TRADITION…WITH A TWIST
by Susan Polyot
I have noticed a trend from the encore brides I've
had the pleasure of working with recently. Many of
these brides are opting for more tradition in their
weddings, whether it be in the ceremony itself, the
venue, or the gown. This is especially true when the
groom does not happen to be an encore groom.
But, even when the encore bride is opting for
traditions normally reserved for first weddings,
there is often a twist.
So, how do you give your day a traditional feel
without re-doing the "whole first wedding thing" as
one encore bride recently asked?
There are many ways to bring a traditional feel to
your wedding without having to recreate a first
wedding atmosphere. One of the more common
ways is through your choice of attire. Many encore
brides are now choosing a modified wedding gown;
and yes, some are wearing white, a color long
reserved for first time brides. People—even your
grandmother—are becoming more comfortable
with the idea of an encore wedding as a celebration
of your new life.
As trends in society shift, so do trends in encore
weddings, and encore brides are celebrating in a big
way! Often, the gown choice of an encore bride has
been modified; remember, tradition with a twist. I
recently spoke to a bride who had found the perfect
gown, but it was a bit too traditional for her as an
encore bride. So, she had it reworked for her taste:
she had it shortened to a tea length, removed the
train, and added a "Kate" type lace top which she
wore as a separate piece over the strapless gown.
The end result was stunning for an encore bride.
She maintained a "bride-like feel" as she described
it, but she modified for herself as an encore bride.
Many encore brides do want to feel like a bride
(which they are!) but by the same token, many
encore brides also do not want to feel like a first
time bride. Anyone who has tried to plan an encore
wedding knows that it is not easy to strike this
balance, and the wedding industry doesn't help
solve this dilemma. Many encore brides I have
known describe being pointed to the mothers'
dresses section for their own attire once the
wedding shop staff is informed that they are encore
brides. (I have written before about the benefits of
having a dress made, but altering an off the rack
gown can also deliver the style you are looking for.)
Encore brides do not need to be restricted in
choices by color, style or imagination!
Another way encore brides create tradition-with-a-
twist weddings is in the planning of the ceremony
itself. Often, encore brides opt for a less traditional
venue, but they may want some of the more
traditional elements of a wedding ceremony. If this
is what you would like to do, involve your officiant
early in your planning and talk about the traditions
you'd like to have in your ceremony. Are there
specific readings you'd like, either religious or from
a favorite poem? Is lighting a unity candle
important to you? Readings and lighting of
candles can easily be incorporated into an encore
ceremony, even if the service itself is not strictly
Walking Down The Aisle
If you are an encore bride who plans to have a
more traditional church service, the issue of
walking down the aisle may be a concern. You are a
mature woman, already married and either
divorced or widowed, so having your father escort
you down the aisle might not fit the occasion.
Even if the service and venue are traditional, there
are many options for the aisle walk. The two of you
can enter together, which is a choice that's made by
many encore brides. One encore bride told me for
her, walking down the aisle with her groom was
symbolic of the two of then beginning this new life
as partners in every way, and represented a sense of
unity in their new marriage.
Other encore brides walk down the aisle
unaccompanied. As one bride explained to me, she
had been "doing it alone" for a long time, and
walking down the aisle unaccompanied meant for
her that she was going into this marriage as a
strong, independent woman; and while she and her
husband would be married, they would each be
coming into this as individuals. Honoring that
sense of individuality was an important part of
their new life together. Two brides, two very
different "twists" of symbolic choices, but in both
cases, very traditional ceremonies and venue.
Having Your Cake
Another "twist" regardless of venue, involves the
cake choice. Cupcakes have long been a favorite of
encore brides, and are now becoming a choice for
many first time brides, giving them a more
traditional feel. Using monograms, or a theme for
the cupcakes makes them a great encore choice.
When choosing a wedding cake, encore brides often
opt for a less traditional style. This may be a good
place to incorporate children in the process.
Helping pick a cake style, color, or design can
make children feel included, and why not have
those Spiderman cupcakes on a kids table? Your
cake choice can personalize the day, and put the
twist on traditional.
Encore brides may also want to include children in
the ceremony. I certainly support the celebration of
coming together as a new, redefined family, but it is
also important that the day celebrates the coming
together of the two of you. (For tips on including
children in the ceremony, without compromising
you or your groom, see this edition's stepparent
Many encore brides tell me they are much more
relaxed in their encore weddings, and so they try to
pick venues, traditions, and music that are more a
reflection of themselves and their grooms, rather
than rely on traditional wedding fare. Even though
many encore brides make untraditional choices in
some ways, I hear from many brides that they want
to incorporate some tradition in their day. Be
creative, think about what's important to you, and
don't shy away from tradition just because you are
an encore bride. Have fun, and congratulations!
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