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These days, many women over 40 are trying to deal with the motherhood question, and planning a wedding, all at the same time. In fact, given the priority of our bio clocks, the wedding can often take a back seat. With all that stress, what can we do to make planning a midlife wedding easier?
I was 42 years old when I put on a wedding dress for the very first time. I call myself the “late bloomer bride” (or LBB) because it took a few tries with the guys to find Mr. Right.
When I finally met my Husband, and we were planning our wedding, I discovered I still wasn’t beyond the age of having to consider “wedding things,” such as strapless, or high neck? A vineyard, or a hotel? Do we invite our work colleagues, or not? I fussed over the menu and wine list like any-aged fiancée.
But, some decisions around our wedding just felt different than what I believed my younger counterparts might have to deal with. (I had two younger sisters who got married in their 20s, and somehow I don’t think they asked themselves if a completely strapless gown was appropriate or not.)
When looking for advice specific to the 40+ bride I found, well…nada. The bookshelves and Wikipedia aren’t exactly brimming over with guidance (of any sort, not just the wedding kind) that applies to a woman who has had her own career, finances, ideas and more already established before merging her life with another person’s. Clearly, there was the seed of an idea for a blog here!
Let’s address the wedding, specifically. Yes, budget, theme, location, invitation list and more can be somewhat similar. But, below is a list of particular questions for the LBB that may yield different answers, or carry more or less weight than someone who is contemplating marriage much earlier in their life.
1. How will you and your spouse handle the budget? My husband and I primarily paid for our wedding. Since we split the wedding – and the honeymoon — down the middle (I paid for my dress, however) there was much negotiating on how much we should spend and where we should spend it — and it was entirely based on our own tastes and desires. No in-law input here!
2. What is the most important quality for your special day? Are you interested in a spiritual vibe or have it be the most fun party ever had? Want your mom to walk you down the aisle instead of dad? Release butterflies or hand out peacock feathers to wave you off to your honeymoon? You are only limited by your imagination because “being older” means you get to break all the rules.
3. What do you want to do about gifts? If you are over 40, you probably already own enough cookware, linens and other things normally gifted to newlyweds. Do you want to try something nontraditional, such as asking for donations to a special charity or things that follow a certain theme? (One LBB I know asked for things to support their honeymoon to Thailand, including electrical adapter kits and a new set of luggage.)
4. With whom do you want to share your special day? The older bride has usually settled into certain social and family circles, which don’t change as quickly from her earlier days. You needn’t give into “obligatory” invites as much as our younger brides might believe. But, you’ll probably have a longer list to cull, so ensure your spouse and you are on the same page as to who gets the invitation, who does not, and why.
5. What “look” do you want to convey? Let’s face it, you’re probably more financially stable at this point and have more options for the dress, hair, make-up and jewelry than a younger bride. Do not follow any rules about what you “should” look like, but rather what will make your feel the best. Because the one thing that doesn’t seem to change – no matter your age—is every bride wants to look beautiful. And, yes, it’s okay that your dress cost more than your first car. Mine did.
What did you find different in planning your wedding today than if you were much younger?
Notes for this blog:
Suzanne Henry is a writer, blogger and PR consultant who found herself walking down the wedding aisle for the first time at age 42. Finding so few resources around getting married for the first time over age 40, she launched her blog, www.LateBloomerBride.com (http://latebloomerbride NULL.com/) in 2009 in an effort to bring women in similar circumstances together to share resources, stories and ideas on how to merge their fully formed lives with another who turned out to be Mr. (or Mrs.) Right. Suzanne lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with a year old Westie dog and “Husband,” who tolerates Suzanne’s blogging passion always with a smile.
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