Two Weddings: Your Guide to Having Two Wedding Ceremonies

If you're from different religious backgrounds or have faraway families; here's how exchange vows twice!

As more and more couples now come from different parts of the country, the world, or cultural backgrounds, a new trend has emerged: having two weddings.

Photo: Maloman Studios

As more and more couples who get married now come from different parts of the country, the world, or cultural backgrounds, a new trend has emerged in wedding planning: having two weddings. Destination weddings at a midpoint between two faraway families can be a solution for those who desire an intimate wedding ceremony. For sweethearts with different cultural or religious backgrounds (like Indian-American weddings for example), but similar geographical family locations, an interfaith ceremony that blends aspects of each culture can work – provided neither family are strict traditionalists.

However, as many in relationships know, sometimes compromise just isn’t enough. If the logistics of getting everyone in one place or making everyone happy is just too difficult, planning and having two ceremonies may be right for you. Whether you choose to have two ceremonies in one location, or decide to accommodate far-flung families by having two separate weddings, we have tips on how to handle these potentially complicated nuptials.

indian ceremony with interracial couple
Photo by Lin & Jirsa Photography; Floral Design by The Hidden Garden

If you are not traveling for either wedding, try finding a space you can rent for the whole day and do both weddings there. This will help avoid either set of family and friends feeling slighted for “their” wedding being the second wedding celebration. You can offer two cocktail hours to fill the time during the changeover, or find a venue with multiple ceremony spaces and have them set up to allow one set of nuptials to immediately follow the other.

Since each culture gets a ceremony, be sure to incorporate both backgrounds into the reception, so that one does not seem lesser. This can be done through the wedding dress, food, music, and cultural reception traditions.

western reception after indian ceremony
Photo by Lin & Jirsa Photography; Floral Design by The Hidden Garden

When having two distinct weddings, it is important to make sure everyone is aware that two celebrations will occur. Even if the two families are across the world from each other, social media and just plain old-fashioned gossip are likely to give you away and lead to hurt feelings. While labels sometimes get a bad rap, it's helpful to name each ceremony (i.e. “West Coast Wedding,” “Hindu Wedding,” “Catholic Wedding,” “Singapore Wedding”), so guests understand your reasoning for having two ceremonies.

For guests invited to just one of the nuptials, this will also demonstrate the choice was due to reason and logistics, not for being “second-string” guests. Though having each ceremony close together might seem like the right call, consider spacing them at least a few months apart. While it may make your second ceremony seem less authentic to some, it will definitely save you a headache when planning. 

If you still think one ceremony is the right call, learn how to plan an interfaith wedding here. Find out how to fix minor ceremony mishaps, see what happens when you change your last name, and get tips on officiating a wedding