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Why Second Weddings are the Super Heroes of Healing for the Post-Pandemic World.

We’ve been performing simple mini-ceremonies with limited capacity policies, but now find ourselves scripting a new type of wedding, the Second Celebration. Why? And what does that mean?


2022 is gearing up to be one of the busiest wedding seasons in history, and the reason is much deeper than we think. “Collective trauma needs communal healing” – @ritual_ist


This morning, I was inspired by the Instagram videos posted by Rev. Maureen Cotton @maureencottonceremonies based in Beverly, Massachusetts. She describes her Officiant work as creating an Experience Design, and it’s been clear to all of us who have been performing ceremonies over this last two years that the normal design of the traditional wedding has dramatically changed.


Her words at the couple’s second wedding (although she doesn’t refer to it as a wedding and you’ll soon hear why) embodied why the ritual of gathering family, friends, and communities together has an undeniable, significant impact on our collective need to heal from the pandemic.


With the perfection of that day, they have thought deeply about this day, and it’s meaning. Human connection is essential. Gathering is essential.

They knew they had to do it for you.

So please, dance as many dances as your legs can take tonight.

Sing as loud as you can.

Laugh until your face hurts.

Say Thank You, say I Love You to everyone around you.

Let others know how much you appreciate them. Megan and Joe hope you know how much they appreciate you.”

(@penweddings - Video Credit)


It’s a fast-growing trend for the second ceremonies to be performed by friends or family members, and the reason beneath the surface of that is clear – couples are not necessarily seeking a religious or even a formal second wedding, but they are craving an event that is meaningful and personal.


So, what does this mean for Wedding Officiants? For those of us passionate about our work, basic legalities and paper-signings have never been the sweet-spots of our jobs. However, it means that our services need to go deeper into understanding the significance of the role we are playing at these gatherings. It means more effort and understanding that the rituals that we do hold a collective power for healing and servicing what the couples need, their communities need, and what the world needs – collective healing.


Goodbye and good riddance cookie-cutter ceremonies, the Second Wedding is a new Experience Design.


On September 12th, Rev. Maureen reflects on the experience as not being a wedding, but a marriage celebration. Like many couples around the world, the couple had postponed their original wedding celebration and had a small ceremony in a backyard. As Catholics, they originally imagined that they would have a church wedding, but instead worked with Rev. Maureen to have a deeper conversation about spirituality and sacredness what ‘sacred’ means to them. Rather then re-doing their vows and ring exchange, they found themselves wanting to design a new celebration.


What I learned from the beauty of her posts is that the Second Wedding is not a wedding, but a collective healing ritual.


This has personally transformed how I will approach these unique and ever- growing events and this blog post is my expression of gratitude to both Rev. Maureen and Ezra Bookman from The Ritualist for re-imaging what these rituals are really all about.


Photo Credit: Diego and Liza