Go out with a bang!

A good ending is important. Does anyone remember the finale of the renowned TV show, The Sopranos? There was a lot of disappointment and confusion. Endings are often what we remember the most.

When a wedding ceremony concludes it is most often with a kiss. Sometimes couples even practice a little dip or have a special twist ready for that moment. That is because it’s the ending and they want something memorable! If that’s not your style, however, of course just a nice little kiss will do.

This kiss!!! (Lisa Rhinehart Photography)

The words used for that moment are important, as well. As a person who actually writes ceremonies, I prefer to say ‘you may kiss,’ rather than ‘you may kiss the bride,’ because really, when two people kiss, aren’t they both kissing? One isn’t just on the passive receiving end, at least I hope not.  It doesn’t take much thought to realize the origins of that language, though. It comes from an era when a man may have never kissed the woman he’s marrying (heck, in some cultures he may never have even seen her face). So at the end of the ceremony he finally had ‘permission’ to do so. We don’t quite think that way anymore. But let me add that if a couple I’m working with wants those specific words, of course I will say them. It is usually because it feels sweet, sentimental and traditional, in an old-fashioned kind of way, something they may have always imagined for their wedding. You May Kiss The Bride! I’m good with it.

But here are some alternatives. How about: You may seal your promise with a kiss? Or: Please share your first kiss as a married couple!  There are many ways to say something, each with its own nuance.

To conclude a wedding ceremony there are other elements that might add to the excitement of that very special moment when it’s now official – you are married!!!

We all know about tossing rice, birdseed, petals and such, and there are bubbles to blow, bells to ring and wands to wave. These all add pizzazz. It can be more than just fun, it can be meaningful as well, with rituals such as: Breaking the Glass in honor of Jewish tradition. There are many stories about this custom, but my favorite interpretation is that it represents the fragility of life and love, reminding us all to care for our relationship and one another. It’s a great ending to a wedding ceremony.

Confetti Cannons - my new favorite thing! (photo: Nereida Castillo)

Over time I’ve written about many other rituals. Some that are perfect for the end of a ceremony are:  Jumping the Oak Branch, an ancient Celtic ritual, and Jumping the Broom, and African American custom – both provide a fabulous finales.  Another favorite of mine is the Irish Bell, also known as The Truce Bell, or St Patrick’s Bell of Will. Ring it for the final kiss!

Have some fun with a confetti cannon – I have fallen in love with confetti cannons. As long as you have permission from the venue (do ask) – these little babies add a bang, and send confetti and good vibes flying. What a great photo and exciting surprise.

You can even invent your own end ritual. Bang on a big gong, work up a cheer for your guests, dance down the aisle… anything is possible It’s just wonderful when the ceremony ends, it ends on a high note. Recess down the aisle with a bang.


Thank you Nereida Castillo and Lisa Rhinehart for the great photos!


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‘I do’ it again.

Why would a couple who are already married want to have a wedding ceremony? This happens more often than you might think.

Because marriage provides so many important rights there are times when folks will get hitched legally, with little to no fanfare, to insure they have those benefits. Two of the most frequent reasons I’ve encountered are health care issues and military deployment.

Being allowed to visit your partner in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours is a big deal. But that partner has to be your legal spouse. Making medical decisions if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment is another important reason to make it legal.

For military partners there are similar issues as well as being able to live on base, and if your partner is being deployed that may become quite urgent.

Wanting the opportunity for a 'real' wedding.

I have worked with many who, for these and other reasons, married quickly and quietly and missed the opportunity to have a ceremony of any substance.
I don’t consider those quick nuptials to be elopements. Elopement is a more conscious choice and can be a beautiful and even intricate ceremony and experience. I’m talking about couples just getting that paperwork done – a quick ‘I do’ in a town hall or judge’s chambers.
My perspective on all this is that the legal paperwork is one part of getting married, and standing before your community and declaring your commitment is another.  It helps complete the transition into this new phrase in your life.

When you send your intentions out into the universe, when the people you love and the people who love you, witness that declaration, something more profound occurs. It is a testament to the power of honest words, meaningful ritual, and understanding your place in the world. A wedding ceremony speaks to the love and appreciation you share not only with each other but your extended community. And so when I’m asked if I will ‘marry’ a couple who are already married – I’m always enthusiastic. It tells me they, too, understand the power of ceremony.

Traditions such as a beautiful bouquet.

Another way to look at a ceremony such as this is to think of it as a renewal of vows. One of the first questions I ask is: who, if anyone, knows you are already married? This will help guide me in finding the right words and rituals. Do they already wear rings, and if so, do they want to rededicate those rings? Do they want to say the same vows they used before? Maybe they didn’t have any choice the first time, now they get to express themselves more fully.

As long a couple provides a copy of their marriage license for my records there is no problem with pronouncing them as married, because they are, but you can be sure I must have that paperwork!

The dress you always dreamed of.

Think of just some of the things a bride or groom may have missed out on with a small quick ceremony such as: walking down the aisle, having your best friends or siblings standing with you as attendants, the opportunity to wear that wedding dress you always dreamed of, cutting the cake or having those beautiful flowers, and especially being with those you love. As long as you are together it’s never too late to have that wedding – call it what you want – but let it meaningful.




Thank you Lisa Rhinehart for the use of your gorgeous photogrpahy



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Something Borrowed

Take inspiration from these international customs to add a touch of the old-country to your celebration.

I’m always in search of something new for a wedding ritual. I find a lot of inspiration around the world; there is so much to draw from, whether from different countries, cultures or religions.

I’ve used the ‘sawing the log’ ritual for a real German experience in a wedding but I recently learned about another tradition for couples with Germanic roots. In their first bit of housekeeping together, German brides and grooms clean up a pile of porcelain dishes that their guests throw on the ground. The smashing is supposed to ward off any evil spirits. Those evil spirits come into play a lot with old wedding traditions! But the lesson for the couple is that working together, they can face any challenge thrown their way (even evil spirits I suppose). I would love to find a way to work this one into a ceremony, it would be tricky, but I’d like to try!

Breaking and sweeping up the plates!

Speaking of breaking things in Guatemala apparently grooms like to smash things. When the newlyweds arrive at their reception, it’s customary (or used to be customary) for the groom’s mother to break a white ceramic bell which filled with grains like rice and flour. Traditionally the bell is placed at the door of the reception venue. When the newlyweds arrive, the groom’s mother ceremonially breaks the bell to welcome the pair to the party. This symbolizes that the couple will prosper. I think I can work with this one, too, but my twist would be to have the mothers present a bowl (or bell?) full of grains to the couple, and maybe just forget about the smashing part. I’m not sure why a bell and not a bowl, but I do know there are lots of traditions involving bells, which ring out the old and ring in the new. Oh, and bells can also scare away those evil spirits!

Beautiful traditional couple from Guatemala.

There are many traditions specifically for women, such as coins in the shoe, carrying specific things in her bouquet, wearing something borrowed, something blue, etc.  – but not that many for men. Well, in Greece they take the term “groomsman” literally, so on his wedding day, the groom’s men become his barber when they shave his face. There is a sweet side for the groom, as well, because his new mother-in-law will feed him honey and almonds.

Groom's men shave the groom (Tobiah Tayo Photo)

 Fertility symbolism has long and deep roots in almost every culture. That is because infant and maternal mortality was high before our modern era, so the hopes of successfully having children was important for the continuation of the social group. Children were needed to help with survival of the family and community. That’s why in Czechoslovakia, before the ceremony, an infant is placed on the couple’s bed to bless and enhance their fertility. Once they’ve wed, guests shower them with rice, peas or lentils to also promote fertility.

All of these customs sound intriguing to me, although a little extreme for modern American weddings. But you never know where exploring cultural traditions will lead and learning about them is fun. Should you decide to incorporate one of them I’m sure your guests will be talking about it for years to come.

The white bell.




thanks to Tobiah Tayo Photography

#LoisHeckmanCelebrant #PoconoWeddingTalk  #WeddingAdvice


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How to have the world’s best wedding

When it comes to weddings, one size definitely does not fit all. Every couple is different and so is every wedding. If you want to have the world’s best wedding, maybe I can help, because I read all about it on the internet, so it must be true!

I actually read an article entitled the ‘world’s best wedding,’ but what they really meant was the world’s costliest spectacle, a showy over-the-top wedding.

What does ‘best’ mean to you?

I’m not opposed to large expensive weddings, in fact, I have been a part of many that were wonderful. But your wedding can be intimate, casual, low-cost and low-stress, and still be the best wedding.

Enjoying your own wedding!

Marriage is one of the most important milestones in life and deserves close attention. Couples should never feel social pressure to have a celebration they neither want nor can afford. There are many ways to have the best wedding without breaking the bank, a wedding that reflects who you are in meaningful ways. A wedding you truly enjoy will make it so.  ‘Heartfelt’ and ‘real’ are qualities that do not have any relation to size or cost.

But I caution you that keeping it small isn’t always keeping it simple. And a DIY wedding can turn into much more work and expense than you might think! If that’s your style, go for it, just remember I told you so. Or you might consider a top-end location but keeping the guest list smaller.

All the planning can become quite stressful. A wedding at one of our beautiful local Pocono venues can be the solution, where an experienced resort or hotel takes care of most of the details. And these wedding venues are not one-size-fits-all, either. They have a wide range of choices. You cannot have the best wedding if you’re completely stressed out, so put your trust in experience, and then relax.

You don't have to spend big bucks!!!

Maybe you have a large family and lots of friends and want them all there to celebrate with you.  If you can’t afford to go high-end for so many guests, consider a picnic style event, brunch or luncheon instead of a dinner.

Being eco-conscious can also be cost-conscious. I am totally serious when I advocate vintage or pre-worn (used) clothes for the bride and bridesmaids. A gown or dress that was worn once and then dry-cleaned is really pretty much new – and the savings are formidable. A white dress does not necessary have to be a wedding gown, and your wedding dress does not necessarily have to be white.

Enjoying the moment.

Remember: a lavish event not only costs whoever is throwing the party, but also costs guests, in clothing, travel, gifts and sometimes accommodations. Why not forgo the entire bridesmaids matching outfits route, and give the girls a color scheme and let them wear what they want?

Remember to consider your needs and your guests as well, when planning the best wedding ever – YOURS!


Thank you Lisa Rhinehart and Brooke Aliceon for the gorgeous photos

#LoisHeckmanCelebrant #PoconoWeddingTalk  #WeddingAdvice


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Those Sizzling Summertime Weddings… are you prepared?

Here in the Poconos we don’t expect it to be as hot and muggy as it’s been this summer -  it’s been quite the sizzler – just about the hottest summer we can recall.

After officiating several weddings in the blazing heat I thought I’d remind us all about how to deal with such extreme temperatures. I have some old tips and some new ones as well.

Its ok not to wear a jacket.

But before you even arrive at such a state of affairs, remember an overarching principle – that both the time of year and the time of day are very important when choosing a wedding date. You’ll be better prepared when you understand there is an important relationship between the calendar and the style you envision for your big day.  Just as a love of a roaring fire and candlelight means you’re a good fit for a late fall or winter wedding, conversely a casual, shirt-sleeves kind of wedding certainly feels like summer. A formal wedding (black tie) isn’t a good fit a mid-summer’s day.

I hope these tips will be helpful if you’re planning a summer celebration.

When scheduling outdoors be very mindful of the exact time of day. Note where the sun will be the sky, and where shade might be found! If a morning wedding doesn’t suit you, think: sunset! Those long shadows are heavenly.

Be aware of sun shining directly into guests’ eyes, or right at the couple and their attendants as well. Either way it’s not fun. When you are looking at the ceremony venue discuss with the staff where the sun will be for your date and time of day. They should know. Adjust the seating and altar area to compensate if necessary. If you can -move chairs – do it – even if your venue is a bit shocked by this change from their normal setup. You’ll be glad you did. Look around – is there a shadier spot than the one where they always set up? Just because ‘that’s how it’s done,’ doesn’t mean it can’t be done differently. ‘Think out of the box’ as they say!

Just the other day I created a lopsided set-up – with all the chairs together on the shady side of the ceremony site. It was really worthwhile.

Which side would you choose ?

If there’s no natural shade to be found, create some. Consider renting a tent. Umbrellas large or small will also really help, in fact, a few of those large patio umbrellas strategically placed, could look really cool. Find a way to provide your guests with shade any way you can.

Hand held fans are ok, but consider bringing large electric fans to create a big breeze.

I’ve seen many brides and grooms with sweat running down their faces during the ceremony, which is especially awkward during vows or anytime they may be holding hands. Have a hankie (who remembers hankies?) – a handkerchief – folded in your pocket or tucked into your dress. It’s perfectly fine to pull it out and wipe your brow or the brow of your partner. In fact, I find it quite charming when one partner dabs the other’s forehead.

Have a water station set up for easy access at your ceremony site, and make sure everyone, especially the bridal party, is properly hydrated. I’ve seen men and women faint during a ceremony. Usually it’s a combination of alcohol intake, lack of water, and that blazing sun.

Women – remember your hair – this is the perfect time for an ‘up-do’ or pony-tail. Guys, consider a look that doesn’t include a jacket. A suit can be tough in extreme heat. There’s nothing wrong with shirt and tie, especially if you dress it up with suspenders, perhaps hats, and bow ties are cool, especially if you’re going for a funkier look.

The sun is wonderful, just be prepared

Some of my favorite Pocono venues have wonderful shady locations, by the river, by a lake, and in wooded areas. Embrace those choices. Don’t be afraid of a summer wedding, just be prepared!



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When Life Gives you Lemons …Making Wedding Lemonade

I’d checked in with the bride and groom, signed the marriage license, reviewed all the ceremony details and all systems were ‘go.’ But there were still some guests who hadn’t arrived. These were close family members who were supposed to be picked up at their hotel by a bus service. It was all worked out in advance, complete with a clear, specific timeline. Weddings can be very detailed. But for some reason the service let them down. Was the driver lost? What was going on? As information trickled out, it was obvious that they wouldn’t arrive, through no fault of their own, for at least another 45 minutes. The couple, understandably upset, didn’t want to go forward without these special family members, who’d travelled so far to be with them. They wanted them there to witness and support them on this important day. But the other guests were all seated at the ceremony site. What to do?

Scheduling and timing mishaps are probably the most common wedding calamities. When this one happened I remember a few weddings where cocktails were served before the ceremony. This gave me an idea. I suggested the venue send some wait staff to the ceremony site with water, lemonade or drinks of some sort. They quickly agreed, even taking drink orders!

Cool down and relax.

Once everyone had a drink in hand, and adjusted to the idea that we were waiting, the guests relaxed and started having a great time.  The minutes passed quickly. When the missing family finally arrived we proceeded – a full hour after the scheduled start time. I thanked everyone for the patience and made a few light-hearted remarks about it – and it was all smiles and a beautiful wedding ceremony ensued.

Voila! You have to roll with it. Fortunately, the venue was relaxed about it, even though it certainly messed up the food preparation timeline.

Have a tasty beverage.

When calmness is projected, people respond in the same. It’s human nature. Even if I’m upset or nervous inside, I never let my clients see me sweat. They depend on me to keep it together.

It’s not always possible for your wedding plans to go perfectly. That’s life. Stuff happens. It may rain, the cake may not show up, the bus might get lost. But how you handle it is what really matters.

Another common, but small glitch, is the swollen finger on a hot day, making the ring exchange a little difficult. I always anticipate this outdoors and am ready to calm the couple’s anxiety. In a heightened emotional moment a few seconds fumbling with the ring feels like an eternity. As Einstein once famously said: ‘Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.’


Enjoy the ride.

Another frequent occurrence is lost guests. Please be sure every single guest has clear directions, even if you have to print out a map with details and send it to them. Never rely entirely on a GPS, they are not perfect and there are places where you can’t get cell signal.

Marriage is about the long haul. It takes patience and flexibility, and learning to let go of anger and not sweat the small stuff. If you can handle your wedding that way, you’re off to a great start.

Thank you Lisa Rhinehart Photography  for the gorgeous photos.


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Superstitions and Customs

There is a difference between superstition and custom, although superstitions can evolve into customs and traditions over time. Because we sometimes don’t know where our practices originated, or what they mean, when we understand them they can become less or more appealing. Today’s column highlights some wedding superstitions that I think are interesting, strange, or just plain fun.

By superstition we generally mean a belief in supernatural causes, beliefs that link events together without proof or reason, especially when these ideas are outside conventional thought. A black cat walks in front of you – it means bad luck – that is a typical superstition. Walking down the aisle – that is a custom. Mainstream religious practices may have started entangled in superstitions, but are no longer considered such because they have entered the realm of acceptance. Superstitions, on the other hand, are not considered truth. Superstitions are sometimes called ‘old wives tales,’ but perhaps old women, long ago, knew something others didn’t? Or is it all just luck, or manipulation? Do you see omens or just coincidence? You be the judge, of course, but Stevie Wonder did sing: ‘Superstition ain’t the way.’


What's in your bouquet?

Here’s a good one. We’ve all heard of the groom carrying the bride across the threshold – this comes from the idea that he is protecting her from evil spirits lurking below that could come up through the soles of her feet. Now that you know the origin, I think we can file that under strange!

People often say that the ‘rain is good luck on your wedding day.’ Is this just a way to rationalize? In the Hindu tradition this is taken more seriously, and remember, rain is important for crops and growth so I’d call it symbolism, not superstition.

A very silly superstition comes from old England where a spider found in a wedding dress means good luck. Why? No clue on this one.


Groom carrying his bride... why??

A Swedish bride puts a silver coin from her father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe to ensure that she’ll never do without. This is a good message for all women, to remind them they shouldn’t have to be completely dependent on a husband, and perhaps speaks to the progressive view of women in Scandinavian culture. Gotta love those Vikings. The tradition has spread and now many women here do this for good luck, too.

Did you ever hear of a sugar cube being included in a bouquet? Me neither, but its meaning is quite clear. I just learned about this is Greek and Canadian superstition to sweeten the marriage. And by the way: Greek and Canadian?

Here’s one I frequently incorporate in several different ways – bells!! Bells are thought to keep evil spirits away, and are also a symbol of ringing out the old and ringing in the new. I don’t believe in evil spirits, but I do love bells.

You’re probably familiar with the Jewish custom of ‘breaking the glass’ – but did you know it is also done in Italy at the reception?  The symbolism is quite similar. In the Italian custom (superstition?) the number of pieces of glass represents the number of years of marriage. The Jewish custom has several other explanations – my favorite being that the broken glass reminds us of the fragility of life and love.

Its good luck to have some money.

A new one on me is a Southern one – that of burying a bottle of bourbon for your wedding day. I love the idea of any kind of time capsule and this could fall into that category. Bury the bottle upside down at the wedding site one month before the big day, and dig it up after the ceremony to enjoy. Not especially deep in meaning, but totally fun.

Customs, symbols, superstitions and traditions – they are all a part of weddings and learning more about them makes your day all the sweeter – now go get a sugar cube to prove it.

Thank you Lisa Rhinehart Photography  for the gorgeous photos.


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Transforming the humble umbrella

I’ve written a lot about rain plans for weddings, and for good reason! If you are having an outdoor wedding ceremony (or reception) you must have a great plan for any unwelcome weather. One idea I’ve suggested in the past is having lots of umbrellas available on a day where there may be a few sprinkles as you’re set to walk down the aisle.

Lots and lots of umbrellas!

This got me thinking about umbrellas in general. I’ve also suggested them for shade for those extra sunny outdoor ceremonies.

Now here’s a completely different twist on the use of umbrellas. An umbrellas ritual. Here’s how it would work –  the couple opens and stands under the umbrella, then have your officiant, best woman and man, or other special person, pour ‘rain’ over the umbrella.  Confetti, lavender, seeds or any small items appropriate for throwing will work. Or have the entire wedding party and even guests participate!

A shower or petals... they could use an umbrella!


This clearly symbolizes weathering life’s storms. When I officiate, I always explain rituals before they happen, but this one would not require much of an explanation – it’s pretty self-evident. Something about the couple ‘agreeing to protect one another, stand together and weather life’s storms’ would do nicely. The optimal moment would be at the end of the ceremony – perhaps just before walking down the aisle, then all the guests can also pelt the couple with the ‘rain.’ What a nice twist. Those trusty bubbles would also work here. The final kiss under the umbrella would be terrific as well.

A ritual such as this adds a great element of fun, a terrific photo opportunity, and an exciting send-off for the couple. I’m a fan of anything at the end of the ceremony that adds that ‘wow’ factor. I love sending the couple down the aisle with a bang – whether it’s confetti cannons, jumping a branch, breaking the glass or other ritualistic action. I love to get the guests fired up about this, and it just makes for a joyous moment for a joyous occasion.

There are also a few interesting umbrella rituals from places near and far.

A traditional Chinese wedding features a full procession and according to tradition, the bride wears a red veil to hide her face, and her mother or attendant holds a red umbrella over her head to encourage fertility.

A Chinese tradition.

In Finland the bride walks from house to house collecting wedding presents. She puts them in a pillowcase, and has an assistant: an older married man (pretty specific, right?) who holds an umbrella over her head. The umbrella symbolizes protection and safe haven.

Love New Orleans culture? I do. If so, consider a ‘second line’ for your ceremony recessional, complete with a great swinging New Orleans song!  Historically umbrellas were used for shade and it was also a sign of southern style and grace.  The umbrella then became an accessory of choice for many southern weddings and was often an indicator of societal statue.  Second Line Umbrellas now reflect attitude and personal style as they the revelers spin them, as if to say “laissez les bons temps rouler!”

Originally used in 'second line' parades.

In France newlyweds dance under a big umbrella while guests toss paper ribbons over them, quite similar to the idea I’ve proposed.

A French tradition.

So the humble umbrella can be transformed into a fantastic, interactive ritual. Have a great time using an umbrella for your wedding – rain or shine!

Rain or shine.. the humble umbrella.



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A few fun ideas …

I can’t always be focusing on the deeper meaning of ritual and how to avoid wedding disasters!  Although culture, religion, history, tradition and symbolism are my primary focus as a Celebrant, today I present a few somewhat random, light-hearted ideas you may find inspiring for your wedding or even for an upcoming party of any type.

Photos. A popular idea I really love is having family photos on display. It gives a sense of continuity and helps guests learn about one another’s family and friends. Hanging photos from a clothes line, creating displays in unusual ways, adds lots of flare.

For a casual outdoor wedding set up various seating arrangements and let people pick their own seats. Picnic tables, blankets, small tables and chairs all mixed together create a festive but relaxed environment. Bring it all together with flowers or matching tablecloths.

Lighting magic - photo: Lisa Rhinehart


Lights lights lights. It’s not done until its overdone. Whether using a professional DJ or lighting company or doing-it-yourself you can’t have too many cool lights for the party. I love strings of lights, you know, they kind you buy in the home and garden section at Target! Mix them all up and string them across the room. String lights can also be used to create an interesting effect for your ceremony site, but remember lights, like candles, don’t have the most effect in daylight.

Karaoke for your reception! Enough said!


Photo credit: Dana Crosby, Silent Film Photography

Build a bouquet! Have guests who are seated on the aisle hand flowers to the bride as she processes… she gathers them together in a bouquet – then places them in a vase at the front. They can be moved to the reception afterwards. This is especially good for a very small wedding when you can have every single guest involved.

Have advice cards on the dinner tables. Let your guests share their wisdom, wishes or jokes with you.

Bring in a ‘bouncy house,’ usually for kids but why can’t grown-ups enjoy it? This is best done before any serious drinking takes place.

Careful there boys!

And speaking of kids games for adults, why not have a piñata? This would be wonderful especially if you have one that looks like a wedding cake.

Pre-ceremony drinks! Why not offer guests cocktails before the ceremony – or even pre-ceremony snacks? Beverages can be with or without alcohol – but keep it mild.

Confetti cannons for the pronouncement is something I’ve done a few times – its awesome. If you can’t do it for the ceremony do it for your entrance or first dance at the reception.

And finally – how about a coin toss or rock-paper-scissors to decide who goes first for the exchange of vows?

Whimsical, light-hearted interactive elements always add that extra sparkle of joy to any celebration. Surprises are great too. Many couples want something unique and somewhat of a wow factor. I hope one of these ideas will work for you.

Photo: Enchanting Entertainment.


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Remarriage – How to handle 2nd or 3rd Weddings

People often ask what’s appropriate for a second or even third wedding. The short answer is: anything you want.  At least 40% of today’s weddings involve at least one partner who has been married before.* The stigma of divorce is, thankfully, long past. And the hope of what is to come is always cause for celebration. So, while anything goes, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind.

One of the best parts about remarriage is you get to do it your way. With young couples and first weddings compromises are often made, with couples giving over decision-making to parents, especially when they are paying for the whole affair. Now you have control and that means creative control as well – the chance to have the ceremony and celebration in a style and with meaning that reflects where you are in your lives.

Involve the children.

Consider a theme wedding, such as a beach or a bar-b-q.  Destination weddings are great for remarriages – but please be considerate of the expense involved for those invited. Ideas that may not have gone over the first time around now cam be a reality. You may want to have the lavish affair you can now afford. Or conversely – just keep it extremely simple. You’re older now – remember, to provide some childcare for your guests, if appropriate. And most importantly, if you or your partner have children, you have the opportunity to include them in your ceremony and celebration.

Some couples tying the knot for the second or third time choose elopement. And in Pennsylvania elopement is especially easy as no witnesses are required for the legal part. I love a romantic elopement and perform them often. After the turmoil life can bring, sometimes all you need is love and one another.

Everyone deserves happiness.

If a friend or family member wants to throw you a shower – you may gracefully decline. Showers come from the tradition of helping a new family set up house. You probably already have all the toasters you need. However, maybe you never had a shower, or just want to have one for the fun of it. If you do have a shower, make it non-traditional, such as have a wine tasting, cook-off, or garden plant exchange. Or collect items for your local shelter (check first to see what the really need.)

There is no real reason to forgo an engagement party – but remember that many of your family and friends already attended your other engagement party and wedding. So it’s probably a good idea, like a shower, to make it a ‘no gifts’ affair. If you know there are people who simply will not abide by that – again, suggest a charity donation, and guide everyone to your favorites.

Whether you are approaching marriage after a divorce, or you are a widow or widower, taking that new chance at love and remarrying is always a ‘leap of faith.’  It is also an opportunity to bring families together and celebrate once more! Congratulations. Whatever our circumstances, we all deserve happiness. Give yourself permission for that and all will be well.


* U.S. Census Bureau


Photos: Garth Woods






Posted in Ceremonies and Celebrations, Pocono Weddings, Tips on Weddings, Wedding Ceremonies | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment
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    Lois Heckman

    Lois Heckman is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant who officiates at weddings, funerals, and other ceremonies in the Poconos and beyond. She has performed hundreds of ceremonies and brings a wealth of knowledge to her work. Visit her website: ... Read Full
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