Top tips to own your wedding over 50

The average age that we get married now has been steadily increasing over the years, and in the past decade the marriage rates of those aged 50 and over went up by 45% , mostly due to people finding love again in later life.

As restrictions ease and a summer of weddings is back on the cards, Audley Villages looks at wedding tips for over 50s, from eschewing traditional venues to including adult children (and even ex-husbands and wives) in the ceremony.

The wedding dress:

With all eyes on the bride, the wedding dress is often the centre piece of a wedding. Weddings can be characterised by duchess satin and white lace, but when you’re marrying in your fifties, puffy sleeves and meringue styled dress can seem out of place. A blushing bride in white at fifty doesn’t quite work when there are fifty years of life experience under her belt.

In that vein, throw colour altogether out of the window. When the Duchess of Cornwall married Prince Charles, she opted for a light blue and gold embroidered coat with a matching blue chiffon dress. Her baby blue outfit conveyed the class and elegance of a wedding, not to mention a royal wedding, yet embodied the chic and crisp style of a wedding not confined to traditions.

Wearing blue is a nice way of developing personal style in a wedding, whilst the nod to the tradition of something blue. With our future Queen Consort wearing blue for her second marriage, coloured dresses have the royal stamp of approval. That said, don’t be confined to a certain colour.

Opting for incorporating your favourite colour, be it red, pink, yellow, green, can be a way of bringing your personal touch into your wedding. Moreover the “wedding dress” doesn’t have to be a dress. In between lockdowns we saw a rise of registry office weddings. Whilst Covid weddings are a thing of the past, the registry office trouser suit most certainly is not.

A pastel-coloured satin suit jacket with a hat and heels, is chic and a timeless look. Don’t play to tradition, you’re an individual, own your wedding with your personal touch.

An alternative wedding cake:

Whilst meringue wedding dresses are most certainly out of the window, a meringue pudding is absolutely on the table.

Freedom in your fifties allows you to not cater for the traditional dry wedding cake. And let’s be honest, do any of us really like wedding cake? Instead go for what you want. A lemon and buttercream cake can provide fresh flavours of spring.

With the jubilee approaching, a Victoria sponge cake would fit perfectly with a bank holiday weekend wedding. Alternatively, if one doesn’t like cake, then there could be a tower of beautifully arranged pastel-coloured macrons, an arrangement of fluffy chocolate brownies or even a “cake” made of cheese!

Adult children:

Marrying at fifty allows for adult children to be a part of your special day. Both parties sometimes have children from previous relationships and incorporating the blurred lines of a blended family can sometimes be tricky at a wedding. However, in these situations think less “step” more “family”. It is key to treat everyone with equality.

Incorporating both children and stepchildren into the wedding party will foster a sense of good will on the wedding day, but also throughout the marriage. The incorporation of ex husbands and wives in a second wedding, ultimately depends on how harmonious the divorce was. As the parent of your child, it might be important for you or your child for the ex to be there. In the spirit of co-parenting (or co-grandparenting) it could be an olive branch worth sending.

Location, location, location:

A wedding location can make or break the event, and if you’re over 50 and getting married you may want a backdrop for the ceremony other than a traditional church wedding. Considering locations such as beautifully restored period properties are great options for hosting your perfect wedding and reception.

Image: Audley Binswood, Royal Leamington Spa

The elegance and opulence of a Victorian Gothic building or Georgian Mansion would be a beautiful and intimate place to celebrate your wedding and the beautiful green outside is the ideal location for wedding photographs. Be it by a sculpted garden or lake, a picturesque and peaceful English country garden in summer evokes the romanticism of a Jane Austen novel.

Image: Audley Inglewood, Berkshire 

The wedding day is special, therefore where you choose to celebrate will be the embodiment of not only your memories of the day but your guests.

Gift registry:

At fifty a gift registry might feel pointless, at that stage in life you most likely have everything you need. Rather than scrapping it altogether, a gift registry could reflect what you want not what you need. You could ask well-wishers to provide a contribution to your honeymoon. Or one could appoint a family member to organise an experience for the couple to enjoy, dinner (or a cream tea) and a show in London. Another alternative would be to ask well-wishers to donate on your behalf to a charity.

Susan McClean, Operations Director said:

“Those finding love and planning to get married at 50 and beyond should not impact having the wedding of their dreams, taking advantage of the freedom they have now to make their own decisions, and perhaps being more financially secure than in their younger years. This the chance celebrate starting the rest of their lives with their new spouse into retirement living and beyond.”

Read more retirement living stories from Audley property owners, the Audley team and guests.