sequel weddings

Sequel weddings, vow renewals and more

Ideas for unconventional ways to celebrate your love

The last couple of years has wreaked havoc on the wedding industry. Couples with weddings planned from 2019-2021 found themselves pivoting – shrinking their plans, postponing, or changing to elopements altogether. While understandable with the increased risk of the pandemic, these changes have left some families and couples feeling left out. Missing out on some of life’s milestones can leave people feeling upset and create a desire to make up for lost time or missing moments by gathering friends and family for a second or sequel wedding to celebrate the union of two people.

And this is not only for people whose marriages have been affected by Covid. There are SO MANY reasons for a second or sequel wedding today. From vow renewals for couples who never had the opportunity (or resources) to have the wedding of their dreams when they were young to those who are simply not on their first marriage, the reasons for a second or sequel wedding are endless.

No matter the cause, these events provide an excellent opportunity for couples to let go of the pressure and stress that many feel when getting married in a traditional ceremony for the first time. Couples planning their second (or third, or fourth…) event have an opportunity to focus less on elements like registries and traditional expectations and more on showing their guests, and themselves, a good time and creating an occasion to celebrate.

There are a lot of differing opinions in the wedding industry. As there should be! Weddings – what they represent, what they signify, what they include – come in as many different varieties as couples out there getting married. That being said, for couples looking to get married, understanding how specific terms get used can ensure shared understanding as they begin to plan their event.


Many people dream about their wedding days. For couples who married during the pandemic there is a valid and real feeling being expressed that they “settled” and were forced to make the best of a bad situation. First, if you are feeling this way, we hear you and your feelings are valid. Second, there are many ways to celebrate after the wedding to honor and celebrate you and your partner.


  • SEQUEL WEDDINGS: A sequel wedding, also known as a multi-day/event wedding, is often used when couples have multiple events to signify their union. This could be because the couple chose to elope and still wants to celebrate with family and friends or because a couple wants to cater to long-distance loved ones with a separate event in another location. For many, the pandemic interrupted ideal plans, forcing couples to plan small gatherings or private events, and now they’re looking to celebrate in a bigger way. Any of these could be called a sequel wedding or event.
  • VOW RENEWALS: For some couples, one celebration of their love simply isn’t enough. They may decide to plan a vow renewal, an event in which couples reaffirm their commitment to one another, often in front of family and friends. This could be because they didn’t have the resources or time to have an original wedding that fulfilled their dreams or simply because they want to do something to demonstrate how special they are to one another. While there’s no specific time frame, many couples who have been together for years conduct a vow renewal.
  • SECOND (or third, etc) WEDDINGS: Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. Spouses may drift apart or realize they are no longer compatible. Or maybe their union was strong, but one partner, unfortunately, passed away. Just like there are a million different reasons to get married, there are equally as many reasons why someone may find themselves single and falling in love with someone new. These couples may find themselves planning a second (or third or more!) wedding. While there can be many similarities between a sequel (or second) wedding, there may be unique elements for those who have been married to someone else before.

Why the pros love sequel weddings

Typically the couple is already comfortable around me and is used to being posed for photos. [Things are] wayyyy more relaxed at the 2nd event.

Lauren Johnston

Mystache Photography

It’s typically everyone’s first time getting married, except at a sequel event. Couples are calmer, the day doesn’t have as much pressure on them, they’re just there to celebrate and have a good time. This allows their vendor team to really focus on execution vs. putting out any of the small, typically image-associated fires that crop up on wedding days.

Ashley Lachney

Alston Mayger Events

Reasons couples Choose Sequel Weddings

  • Covid forced smaller ceremonies: Now that things are more open couples are planning full receptions to celebrate their union.
  • Distance: When couples live far from friends and family it is typical to have a local ceremony where they live now and receptions or celebrations in their hometowns, especially for those that want to celebrate with their elderly relatives that find travel difficult.
  • Religions: Couples who come from two separate religious backgrounds sometimes choose to have two separate ceremonies to honor their religious beliefs.
  • Destination Weddings: Sequel weddings are very typical when couples choose an exotic local. It’s the perfect solution to keeping the ceremony small but still celebrating once everyone gets home.
  • People who want multi-day events: By hosting your wedding at a Bed & Breakfast or at a resort you get more time with the people you love.

Ways to Celebrate Your Sequel Wedding

  • Plan an activity you love: Invite family & friends (arcade, bowling, karaoke, comedy night, or rent a room in your favorite restaurant). Fill your favorite place with the people who love and celebrate you both.
  • Potluck dinner: Get everyone together to share a meal. Have them bring their favorite dish plus the recipe for the happy couple.
  • Camping/Glamping: Start planning this one early in the PNW as camping spots go quick! Pick a weekend and invite friends and family to join you at a favorite camping spot. Share a weekend of fun, games, and campfire stories.
  • Party in the park: Rent a shelter in a local park and invite your favorite food truck to cater. Kids can play, friends and family can mingle, games can be played (cornhole tourney anyone?).
  • Cake and Dancing: Who doesn’t love dessert? Instead of doing a full dinner reception find a venue where you can set up cocktail tables to share the cake cutting and dessert bar then dance the night away.
  • Full Blown Party: Do you think that just because you eloped you can’t have a blow-out party? Think again!

Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to choose between eloping and celebrating with loved ones. It’s 2022. You can do both. An elopement can be a great way to minimize costs and stress around the initial ceremony and the wedding itself, but that doesn’t mean a big reception later is out of the question. For many couples, eloping first and planning a separate reception or sequel wedding can be a great way to get the best of both worlds. Couples can balance wanting to celebrate with loved ones without getting too wrapped up in the pressure of a large-scale wedding.

This combination of events has never been more common as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Millions of couples saw their plans disrupted, with many turning to elopements, micro-weddings, and private ceremonies to get married safely. Years later, receptions provide priceless moments with friends and family.

ideas for honoring your initial cermony

  • Decorate your venue with large-scale prints from your ceremony.
  • Create a montage of all the congratulatory messages you received after your initial wedding.
  • Ask your friends who couldn’t attend part I to stand up and give a blessing to your union.
  • Wear your wedding attire (or take the opportunity to show off a new wedding dress/suit!)
  • Give a speech listing the best things about being married. Now that you’ve had a chance to live in your newly married life ahead of your big celebration, you probably have wisdom and anecdotes to share.

Stay up to date with the biggest wedding trends with the latest issue of our magazine.