The Second Time Around
SJ brides finally get the wedding of their dreams
By Erin Bell

On Bonnie Rosenfeld-Kamienski’s wedding day, friends and family gathered in a grand, three-story Cape May beach house to watch her take her vows. A storm rumbled outside, but inside all eyes were on her. Rosenfeld-Kamienski beamed, dressed in a strapless ivory mermaid-cut gown, as her father walked her down the aisle.

It was the wedding she had always dreamed of – and the second time was the charm.

Rosenfeld-Kamienski was married in October – for the second time. But it was no hushed or toned-down affair. Instead, she was given another chance to plan the wedding she had always wanted.

“Everyone called it epic afterward,” she says. “It was so special and different.”

open-cfoster0070Bonnie, 54, and Dean Kamienski, 52, met online in 2003. A resident of Pittsgrove, she decided she was ready to date after divorce ended her first marriage of more than 20 years.

After the couple corresponded with each other and met in person, they found they had much in common.

“We became best friends,” she says. “And it was good, because we took things slow.”

Bonnie and Dean stayed together over the years, even while she went back to school to earn her bachelor’s degree. After she graduated in 2012, the couple started to think about taking the next step.

“He hung out with me for 10 years, and I thought, ‘well I guess I should marry him,’” she laughs.

The couple began planning their dream ceremony. But it would be Bonnie’s second wedding, and at first, uncertainties nagged at them. Should they throw a large party? Get another dress? In the end, the couple decided to have a ceremony that would reflect everything that was special about their union.

“We wanted to do something totally different,” Bonnie says. The two agreed to center their ceremony around their mutual love of the beach – and Cape May in particular.

They rented a house right on the beach for the long Columbus Day weekend. The house was large enough to sleep 22 people, so close family members could stay at the house throughout the celebration weekend.

“We hit a couple of hiccups along the way,” Bonnie admits. The couple had planned to get married on the beach outside the house, but stormy weather and a large number of migrating piping plovers nesting on the sand (they’re an endangered bird that’s protected in Cape May) forced the ceremony indoors. Luckily, the 60 attendees were able to comfortably fit in the spacious first floor of the home.

“People loved it because it was so intimate,” the bride says.

It was important to Bonnie that her three sons from her first marriage were included in the wedding. As her father took her right arm and led her down the aisle, a son took her left arm, transitioning to his brother a third of the way down the aisle. Each brother also read a passage during the ceremony.

“My sons are in their 20s now,” she says. “But when they met Dean they were teenagers. He’s been an important part of their lives, so we wanted them to be a part of the wedding.”

It was certainly a different scene from Bonnie’s first wedding. She was a bride of 21 when she was first married in 1981.

“It was a different time and place then,” she says. “It was a low-budget wedding. But that’s what you do when you’re 21. My biggest regret was I didn’t get very good pictures from my first wedding – we had a friend of my parents take the pictures, and they didn’t come out very well.”

Planning her second wedding was just as stressful and time-consuming as planning her first, Bonnie says. But the biggest change was that she felt empowered to make this new wedding her own.

“For first-time brides, sometimes their parents try to control what they do, and everyone else is trying to give them advice,” Bonnie says. “The second time around,  you’re probably a little bit older and a little more experienced. You know what you want and what you don’t want. It’s really your wedding.”

Caitlin Boshnack, owner of Just Be the Bride Wedding Coordination and Design in Voorhees, helped Bonnie get her big weekend organized. She says that second-time brides have enough life experience to make their weddings more reflective of who they are.

cfoster261“When second-time couples decide to move forward and have a wedding, they often share lives and children and families,” she says. “They have things the first-timers don’t, and they will often know exactly how they want their wedding to be.”

Boshnack does not believe that because it is a second wedding it should be low-key.

“Either they went all-out the first time and want a smaller wedding, or they didn’t get to go all out-on the first wedding and want to have that big, party wedding now,” she says. “Now that they’re more established, second-time-around couples might have the means to have the big party they didn’t before.”

Whether you go for a large or small wedding, Boshnack says that planning a second wedding requires the same amount of work as the first.

“You still have to book vendors and photographers, and send out save-the-date cards,” she says. “Your guests are just as busy now as the first time you got married, and you’ve got to let them know in advance.”

Though planning a second wedding still takes effort, Luca Longhi, general manager at Clarks Landing Yacht Club in Delran, says couples can allow more flexibility in the ceremony and venue this time around. “And don’t feel like you have to throw a big event.”

He recommends holding the ceremony on a Sunday afternoon instead of a Saturday night – there’s a better chance you can get the venue you want and that friends and family will be free to attend.

As for gifts, Boshnack says that creating a gift registry is still perfectly acceptable for a second-time wedding.

“It’s certainly more difficult to figure out what you can register for when you’re a second-time couple, and you already have a home and have everything you need,” she says. “But if you want to do a gift registry, think about what household items you could use replacements for and register for those.”

However, Elaine Long, director of sales and marketing at the Camden County Boathouse, says many second-time couples prefer monetary gifts. “Gifts are less and less popular as the years go by,” she says, noting that money is always appreciated.

It is also important for second-timers with children to find a way to incorporate them into the wedding, says Katlyn Mogavero, catering manager and wedding planner at The Grand Hotel in Cape May.

She suggests that second-timers include their children in the bridal party or make the traditional first dance with the children. “That way, you can still have the hoopla of a big party, but you’ve made it family-oriented,” she says.

Boshnack suggests doing something special like giving your children a ring to show they are part of their parents’ commitment. But be aware of your children’s needs.

“It depends on their age,” she says. “Sometimes if you have older children, they have their own lives. Feel out how interested they are in being a part of your ceremony. For younger kids, a second-time marriage can be a sensitive topic for them.”

Above all, Boshnack advises second-time brides to stay true to the wedding they want. “I always tell my brides that you can’t worry about what people are thinking. There is so much in wedding etiquette that is at your own discretion. People make weddings their own now. They make their own traditions.”

January 2014
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