Chapter one of starting a blended family? Throw a spectacular wedding. This summer, I witnessed two “second” weddings, both very different from each other. One was set inside an enchanting garden with a taco truck and the other was hosted and catered by a country club. One casual, the other formal. Both magical.

As different as the celebrations were, they had notable things in common. Dear Millennials, take note. Gen X knows how to celebrate love and party like rock stars. Here’s what all engaged couples can learn from second-time-around nuptials.

It’s okay to be the center of attention and throw yourself a big party. 

Rachael Hunt married Dave Stockham in August surrounded by 75 guests on the lawn of a family home in Holladay. The couple’s six children took part in the ceremony.


As tempting as it may be to play it cool by sneaking off to the courthouse, you’ll disappoint friends and family. Mom, Dad, friends and siblings lifted you as you fell, skinned your knee and ugly-cried until there were no more tears left.

They also rejoiced in watching you be resuscitated by meeting a new partner. They are begging to celebrate you, love and happy beginnings. Now’s not the time to be humble or shy. Send out invites. Buy a gown. Buy a new suit. Hire a taco truck. Go.

Writing love letters never goes out of style.

“In sickness and health” takes on new meaning when you’ve pulled someone out of thier darkest dark or have been yanked out of your own. Waxing poetry on love, playfulness and adventure shouldn’t be reserved for the young. Write your own vows, love letters, toasts, intentions and affirmations. Remind yourselves—and the village protecting you—what loving partnerships are all about.

Asking for favors is cool.

No doubt, hiring party professionals to orchestrate a soiree is a must. Asking for recommendations from your trusted tribe is a cinch. It’s even likely that you have friends that either have careers in or have spent years cultivating the skills of graphic design, floral design, guitar playing, bartending, woodworking, salsa making or writing. They aren’t “in training” to be these things; they are legit talent. Ask for the help. Repay later. Or never. They don’t expect it.

Don’t feel guilty about leaving people out. 

Aly Hill married Matt Wikstrom on a hot September day at the Salt Lake Country Club surrounded by 281 guests, 50 of whom were aly’s kids’ friends.

Once you hit 40, it’s likely you know a chunk of your hometown. Sure, you have hundreds of contacts via social media, the school association, your gym and kids’ activities, but who is it that counts? One of my bride friends said, “We invited the people who were with us from the beginning of our relationship together and supported both of us.” Who champions this new partnership? Who supports the kids? Who can your family lean on in a crisis? That’s your village of support. Everyone else should understand.

Remind your kids how essential they are to the union.

Should you include your children in the ceremony? Yes! Parents instill life lessons to their offspring every day, sometimes every hour of the day. Those little eyeballs watch everything under a microscope. What better way to demonstrate commitment—even through tough times—than to involve the kiddos in the ceremonial pledge.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

The pressure to impress wears off by midlife. Instead of focusing on superficial details, mid-lifers get right to the point: the words, the ceremony and becoming a married unit. (Food and alcohol are a close second, of course.) Anyone who has planned a party—even professionals—will tell you something will go wrong. Couples who have been through divorce, death, financial challenges or identity crises scoff at the party hurdles and hit the dancefloor.

Aly & Matt’s Wedding Vendors

Venue: Salt Lake Country Club, SLC

Planner: Fuse Weddings & Events, SLC

Photos: Pepper Nix, SLC

Flowers: Blooms & Co., SLC

Band: Millennial Beat

Welcome Dinner: Squatters, SLC

Rachael & Dave’s Wedding Players

Venue: Private Residence

Photos: Reed Rowe, SLC

Rentals: Diamond Rental, Murray

Taco truck: Fácil Taqueria

Bartender: Maxwell’s, SLC

Vase rentals: Native Flower Company, SLC

DJ: DJPauly, SLC

Graphic design: Sarah Boyle Creative, SLC