6 major differences between first and second weddings.

“I’ve been around a lot of weddings and this is what I know.”

Would you believe I was a wedding MC and DJ during my university years? It was a pretty cushy job. I got to meet lots of new people, eat fancy food and dance along as I spun tunes for over-excited bridal parties.

And within a few months, I started to notice something. I was working a lot of first-time-around, as well as, second-time-around weddings and there were glaring differences. I personally came to much prefer working at second weddings.

Here are the six major differences I noticed between first and second weddings that taught me everything I ever needed to know about love, marriage and circus performers.

1. Complicated doesn’t equal committed.

At first I preferred working at first-time weddings. They were always more formal, more focused and ran for hours, meaning I made a lot more money. Ca-ching!

However with that money came expectations. If you think it’s hard to organise a wedding for someone who has never been married before and is incredibly focused on HER DAY being PERFECT, then try running one while the entire thing is being filmed.

First weddings were more expensive but also had bigger expectations.

First-time weddings were always more complicated and intrinsic compared to second-time weddings were couples seemed to pick and choose the parts of the ceremony and reception they wanted, as opposed to catering to their own expectations and those of family and friends.

"No, we're not intertwining our arms and sipping champagne", one couple told me much to my relief. I lost count of the number of couples who didn't know how to do this and then stuffed it up, and then blamed me.

I had to start giving quick lessons on it during our initial meeting just in case.

2. The success of the wedding day has no bearing on the success of the marriage.

Second-time weddings were so much more relaxed and I realised this was because at least one of them had 'been there done that', and realised that the perfection of the wedding day had very little bearing on whether or not the marriage would be a success.

Oftentimes it was just one member of the happy couple who had been married before and managed to convince the first-timer that it didn't really matter how many tiers the cake was or if they remembered to thank the bridesmaids/bridesgrooms/out of town guests/Aunty Jenny for the bouquets.

It made my job easier because instead of being given a strict itinerary to try and stick to I was normally given a rough guide on when things should be done. Second-timers always wanted it to be more of a party, which meant more time for me to spin some tunes.

How many tiers the wedding cake is doesn't matter.

3. Couples who eat together stay together.

It was never a good sign when brides and grooms simply didn't have time to sit down and enjoy the food at their own weddings but you'd be surprised how few couples managed just that at their big, elaborate first-time weddings. There was just so much to do! They often managed the entree, or a few bites of it before throngs of guests who couldn't make it to the church decided to come up and say hi.

The second time around, it was all about the food. Meals were gobbled up and enjoyed. They'd need the energy for dancing later and many didn't even taste the food the first time around.

I wonder how many of those first-time brides actually enjoyed their day. I remember working at the wedding of a bride so frantic about the reception that I actually walked up to her and fed her a spoonful of her own wedding cake, the first thing she'd eaten that night.

She sent me a note weeks later saying, "Thank you so much for feeding me my wedding cake. I wouldn't have tasted it otherwise and it was so delicious. I think it stopped me from fainting."

4. Things go wrong in life, in marriages and at weddings, and that's okay.

When a couple booked me to work at their wedding, we'd have an initial consultation to ensure we were the right fit and if we felt we were, we'd get into details. I would always bring a standard wedding reception itinerary with me and a list of extras they may want to include.

Depending of family sizes, locations, circumstances and ethnicity, they'd often have a few ideas of their own.

I'd do my best to cater to their wishes but wedding receptions always run late. Couples think that's my fault, not because their uncle got drunk and spoke for 30 minutes instead of 3, meaning a few parts of the reception celebration had to be skipped before the venue charged $1000 for running overtime.

It's all fun and games until you get to the venue.

That too was apparently my fault.

Unless it was a second-time couple who didn't care about details as much as first timers. They didn't even care if I stuffed up the pronunciation of their guests, which I only did once and it was due to their own typo.

Mistakes at second-time weddings were laughed about, served to warm everyone up and nobody was told off about any of them. They are what made the night most memorable.

5. Adhering to tradition does not result in instant good luck.

First-time married couples are very similar to first-time parents. They do all the things they think they 'should' do because obviously the couples who came before them knew better than they did, because they did them too.

And not going through every dinky, corny tradition including the shocking removal of the garter belt would obviously result in a failed union, right?


Not many couples stopped to consider if they really wanted to go through with all the traditions of a wedding ceremony during their first time around. However second-time couples always came prepared with a list of exactly what they DID NOT WANT happening at their ceremony. They had, one failed marriage later, finally found their voices.

No unwanted traditions at second weddings.

One of my favourite wedding gigs involved a couple, both of whom had been married before. The bride wore a pink suit and the groom a casual shirt and nice pants. The venue was formal and gorgeous but it was like a massive dinner dance as opposed to the wedding. I was to play loud music from the very beginning, speeches were banned and the groom, who was not a dancer, would not have to participate in the bridal waltz.

But the look on his face as he watched his new bride dancing with her friends and family was a sight to behold. He loved her, he loved watching her. He didn't want to dance but boy did he enjoy seeing how much she joy it brought to her.

6. Anything she wants vs. anything that gets them back to the alter.

There is a lot of compromise when it comes to second weddings, and I don't see that as a bad thing.

With first-time weddings, it tends to be a case of anything the bride wants, even if it means flying in her favourite circus performers from Europe at great expense.

Will those circus performers help you deal with married life? WILL THEY?!?

The second-time around there is more compromise, normally to appease the person who has been married before and to meet budget constraints due to supporting children from previous marriages or existing mortgages.

This better prepares you for the reality of married life which has very little to do with big white dresses and more to do with compromise and budget restraints.

What has your experience of marriage the second time around been like?

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