This is The Second Engagement Etiquette To Follow, According to Experts

Second time's the charm, for real.
marriage proposal with engagement ring
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Jessica Estrada - The Knot Contributor.
Jessica Estrada
Jessica Estrada - The Knot Contributor.
Jessica Estrada
The Knot Contributor
  • Jessica contributes wedding planning, wedding etiquette and relationship content to The Knot.
  • She also covers lifestyle and wellness topics for print and digital publications such Refinery29, Bustle, Well + Good, Cosmopolitan, Byrdie, The Zoe Report, The Cut and more.
  • Jessica has a journalism degree from Cal State University, Northridge and is certified as a life and success coach.
Updated Jul 26, 2023

Whether you're getting engaged for the first time or the second time, it is, without a doubt, a big deal. With a second engagement, you may ask yourself what the proper etiquette is for an engagement ring, how and when to propose and how to navigate the engagement celebrations. All valid questions when planning a second engagement. To help this, we chatted with a wedding planner and an etiquette expert about second engagement etiquette. Here's everything you need to know, whether you're the one proposing or the one being proposed to, and how to celebrate the second engagement as a happy soon-to-be-married couple.

In this article:

Second Engagement Etiquette For The One Proposing

If you plan to propose to your partner, it's understandable to have some concerns about etiquette if this is your or their second engagement. Here are answers to common FAQs.

Do you give engagement rings for a second marriage?

Absolutely! If engagement rings are your thing, etiquette expert Jules Martinez Hirst says proposing with a ring for a second engagement is a socially acceptable practice. As for what type of ring, "Communication is the key," she says. "Understanding your partner's tastes and preferences will go a long way in helping you choose the right ring for them."

Remember that for a second engagement ring, they have been down this road before, says Jasmine Galloway, a wedding and marriage proposal planner and owner of Jasmine Rose Events; however, that doesn't mean the engagement ring shopping process and planning has to be any less romantic than their first time around. And because they've been through it before, she says your partner will greatly appreciate having that open communication.

When should you get engaged if it's a second engagement?

There is no exact timeline for when it's appropriate to get engaged again after a first marriage. However, Galloway notes that people who have been married before often have a better understanding of what they're looking for in a spouse, and therefore six months to a year is a decent amount of time to wait to get engaged.

Hirst adds that the most important thing is to allow enough time to heal any emotional issues from the first marriage. "It is not fair to your new partner to bring that emotional baggage into your new relationship, so make sure you are good to go before jumping in," she says.

What are some second marriage proposal ideas?

"Proposals are proposals," Hirst says, meaning any idea, whether grand or intimate, that works for a first engagement will work for a second engagement. "You just want to make sure that your partner is ready, so communicate with them to make sure you both are on the same path," she says. "You want it to be personal and align it to their preferences. If they aren't into public displays of emotion, then keep it simple and private. Also, make sure the timing is appropriate and meaningful."

And in case you need some specific ideas to get your creative juices flowing, Galloway suggests proposing during a vacation, a sunset cruise, while participating in a hobby they enjoy or even just keeping it simple by proposing in your home.

Second Engagement Etiquette For The One Being Proposed To

If you're on the other end of the big question, as in you're the one being proposed to, first of all, congrats! Second, here are a few things to remember as you navigate a second marriage proposal.

How can I make a second engagement feel special?

Galloway's advice: "Keep it the same as the first." In other words, treat it like you would a first engagement. Just because you or your partner have been through this before doesn't mean that this second engagement is any less special than the first.

I'm unsure how to handle all the emotions with a second engagement. Help!

"It can be overwhelming getting engaged for the second time between your own emotions and then sometimes potentially the unwarranted comments or thoughts of others," Galloway says. For this reason, she recommends taking a few days post-proposal to take some time for yourself, process all your feelings, and savor the moment. "At the end of the day, this is your moment and your experience," she says.

How can I support my partner through a second engagement?

Proposing to someone you love requires a lot of courage. So your partner is likely feeling all the feelings as well. Be sure to take some time to honor them and show how much you appreciate them and all the effort they put into planning and executing the proposal.

Second Engagement Etiquette For The Newly Engaged Couple

Now that you're officially engaged, here is some etiquette advice on navigating the engagement and wedding planning process for a second engagement.

Should we have an engagement party for a second engagement?

"Why not!" Galloway says. "An engagement is still a celebration, and whether it is your first marriage or your third, it should still be celebrated." Hirst agrees and says whether or not to have an engagement party is a personal decision that should reflect your values and desires as a couple—the same goes for showers, bach parties and other pre-wedding celebrations. Also, she recommends considering the feelings of all involved when making this decision. For instance, if either of you have children and are blending families, consider how they will feel about an engagement party when making the decision.

Who gives the bride away for the second marriage?

Traditionally, the bride's father or father figure gives their daughter away at their wedding. Hirst says it's perfectly fine to follow this tradition for a second wedding, if the marriers include a bride or brides. "It is a symbol of passing off the responsibility and protection of the child to another," she says. "This still holds true if the mother or a sibling were to give the bride away if the father is no longer with us."

With that in mind, Galloway notes that for a second marriage, feel free to set your own rules. "Typically, the first marriage may have been more conventional, traditional or by the book," she says. "The second marriage tends to be the bride's opportunity to play by her own rules if she desires." For example, Hirst says some couples incorporate their children into the ceremony to help the family blending process.

What's the etiquette around who pays for the second wedding?

"The responsibility falls heavily on the couple when it comes to paying for a second wedding," Galloway explains. "You typically wouldn't walk into a first marriage anticipating it to end; therefore, any family members who contributed to that celebration may have unwarranted strain or pressure if it was implied for them to contribute again."

Hirst adds that second weddings tend to be more low-key, intimate events, but there are no rules. "Cultural norms, personal preferences and finances will be factored into the decision-making," she says. Whatever the wedding plans, it's most likely that the couple will pay for the wedding themselves.

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