Wedding Etiquette Forum

1st Wedding at 50 years old

Hello,

I will be 50 at the time of my first wedding and I am unsure how to deal with 2 issues that are troubling me greatly.  I met the man I am going to marry after waiting 46 years and turning down 3 other men. For a while there I thought I might never meet someone but now here I am at the age of 50 having my first wedding.  I have 2 issues that have been troubling me and I am hoping someone can help as I want so badly to have a beautiful wedding but given these issues I am thinking of just going to a justice of the peace in my comfy jeans! 

Anyway, the first issue has to do with amount of guests representing each party.  My fiance, Nate, has a large family, a very large family, and while we will not be inviting all of them, we will have to invite a good chunk.  My family, on the other hand, now consists of just my father.  I had a small family to begin with and my mother passed on when I was 18.  Also, given my age we have had other losses so literally it will just be Dad as there is no one left.  There will be friends but I am not a social butterfly so there are only about 10 really close friends we will be inviting and 2 of those are friends that Nate brought to the relationship.  So, my 'side' of the room during the ceremony is going to be so empty and I am feeling very self conscious about it already.  What do I do?  To have Nate's 'side' filled and mine empty except for my Dad, Oh I can't fathom it and it is so distressing I am thinking of just going to the local court house!   

I am at such a loss here I am reaching out today to see if anyone has suggestions as to how to deal with this type of issue?  I will listen to any suggestions as I do very much want to have an actual wedding to celebrate our union.

The second issue has to do with my dress...As you all know by know I am 50 and I have been struggling with what to wear.  The little girl in me, actually even the big girl in me, wants to wear that beautiful wedding dress, the one we all dream of but is that OK at 50?  Will I be the laughing stock?  Should I wear a much toned down dress instead of an actual wedding dress  Is there etiquette that defines this kind of thing? 

I have to admit I know what I want to do, but the question is, is what I want to do the 'right' thing to do?  How do you know and where do the rules come from if there are 'rules'?

Thank you all for reading my story I do appreciate any help you can provide. 

Sincerely,
Jennifer
Massachusetts

Re: 1st Wedding at 50 years old

  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Don't have sides, just seat guests on either side, regardless of who they know better. Have a row of two reserved for your VIPs on each side, otherwise don't worry about sides.

    You re a bride, you can wear whatever makes you happy. Pick something you love and feel beautiful and confident in, regardless of what that dress may be. Your dress has no impact on the comfort or proper hosting of your guests - therefore there is not etiquette rule to consider. 

    GL! And Best Wishes!
    Hello,

    I will be 50 at the time of my first wedding and I am unsure how to deal with 2 issues that are troubling me greatly.  I met the man I am going to marry after waiting 46 years and turning down 3 other men. For a while there I thought I might never meet someone but now here I am at the age of 50 having my first wedding.  I have 2 issues that have been troubling me and I am hoping someone can help as I want so badly to have a beautiful wedding but given these issues I am thinking of just going to a justice of the peace in my comfy jeans! 

    Anyway, the first issue has to do with amount of guests representing each party.  My fiance, Nate, has a large family, a very large family, and while we will not be inviting all of them, we will have to invite a good chunk.  My family, on the other hand, now consists of just my father.  I had a small family to begin with and my mother passed on when I was 18.  Also, given my age we have had other losses so literally it will just be Dad as there is no one left.  There will be friends but I am not a social butterfly so there are only about 10 really close friends we will be inviting and 2 of those are friends that Nate brought to the relationship.  So, my 'side' of the room during the ceremony is going to be so empty and I am feeling very self conscious about it already.  What do I do?  To have Nate's 'side' filled and mine empty except for my Dad, Oh I can't fathom it and it is so distressing I am thinking of just going to the local court house!   

    I am at such a loss here I am reaching out today to see if anyone has suggestions as to how to deal with this type of issue?  I will listen to any suggestions as I do very much want to have an actual wedding to celebrate our union.

    The second issue has to do with my dress...As you all know by know I am 50 and I have been struggling with what to wear.  The little girl in me, actually even the big girl in me, wants to wear that beautiful wedding dress, the one we all dream of but is that OK at 50?  Will I be the laughing stock?  Should I wear a much toned down dress instead of an actual wedding dress  Is there etiquette that defines this kind of thing? 

    I have to admit I know what I want to do, but the question is, is what I want to do the 'right' thing to do?  How do you know and where do the rules come from if there are 'rules'?

    Thank you all for reading my story I do appreciate any help you can provide. 

    Sincerely,
    Jennifer
    Massachusetts

    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

    SP29MairePoppy[Deleted User]
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    First, you wear whatever dress makes you feel great. Age doesnt matter. If you want to rock a huge ballgown, then do it.

    Second, I woldnt worry about the number fo guests you or your fi will be inviting.

    Now normally I HATE signs. But if it would make you feel more comfortable, you could have a sign saying something cutesy and clever about two familes becoming oner/ sit wherever you like.

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Thank you for your reply.  About the dress, that is about how I felt but I don't know a lot about weddings and I wasn't sure if there was a certain 'model' I should follow.
    I guess a wedding is what you want it to be, and after your response I realize, why am I so worried?  I have a good head on my shoulders and my wedding should be want Nate and I want it to be, it should not be something defined by 'rules' or what people think we should do!
    Thank you, I appreciate it
    Jen
    Casadenaclimbingwifethisismynickname2morewineplease
  • My guest list was much shorter than H's due to his massive family and my tiny one. People sat where there was room, so there weren't "sides". I think bride side/groom side is kind of fading away as a tradition in itself.

    And ditto PP's. Wear whatever the hell you want! Your age doesn't change a thing. You are a bride celebrating a joyous day on which you deserve to feel beautiful and confident. Dress as such, no matter how poufy, lacy, sequiny, etc. that might be!

    [Deleted User]
  • First, congratulations! 

    Second, don't worry about the sides. You don't need to have a huge wedding, just because he has a huge family. There is no need to invite EVERYONE you know. You could just invite your very closest friends/family and have, say, 20 people. Or you could invite them all and have 500 and most of them will be on his side. So what? Guests don't need to sit on "brides side" or "grooms side" (which I think is a weird tradition anyway). They can just sit where ever, so you have no reason to worry about an empty side :) 

    My fiance has more groomsmen than I have bridesmaids, because he has more close friends than me. That's ok. Uneven sides are the cool thing to do these days anyway B) 

    As for your dress, there is NOTHING wrong with wearing a big white wedding dress if that's what you want. Age does not matter AT ALL. Go shopping where ever you want to go, and find the most beautiful dress that makes you feel the best, whether that's a yellow sundress or an emerald green ballgown or a white satin sheath, whatever. Doesn't matter. The important thing is to do what makes you happy, and plan the wedding that you and Nate have been dreaming of! 

    Best of luck! 
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    [Deleted User]
  • I would like to echo everyone else's comments not to worry about the sizes of your sides. We had about 75 guests at our wedding, with probably about 50 being from "my side". At the ceremony, people just filled in whatever seats were open, and both sides were even. And we didn't even need a cutesy sign. Imagine that.

    wrigleyville[Deleted User]
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    If wearing a huge white dress will make you happy, then go for it!

    As far as the seating goes, just have open seating with the first two rows reserved for VIPS. The His Side/Her Side tradition is kind of on it's way out anyways.  I always thought it was kind of dumb to begin with. 

    Congratulations on your engagement!   


    image
    SP29
  • OP, you need to go to a few bridal shops and try on dresses.  This is the only way you will b e able to decide what you really want.  Most brides are older these days.  The market reflect this.  You will find something that makes you look and feel wonderful, I am sure of it! 
    Sides don't need to be even.  My daughter married a man with a huge family.  We had about a dozen guests that I actually knew.  We didn't have sides.  It worked out just fine.  Don't worry.

    ...and, CONGRATULATIONS!!!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • rcher912rcher912 Philadelphia member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    Congratulations!!! 

    I actually think the cutesy "Choose a seat, not a side" signs are adorable and I love them.

    And have fun looking at dresses! It shouldn't be a stressful or hard thing, so just go with what you feel beautiful and radiant in. Big, small, white, pink, lace, tulle - anything. Just have a good time!
    SP29
  • I think most people have covered the "sides" issue, but I wanted to chime in regarding your dress:

    When my dad and stepmom got married, it was her first wedding. She was in her mid-fifties. She wore a STUNNING wedding gown. It looked fantastic on her, and believe me, everyone raved about it at the wedding, and for a long time after. Wear whatever makes you happy, and congratulations on your wedding!
    BabyFruit Ticker
    [Deleted User]
  • Denise40Denise40 Montgomery County, Tx member
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    I will be 53 when I get married.  I am wearing a fit and flare wedding dress!  I was like you at first and then from reading everyones great advice, I said I'm going for it.  Ours will also be a small wedding.  Have the wedding you dream of!!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    southernbelle0915
  • Except for keeping the first one or two rows for VIPs, let guests sit where they like- no worries about sides!

    Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in! If YOU feel like a bride, that's all that matters. 
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think PPs have covered it- don't worry about "sides". Many people just have guests sit wherever they would like. 

    Also, wear whatever makes you feel fabulous! Want the big, white meringue dress- do it! Prefer a tea length bright blue dress- how chic! In your comfy jeans- if that makes you feel great, fab!

    Elizabeth Taylor was married 8 times and seriously rocked some amazing wedding dresses even at nearly 60- it is all about your confidence
    image
    novella1186OliveOilsMomslothiegal
  • OP -- CONGRATS!!!  Wear whatever you'd like and don't worry about sides.  Many of "my" people sat on my husbands side as he had less attend the ceremony.

    ohannabelle -- That woman is easily over 50 to you?? I definitely disagree.  30s or 40s.


  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    Just showing up to give support :) You can wear ANYTHING you want. And if people want to judge it, pfft. They were going to judge whatever you were going to wear. It only matters that YOU feel beautiful. It'll make for the best day possible.

    Congratulations! 

    image
  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    Just going to reiterate what the PPs have said because it's good advice. Don't worry about the sides.

    Wear whatever makes you feel beautiful. Of course no one will laugh at you. There's no rule that says you shouldn't wear a traditional wedding dress if you like. And if you want some help finding a particular style of dress or just seeing what options are out there, I recommend posting on the Attire and Accessories board. The ladies over there are great at helping to find dresses.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker



  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I don't like the cheesy "pick a seat, not a side" signs, so we just had our ushers seat people on each side. That's an option if you have ushers; just have them seat people so the rows are relatively even.

    southernbelle0915
  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    I don't like the cheesy "pick a seat, not a side" signs, so we just had our ushers seat people on each side. That's an option if you have ushers; just have them seat people so the rows are relatively even.
    This is a good suggestion. Or if you have individual chairs for the ceremony put out just enough for the number of guests.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker



  • natswildnatswild The F-f-f-rozen N-n-north (Northern Alberta) member
    Fourth Anniversary 250 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    OP-I'll be 47 by the time I get married, FI has 6 people on his side, and I have 44 on mine.  No issue at all.  Find a great dress and rock it!

  • Dreamergirl8812Dreamergirl8812 your closet member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    You'll figure out the style of wedding dress you like and look good in when you go dress shopping. Wear whatever makes you look and feel awesome.

    I think signs are tacky and anything "cutesy" needs to be lit on fire (see siggy below). But I think most people care more about sitting where they can see the ceremony than which side they "represent." And people tend to have an eye for symmetry so if one side is filling up, people tend to gravitate to the other side.

    Your wedding will be beautiful.



    Anniversary
    image

    image
  • Try on some "traditional" wedding dresses AND a few non-traditional ones if you're not sure. Personally, I see nothing wrong with wearing a white wedding dress at age 50, but I also found when I was looking for a wedding dress (I just recently found mine) that the only way I could really figure out what I wanted and what I felt best in was trying things on. Keep your options open and you'll find something that makes you feel awesome, whether it's the typical wedding dress or not.
    image
  • Jennifer, first and foremost: CONGRATULATIONS! I am so pleased for you. I will be 55 when I get married in March 2015. I am with so many of the other writers here when it comes to wearing what you want. I ordered a made-to-order gown (from Hong Kong!) in silver. This is my first wedding. My fiance is going to wear a black suit and shirt. She, yes, that's right, SHE, just didn't want to do the dress thing. I am so happy to be marrying her that I don't care what she wears. As far as the family and seating arrangements, we are hosting our wedding in our apartment party room. So, no aisles or sides. I hope your Dad has a great time and that he is well received by his new family. It might be kind of nice for him too, to have a little bigger family now -- same for you. Again, congrats!
    [Deleted User]
  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    blabla89 said:
    I don't like the cheesy "pick a seat, not a side" signs, so we just had our ushers seat people on each side. That's an option if you have ushers; just have them seat people so the rows are relatively even.
    This is a good suggestion. Or if you have individual chairs for the ceremony put out just enough for the number of guests.
    I like this too. :) It wasn't an option at ours since it was in a chapel with pews, but we definitely would have done that if we'd had chairs.

  • I went to 2 weddings recently where the "sides" were definitely not even. The first wedding the grooms side was much smaller than the brides. The bride had her brothers as ushers leading people to sets in the church dispersing the crowd evenly between both sides so it made the church feel full rather than lopsided. The second wedding it was the opposite the brides side was much smaller than the grooms. She had a sign that said "Today two families become one. So we ask you to please choose a seat not a side".
  • First of all, Jennifer, congrats!  What an exciting time! 
    I agree with the PPs.  Never worry about uneven sides, and wear what you love to wear.

    For seating, depending on the venue you select, you could elect to have a different seating arrangement.  I've seen circles of chairs around a central altar or no aisle at all.  I've been thinking about skipping the aisle entirely and having the chairs arranged in one "block," if you will.  Of course, then you don't walk down the "aisle" per se, but if you're having a small-ish wedding, no one should have trouble seeing you rock your beautiful dress (or jeans :) ). 
    image
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