Beyond Remarriage Bridal Shows: an Interview with Paula Bisacre

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Interview with Paula Bisacre, Publisher, www.RemarriageWorks.com, Founder of the Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides, and author of Journal for Stepmoms

The Remarriage Showcase is far beyond just another bridal show. Not only does it help brides and grooms plan weddings, but it provides them with a recipe for successful marriages and families. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to interview Paula Bisacre, because she’s creative and inspiring in her quest to help remarried couples succeed in their life journey.

What is the remarried bride showcase about?

Paula: The Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides, the premier event for the remarrying bride is the first event tailored to meet the unique wedding planning and lifestyle needs of nearly one million remarrying brides and stepmoms-to-be who get married annually in the US.

How is it different than any bridal show?

Paula: By merging education, resources, expert advice, support, and entertainment into the Remarriage Showcase, we are reinventing the way engaged couples prepare for their encore wedding event, remarried life, and stepfamily living. It is a unique, elegant experience that helps people prepare for not only their wedding day, but for remarried and stepfamily life.

What do you hope to accomplish?

Paula: The divorce rate for second marriages is between 60-70%, depending upon which study you read. This rate is even higher than the divorce rate for first marriages. My goal is to help remarrying couples and stepfamilies-to-be prepared for their second wedding and remarried life. Remarrying couples and stepfamilies have unique needs. And, sometimes they don’t realize how unique their needs are until after their wedding day!

What is your vision for the remarried bride showcase?

Paula: Nearly one-third of the US population is remarried, or considering remarriage. My vision is to take the Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides around the nation – and even world – to help remarriages succeed. Stepfamilies face many unique challenges. And, you can help enable success by anticipating what challenges you may face, and becoming aware of helpful resources, products, and services.

What inspired your vision of the Remarried bride showcase?

Paula: My own personal situation inspired me. When I got engaged to remarry, I got all of the bridal magazines and went to a bridal show. I learned they did very little for someone in my shoes; i.e., over 35 years old with children. And, after I got remarried, I found even fewer resources to help me with challenges that stepmothers and stepfamilies face.

I often say, “You know the word ‘change?’ Not as in ‘changing’ what you are going to wear or seating arrangements, but as in dramatically changing the lives of seven people, aged 6 to 44, all at once in one house? No wedding planner, etiquette book, or well-meaning philosophical conversation with my fiance’, let alone a bridal magazine or show, had prepared me for that.”

Who is it for?

Paula: The Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides is for:

  • Brides who are engaged to get remarried or rather get married again after divorce or widowhood, the “encore bride” in other words.
  • Brides who have never been married and are preparing for their first marriage to someone who may or may not have been married before and has children; i.e., stepmoms-to-be
    Anyone starting life as a stepfamily or blended family.
  • Grooms are most welcome! There are many resources available to help grooms and the couples together.
  • Friends, family! Basically, anyone who wants to learn about the unique needs of remarrying couples and stepfamilies. It is helpful when friends and extended family understand how to best support a new stepfamily.

Do some women give you any feedback about attending the showcase as to how it impacted their wedding experience?

Paula: Yes! And, there have been some immediate positive results. One woman wrote to tell me that she won a book about step-parenting at our Remarriage Showcase and that she used the book and information she learned from the Showcase the very next day!

Another remarrying bride was accompanied by her aunt, who had been happily married already, and she took advantage of and loved the financial-related seminars.

What about the children? Co-parenting?

Paula: Sixty-five percent of remarrying couples have children. Nearly 30 million children under the age of 13 are living in a stepfamily. Another top reason for a remarriage to divorce is issues related to the children. This area is huge and requires much discussion between a remarrying couple with children before, during, and after the second wedding! My #1 piece of advice is to talk, talk, talk with your spouse-to-be! Communication is key. And, I’d be happy to share more at an upcoming Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides! I hope to see you there!

Who do they include in the wedding party, and who do they invite, or avoid inviting?

Paula: This can get very complicated depending upon their personal situation. Generally speaking, I like to encourage remarrying couples to focus on what makes them happy. If the bride doesn’t want to wear white, she doesn’t have to. In fact, I know a woman who got remarried in Vegas in her golden years and she chose to wear black. She felt that it made her look her best, and she was stunning!

There is one thing I feel rather strongly about. If the bride and/or groom have children, they should include them in the wedding somehow. I know a guy who remarried and he didn’t invite his school-age children to his wedding; I don’t necessarily agree with that.

Come to our Remarriage Showcases and meet our encore bridal expert, Martha Wiles. She can help with all of the etiquette and planning questions.

Do they talk about pre-nuptials agreements?

Paula: Yes! They often do. And, we have sponsors that can help with this.

What about money management, estate planning, and budgets?

Paula: Yes! I strongly recommend it. Like with first-time marriages, financially-related challenges is a top reason for second marriages to divorce.

Do they mention a need to learn about how to make this web of relationships succeed?

Paula: Yes, although maybe not often enough. When you get engaged, it is easy to get caught up in the romance and the excitement. Dating a guy and being around his kids for dinner or even vacationing with them is one thing. Living day in and day out with them is another. There are many issues that can come up in a stepfamily. Yaffa, I know YOU are expert at helping to solve such problems that range from holidays, schedules, dealing with exes and extended family, etc. The list goes on and on, right?

Do they have doubts about their chances to be happy in the remarriage?

Paula: Yes, I think some have doubts. And, those who didn’t have doubts up until or on the wedding day can have doubts after the wedding. It is a remarriage journey. New challenges occur with time. Depending upon which study you read, it can take seven to twelve years for a stepfamily to “successfully blend.” Of course, we can write a book about that! I have written a book, Journal for Stepmoms to help stepmoms on their journeys, which can be challenging, frustrating, and stressful. And, other times it’s full of cherished memories, growth, and love.

Where have you hosted the Remarriage Showcase so far?

Paula: We’ve had the Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides in Baltimore and in northern VA/Washington DC. Our next Remarriage Showcase will be held in Leesburg, VA on March 10, 2012. Then we will have two Remarriage Showcases:

  • Morgan Run Club in Rancho Santa Fe, CA on October 13
  • Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club in Coto de Caza, CA on October 14

Who are your sponsors?

Paula: We have sponsors from wedding-related businesses, such as bridal wear, cake design, florists, musicians, dj’s, photographers, jewelers, etc. And, we also have sponsors to help remarrying couples even after their wedding day, such as estate planners, realtors, family law attorneys, mediators, licensed counselors, coaches, financial advisors, etc. In addition, we have experts in travel, health, beauty, family-related services and events, interior design, etc. We’ve even had mortgage experts and builders are interested. Plus, a fashion show with encore bridal attire!

I truly care about who our sponsors are. We seek sponsors who understand and know how to serve remarrying couples’ needs. For example, our brunch sponsor for our upcoming Remarriage Showcase in Leesburg, VA, the owner of Clark & Associates, Inc. really “gets it.” Not only did Rick get selected as one of the 2011 Top Five Advisors of the Year by Senior Market Advisor Magazine, but he, himself has been remarried. Not every sponsor has been remarried, but my team personally ensures that we are aligned with the best sponsors who know how to serve the unique needs of the remarrying bride and groom.

Where will the showcase be next?

Paula: We are having two “meet & greets” on Janary 28-29 at our CA venues, pre-events to talk about remarriage and to meet businesses who may be a great fit for the Remarriage Showcase.

And, River Creek Club in Leesburg, VA on March 10.

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