Second-time brides share what to wear for your special day

Melinda Michel of Baltimore is pictured in the dress she wore to her second wedding. Credit: Richard and Tara Photography.
Melinda Michel of Baltimore is pictured in the dress she wore to her second wedding. Credit: Richard and Tara Photography.

By Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman/

Every bride wants her wedding day to be special, whether it’s her first or second nuptials. There are many more considerations the second time around. Often, there are children involved. Usually, the couple is paying for the ceremony on their own, so finances can factor in more. There’s also the question of what was done the first time and how you want to make wedding No. 2 the same—or totally different.

But there’s one topic that every bride-to-be considers: what to wear. When a woman gets married the first time, it’s traditional to wear a white bridal gown. Of course, there’s a variety of dresses, but generally she knows—within a range—what she’s looking for.

For wedding No. 2? The message from second-time Jewish brides and their stylists is that anything goes.

“The bride should wear what she feels most comfortable in,” says Nicole Borsuk of Nicole Borsuk Personal Shopper in Atlanta, Ga. “It all depends on the bride.”

Melinda Michel of Baltimore remarried in June 2015 at the age of 48. She says she used Pinterest to start her bridal dress search.

“I thought it was really fun shopping for wedding dresses, and Pinterest was like virtual window shopping,” Michel says, noting that when she explored the virtual photo shop she discovered wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, and cocktail attire in a variety of colors and cuts. She would pin the dresses she was drawn to and then try to find them in a local bridal store or department store.

“I think [second-time] brides should consider bridesmaid dresses,” says Michel.

For one, bridesmaid dresses are significantly cheaper—usually as much as 50 percent less expensive than a bridal gown. They still have that “bridal party feel,” without the virgin princess look. And there could be more options to fit the bride’s taste.

“I don’t know that my taste was as defined at 23 as it is now,” says Michel of the difference between shopping for her dress the first and second times around.

Shari Klein, 50, seconds that notion. Remarried in June 2015 in New York, she ended up with a white bridesmaid dress deeply emblazoned with silver beading. She says that for two months, she went searching for the perfect ensemble. Her married daughters helped, sending her pictures and suggestions whenever they found something that might work for the blazing read-head.

“I needed something that was a little atypical and that fit my personality—sexy and flirty and fun, but I didn’t want to look like a grown-up trying to be a kid,” says Klein, whose dress ultimately gave her that “princess feel” she desired, effusing a combination of modesty, sophistication, and beauty. She found the dress two days before her wedding.

In contrast to Klein’s white, Michel’s dress was a blush pink. She says she knew the closest she would get to white was ivory, and in her searches she explored the gamut of colors, considering navies and burgundies if she were to have a winter wedding, and later a series of summer hues.

Nicole Borsuk says second-time brides often opt for their favorite colors or ones they know look good on them. She has helped brides find dresses in trendy seasonal colors, including bright and vibrant colors. For example, pink quartz is in now, and she has seen many brides opting for that. There’s also a popular cool blue that’s making its way to the dress scene—and is now available for second-time brides and bridesmaids.

Fair-skinned brides should go with pastel colors so that they don’t become washed out by their dress. Olive-skinned brides can go more vibrant, Borsuk says, noting, “Orange is really in. So is fuchsia.”

What do the kids wear to a second wedding?

“Let’s say a bride is not having a traditional wedding and she’s opted for a blue dress, then I would suggest the children have blue in their wedding outfits,” says Borsuk, explaining that even at a second wedding it is traditional to coordinate between the bride, groom, and bridal party.

At Michel’s wedding, her groom wore a pink tie to coordinate with her dress. The flower girl (and only other person who walked down the aisle outside of the couple) wore a dress from the same company that was ivory and pink. Klein’s older daughters wore gowns. She says, “They wanted everyone to know they were the daughters of the bride.”

Another way to consider your wedding gown is based on venue. Michel was married in a historic inn in Baltimore that she says had the feel of an English barn. The dress lent itself to the venue. She notes that if a bride would get married in a funkier venue, a funkier dress might work.

Finally, accessorize. Michel says what she found in her exploration is that one can go with a simpler dress and then accessorize with the right bridal belt or shoes. Borsuk recommends that if going with a simpler dress add some fun and tasteful costume jewelry.

In Klein’s case, the shoes were the highlight. She selected high heels with sequence, silver straps and rhinestones.

“When you get married the second time around, you need to know this person is always going to be your prince charming,” says Klein. “There is a picture when he is putting the shoe on me. It is a Cinderella moment and a Cinderella picture—the shoes, that picture, captured it all.”

Of course, by the end of the evening, Klein’s shoes were off and she was living it up, dancing with her new husband. The dress was comfortable enough to move so she could enjoy the night—something first-time brides sometimes forgo for beauty.

“To your first wedding, you invite the world. To your second wedding, you are very choosy in who you share it with. It also a celebration of who you are,” says Klein. “That was the day. That was the dress.…It was perfection.”


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