"Do Over" Weddings

               There are many benefits to marriage that may compel a couple to the court house before they have a chance to throw a huge wedding. There may be a dash to marry before the death of a close family member, the need for medical benefits, the conditions of military service, or countless other hitches that may leave you running to the altar before you have a chance to order centerpieces and address invitations. Many couples feel robbed of their “big day” and want to throw a party for their friends and family to celebrate their union, even though they’re already technically married.   These “Do-Overs” are a weird gray area as far as ettiquette is concerned, and should be handled with care. No one wants to rob a bride and groom of their day in the spotlight, but already being married makes some of the wedding details a little iffy. Here are a few general rules that you may want to keep in mind if you’re planning your own belated wedding party:
  1. Don’t Lie.
    If you’re having a ceremony and a reception in the weeks and months following your vows, it isn’t technically a wedding. In the interest of clarity, “Vow Renewal” is more in-line with what you’re doing. If you’re skipping the ceremony and going straight to the reception, make sure you include that you’ve already gotten married and this is just a belated party. Everyone will be excited to celebrate with you, but if you try to keep your earlier wedding a secret, you could hurt some feelings and leave others assuming that you’re grabbing for extra gifts.
  2. Skip the Pre-Wedding Parties.
    Vow Renewals don’t usually come with bridal showers, bachelorette bashes and engagement brunches. They all operate under the pretext that you’re still a bachelorette, still just engaged, or are not yet a bride. Remember - they aren’t really “pre-wedding” anymore.
  3. Don’t use the phrase “Real Wedding.”
    Even “Do-Over” leaves a bad taste in my mouth. You’ve gotten married, and a party doesn’t validate it any further. One wedding isn’t more “real” than the other because one bride is wearing cotoure mermaid gown and the other is wearing yoga pants in a courthouse. Celebrate your marriage because you want to have a party with your friends and family, not because you don’t think it will “count” until there’s a guest list of over 50.
Vow Renewal Ceremonies are just as special as big wedding bashes on the first go. You should do what you want to celebrate your union with your husband or wife; just be sure that you aren’t considering this belated bash your “Do-Over”!