Second Time Around: Bridal attire and planning the shower

by epi on April 17, 2013

Q: My daughter and her fiance are getting married this summer. Both are second marriages. My questions are: should she wear a wedding gown and should her attendants throw a bridal shower? Her last marriage was 13 years ago.

A: It used to be that second-time brides were advised to wear a pastel suit or, for a more formal wedding, a pastel or off-white gown. This custom dated back to earlier days when white symbolized purity or virginity – thus making it an inappropriate color for a person who already had been married. Today this is no longer the case – white is thought of as a color of joy and celebration. Therefore, your daughter may wear as beautiful a white bridal gown as she can find but it should be appropriate for her age and figure.

Your daughter’s attendants, friends, co-workers, or family members may host a shower in her honor as long as it is carefully planned. Other than a few close friends and relatives, the guest list should not include people who came to a first shower.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Winifred Rosenburg April 17, 2013 at 10:30 am

Actually white wedding dresses were never a symbol of virginity. That was always a misconception, and still is. Queen Victoria wore a white dress to her wedding for no special reason, and the trend caught on. Some people decided it symbolized virginity because that’s what Queen Victoria was famous for.


Rebecca May 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I am attending a wedding in June in the Adirondaks. Would it be inappropriate for me to wear a below the knee ivory skirt with light gold trim around the bottom and a medium beige gold embossed leather fitted jacket with Louboutin snakeskin beige shoes?


Elizabeth May 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Are you asking because of concern for the color? You are safely outside of bridal white, it sounds like. In terms of the formality level of the outfit, that’s hard to say because it depends on the nature of the event itself. I’m not sure how much the region enters in to the equation…


Alicia May 19, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Is is dark ivory? Could someone look at that outfit and think bridal? If so avoid it. As far as formality it depends on the wedding.


Rebecca May 20, 2013 at 6:26 am

I was told that red is a predominant color scheme. Yes I am concerned about the “bridal” confusion. On one side of the issue: is the wedding adhering to traditional standards one another side of the issue is: seems traditional standards are being modified frequently.

I have gorgeous clothing but all very bold. This is the only thing that might not be noticed so much.

So I lean toward walking an edge, but don’t want to offend. I am thinking this outfit could be a bride in a really non traditional wedding, but so could anything if not traditional. I could send a picture somewhere?


Elizabeth May 20, 2013 at 9:41 am

A wedding doesn’t require you to be drab. Lots of wedding guests will wear colorful clothing, and a red color scheme indicates a rich color palette throughout. On the other hand, a gold-trimmed ivory skirt with a gold leather jacket has nothing bridal about it. So, either way you’ll be fine!

Alicia May 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm

A bold vibrant cheerful outfit is absolutely wonderful for a wedding. Wear the bold choices. Weddings are supposed to be happy occasions vibrant lovely color is absolutely wonderful! If you are not an ivory sort normally then you are much more likely to be percieved as bridal or attempting to be bridal ish then if you are normally a beige sort of person. Wear bold bright lovely colors. Traditionally the colors you avoid are white, light ivory, black. But blues greens reds purples yellows are all fantastic

judy Beck June 4, 2013 at 6:10 pm

this is our third marriage any special advise on anything for the wedding or invitations/


Cyra June 4, 2013 at 7:26 pm

“Reception to follow” should be sufficient, followed by the location if it is somewhere different than the ceremony. You only need to specify what kind of reception, I think, if you won’t be serving substantial food.


Ace July 24, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Re: Shower

our daughter is a bridesmaid and may even be maid of honor in upcoming wedding.

my wife is hosting a shower for the bride: is she excused from buying a round the clock gift or is she obligated to give since we’ve volunteered to host the shower?



Elizabeth July 24, 2013 at 12:50 pm

The shower itself is considered your wife’s gift. However, many shower hostesses still give a gift because they want to be a part of the gift-opening fun. I had to look up what a “round the clock” gift was. Apparently, each guest is assigned a particular time and is asked to give a gift that may be used at that time of day. Since your wife is likely organizing this, she can assign herself a time that is not meal related (or really any time she wants) and she can give a clever though inexpensive gift. I read that people who are assigned 2pm might give a gardening tool. She might give a nice kitchen timer, or some other gift that it useful but isn’t an expensive piece of china or crystal or a kitchen appliance.

So, the short answer is: she isn’t obligated to give a gift, but she might want to anyway, and it’s ok if it’s a modest gift.


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