First and foremost I see you are NEW to WBee… so a BIG Welcome to “the Hive”
I am also an Encore Bride, so I understand how difficult to be to understand what exactly is proper and considered to be improper in this role
I also am a bit of an Etiquette Snob, so I can tell you that for the most part, the majority of people don’t really understand what elements of a Wedding are Etiquette (boils down stictly to making others feel comfortable) and which elements are really just “traditions” or “local customs” (lots of confusion in this regard)
So lets see if I can sort some of this out for you…
There certainly was a time when the Rules of Etiquette for Second Marriages (and beyond) were a lot more defined / rigid than they are today (and yes there was a time when a Bride would stand-up with just one Attendant / Witness… that being a Maid of Honour)
However, times have changed significantly… and Divorce is no longer considered a supreme failure and something to be ashamed of. (Lol, we can thank Elizabeth Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor for that I suppose with 8 and 9 Marriages respectively).
Naturally, as Divorce became more prevalent, etiquette had to change as well. The feeling now is that in the modern world marriage is harder than it ever was… and everyone is entitled to making a mistake… so at least when it comes to Second Marriages the rules have relaxed substantially… (less so for subsequent Marriages however)
So, as it stands now, no matter if the Bride or Groom has been married before or not, the Basic Rules of Etiquette for a Marriage apply.
The ONLY clear exception to Encore Brides / Couples… comes in regards to Gifts.
As always, a couple marrying should never “expect” Gifts… and when it comes to Encores, although Gifts are nice, they may not happen to the same extent as for Couples who have not been married before. The Rule of Etiquette is there is no obligation for someone (a Guest) to give a gift to a Wedding for the couple, IF they gave a Wedding Gift to one of them previously.
So, if an Encore Bride marries a never married man, it is quite acceptable if the only Gifts that come in for the happy couple come from his side of the family (if her side attended her first Wedding)
Of course, in reality, this rarely happens. Most Guests are happy for the couple no matter “their past” and will give a Wedding Gift all the same.
When it comes to Bridal Showers… they rarely happen for an Encore Bride. For two reasons…
Firstly a lot of Encore Brides choose to Elope or have an Elopement to a Destination Wedding (this is what I am doing… just the two of us, taking our Vows in front of our Officiant on a Beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean… followed by a wonderful Honeymoon). Elopements are not normally proceeded by any of the standard Pre-Wedding Events such as Showers, Bachelorette Parties or Rehearsal Dinners.
Secondly, if a Bride chooses not to Elope but marry in a more traditional ceremony with Friends & Family, then it is perfectly acceptable to have a Bridal Shower if a group of close female friends or family members choose to organize one.
BUT… the Guest List should be very small, and made up of NEW Friends of the Couple, or very close Friends & Relatives. The rule of thumb being that it is best not to invite those who attended a Bride’s Shower from a Previous Marriage.
So oftentimes “the work around” for Second Marriages is that a Couples Shower will be organized that invites both Men & Women and the theme is often something that both members of the couple enjoy doing together (Camping – Biking – Travel – Gardening – Backyard Grilling – Wine, etc)
Lol, of course all Rules of Etiquette tend to go out the window if a Bride has some WELL MEANING and enthusiastic friends who choose to throw her a SURPRISE SHOWER. A Bride should never embarrass such friends by telling them that which they have organized is “somewhat unconventional OR a breach of Etiquette”… rather she should be GRATEFUL that her friends love her so much and care about her, and are thrilled at her finding LOVE again.
The most important element though when it comes to Etiquette surrounding Gifts, is the Bride / Couple should not in any way draw attention to the element of Wedding Gifts. So for example, it is still IMPROPER ETIQUETTE to print on the Invites… No Gifts Please.
If a couple truly wishes no gifts (as they feel it would be an imposition on their Guests, etc), then this is something that should be spread by word of mouth by those closest to the couple. Likewise if the couple chooses to register somewhere, again the info should be spread by word of mouth… or if the couple have a Wedding Website the info (store name, address, phone number, website) can be put on there discreetly.
For the Wedding itself, you will of course hear a myriad of tales about what and isn’t acceptable Etiquette for Encores… and it will cover just about EVERYTHING possible Detail. Honestly there are NO SET RULES…
So if you want to wear WHITE – or a BIG Pouffy Wedding Dress – Have Bridesmaids – Toss the Bouquet – etc. All is perfectly fine. You really can design your Wedding pretty much however you please.
Of course it is possible that some people will talk… or THINK they know better than you on what is or isn’t PROPER… but that wouldn’t make them right. And well lets face it, folks are going to gossip about such things no matter what (sad but true)
There is however, STILL A FEELING that if a Bride is being married a Third Time or Beyond, that it is far more respectable though to show a bit more restraint in her choices (not draw too much attention to herself… and make a public scene). In those cases, an Elopement or an Intimate Ceremony with Restrained Elements would be more appropriate. BUT, even then if the Couple wishes to hold a Back Home Reception / Party afterwards… then all bets are off… as there are FEW to NO RULES on those types of Events.
Hope this helps,