Second wedding ceremony (or third) & alternative pre-wedding activities

Copyright National Lilac Publishing, LLC

Planning a third or second wedding ceremony? (Or, even a first wedding with hopes of finding alternatives to worn out traditions?) Here are some favorite ideas we came across, from bachelor party alternatives to including children from a previous marriage.

(You may also enjoy our affiliate author Kari White’s book, Unique Theme Weddings, which is a detailed, downloadable wedding planner offering 19 unique wedding themes with many possible authentic wedding rituals -- and the details needed to pull them off.)

Second wedding ceremonies often consist of couples who don’t have parents still with them but do have children. In some cases, kids take on the roles for the second wedding ceremony their parents would have taken during the first one, such as lighting a unity candle and/or walking down the aisle with the bride. If there’s just one male child, he escorts the bride. Otherwise, the oldest male escorts her. If couples still have parents but the father is too old to escort, they’re given other simpler but important roles while the kids do the escorting and walking down the aisle.

The bride and groom say vows to the kids as well, both to their own and their new ones. Don't force the kids, but consider this if your second wedding ceremony includes kids who are open-minded about your union.

Bachelor party alternatives, and bachelorette party alternatives: The bride and groom both go out the night before in separate groups of guys and gals, but then meet up at a certain place and time with the whole crowd to represent the coming together of their circle of family and friends.

When the guys are alone, they use their masculinity for a challenge like setting up, preparing and creating the best wedding barbecue in the world that will benefit the ultimate wedding day, or complete a woodworking project for the couple’s new home.

Brides preparing for their second wedding ceremony are often no longer in their youthful prime… which is actually a good thing. But it’s still fun for some mature women to have their man see them at their youthful fantasy best. Good photographers of fantasy can take many years off a person with filters, poses, make-up, clothing, and so on. She and her friends first enjoy a day of pampering and spa beautification, and then help her have a fantasy pin-up shot taken of her for her groom.

The two groups then meet to present the results – with a twist. Everyone gets to enjoy the guys’ contribution – the guys love the appreciation and attention from the group. But only the groom gets to see her fantasy shot. Everyone watches her unroll it for him, but they stand in a manner that only he can see it. The bride loves to be the one drooled over and seen as the unattainable mystery that only her man can have, instead of being the one left behind while someone else is stripping for him somewhere else. It creates beautiful, sexy feelings to start out a second wedding ceremony (or even a first!).

A "tribal" inspired bachelor party alternative mixed with a bachelorette party alternative:

For this pre-wedding activity alternative, the bachelor party crashes the bachelorette party on purpose. This would be very tacky if done during typical 20th century-inspired traditional bachelor and bachelorette parties.

I’ve both researched and been part of a "wild man -- wild woman" party where the men start out in their guys group only with an activity such as a testosterone-inducing warrior drumming ceremony or the type of hype guys are given before a major team sports event to get them pumped up for the conquer. They then either wait for a phone call telling them where the women are, or hunt for the location treasure hunt style.

The women first gather together to learn sensual dance and practice it together, never knowing when the guys will crash in.

When they do, there is mock shock and excitement, and then celebration of the couple to be wed, sometimes having them dance in the center together. It makes for sexual tension and anticipation, but celebrates the coming union of the new couple rather than ridiculing it or seeing a wedding as the end of good sex.

Alternative to bride-hating symbolism during pre-wedding activities:

Many mature or second marriage ceremonies are carried out by couples who are sophisticated by now about sex. The outdated idea that “perpetually messing around with multiple partners” is a trate only for men to carry on 'til death, but women are never promiscuous -- has long been disproven. Both couples are far from virgins themselves now. Now they know what they want in a lifetime partner, and they often both choose faithfulness to each other and the rewards that brings.

Some mature couples have also lived together for some time, and have already chosen faithfulness to each other and simply want to make it official. So the second wedding ceremony has nothing to do with ending the ability to cheat on each other, but is just sealing the deal with a celebration.

I’ve seen brides and grooms at pre-wedding activities replace t-shirts that show the groom frowning and the bride smiling to the words of “Game Over” to a happy couple smiling with the words, “Up-grading.” (For those who think the status-quo Game Over t-shirt is just awesome -- at least depict the bride frowning, also. She's "losing out" just like he is -- if that's the couple's perspective on sex. And if he truly has a "great sense of humor" that he insists is all the status-quo Game Over t-shirt is about, he'll love the idea.) You can design your own t-shirts, from as few as just one, at our affiliate Zazzle.

For mature couples planning a second wedding ceremony:

Some prefer to turn the pre-wedding activities or the ceremony itself into a “his friends/family/co-workers” and her friends/family/co-workers” coming together event rather than separating the men and women. Plan a potluck rehearsal dinner where his group and her group gather separately first to prepare foods on a well-planned list, then bring them together for the meal to symbolize the groups meeting each other because of the couple’s marriage.


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