Tips for Second Weddings and Special Vow Renewals

Make your second take memorable.

Second weddings and vow-renewal ceremonies are, in essence, a rebirth of love,” says Elissa Held, founder of Elissa Held Events in Port Chester. “Couples in second marriages get another chance at a new relationship, in which prior life experiences inform the choice of a new spouse. Those renewing their vows get an opportunity to say ‘I love you forever’ all over again.” Planning one of these extra-special celebrations? Held offers some tips to make yours even more meaningful and memorable.


The Vibe

Held says that, more often than not, for both second weddings and vow renewals, less is more (and that credo happens to be trending for all weddings right now). Strive for an elegant event that’s fun but not over the top.

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Guest List

Consider a smallish event, perhaps 100 guests or fewer, with a special focus on close family and friends.



Select simple, unfussy, invitations, such as those letter-pressed on Cranes paper. Include a custom monogram for the new couple or a graphic symbol for the family.


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Choose a setting that’s an important part of your history together, or start a new tradition with a ceremony at a local inn or restaurant. Held recommends Mario Batali’s Tarry Lodge in Port Chester (“It’s unique, intimate, and stylish”); Red Hat on the River in Irvington (“The Hudson River views create a fabulous backdrop for photos”); and Hudson House Inn in Cold Spring. 



Rather than a formal gown, brides should think about a shorter dress, an elegant suit, or a longer dress with a simple silhouette. A stylish suit for the groom always works. Shop better department stores, like Neiman Marcus or Lord & Taylor, or one of the area’s high-end boutiques, like Elephant’s Trunk in Mount Kisco, for sophisticated, couture looks. Brides may want to opt for a flower or hair ornament rather than a veil.



Tap friends or family members to act as online-ordained officiants. Write your own vows, and involve children and family members by doing readings, sharing stories, singing, or playing instruments. 

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The Celebration

Fresh flowers and ambient lighting will create a romantic atmosphere, and you can amp it up or tone it down, depending on your personal taste. Place photos of you and your loved ones throughout the event space. Include nostalgic and personalized elements, like your favorite songs, places lived or visited, favorite TV shows, etc., as décor accents. 

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