The first time I got married, all I cared about were things like if the ivory color of the roses would clash with my dress, which was “light gold.” (I sincerely asked the florist that.)

Eventually I’ll write about the reasons my first marriage was a failure, and the reasons my second one isn’t. But that’s too heavy for today. So here, as far as I’m concerned, are some of the main differences about a second wedding, in the most superficial, wedding-specific sense:

1. The first time is about the clothes. The first time, I stood around in every bridal shop in town (and some in surrounding towns) and scrutinized my appearance in wedding dresses of various ridiculousness:

And always with a pained look on my face. Because this was life-ending stuff. I mean, you’re only going to wear one wedding dress in your entire life (so I thought), and it had better be perfect. (I didn’t buy that dress in the picture. I did buy TWO OTHERS, though, because the first one was deemed too ugly,seconds after I bought it. So I bought a second one. Good Lord.)

Second time:

Black dress, black sweater. Bought with my mother-in-law in one trip to Bloomingdale’s. Smiling face. Bouquet of carnations because I love them, even though they are “cheap.” (Although now I notice they kind of look like a head of cauliflower…but who cares?)

2. The first time is about engagement rings. In fair disclosure, my first husband was a jeweler. He sat around all day making people engagement rings and hanging out with someone in a jewelry store distorts your sense of entitlement.

Never mind that we were poor. I deserved something beautiful, didn’t I? And beautiful = huge. Or huger than our budget should have allowed. (Contrary to popular belief, you don’t get a discount if you work in the jewelry business…or much of one. Diamonds cost what they cost.) So I had a perfectly normal wedding ring that was just fine, but I thought should be bigger. What a bitch.

Second time:

Three times as big. Nothing I would have looked at before because of the price tag, but probably would’ve thought I “deserved.” I would have LOST MY MIND before about this. I would’ve thought it was the coolest piece of jewelry ever. Sparkly! Attention-getting! Compliment-demanding!

We were going to buy plain bands because I was pregnant and above diamonds the second time, and I was commending myself because I was so wholesome and thrifty. And then my mother-in-law (do you see a theme here?) got out the family jewelry and suggested I might like my husband’s great-grandmother’s wedding ring. And that I could have it if I wanted.

And that’s worth more to me than anything else, really. (Other than my husband’s undying love, which is symbolizes.)

3. The first time is about the party. About 200 people came to my first wedding. I thought they needed to be there, to witness this important event. And see the roses and dress and the engagement ring. And come to the reception, about which I had a melt down concerning the dance floor.

Second time:

Two witnesses, the bride and groom, and the judge. And the  photographer, who is taking the picture. That’s it. I didn’t care if anyone was there, other than my husband.

And my son, who was there, too. Some day I’ll tell him how happy I was to marry his dad. How nothing, really, mattered but the three of us.