When Lorrie Ines tied the knot for the first time, she was a youthful twenty-one years old. Ronald Reagan was president, Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" topped the charts and IBM introduced the very first personal computer. That was in 1987 and more than just Ines' hairstyle has changed since then.
Ines, a now divorced 41-year old registered nurse in suburban San Francisco, will walk down the aisle for the second time in July to marry her fiancé Chris Hinton, who has never been married. The pair met online two years ago but will soon join a growing number of men and women who have found that society is becoming more accepting of these so-called "encore weddings" - and that the wedding industry is quickly following suit.
Deputy Editor of www.TheKnot.com , Kathleen Murray, says she's noticed more and more second-time brides registering on The Knot. "Many of them really feel like it's their first wedding and they want it to be as special as their first one. There still may be some raised eyebrows but most of the stigmas of getting married a second time are gone."
Encore weddings have become so popular that Beaches, the all-inclusive Caribbean resort, has designed special packages just for second-timers with kids. They call them "FamilyMoons TM", a combination wedding and honeymoon for the whole family. Joann Delgin, the Chief Romance Officer for Beaches (yes, it's on her business card), says "FamilyMoon TM" packages account for about ten percent of their wedding business and that number is growing. With 12,000 weddings at their resorts each year, that's a lot of "FamilyMoons TM".
"The events are usually small with about a dozen close family and friends gathered for the ceremony," Delgin says. "We offer a 'sand ceremony' where the bride and groom and children from both sides each scoops up their own vile of sand, then one by one they pour it into a larger glass container." Couples can take the container home and keep it as a symbol of the two families coming together as one.
Other couples exchange rings with each other and give their kids rings of their own as a way of including them in the ceremony. "Also popular, is giving a child a necklace or medallion that has the birthstones of each member embedded in it as a symbol of becoming one family," says Delgin.
Event planner Preston Bailey says intimate destination weddings are very popular for encore brides and grooms. Bailey, who planned the extravagant Palm Beach wedding of Donald Trump and wife Melania Knauss, says he's planned second weddings at a private villa in Turks and Caicos, on the terrace of a luxury hotel overlooking the ocean in Jamaica and steps from the ocean on an Antigua beach. "Most couples are very relaxed. They've been through it before and they know what they want." "Young sons are often ring bearers or daughters are flower girls. One thing is for certain", says Bailey, "family is always a big part."
Bride-to-be Lorrie Ines has two children from her previous marriage, both of whom will be an important part of her wedding. Ashley, her eighteen-year old daughter, is her maid of honor and her son Brian, 15, will escort his mom down the aisle. Ines admits her eyes welled up with tears when she saw Brian try on his tuxedo. "He looked so grown up," she said.