10/25/2013 12:05 am ET Updated Dec 24, 2013

Your Second Wedding, Your Rules

My first wedding was a big one and took more than a year of planning. I wanted it to be "memorable" and "personal," so I took it very seriously --I even blogged for Weddingbee. Essentially, I was a Pinterest bride before it existed, and I turned wedding planning into a full time job.

Maybe it's because my marriage ended in divorce, but I look back on my wedding as a big party, with no connection to the relationship or the marriage at all...even with all those personal details. If I marry again (which I think I probably will), I have no desire to have a big wedding -- and I'm know I'm not alone.

After going through a divorce, many people are (understandably) a little nervous about committing to another relationship. And when you find someone who makes you believe in love again, the idea of planning a second wedding may still incite a small panic attack. After all, the first one went so well, right?

Spare yourself the angst.

Many second and third marriages begin with much smaller and simpler weddings. First weddings often involve stress and pressure from family members, but second weddings are really about -- gasp! -- the couple. When two full-fledged adults with their own opinions, kids, and even homes make a commitment to each other, it's more about the relationship and less about the party (though that's fun, too).

So do it your way! The overwhelming philosophy should be: Do what you want. There are no more rules.

Wear what you want. If you wore white the first time, you might hesitate about wearing it again. Is it appropriate? Like the passé idea that only "pure" brides (ugh) can wear white, second-time brides can wear whatever they want. Seriously. If you'd like to wear a traditional, princess-white, full-length gown, go for it. But shorter dresses are also a great option, as are different colors.

Invite who you want. Did the extensive guest list nearly give you heart failure the last time? If so, pare it down to close family and friends only, or elope. Likewise, if you opted for a small wedding before and always regretted it, invite the whole darn town if you want to.

Have the wedding where you want. I love the idea of a small backyard or public garden wedding, or a ceremony at a local museum that holds special meaning (this has the added benefit of being socially conscious). Choose a setting that's as casual or traditional as you want--it's entirely up to you.

Register for what you want. While younger couples may not own a toaster between them, you and your partner probably have two. There's no need to register for gifts you don't need, but many guests will still want to do something in your honor. A great option for second weddings is a charity registry with I Do Foundation to raise funds for a cause you both care about. The registry not only says a lot about who you are and what you value, it shares your love with the world in a caring way.

No matter how you celebrate the second or third time around, know this: you are older, wiser, and making a better decision than you did last time. You won't make the same mistakes in your wedding. . . or in your marriage. Best wishes!

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