Question: Hi there. My husband and I have been married for 12 years, and as our wedding was a rush and a bit of a disaster we always planned to renew our vows or have a blessing of our marriage in a church. We had planned to do this at our 10 year anniversary but we never got around to it. We have now decided to do it in the next year or so.
Our wedding was rushed – my mother chose my wedding dress because I had no money and I hated it. It wasn’t even a proper wedding dress. We were married in a registry office. I had no cake, no car, no photographer, a dress I felt like a whale in and no reception. I would like to do it properly this time around.
I really would like to have the wedding I dreamt of and my husband said he would love to see me in a wedding dress. We have 4 girls who are all itching to be part of the “procession”. I don’t like frilly and fluffy and although the dress I want is a wedding dress, it is quite a plain, full length A Line dress with small pearl detail on the back. I wasn’t planning on wearing a veil, just having flowers weaved into my hair. My girls dresses will also be quite plain. (understated and elegant).
My mother in law told me that I should not wear a wedding dress of any kind, but, instead a simple tailored suit. I really don’t want to wear a suit!! I want the car, the cake and the dress, but, I don’t want to look like a middle aged desperado!! We also plan to have a party afterwards (just a simple buffet). My husband told me he wants that first dance that he never got the first time round. I have looked at your wedding etiquette pages and now I just feel like I want to cry.
Should I wear the dress or should I go for the suit? Should I have the car, cake and party, or is it too formal? This is to reaffirm our love for each other, first and foremost, but I would like to know if I am being selfish by wanting these things?? Thanks in advance.
Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Now
Dear Wife, Not a Bride,
It isn’t selfish to want these things, but there is no such thing as a ‘do-over’ for weddings. Well, not for those who wish to appear socially savvy. Consider if this wasn’t perfect. Would there be another wedding later?
So, your mother in law is correct. This isn’t a wedding, but a vow renewal. It can be very special as long as it doesn’t appear to be a wedding. Involve your children and create new non-wedding elements.
A special dance would be great, but not a ‘first’. You two have had many ‘firsts’. So, perhaps a special dance you two begin and ask all those married for more than five years to join you.
Plan well so you are not embarrassed by your guest’s reaction.