Should a Bride Wear a Purple Wedding Dress?
by Christina Gregoire
I write articles about divorce and remarriage for another website, so I get quite a few questions about second weddings. And, a few questions seem to demand a bit more than a cursory reply.
Well, several months ago, I received an interesting letter, and I decided to turn my answer into an article, so more women could read it.
Letter from a Reader
Here’s the letter, where a reader asks about my third, and most recent, wedding:
"Dear Christina: I am marrying my second husband of almost 29 years in the Catholic Church next March. We just want a small wedding of family/friends (maybe 50-60). Did you have the full reception? You were a beautiful bride, but I am wearing a purple gown (which I don't like but which my spouse said to wear because I "didn't need another dress". *sigh* That's another story. I just want to know what you did regarding a reception. Thank you"
Here's my reply:
Dear Purple Dress,
Yes, indeed, I did have a reception. Yet, because I was paying for my third wedding myself (as my parents had footed the bill on several other occasions), I gave an informal reception dinner at a cheapie (but very fun) Italian restaurant.
And, the whole affair was extremely casual with no reception line or anything that might slow down the merriment. Hey, I’ve had two formal reception lines before, for my first wedding, but those things are overrated and a bit boring for the bride, the groom, the parents, and the bridesmaids.
Also, if I understand you correctly, it sounds as if you already are legally married, and you are having a second ceremony, so there’s a good chance your guests will already know you and your spouse as husband and wife. If you want, it would be fine to have an informal reception line, where everyone passes out hugs as they enter the room. That’s what I did for my second wedding, which was less formal than my first.
You Can Have a Formal Reception if You Want
For my second wedding, I had an informal, but very beautiful, luncheon for 50-ish at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Yes, it was elegant, but it was not formal, as my daytime wedding was meant to be fun and casual. (I didn’t want to have anything more than a few family members and a Catholic Priest or a Reform Rabbi, but I was outvoted. And...I’m always up for a party…so what the hey.)
On the other hand, if you have waited twenty-nine years for a "real" Catholic wedding, you might want to have a formal reception, complete with a formal reception line and all the bells and whistles you can find. No one is going to turn you in to the Wedding Authorities if you have a casual wedding with a formal reception or a formal wedding and a casual party.
In my opinion, every wedding “must” have some kind of reception unless the ceremony is scheduled to take place at a Vegas drive-through wedding chapel. And, in this new millennium, grown women (both mature and immature) are allowed to have any style of wedding (and party) that they want, as long as: it makes them happy, it doesn’t require a second mortgage, and it doesn’t tick off the Pope or any wealthy relative who has named them in his/her will. Actually, I think it would be awkward not to have a reception of some kind.
It would be weird for you and your husband to have your nuptials, then just turn around and say, “Bye everybody, have a nice weekend.”
Proper Etiquette for Second Weddings
In terms of etiquette, it is perfectly acceptable for you to have whatever type of reception you want. If you want your priest to lead a line dance while wearing a white cowboy hat, he’d probably love that. If you want to rent a ballroom and waltz the night away with 150 friends, that would, also, be very proper.
The wedding that you are planning is just as important as your other wedding(s). Well, I would argue that your religious commitment to your husband (and his eternal commitment to you) is more important than any “legal” ceremony.
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