ARCHIVE: Winter 2007 Edition

       Editor's Page
      Winter 2007 Edition
                        by Susan Polyot

    Welcome to the winter edition of encore bride magazine.

    In this issue we will explore the idea of a winter theme
    wedding, as well as other topics pertinent to encore brides.

    In each issue we attempt to address something of
    relevance to merging families, step parenting, and other
    real life issues facing encore brides after the ceremony.  

    In this issue we discuss step parenting for encore brides
    and their grooms  Also in this issue, more ideas for gown
    shopping, and of course, the groom's column, where we
    look at blending families of a whole different sort: your

    Congratulations!  We hope you find this edition of encore
    bride helpful in planning your encore wedding

    To Theme or Not to Theme
                        by Susan Polyot

    Winter is a perfect time for a theme wedding.  The
    holidays make a pre-decorated backdrop for an encore

    An encore bride is often looking for an elegant, but
    smaller setting for her wedding. Christmas, New Year,
    and Valentines Day make for an easy theme to
    incorporate such a setting.  Many hotels, resorts and
    bed and breakfast inns are beautifully decorated for the
    holidays.  It makes planning your encore wedding
    decorations no muss, no fuss.  It is also a great budget
    boost. The decorations already in place allow you to
    spend virtually nothing extra on room decorations.  

    The idea of a theme wedding is something first time
    brides may shy away from, wanting to pick a theme, or
    colors for her wedding that may not lend itself to a
    holiday motif. For encore brides who may want
    something less traditional, a winter theme may offer
    just the right ambiance. A holiday themed wedding can
    be a celebration of family and friends already gathered
    for the holidays.  Often, an encore bride may not feel
    she can ask people to incur the expense of travel if
    they have family and friends out of town. Encore
    brides typically have family and friends with job and
    family commitments different than the first time bride
    in her twenties. Family and friends often return home
    for the holidays, making it an ideal way to include
    people you would like to.  

    The dress
    If you are considering a holiday theme, this is a time of
    year when off the rack formal wear is in abundance.   
    There are many choices for a dress in a multitude of
    colors, from winter white to reds. Styles are also in
    abundance from shorter, informal wear to long evening
    style gowns.  There are many pant ensembles in styles
    and colors very fitting for an elegant encore bridal look.
    If you have children who will be participating in the
    event, there is also a wonderful selection of children's
    wear available at a fraction of the cost of bridal salon
    prices. Some are even in available in non holiday
    colors, a good time to look for children's wear even for
    an upcoming wedding later in the year.

    The flowers
    A simple bouquet of white roses with sprigs of holly
    makes a wonderful choice for a holiday or New Year
    wedding.  For do it yourselfers, it is also an easy
    bouquet to assemble. For a February, or Valentines
    Day wedding, a bouquet of a single red rose with white
    ribbon is understated and beautiful.  There are many
    flower choices available in red and white, a perfect
    color combination for a holiday wedding.  

    The table
    The holidays make it easy to have a beautifully
    decorated table at minimal expense.  If you are
    planning a sit down meal for your reception, ask the
    function manager to use gold plate chargers and plain
    white place settings. It adds instant color, with a festive
    feel.  Red, green and silver chargers are in abundance
    in discount stores if you want to add more of a holiday
    theme. Silver is a great choice for a new years
    wedding. The red chargers are especially fitting for a
    valentine's wedding. If you are planning a February
    wedding, often red chargers are available at deep
    discounts right after Christmas. A good time to
    purchase for your upcoming wedding.  They can be
    used for each guest, as accents at a buffet table, or for
    serving desserts.
    From right after Thanksgiving to New Years,
    Poinsettias make a beautiful centerpiece. They are
    available at many florists, but can also be purchased at
    your local grocer for a fraction of the cost.  Placed in a
    basket, or decorated pot, the grocery store poinsettias
    are just as beautiful a centerpiece as the more
    expensive florist poinsettias. Poinsettias can be a fussy
    plant, so ask about transporting to be sure they arrive
    at your reception in top shape.

    Holiday themes also offer many wedding favor
    choices. Encore brides looking for less traditional
    favors will find many ideas to compliment a theme
    wedding. There are many specialty chocolates available
    in both Christmas and Chanukah themes. Christmas
    ornaments make a great favor and are available in any
    price range.  Ornaments can be an extension of the
    holiday theme, or a theme of their own. For example,
    if you are getting married at the ocean, consider a
    beach themed ornament. Local historical societies or
    attractions often have locally themed ornaments
    available as fundraisers, and often discounts are
    available when buying in bulk. Again, even if you are
    not planning a winter theme wedding, local ornaments
    make a great, non traditional favor for encore weddings
    at any time of year. This is the time to inquire about
    availability and discount pricing for a future wedding.  
    For February weddings, heart shaped candy is in
    abundance and can be packaged at home for beautiful
    favors, or table accompaniment.

    The venue
    There is an abundance of venues to choose from
    during the holidays. Inns, bed and breakfasts are often
    a good choice. Many are beautifully decorated, and
    have function rooms large enough to accommodate a
    small to mid size encore wedding. Many resorts are
    open through the holidays, and some offer discount
    pricing through the winter, ideal for the February bride.

    For the encore bride looking toward a smaller, more
    intimate setting, consider having a home wedding.
    Your home is likely decorated for the holidays, and a
    buffet is an easy set up for your guests. This is a time
    of year when party platters and food selections are
    widely available. Consider a caterer for a small
    gathering in your home. The price is usually consistent
    with that of a fine restaurant. If you are having a home
    wedding, consider hiring a professional cleaning service
    for both before and after the event. It allows you to
    relax, and enjoy your event. Many encore brides who
    plan home weddings find the task of getting the house
    ready, and the cleanup the most stressful part of the

    Often encore brides do not opt for a traditional
    reception. A dessert and champagne reception is
    perfect for the holidays, and can be accommodated
    either in or out of the home.  If you want a home
    reception, but don't have the space, holidays are a
    perfect time for an open house dessert reception. It
    allows people to come and go throughout specified
    times, and allows you to have a private exchange of
    vows ceremony separate from the reception, often a
    choice of encore brides.

    The holidays can be a perfect time of year for an
    encore wedding. The decorations are in abundance, the
    theme is established, and family and friends are
    gathered. It can also be ideal for the encore bride on a
    budget, since many of the decorating is in place, and
    the dress selection is varied and widely available. If
    you're an encore bride looking for a non- traditional
    setting, this may be just what you are looking for.

    Step Parenting
                    by Susan Polyot

    The question for many encore brides isn't "Will we or
    won't we have children?", but "What do we do with
    the ones we have?" Encore couples ask, "How will
    having another adult in the home affect our children?"
    and "How will children affect our marriage?"  

    Being a stepparent or having a stepparent enter your
    children's lives is a challenge.  How involved the new
    stepparent will be depends on several factors, including
    the age of the children, the relationship with your co-
    parent, and how involved the stepparent wants to be.

    Any time one is entering a relationship where children
    are involved, it is assumed the children are a priority.
    It is unrealistic to think otherwise. If you have visions
    of long, uninterrupted romantic days and nights, step
    parenting may not be for you.  If, on the other hand,
    you have visions of stolen minutes, sometimes hours,
    occasionally days, and rarely weeks of uninterrupted
    time with your loved one, you are on the right track.

    Children may welcome a stepparent or resist the idea.
    Some of this depends on how this person was brought
    into their life. If children view the person as the reason
    mom and dad are no longer together, they may try to
    sabotage the relationship. If they view the new
    relationship as the reason to lose hope of reconciliation
    between mom and dad, they also may resist. On the
    other hand if a stepparent is introduced gradually over
    time to the children, they may have an easier time of
    getting used to the concept of a stepparent. It is a good
    idea to talk to your children and give them a chance to
    express how they feel. One thing to keep in mind with
    children (as with grownups!) is they don't always say
    what thy really mean. You may have to listen, observe
    behavior, and watch for inconsistencies. Often,
    children are afraid of having a new parent in the home,
    not sure of how it will affect them. Offer reassurance
    that it won't make them any less important, and then
    demonstrate that.

    Stepparents can take an active or inactive role in
    discipline, again often depending on the age of the
    children. The younger the child, the more immediate
    discipline needs to be in order for it to be meaningful
    and appropriate to the infraction. In cases of young
    children, waiting for the mom or dad to address a
    situation may not be an option. In these situations, a
    stepparent may need free access to discipline in ways
    consistent with those of the parent, whenever needed.
    Younger children need immediate discipline so they
    can connect the discipline to the event. Their cognitive
    thinking and memory skills are such that delayed
    discipline does not have as profound a meaning.

    Stepparents may also need to be granted at least
    limited decision making power in the absence of the
    parent. Big decisions should be discussed with all
    concerned including the stepparent (s) and both

    For older children—those preteen and older—
    discipline can often be postponed until such time as a
    discussion involving all parties takes place. For older
    children, discipline is often related to a household rule
    violation and can wait until a later time.

    If you have sole responsibility for your children, you
    have a different step parenting relationship than in
    cases where there is a shared parental responsibility
    with a co-parent. Stepparents are not replacement
    parents, but they can act as an extension and support
    of the parent in the home. And they can certainly play
    a role in helping to establish family rules and

    Some rules for stepparents:
    •       Never ever speak badly in front of the child
       about the child's other parent (no matter what
       you may think.)
    •       Always respect the relationship with both parents
       and extended family.
    •       Don't expect to be called mom or dad.
    •       Treat all the children equally—yours, mine and
       ours. No child is more or less important than
    •       Respect the child's need for alone time with
       his/her parent, and don't always insist on being
       included in day-to-day activities.
    •       Respect a child's need for his or her own space.
       This is especially important in stepfamilies.
    •       Always keep conflicts about children a private
       discussion; don't fight about the kids in front of
       the kids.
    •       Make opportunities for family activities that are

    If you are becoming a stepparent, or marrying
    someone who is, having a discussion about family
    expectations, parenting beliefs and discipline methods
    prior to the marriage is critical.  Too often, this is
    something encore couples assume will fall into place.
    Not the case! Knowing where you both stand will
    avoid conflicts down the road.

    Tracking Down the Perfect Gown
                     by Susan Polyot

    Perhaps the number one issue facing encore brides in
    planning is the lack of suitable dresses available for an
    encore wedding.  

    Traditional bridal salons stock primarily first time bridal
    looks.  If a suitable dress is not jumping out at you as
    you peruse catalogs and salons, consider having one
    made.  This is a great way to capture the look you
    envision as an encore bride, and often a cost effective
    solution to buying a near miss and having it altered and
    remade to work for you.  There are a beautiful array of
    fabrics available, and a plethora of patterns to choose
    from.  Find a reputable seamstress in your area and ask
    for ideas. The advantages are numerous to having a
    dress made for you.  First, it fits.  You can choose a
    style appropriate for an encore bride, and one that will
    be flattering for your body shape and size, whether you
    are a size 6 or a plus size bride.   Second, you can have
    the color you want.  Many encore brides opt for
    something less traditional than white or ivory.  With a
    custom made dress, you can choose the color that best
    suits you, your venue and the time of year.  Fabric
    choices include not just color selection, but material as
    well. Lace can be a beautiful accent, or main fabric in
    many colors beyond white and ivory. You are limited
    only by your imagination and your seamstress if you
    choose a custom made gown!

    The Search
    Other good options include checking the special occasion
    section at your local dress or department store.  Don't
    eliminate the mother of the bride section at bridal salons.
    While many dresses are just what they sound like,
    mother of the bride, many options and colors exist that
    are quite appropriate for an encore bride.  If you are
    choosing to have a dress made, there are good style
    ideas available in this section, which with a little
    modification would be a good bridal dress.

    Check online sites such as,
    and for an assortment of special
    occasion as well as bridal dresses.  For budget conscious
    brides, has a new bridal selection in
    many styles and sizes suitable for encore brides.   Be
    aware that many on line bridal sites have strict no return
    policies once an order has been placed, so be sure of
    size and color prior to placing an order.

    Being an encore bride no longer means showing up at
    city hall in a suit for the exchange of I dos.  Look
    around, experiment and choose a dress that is a
    reflection of you and of the event.  

    Groom's Column
    Pets: The Basics
                                by Larry Tyler

    I knew a young man who was sitting in the living room
    with his fiancé, busy planning their wedding, while his
    wolfhound was in the kitchen, eating her shiatsu.  I'm
    not saying it was that incident alone that doomed their
    marriage, but I believe it was—as they say—a
    significant contributing factor.

    Since pets can raise plenty of troubling conflicts in a
    new marriage, conflicts around intimacy, discipline,
    boundaries, priorities, and money, it makes a lot of
    sense to take a preventative look at the wedge that a pet
    (or pets) can drive in an otherwise sound marital

    I suppose some of the conflicts can be resolved by
    things like compromise, planning, and open discussion.  
    But not everything can be cleared up that easily,
    especially if we've deceived ourselves into believing
    we're more easygoing and accepting than we really are.  

    Pet Peeves
    When the day comes that you finally utter the first
    gentle criticism of your wife's pet, the next words
    you're sure to hear are, "But I thought you loved
    Fluffy!"  The only direction the conversation can take
    after that is downward.  While the pet sits in the corner,
    contentedly eaves-dropping, you find yourself locked in
    an argument that is veering wildly into all kinds of ugly
    tangents.  Don't try to tell me pets don't have some
    mystical power that wills that kind of scene.

    We all tend to adopt a "love me–love my pet" attitude
    regarding our animals.  To our mind, it's impossible for
    anyone not to fall in love with a creature that so clearly
    worships and admires us.  (Who couldn't love an animal
    so discerning and intelligent?)  The problem is we can
    be blinded by Rover's unconditional love for us and can
    start to miss the little things, the disgusting habits,
    unsettling health problems, and periodic, unexpected
    lunging attacks that always slip past our attention but
    are easily identified by others.  That means, when we
    hear our fiancé say things like, "Make your dog stop
    chewing on my mother's arm," we need to set aside our
    bond with man's best friend and decide, once and for
    all, whether our significant other is going to be a human
    or a canine.  At times like that, you can't mediate
    between your wife's family and your dog.  You have to
    take sides.

    So, it comes down to negotiation and renegotiation.  
    Does the pet come along on all your outings and
    vacations, or does it stay in doggie lock-down?  If that's
    a tough decision for the two of you to make (by the two
    of you, I mean you and your fiancé, not you and your
    dog) maybe you could try a brief test run of kenneling
    the pet.  Try a weekend away without the third party.  
    Start adding the cost of the kennel—and a check-in call
    or two to the kennel—to your vacation expenses.  

    Does the cat stay in the cellar when Aunt Flossy with
    her cat allergies comes to visit?  Are the animals
    allowed on the new couch?

    Whatever your opinions were at the outset of the
    relationship regarding your pets, you need to realize
    those opinions are subject to change as you settle into a
    new living routine.  New couches tend to create new

    And there's no reason your pets shouldn't be taught that
    they may have some adjustments to make as well: Love
    me—love my fiancé, for example.  

    They can start working on that right away.

Return to Homepage