Can Widows Have a Big Wedding?

Well, basically, she can have any kind of wedding she wants.  She has been to hell and back.  It was not easy to bury her husband.  And after all the support and love waned, the loneliness was bound to seep in.  It’s like a slow flood.  Being alone and sad and crying sucks.  She can really drown in that flood. But somehow she managed to find love again and if marriage is the way to celebrate that love, she can have any type of wedding she wants.

My approach was to runaway after my husband died, thus the title of my blog.  I kept busy with new plans to travel.  I maintained my full time job which, as a kindergarten teacher, keeps me on my toes.  My two sons were away at college but still accepting of my love and support during these past few years.  I was also able to stay in my home, manage the finances and do the home maintenance and repairs that needed attention.  It has been a busy almost four years.

However, sometime between that busy lifestyle and the loneliness that was encroaching, I was blessed to find someone special. A few dates.  A few getaway weekends and he felt like home.

It’s not that I stopped loving my late husband.  I will always love him and our 30 years we had together.  But I finally got to the stage in my grief where I acknowledged, not accepted, that he was gone.  I had tried bargaining and arguing that he shouldn’t have died.  I pursued a wrongful death lawsuit to prove that he shouldn’t have died.  But in the end, I couldn’t stop it. He was gone and he would not be coming back, at least in his physical body.

Back to the man that made me smile again.  My days are happier because I know I will see him at the end of each day.  We share meals and snuggle together on the couch. That is the part we widows and widowers miss most about losing a spouse.  The daily reminders that someone cares about you and that you care about someone else.  Oh, and we do miss that physical intimacy as well.

But why have two separate homes? Why not move in together?

Well, this is where we over 50 folks need to decide what is best for us. Weigh the pros and cons and decide if this is the direction you want your life to go.  And once you make that decision, own it.  Only you can make it work.

As my mother often asks her widow friends, and me, “is your life better with him or not?”  If the answer is yes, why not move in together.  Or even go ahead and get married.

But is it OK to have a big wedding, or since you are a grieving widow, should it be a quiet moment at town hall? Maybe something in between?

According to Emily Post she has Ten Basics for Remarriage including: “By the time you begin planning your wedding, put away engagement and wedding rings from previous marriages. You can save them for the next generation or have stones reset into other jewelry. Widows and widowers should no longer wear rings from an earlier marriage, even on their right hands.”

She also recommends:  “Avoid publicly resurrecting the past. An encore wedding celebration isn’t the place for remarks about ex-spouses or even heartfelt references to deceased partners.”

According to Amy Wilde in her article about wedding etiquette:

“For your ceremony, avoid planning a repeat of your first wedding. This is a new marriage with a new partner, and you need to approach it with a fresh perspective. A second wedding is a good opportunity to break free from pomp and formality and get creative. Talk with your officiant about non-traditional vows, or write your own. If you have children, include them in the ceremony, with their permission. Second-time brides often walk down the aisle by themselves or with their new partner, but if you want to be given away by your father or another escort, feel free to do so.

Tradition dictates that a widowed bride wear lavender, but you can wear whatever color looks good on you and makes you feel good. Most second brides avoid pure white and opt for flowers or a headpiece instead of a veil, but these rules aren’t hard and fast.”

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According to the Web site, more than 30 percent of weddings today are “encore weddings.” The rules of wedding etiquette are constantly evolving.

Additionally, there are a multitude of websites available to register your affair and keep track of your timeline and checklist before the big day.

Big weddings are fun but can also be quite stressful.  Have you seen any of the many TV shows that depict brides as crazed, detail focused monsters with relatives finding unlimited ways to ruin the day?

Well, me neither.

I had originally thought I would get married quietly in a foreign country. I had the man and the engagement ring.  Next step, the honeymoon.  After that I looked into getting married overseas and it is not as easy as you think.  In fact the place we planned our honeymoon, could not accommodate a marriage.  Only a vow renewal.

But then we would have to get married first.

We started planning a party for family, but the party kept getting too big for either of our houses and it evolved into a party at the beach.  In fact this particular venue offers beach ceremonies and that seemed like the most perfect wedding for me!

After we picked the place, we picked a date.  Then decided on the menu.  Next came the invitations and guest list.  We have friends and family who will be the DJ, the photographer, the officiant, the best man and matron of honor and flower girl. I bought a dress and clothes for my sons. We ordered flowers and I have appointments for hair and makeup (I have never had anyone do my makeup before so I will be sure to share that on my blog!)

I am sure I am forgetting some things, like of course, your budget.  Some people start with that in mind and that is probably a really good idea.  You will be paying for all of this so be sure it is what you want.

It is actually fun planning such a happy event.  When my mom married 9 years after my dad had passed, she had the whole shebang.  Rehearsal dinner, 16 grandchildren in the wedding party, limos, flowers, photos, a band, dinner and dancing and a honeymoon in Saint Lucia!  She would say it was different from wedding number one, and it was just what she wanted.

I hope that we have good weather and lots of joy and laughter at this celebration.

So lucky to have love again and to be able to share our happiness with so many good friends and family.


August 29, 2018 4_30-6_00 PM

7 Responses

  1. I had no idea there were so many guidelines for the wedding after being widowed. I just got engaged and we’re still not quite at the wedding planning stage (we’re saving up and it’ll be awhile) but now I know which rules to throw out the window, and which to keep an eye on!

    1. Congratulations on your engagement! Lots of rules worth throwing out the window!! Enjoy.

  2. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you. I too am a widow of 4 1/2 years and I’m getting married next month! I had such a wonderful love experience with my late husband that I want to do it again. People wonder if I still love my late husband, of course I do! Love doesn’t divide, it multiplies! We are having a big wedding and I’m wearing white!

    1. How wonderful. That is great to hear, thanks for sharing. I read somewhere that it’s like living more than your first child. Our hearts can definitely handle more! Have a wonderful wedding.

  3. At 56 I lost my husband suddenly and unexpectedly, I was devastated. Almost 4 years later I was lucky to meet a widower and we are getting married 6/24/22. We both have large families and lots of friends, so we are having 130 people at a nearby country club. I feel like we have both been through so much sadness, gut wrenching grief and loneliness. Now we want to celebrate our love! We both love our late spouses and that will never change, we have more than enough love in our hearts for each other.

    1. Wonderful. Congratulations and enjoy your big wedding. It’s true. You’ve both been through heartache and loss and deserve to celebrate life and new love with each other!!

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Runaway Widow
Join me, Kristin, on my journey to adjust to the sudden death of my husband and learn to live as a young, middle-aged, remarried widow.

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