Two Wedding Ceremonies
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The Ultimate Guide to Having Two Wedding Ceremonies

As the pandemic continues, you might decide to have two ceremonies — a smaller, more intimate one now and a larger one with more friends and family later on. From invitations to budgets, here’s your ultimate guide to having two wedding ceremonies to celebrate your special day! 

Prioritize Your Budget

Two ceremonies means double of everything. Flowers, food, cake, decor … anything that you have for one ceremony might require more for another. You’ll probably have more guests at your second ceremony, so the cost will be higher. Consider ways you can cut costs without sacrificing quality. For example, a silicone ring might be better than purchasing a $200 metal band. 

Additionally, your budget should be the hard stop point for your two ceremonies. Some couples take one lump sum and split it between both events, and some set aside two specific amounts that might be different for each event. How you and your fiancé choose to split the budget is entirely up to you; however, it’s important to keep in mind that more guests means more money. 

Prioritizing your budget is a great way to maximize efficiency when putting together your wedding. Sit back and think about the things you’re comfortable spending more money on. Some couples want to spend more money on decor while others prefer spending more money on food. After figuring out what areas of your wedding you want to spend more money on, you can then focus on some of the other aspects of planning two ceremonies. 

Determine Your Venue

Venue is important when it comes to a wedding, but two ceremonies can be even trickier. Consider whether or not you want to have your second ceremony at the same venue as the first. Keeping in mind cost and guest count limitations, you may decide to have two different venues. That’s okay! You might want to choose a smaller, more intimate venue for your first ceremony. Then, for your second ceremony, a larger venue might be a better plan. Either way, determining your venue — or venues, to be precise — is one of the top things you should do after deciding on a budget. 

Book the Same Vendors

A great vendor team is a huge asset for both ceremonies. Book your same vendors for your first and second ceremonies to ensure continuity in your events. While you don’t have to have the same flowers and decor for both ceremonies, you can always defer to your designer to see how they might like to decorate your space in a way that complements each ceremony or the colors you choose. There are some vendors that you may have at your second ceremony you didn’t have present at your first. A baker, caterer and DJ are three of the main vendors that you might not have at your first ceremony, especially if you have an intimate micro-style wedding with fewer than 50 guests and a ceremony but no reception. If your second ceremony will be followed by a reception, then those are vendors you’ll need to account for booking as early as possible! 

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Determine Your Guest List

Deciding how many people will be at each ceremony is a huge undertaking — and often one of the most difficult pieces of the process. As you narrow down your guest list, ask yourself a few questions:

  • How often do I speak to this person? If you speak almost every day, then they should get an invite to both ceremonies. 
  • Will this person be part of any drama at my wedding? Let’s face it — some family members love to stir the pot. If you really think they’ll cause a scene at either of your events, you can choose to not invite them or have them come to the bigger event where you’ll be less likely to hear them complaining about the food or music level. 
  • What is the likelihood this person will RSVP yes to my event? There are some friends and family that we invite simply out of obligation. However, since many people for the past two years have not been to public events or parties and weddings, you may find that your second cousin three states away is suddenly RSVPing in the affirmative despite them never attending any function you’ve hosted before. Keep this in mind when you decide to send out invitations. 

Determine Timing

Of course, you’ll probably need to decide this pretty early on because of reservations and booking, but sometimes the money and guests will have an impact on where you choose to host your ceremonies and even when. Venues and vendors tend to be more expensive in the spring, summer and fall, considering winter their “off-season.” However, many destination locations, such as island nations, might raise their prices in the winter since that’s when many weddings occur in those areas. 

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As you plan for your ceremonies, consider the timing. Do you want to have your second ceremony a year out, on your first anniversary? Or maybe you want to have it within a couple of months from your first wedding. These decisions will greatly influence your budget, vendor team and even availability of products, depending on the time of year. Different flowers bloom at different points of the year, and though you can usually get a lot of flowers all through the year, it might be cheaper for certain blooms in specific seasons. 

Decide on Your Ceremony

One of the many aspects of wedding ceremonies that couples forget about is the actual ceremony portion of the event. Many are happy to have their officiant go through a minimized, contemporary version of traditional vows. Others, however, may want something a little more custom, depending on their preferences. 

For example, one couple might want to read their own vows to each other during their first ceremony, as it’s usually smaller and more intimate. Then, in their second ceremony, they might want to have a more simple setup due to the size of their guest list. For other couples, it might be swapped, or they’ll want to do the same thing in each ceremony. Others may want to do an almost “status update” to their first wedding — talk about how the past year has been, what they’re thankful for as a couple, explain their wedding ring symbolism, etc.

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