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20-40-60 Etiquette: Celebrating a wedding for a first-time bride and second-time groom

20-40-60 Etiquette answers how to handle a small-town wedding where many people already celebrated the groom's short-lived first wedding a few years ago.
by Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman Modified: March 16, 2013 at 9:47 pm •  Published: March 17, 2013

QUESTION: My adult daughter is engaged to marry an old friend from high school. This will be her first marriage, but he was married briefly before. My daughter would like to have a large church wedding and reception, and I expect that some of my friends will offer to have parties and showers. The dilemma is that we live in a small town and share some friends with the groom's family. The groom's mother is embarrassed that some of those that my husband and I would invite to the wedding and parties already gave wedding presents to her son and his first wife, only a few years ago. How do we handle this?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: Invite the people you want to invite, and try not to stress too much about it. Take it all in stride; this is a happy time for your new son-in-law and daughter! Congratulations, and have fun!

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: Your concern for you future son-in-law and his family is thoughtful and respectful and seems like it will serve as the foundation for a good relationship in the future. However, it is your daughter's first wedding and a celebration for two people joining for a future together — not a past, except the one they share from high school.

Friends will want to rejoice with the happy couple, and most will keep in mind that it is the first marriage for your daughter. Invite the people with whom you normally would share this occasion, and let them decide whether they want to give another wedding gift. In today's times, most people have dealt with the realities of divorce, whether they've gone through it or supported a family member or friend who has. Given the choice based on the invitation, they can figure out personally what works best for themselves in terms of gift-giving and celebrating the new wedding.

HELEN'S ANSWER: How wonderful it is that these two people have found each other again. Celebrations are definitely in order. I hope her wedding and reception are just perfect!

Weddings, parties and showers are optional and guests can make the decision whether to come or not, or, whether to send gifts. It would probably be better to invite these friends to the wedding and round of parties, rather than leave them out of the plans altogether. Guests could bring gifts for the couple that would focus on the one who is getting married for the first time.

by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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