ARCHIVE: Autumn 2007
Welcome to the premier edition of Encore Bride
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
|Encore Bride Magazine Thoughts, Reflections, Suggestions, & Opinions for re-wedding brides