Weddings for mature couples

Published date: 2nd January 2019

We all hope our first wedding will be our last, but divorce statistics shows it ain’t necessarily so. Bereavement and finding someone new is another route back to the altar. One in three or four weddings then is a second time around for one or both of the happy couple, or they may just be getting round to it after years together. Plenty of brides and grooms today are thus past the first flush of youth. What does that mean for the wedding plans?

First things first, for second marriages it just isn’t done to ask parents (if they’re still around) to put hands in pockets again. On the plus side that means you have more control than do many young brides and grooms. There is a similar taboo about wedding gifts for second timers, friends and family already having helped with getting started. A nice idea to cover this but still allow a gesture of goodwill is to nominate a charity or charities to which friends can donate.

What to wear, what to wear? The groom – as rather often is the case – has it easy: formal looks fantastic on the older man. A good watch, nice cufflinks, shiny shoes and you’re away. Or a good lounge suit is equally excellent (but as ever – in keeping with the style she determines).

The bride on the other hand has choices. White may be worn, though it may generate a few comments. It’s also not a great colour for women of a certain age as the French say: experts push champagne as a better option, cream is frequently seen to good effect, and a splash of colour makes a statement about positivity. Strapless rarely works beyond the 30s, and silk is so much smarter than satin (too bingo). Church dos see more dresses than bridal suits, and registry offices or other venues the other way round, but there’s no hard and fast rule. If you feel comfortable in it, love it, want it, do it. But once past 40 the full meringue is (euphemistically) a brave choice. For accessories pearls. They work superbly on mature women, more than on younger ones. So sophistication, not bling.

Second weddings can mean baggage on the family and friends side. Be sensitive to the sensitivities of others – even if your ex’s brother is your best friend, he will not in all likelihood welcome a best man request.

Such wedding parties tend to be on the smaller, more intimate size. If you are going very small, and have the funds, why not hire a small hotel or castle and put up the whole party? Or pay for a destination wedding? But beware of mission creep – you may find that because they love you so much (not because you are marrying in the Seychelles) some relatives really want to be there for you, even if they haven’t recently. On a similar line, beware of using a favourite grandchild in the ceremony if he/she is not the only grandchild. No explanation needed.

More modestly a big table in a restaurant – a private room perfect – is often the best option for the reception. You can move around, chat, reminisce, enjoy a good meal and fine wines, and not have to pretend that you can still dance until the early hours and love being deafened by DJs.

A reception without speeches is not to be contemplated. This is about the future, so no cursing exes please. Given you have both lived long enough to have something to say, mature couples often both proffer a few words; and if it is a small restaurant do it can be nice to go round the table and have everyone say one or two.

Fewer rules, more relaxed, more sophisticated, and look to the future. We hope love is lovelier, the second time around as the song has it.

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