Older Couple, First Marriage

suziequeApril 15, 2014

I have some friends who will be getting married within the next 6 months. They are both 60-61 and have never been married. Not for any reason other than that they have never found anyone that they thought would positively change the lives that they'd each made for themselves, until now!

This is real love, not "better do it now or never" love.

They are not at all interested in the fanfare of weddings but certainly are interested in celebrating with people they love. There will probably end up being about 50-75 people at the ceremony and follow-up party (they're not calling it a reception). The ceremony will be in a church; the party will be outside (with a tent in case of rain or extreme sun).

The bride-to-be is looking for some ideas that will make this special and indicative of the love that has prompted them to make this big change at this point in their lives. It is truly a celebration of the intensity of their love and coming together. They don't want this to be "sappy" - but are looking for ways to celebrate during the ceremony and at the party in ways that aren't necessarily "first wedding in your 20's" type (NOT at all meaning to diss those). They'd like some lighthearted fun things and also plan to do some sweet things themselves.

I told her that I'd throw the question out on here hoping to gain some unique suggestions. They won't be doing the cake-feeding thing, nor the throwing of the garter or bouquet, and all of that stuff. Thoughts? Suggestions for favors? Things to do during the service or afterward?

THANKS! Suzieque

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I have coordinated several weddings for older couples. In all cases, they have had a cake (use forks to feed each other, not fingers). One couple had a three tiered chocolate cake with chocolate icing and decorated with chocolate covered strawberries on top and around the sides. They had their initials on the front of the cake.

The groom of another couple liked fishing, so the bride ordered a surprise groom's cake and decorated it with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head bride and groom. She ordered purple shoes for the bride (her favorite color) and placed a fishing pole in the groom's hand.

The most recent couple served French croquembouche (tower of cream puffs) for dessert.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 1:02AM
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That sounds great, sweet_pea. I LOVE croquembouche!

In this case, this couple simply isn't interested in feeding each other cake or any of the "typical" things. As far as food/dessert go, they're all set (at least I think so).

She has just been asking me about other, atypical wedding things, they could add to the event.

I appreciate your input!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:19AM
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For atypical and inexpensive, forget the favors. Honestly, I'm getting into the ballpark of their age and frankly at this time of life I really don't need any tscotchkes to remind me of a wedding, unless it's small and edible. Even then it needs to be generic, I think I finally used the two miniatures of bourbon neither of us drinks on a fruit cake :-) What I'll do with the golf balls stamped with the wedding date lord only knows...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:06PM
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Good point, Colleen. And I agree with you! No more little things like that. VERY good point. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 3:39PM
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I'd have them think of a) their perfect day (not specifically their wedding day, just a perfect day and b) the perfect party (again, not wedding themed, just the perfect party they'd like to host).

Between the two, they should come up with some ideas of things they'd like to do at their celebration.

Here's what I'd come up with:

Perfect day.

Wake up to a sunny morning. Breakfast on fresh orange juice, and waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

Go to a bookstore and browse for a couple of hours and buy one or two new books.

Have my nephews and niece join me for lunch at my favorite sandwich place.

Spend the afternoon walking along a woodland path.

End the day on my front porch with a glass of lemonade.

Perfect party.

Guest list of my huge family and a few close friends. Casual. Fun things for the kids to do--volleyball, water slide, bouncy castle. Horseshoes for the adults (at least the ones not on the water slide).

Lots of really good picnic food--potato salad, deviled eggs, fried chicken.

Bonfire and fireworks in the evening.

So my wedding celebration might be in the morning (I love mornings) after an 9:00 am wedding, featuring a brunch with waffles and strawberries and whipped cream, orange juice (maybe with a bit of champagne), lemonade, some sort of chicken, and potato and pasta salads.

There'd be some outdoor games with a horseshoe competition. And activities to keep the kids out of the adults' hair.

And since my town library rents out the main reading room (which is very elegant and based on an Italian Renaissance palace), I'd have the ceremony and party there, with the games out on the lawn.

I think if they stop thinking about "wedding activities" and start thinking about "what I like that would be fun to do," they'll end up with a great day to remember.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:59PM
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Camlan gives great advice.

And definitely, no favors! I am not a fan of them for weddings anyway. They seem more appropriate for children's birthdays.

I'd only add not to worry about being different or unusual just because they are older -- or really for any reason. Miss Manners once pointed out that whenever people feel that they have to make a point of their wedding being a celebration of their love or something like that, it ends up coming across like either protesting too much (and thus suggesting that something is wrong), or like bragging and preening that your love is somehow better than everyone else's. Much better to let your happiness shine through simple and traditional forms.

Gimmicks are not what makes weddings special. It's how happy everyone is about the happiness of their dear ones. If that's there, then the wedding is wonderful even with the least memorable arrangements, and if it isn't, the most fabulous wedding plans in the world won't help.

This post was edited by gellchom on Sat, Apr 19, 14 at 17:37

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 5:35PM
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Circus Peanut

Mr. Peanut and I just got married (city hall, no fuss) 3 months ago and are having a wedding party on my 50th birthday this summer to celebrate it with family and friends.

Honestly, we haven't even considered things like favors, that seems so far from where we're at in spirit. It's a first marriage for both of us, but we don't want any of that silly frou frou stuff like garters and cake with figurines and horrid colored fondant. Although we are indeed having a cake, chocolate frosted chocolate of course. :)

I'm mostly focussed on figuring out which food would be both tasty and gluten-free, and where to find the right sized tent. Ha! My concession to "wedding" is to have lots of pretty floral arrangements and satin ribbons in matching colors tied around the damask napkins. And I'm making my own dress which is fancy and silk but not at all white satin.

In terms of games or entertainment, we're really just having toasts at the dinner - c. 50 people. A number of people have spoken up and announced their intent to compose a toast, so I'm assuming that will be entertainment enough. Those of us feeling frisky might change after dinner for a big volleyball game.

At our age, our parents are in their late 70's, so "games" are a bit much to expect. If you plan such things, I'd make them clever and verbal and simple for everyone to hear (!), and not involving a lot of getting up and down or rushing around.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 5:35PM
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I just have to highjack for a minute. Circuspeanut, it has been ages since I have seen a post from you! I remember your kitchen with the copper counter. Then, I think you moved, but I don't think you posted updates.
Congratulations on your marriage and upcoming celebration.
Would love to hear an update.
Now back to our regularly scheduled topic.....

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 6:32PM
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I think your plans sound terrific! I wish I could be there.

One suggestion: While I, too, am not crazy about garters, figurines, and fondant, some people like them. So I think it is best not to call other people's choices "silly frou frou" or "horrid." Other things don't have to be WRONG for our choices to be right.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 2:54PM
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I'm coming back to ask, why not throw the bouquet and cut the cake and all the other stuff? There's nothing about cutting a wedding cake and feeding a small piece to your new spouse that only 20-somethings have a claim on.

I've been to two weddings where the Happy Couple did none of the traditional things, and they both felt a little flat. Even the cake cutting was done in a corner where most of the guests couldn't see.

Traditional things are traditional for a reason, usually. Mostly because people like them.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 6:03PM
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Circus Peanut

hi Ellendi: thanks! And thanks for remembering me. :) I still hang out at GW on occasion and am gearing up for a kitchen redesign in my new old house - looks like it will be delayed 'til next year, but am scouring the Kitchens forum for good inspiration until then.

Gellchom: you're right, and I apologize for any offense to fondant and frou-frou fans. I was in the mode of empathizing with the OP's older couple, who also don't want the traditional wedding set-up.

Another new idea: our mothers, hitherto unbeknownst to us, have been setting up a large digital slideshow of our *entire lives* prior to meeting one another. It will play in the background in some room in the house, apparently.

So: a silent (or even more entertaining: narrated!) slideshow would be another idea for folks who are not young and have quite a lot of interesting life experiences behind them that are not necessarily known to all of the wedding guests.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 10:42AM
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What gellcom said. Very well stated.

I have kids in their twenties, so a lot of my friends are helping plan weddings with their twenty-something-year-old daughters.

I understand (at least I think I do) about the couple not wanting a first-wedding-in-their-twenties feel, but I think your friends in their sixties might be surprised to see how some of these first-wedding-in-their-twenties couples celebrate their marriage. Why don't you or they forget about that whole not-a-young-first-time-couple-in-their-twenties thing and look at what some of these young brides are doing?

They're having no wedding attendants, or attendants of the opposite gender, or having their pets in the ceremony. They're going barefoot, or not. Weddings in the park, by a creek, by a pond, in a museum. Short dresses, long dresses, sundresses, whatever suits the bride best. Banjo music, harp music, classical music, pop music, whatever. Horseshoes, volleyball, sack races at the reception. Picnics, potlucks, doughnuts or ice cream in lieu of cake.

If your friends want light-hearted, fun, sweet and out-of-the-box things to do at their wedding, some of these young brides are doing some wonderful things. Look on the internet and there are terrific ideas out there.

The slideshow thing seems to be pretty common here regardless of the age of the bride and groom, and it's one of my favorite parts of the weddings I've attended.

I think it's wonderful that this couple in their sixties have found each other and made this huge change in their lives, and that's very special. When I was planning my own wedding as a young bride many years ago, my parents were in a breakdown of their marriage that I was pretty sure was going to end in divorce (as it did). I can't tell you how much courage it took for me to walk down that aisle and make those vows "till death do us part". Making that commitment is a huge thing, whether the bride and groom are young people or in their eighties - beginning a life together is special for both young and old. There is something beautiful in keeping some of the traditions to honor the commitment that couples have been making to each other down through the ages.

Best wishes and congratulations to your friends. I hope their wedding is everything they hope it will be, and their lives together even better.

And congratulations, circuspeanut!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 12:32PM
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