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Everything You Need to Know About the Guest List for Your Second Wedding

Who should get invited if you tie the knot again?

Contributing Writer
lisa louis wedding guests
Photography by: Michael Radford

People are re-marrying more than ever before. But while a second wedding is as much as a celebration of love as a first wedding is, the expectations and etiquette rules aren't always straightforward. A common inquiry revolves around the guest list: How many people should you invite to a second wedding, and who should be on the guest list? We've broken down the answers here.

 

In the past, second weddings were rarely as grand as first weddings, and many featured shortened guest lists, minimal décor, and laid-back receptions. But these outdated traditions have morphed over time, and now many couples make their second weddings just as big—or even bigger—than their first. Why the change in social stigma? For starters, the second wedding is as equally importantly as the first, and couples want to celebrate appropriately. Plus, because the bride and groom are often tying the knot later in life or may be covering the costs of a second wedding themselves, it's quite possible they have more money to spend on the celebration.

 

The 5 Stages of Cutting Your Wedding-Guest List

 

The size of your second wedding will ultimately determine the guest list. Couples who prefer a smaller, more intimate ceremony may stick with close friends and relatives. Those opting for a bigger bash have more leeway when sending out invitations. Despite the wedding size, however, couples should still follow a few guidelines when inviting guests.

 

You don't have to invite all of your parents' friends.

Parents typically have some control over the guest list at a first wedding, and they often invite their friends to the ceremony and reception, even if the bride and groom aren't well acquainted with them. But since your mothers and fathers don't typically pitch in financially for a second wedding, the couple can only include personal connections on the guest list. You may still want to take some of their requests to heart, but know that you don't need to extend an invitation to each person they mention.

 

Skip the exes.

Generally speaking, couples shouldn't invite an ex-husband or ex-wife to the wedding. Leaving your ex off of the guest list will prevent any awkward encounters between him/her and your guests, who may not know how to react to their presence. In addition, your partner and their family may be uneasy seeing your ex at the wedding, since the ceremony should celebrate your future together rather than bring up your past apart.

 

Think before inviting ex-in-laws.

When debating whether to invite ex-in-laws to the wedding, consider your specific scenario. The invite may be appropriate if you still keep in regular contact, or if children from your previous marriage will be involved in your big-day festivities. However, if you aren't on the best terms with the ex-in-laws, it's best to leave them off of the guest list, in order to make everyone at the ceremony feel comfortable.

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About the Author

Nicole Harris

Nicole fell in love with the bridal industry after a summer internship with Martha Stewart Weddings. Although she's still a couple of years away from tying the knot, she can't help planning her own Big Day. She's crazy about creative DIY décor, classic lace gowns, colorful invitations, and huge (preferably endless) dessert spreads. Until it's time to pick her first dance song, though,...

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