Remarriage: Wedding Party Etiquette Q&A

Is your friend getting married again? Here are some answers to etiquette questions about attendants, showers, and gifts for the lucky lady.
by The Knot

She's lucky enough to have found love again and lucky enough to have a best friend like you. What now? Here are answers to your questions about showers, attendants, and responsibilities as you prepare to attend the re-marrying lucky lady in your life.

Q. If the bride's remarrying, do the maid of honor's duties change?

A. Not necessarily. For standard Maid of Honor duties, check out Maid of Honor: Her Duties in Detail. Of course, you may have to modify to suit the bride's circumstances (e.g., if she's not wearing a train, bustling won't be part of your maid of honor experience). The maid of honor and bride might want to review the standard duties and make any necessary adjustments together.

Q. Does the maid of honor need to have a handle on general remarriage etiquette issues -- in case the bride needs help?

A. As with first marriages, most brides appreciate any support, knowledge, and feeback offered to her by the maid of honor, especially when grappling with etiquette issues.

Q. What kind of shower is suitable for a re-marrying bride?

A. Some second brides may not want a shower, while others may delight in it. Otherwise, be creative -- instead of a shower, take a hike, see a play, or go to a concert. The same goes for shower gifts. While one re-marrying bride may not need acres of new household items, another may really appreciate some pre-nuptial goodies to spruce up her new life (or living space). With today's gift registries being so expansive and diverse, there are lots of gifts that may help to make the bride's new marriage more personal and modern than the previous one.

Q. How can you shower a bride who doesn't want a shower and generally wants to keep all things pertaining to the wedding low-key?

A. Etiquette for any maid of honor -- be it a first wedding or an eighth or ninth -- is to be there for the bride, listen to what she wants, and then act accordingly. If she doesn't want a shower, that's one less thing for the maid of honor to handle. As an alternative plan, arrange a one-on-one outing for just the two of you -- it will feel intimate and warm (like a mini-shower) minus the hoopla. For a traditional, ladylike experience, think about taking her to a tea parlor for a heart-to-heart. If she's not into tea, think about going out for coffee, or drinks, or dinner, or to a spa for massages. The idea is to do something together, on you, to celebrate her upcoming wedding.

Q. Is it appropriate for the bride to have attendants if she's remarrying?

A. She will definitely need witnesses to sign her marriage license -- generally that's the maid of honor and best man -- but any two adults can do that. Some remarrying couples don't want as many attendants as some first-timers do. But either way, there's no reason why the bride can't have her closest friends, children, siblings, or even her parents at her side.

Q. The bride already has all those household items usually given at showers. Any ideas for interesting theme showers that will result in loot she can actually use?

A. There are plenty of great themes that aren't focused on domestic gift-giving. How about a "experiential" theme? Friends could give lessons for cooking, calligraphy, sculpting, or ballroom dancing. Other ideas: Museum/health-club memberships; a concert, ballet, or opera series; or a spa weekend. If your friend is a wine buff, a Wine Cellar theme with wine glasses, corkscrew, wine rack, and wine-tasting classes as gifts will hit the spot. Is she into outdoorsy activities? Check out Shower Ideas: Outdoor Adventures for ideas; gifts like gardening tools, skis, hiking/camping equipment, binoculars, and even a gas grill will be the perfect accompaniments.

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