Bridal and beauty blogger Lara Barakat, AKA @ATouchofWhite, gives us the lowdown on throwing sensational second life weddings…
Fifty-plus weddings should always be fabulous, no matter what your age or how many times you’ve previously walked down the aisle; the best thing about weddings after 50 is that there are simply no rules to follow.
You’re not expected to walk down the aisle in a white wedding dress, and you’re less likely to use a church. Here’s how to host a stylish, glamorous wedding that will make your younger guests totally envious…
1. Do it your way
When we reach a certain age we know our own minds better, and it’s essential to choose the style and size of your wedding before planning anything else, so sit back, relax and discuss the options with your future spouse. Would you prefer an intimate ceremony with relatives and close friends? Or why not paint the town red and host a lavish ceremony, or do something really unusual? Think about the season you want to get married in. If your previous wedding(s) were in the summer, then maybe consider an autumn or winter wedding. This will really help narrow down the available venues/locations and give you some ideas for content. Style the event exactly as you want it and maybe go the extra mile and hire a wedding planner for a stress free process.
2. Yes you can and should wear a (white) wedding dress if you want to!
Although you may be less inclined to wear a princess-silhouette wedding dress down the aisle, there are plenty of other elegant options you can choose from that won’t compromise your style. My current favourites are mermaid and A-line silhouettes, but there’s no restriction – wear what the heck you want! This brings us to the second important question… for those of you who are hesitant to wear the colour white just because back in the day it used to resemble virginity, don’t be! News is, even first-time brides are experimenting with colour; this season’s bridal couture was filled with blush pink, and baby blue wedding dresses. Nothing is taboo and there are hundreds of shades to choose from, so pick a colour that compliments your skin tone. Even white.
TOP TIP: To keep up with the latest wedding day trends why not have two dresses? Some brides like to spice things up by changing into another outfit midway through the party. If they can, so can you. Be totally extra, and change your hairstyle, lipstick colour and even shoes – a new look for a new you.
3. Choose the ring you love
This piece of jewellery is one of the most important accessories you own, therefore do your research, discover what you like and dislike, try new styles and don’t be afraid to go off piste by choosing something completely different. As an older and maybe more traditional couple, you may feel obliged to follow the ‘matching wedding rings’ tradition; that’s all well and good, but if you like a style that your future spouse doesn’t, then throw out the rule book and spice things up a little by having a different style ring. At the end of the day this ring symbolises your eternal love for one another, so make sure it’s something you can live with forever!
4. Go big or go home with your bridal squad
Being the fabulous social butterfly that you are, when you reach your 50s and 60s you probably know more people than you will at any other time in your life. There’s no limit to how many members your bridal party should have. Young brides these days are referring to their bridal party as ‘Team Bride’, and ‘Bride Tribe’. Trust me when I say these squads are not small. It’s always best to include rather than exclude, so take this opportunity to blend both families together. If you have daughters, stepdaughters, daughters-in-law, grandkids (and even the boys!), get them involved.
5. Pre-wedding parties
This may not be your first hen/stag do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have another one, and make it better than the one before. Whether you choose to have a joint or separate party, the key rule is to have fun. Maybe dressing up is a step too far but you could choose a colour theme, go wild on decorations, play games, or if you’re feeling adventurous host your event abroad. A mini holiday with the Bride Tribe before the wedding is such a great idea.
6. Destination Weddings
Up to 50% of second marriages occur abroad. I believe this is mostly because first-time couples don’t get to have the wedding they entirely want, due to other factors (like interfering parents), and that’s one of the things that makes second-timers (or third, or fourth!) all the more exciting. If you have your heart set on a destination wedding, give your guests plenty of notice by sending the invitations ahead of time. Get organised, and arrange with a travel agent for discounted flights and possibly hotel rooms – if you’re booking a large group it’s always worth a haggle. Host an extended wedding weekend full with activities for your guests after the wedding too, so that they stay entertained while you lovebirds enjoy your honeymoon.
TOP TIP: if some of your guests can’t get there and miss out on the festivities, consider hosting a post-wedding party back home to celebrate with them. Hey, it’s a chance for another party!
7. Case of the Ex
If you have been married before, and you have established a peaceful relationship with your past, then you are probably wondering whether or not you should invite them to the celebrations? This can get tricky especially if you have kids. If your new spouse is ok with your ex still being part of your life then why not? It depends on your situation but new starts are fresh beginnings. If their presence will ruin your day or upset your new spouse though, then don’t invite them just for the sake of it. The trick here is to talk about it properly before sending any invites.
8. Leave the past in the past
If you’ve been married before, do everything differently this time round. From the style of your hair to the colour of your flowers, the size of your orchestra or the location of your party; this is a new start for you and your spouse, so definitely time to do things differently. When writing your vows try to avoid indirect references to your previous marriage/relationships such as, “You taught me to trust again”. Consider statements more along the lines of, “This is why our future will be amazing” or “This is why I love you”.
9. Skip the standard registry
Unlike younger couples you are more likely to have a well-equipped household. You’re unlikely to need a pressure cooker or a cruet set. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t register for gifts, and it’s often a way for guests to contribute to something you really want; maybe create an online registry for a honeymoon fund. That way guests can contribute towards your dream honeymoon leaving you with a little extra cash to splash out on having the best wedding party in history.
Lara Barakat is a wedding and beauty blogger and planner. She can be found at A Touch of White. “Wedding planning has always been a passion of mine, simply because there are endless possibilities to what you can achieve with a little inspiration & creativity.”