your children are too
    young to be left alone but the two of you want to plan a
    romantic dinner at the hotel restaurant and will be on
    site.  

    It is critical that the two of you plan some time alone,
    and make sure your children are aware of this ahead of
    time.  This is important, not just for the two of you, but
    for your children as well. They need to recognize the
    two of you are a couple, not just parents. Your
    relationship with each other needs to be primary, and the
    two of you need to role model that for your children.
    Without this, once the honeymoon is over, step
    parenting will be a much harder task if your kids see a
    weak link in the two of you, and haven't been taught to
    view you as a couple.

    And so...What about sex?  Whether the children are
    sharing a room with you, sharing a suite, or in an
    adjoining room, if you and your fiancé discuss and plan
    this now, you may avoid frustration later. Take
    advantage of those daytime programs for children, and
    plan accordingly!  Arrange for a babysitter from the
    hotel to watch the children at the pool, or some other
    activity.  You can let the kids know you are going to be
    having private time without going into details.  Kids
    don't have to be a deterrent to an active honeymoon!



    Groom's Column

    Stage Fright
                                  by Larry Tyler

    It's easier to play Hamlet--so the saying goes--than play
    a bit role.  Sure, you've got all those lines to memorize
    when you're the Prince of Denmark, and everyone is
    staring at you in those funny tights for two hours, but
    mistakes can be forgiven if you muff a line here or
    there.  You'll have time to make up for it later in Act
    III.  It's different though when you have one and only
    one line in the play.  There's no second chance when
    you have one line and blow it.  

    Knowing this as you step onstage--the stakes being a
    lifetime of derision and humiliation--the pressure on you
    is cranked up to the max and condensed into one brief,
    intense, concentrated moment.  Anything short of
    perfection is disaster.

    Which brings me to the topic of the wedding ceremony.

    It is widely accepted that the groom is a bit player in the
    wedding ritual, a minor character from planning to
    execution.  Most grooms accept that; accept it in fact
    with pleasure, figuring they can keep well out of harm’s
    way by staying out of the loop.  But in taking on the
    role of a bit player, you also inherit the pressure of that
    role.  Coming off the bench cold (if I may mix a
    metaphor) you step forward, open your mouth to
    speak, and while all eyes are on you, make one little slip
    like, "For bitter or worse",  "…till debt do us part", or
    "…awful wedded wife" and your gaff lives on forever,
    preserved by video, and shared at every subsequent
    social gathering.  You had one line and you blew it.

    The solution to this dilemma is involvement.

    You can take on a bigger role in your own wedding just
    by showing interest in the process.  No, you don’t really
    care whether daisies or mums are on the table beside
    the guest book, but you can listen to the debate
    anyway.  Voice an opinion.  Ask questions.  Learn why
    one idea is a good one and another is a bad one.  Start
    padding your role.

    For some of you, this will come easy.  You not only see
    how it might take some pressure off you when the
    wedding day arrives, but you also actually enjoy taking
    part in the planning.  For others, this could be a
    substantial challenge.  But that's why I'm here: to help
    you out with this.  So sit up and pay attention.  This is
    an article especially for you.

    Do conversations about the wedding leave you cold?  
    All those questions about who to invite, which
    invitations to send, how to decorate the hall, and where
    people should sit; do these things make your head
    spin?  If so, here's my advice to you.  Dive into the
    discussions anyway.  Don't worry, you can do it.  
    Mastering these topics is mostly a matter of learning a
    new way of talking.  Think of it as a foreign language.  
    You only need to learn a few phrases, but memorize
    them well.

    Here's an example for you.  Your bride-to-be asks you
    whether you prefer apricot or pear chutney with the
    crackers.  Of course, all you care about is whether
    they'll have those little hotdogs at the reception.  You
    look blankly at her, shrug, and mumble, "Uh,
    iduncare."  Right?  Wrong!  Anytime you are tempted
    to shrug, you should resist the urge and say these
    words:  "Well now, you have posed a very interesting
    conundrum here.  I see several viable options, but I
    suggest we get some outside opinions before we commit
    ourselves to a decision."  

    When you begin to wear that phrase out, you can
    switch to this:  "Perhaps we should do some further
    research on this so we can ascertain the
    recommendations of experts."  (Be sure to pronounce
    ascertain, "asserTAYN".  Otherwise it sounds like
    you're complaining of lower back problems.)

    Replace "I don't know" with "Let's talk about it."  Get
    rid of "Don't matter none to me" and start using "I
    haven't thought about that yet."

    One of the payoffs to this—and there will be other
    payoffs on down the road, plenty of them—is that the
    wedding vows won't be one of those intense high-
    pressure walk-on part situations we were just talking
    about.  In fact, the wedding itself will be the
    introduction to an "us relationship" if you take the time
    and effort to participate.  And, in case you've forgotten,
    that's exactly what you're investing in when you get
    married: an "us relationship".  

    So, go on, get off the couch and start asking some
    questions.  Get involved.  Form some opinions.  

    There's no time to get involved in the relationship like
    the present.


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