Widowed three years ago, I am over 50 and engaged to be married for the second time. In doing research on “mature” weddings, I discovered that women like me are often referred to as “encore brides.”
I was surprised to find a whole industry out there that caters to encore brides. There are dozens of websites, as well as a magazine with information on everything from dresses and appropriate invitation wording, to etiquette concerning the size of the ceremony and wedding party.
Some of the “tips” I uncovered for older second-time-around brides were really amusing. For example a segment on The Today Show featured shorter, fuller dresses for older women “who still usually have nice looking legs and should show them off.” I guess the announcer was trying not to say that many of us are not quite as shapely as we were years ago, and need to avoid the strapless, skin tight gowns that are popular among today’s younger first-time brides.
My etiquette education also included the fact that it is acceptable to wear white again, but choosing color is advised as we mature brides are apparently not blushing--and need to brighten up our sagging faces. How about the idea that most of us just feel bolder and more confident over 50, and want to wear something that reflects that?
While surfing the net, I came across a not-so-short, bright red dress that caught my “starting to develop a cataract” eye. I thought, “How cool would that be? A bold red dress for a new beginning!” I printed the picture and showed it to a friend who is my age.
“You can’t wear red when you get married!” she shrieked. “You need a nice ivory or tan suit that comes to just above your ankles.” A dull colored, long suit??? I don’t want to wear something from the Hannah Montana collection, but I don’t want to look dead either.
One of the best things about being over 50 is that you are no longer afraid to do what you really want to do. So who says this encore bride can’t wear a bright red wedding dress? Just watch me! How about some sparkling red stilettos to match? And I might even finish off the ensemble with a big bangle bracelet, dangling earrings, and ruby lipstick.
Melinda Richarz Bailey
WOOFers Club Blog