Considering remarriage?

Considering remarriage?

Divorce isn’t the only reason why a marriage  breaks up . It could be due to death. And it’s reasonable that people can find it difficult to gee themselves up for remarriage.

Certainly, many people who marry again go for a smaller affair than the original.

One big ‘plus’

A huge advantage about a second wedding is that it can be much more fun than the first!

Think about it. This time there won’t be the stress of family pressure. You can make your own decisions freely. This marriage is exclusively about the two of you. You are mature, consenting adults – maybe with your own children and homes. Your ceremony is all about your commitment to each other (although sharing the celebrations with others is very much a part of it too).

The good news is, then, that you don’t have to follow other people’s rules. You can do what you want for remarriage.

That means that clothing, guests, venue, celebrant, reception are all up to you.


There is no obligation to wear – or avoid – any particular clothing. If a second-time bride wants to wear white, why shouldn’t she? (Even if she wore it the first time around.) A full-length gown is lovely, but why not a shorter dress in a different colour or colours? Formal or informal? It’s down to you.


First time around, you had to make compromises as to who you invited. Now you can have a huge affair or fly off somewhere with just a couple of friends. You might have a small reception for closest family and friends. There is no need to break the bank, if you do not want to.


If you want a creative, personalised ceremony, then have a chat to a Civil Celebrant. You will get good ideas and will be able to put together a ceremony that reflects your personality and will be really special.

Look at the information at


Depending on your religion’s take on remarriage, the religious option may be for you; alternatively, you may want only a quiet (if uninspiring) register office wedding.

Many people these days choose a hotel or restaurant, but there’s nothing to stop you using a back garden, museum, hot-air balloon or wherever your imagination takes you. (Remember to get permission first!) Your celebrant can explain how it all works.

It can be a casual affair or as formal as you choose. But of course, whatever your options, your wedding will still need to be legally registereed.


Again, the scale and budget of the affair will dictate what sort of reception you will choose. You might like to read my comments on receptions in a past blog: .

Wedding gifts

You may organise a wedding list, but you may – especially if you are combining two homes – already have virtually everything you need. There’s nothing to stop you inviting guests to contribute money to a charity of your choice.

I hope these suggestions will be useful to you – however many marriages you have already experienced! You will learn from any past mistakes and enjoy precisely the wedding that you desire.

Don’t forget to ask your celebrant for help or advice.


Don’t upset your Guests!

Don’t upset your Guests!

Your big day is all about you. You really must have a wonderful time. But don’t forget. You are inviting guests and they will come to support you. They need to be kept happy too.

Let’s look at what might upset them. That way, you can avoid doing so!

Bad dates

If possible, don’t arrange your wedding during a major event like Wimbledon or the World Cup or over Christmas or Summer holidays. If you have to do this, then give plenty of notice. You can’t complain if people don’t attend, when they’ve already booked their holiday (and people may book a year ahead).


Don’t leave room for misunderstanding. Do you really mean for your friends’ 4-year-old child to come too? What about a “plus one”? Then, if you’re dividing the whole event up into several events (eg ceremony, drinks reception, meal, disco), make it quite clear who is invited to which.

Seating plan

Always a difficult one. Don’t seat wedding guests too close together. Try and be aware of who it might be unwise to seat near to whom. Even if it’s so tempting to see someone’s reaction when you’ve seated them next to their ex!


Cash bars are not popular. To reduce your expenditure, but to keep guests happy, supply a limited selection of wine, beer, champagne, and soft drinks (at the table). And try having a ceremony earlier in the day. People are less likely to want alcohol then.

Melt-down or frost

Although you can’t control the climate, you can ensure the experience does not become a deterrent. If the ceremony is outdoors and in hot weather, ensure there is sufficient shade and/or fans and arrange for cold water to be available; blankets and umbrellas could be laid on for the winter.

The food

It’s a nice touch to find out about guests’ allergies or dietary requirements in advance. You obviously need to work with your caterers to ensure there will be sufficient food and that it is of decent quality. You can probably arrange a food-tasting in advance. (If you’re only offering nibbles, then this should be made clear on the invitations).

Children’s menus should not be too exotic, but can be a bit more imaginative than chicken wings.


Do what you can to ensure that the photographs don’t go on for ever – or the speeches. You can reasonably give instructions about this beforehand.

It is also a good idea to plan things so there are not huge gaps between, say, the ceremony and cocktails, or before the reception. Nobody likes ‘dead time’.

The music

You’ll never please everyone all the time, but music before the dancing should be background level, and not everybody will want to have tub-thumping, ear-splitting music for the dancing. This will apply even more if the majority of guests are more mature.

If money and space allows, there could be a small room for guests to retreat to, if noise or fatigue threatens to overwhelm.


Do try and get round and speak to everybody – table to table is best – even to offer just a short acknowledgement (and it’s better than making people stand in a receiving line).

Don’t forget the thank-you cards either.

For help, especially planning the ceremony, please speak to Michael.

A moan about Weddings

A moan about Weddings

I like a wedding as much as the next man or woman – and I should: I’m a civil celebrant. But there are certain ingredients that can contribute to making a wedding very forgettable (or, sometimes, for the wrong reasons, unforgettable!). So forgive me, if I moan a bit now!


I have been honoured to have been invited to present at some very distinguished and beautiful venues.

But I write as an Englishman. It may not be such fun – especially in our winter – attending a wedding at a mill in a remote spot. The Satnav can’t find it, and it has rained so much in the preceding days that the muddy access lane is only navigable for a 4 x 4. Which I don’t possess.


As a guest, it’s not unusual to find yourself thrown together at the service or during the reception with people you would not normally choose to meet. The conversation often dries up after each person has responded to the inevitable “How do you know the bride/groom?”.

Or, possibly worse, you get stuck with the person who won’t stop talking.

On the other hand, what if the seating arrangements throw you up next to somebody you already know and whose company is embarrassing – an old flame, perhaps?

I’ve had complete strangers whip out their phones and show me pictures of relatives I have no desire to meet. People have expressed right-wing sentiments that Gengis Khan would have hesitated to utter, and I have had to nod politely. I’ve come across some awful bores. And, of course, talking to me might have been the last thing my dinner neighbours would have chosen.

It’s a lottery.

Dancing and music

I can’t be the only person in the world who cringes when it comes to the dancing, can I?

It’s bad enough watching the mother and groom (say) dance, but when it’s the public’s turn, I confess that I really don’t want to. It’s likely to be hot in the hall, so that might serve as an excuse for not getting to my feet. But let’s be honest: my sense of rhythm is not impressive, and if I do dance, I spend my time assuming everybody is sniggering about me. Possibly paranoia, but that’s how I feel.

And then, if I have actually found somebody I want to talk to, I can’t do it because the music is too loud.

When I think about it, I’m not sure if I should be encouraging people to have weddings!

Anybody agree?

Moan over.


Cutting wedding costs

Cutting wedding costs

I’m sure I don’t need to point out that weddings these days can be extremely expensive! We can easily be talking £20,000 +. Cutting wedding costs sounds a wonderful idea, but how practical is it?

Of course, much depends on what your budget is. In addition to the sheer quantity of suppliers you may want to hire, be aware that some put their prices up as soon as they know it’s a wedding!

Are there any short cuts you can take (apart from, say, looking for a second-hand wedding dress on e-Bay?!)?

It’s not easy to be draconian. And you don’t want to spoil your wedding either for yourselves or for your guests.

Incidentally, cutting down on the guest list is a good way to cut costs!

Maybe you decide not to bother with a limo, but you do want to be sure of punctual and comfortable rides on the day.

Bargaining with suppliers is sometimes a possibility. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, here are some other suggestions.

Time of day

Even if you’re choosing the Dorchester or equivalent for your reception, you might be able to get a better deal, if you hold your ceremony at lunchtime, rather than in the evening.


Another good way of saving money (not just with the venue) is to marry out of season. Suppliers want work year round, and they can be faced with yawning gaps between October and May. Therefore, they may look sympathetically at (or even spontaneously offer) a reduced rate. If you’re a good haggler, you may even manage to improve on these!

Note that reductions should not be expected at certain festivals, especially Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Using flowers that are in season is another way to cut costs.

And consider weekdays (although that may have issues for employed guests). That’s normally cheaper.



There are ways of reducing this major cost. Although it would have to be well-organised, a buffet will be cheaper than a silver-service meal. Fewer staff are likely to be involved, so costs should be less.

You may well offer canapés and drinks. Prosecco is increasingly accepted in place of champagne, and this normally works out considerably cheaper.

You should provide a generous amount of wine and soft drinks to accompany the meal. Once that is over, I would suggest operating a cash bar. (It’s worth preparing guests for this when the invitation is sent out!)

Cup cakes, rather than a wedding cake, can be another acceptable way to save money.


Whether or not you have a theme, this is an important area. If you are holding a small affair, you may feel able to DIY. Be absolutely sure that you know what you’re doing, and get prepared well in advance!

Otherwise, discuss costs with your supplier at the outset, and ensure you are in control.


Of course, the scale and cost of this aspect will be down to you. It is worth getting referrals from people you know before you book anybody, and do ensure you understand their Ts & Cs.

Planners and Celebrants

If you decide to use a planner, it will obviously cost you more – but consider the peace of mind she will give you! Similarly, don’t cut corners with your celebrant. Ensure you see testimonials and speak to your supplier beforehand so that you have confidence in them on the day. You do want to feel at ease with the person who will marry you!

Your wedding is – or should be! – the most important day of your life. You want to get it right. Yes, you pay for what you get, but, as you can see, there are some ways to cut a few corners successfully, without compromising on quality.

Forsaking traditional Receptions

Why should anyone consider holding less traditional receptions?

Remember that, nowadays, you are free, if you wish, to book a celebrant who can create and conduct a bespoke wedding ceremony for you. It may still be traditional, or partially so, but you have the choice. And it’s your big day.

In the same way, you don’t have to follow tradition for the reception, if you prefer not to.

To repeat, it’s your big day. Even if someone else is financing the reception, you should be part of the organising. Your wedding should be your once-in-a-lifetime event (well, not if you’re Zsa Zsa Gabor or Elisabeth Taylor, I realise!).

You should have the guests you want, but, in order to keep them happy, you may have to re-organise the event a bit.



Bearing in mind, the age-range of your guests, some changes could work to your advantage.

There are certain things that normally go together, but don’t have to stay that way. You expect toasts and speeches to come with dinner, probably near the end. But do they have to?

The cake-cutting doesn’t need to come at the end of the night (when people are tired or may have already gone home).

Just a thought (or two)

What about this? As soon as your guests have come in from the ceremony, have the first dance then. People are full of love and joy, and may be particularly receptive to this.

You could follow this by tossing the bouquet (if not already done).

Why not have the toasts after each of these activities?

When you sit down, the bride’s father can deliver his speech. Welcoming everyone at the beginning is logical. Moreover, he may well be nervous. This way, he can get the speech out of the way early on, and actually enjoy his meal!

Having the groom’s and Best Man’s speeches after the main course, but before dessert, is wise. People are no longer ravenous (so may concentrate!), but probably not rolling drunk either. The cake-cutting can take place after the speeches. That way, all the necessities will have been covered while people are still in the mood for them.

If you are working with a photographer/videographer or, indeed, a wedding planner, discuss all this in advance. They will be fine with it, as long as you don’t spring it all on them at the last moment! (One consideration is that if the photographer doesn’t have to stay till the end, because the main activities have already taken place, he may cost you a little less.)

Once all these activities have been dealt with, you too  can relax, as there won’t be a schedule to adhere to. You can just concentrate on dancing with your spouse and having a wonderful time!

Doesn’t that make sense?