Columnist Rebecca Eckler on being a middle-aged maybe-bride and whether or not to have a white wedding dress
I have successfully evaded getting married my entire life.
Now, at 41 and engaged, I’m wondering if I’m too old to wear a bridal gown, or rather, I’m confused about what I can, or can’t, get away with as a middle-aged maybe-bride.
I’m certainly not alone. In the new mid-life, many women are now getting married, for their first time, in their 40s.
For me, I have always just wondered if the whole shebang really matters. (I’m oh so modern!)
But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to know what it feels like to look like a bride, even if it’s a bucket-list kind of experience. Could I still get away with a Princess Puffy dress? How much do I want to spend on a dress? Is there a best-before date for certain wedding gowns?
These are the questions Yorkville-based bridal designer Nina Duong is faced with daily.
“I have so many clients now between ages 40 and 45 coming in. Some are on their first marriage, some on their third,” says Duong, whose bridal boutique is located at 84 Scollard St.
“The great thing about my clients in their 40s is that they know what they want. They’re not like 20-year-olds, who have a million ideas, have no idea where they want to start, bring in a ton of pictures on their phone and also bring in their entire family and friends to come in and help them.”
Like 41-year-old me, who Duong considers a “mature client”: I just went by myself.
Mid-life brides, she says, prefer fitted dresses, preferring ivory or even light purples and pinks over basic white. “They prefer colours!”
These days, for the new mid-life, anything goes, she says. Some in their mid-life are even wearing above-the-knee wedding dresses that look like cocktail frocks.
Duong, too, has had many clients who have come in pregnant (no longer is it first comes marriage, then comes baby).
“No one cares anymore if you are pregnant and in a wedding dress. I have many clients who tell me they want to get married at the same time as getting pregnant.”
Duong also says that women in their mid-life prefer to spend less on a bridal gown because we are old enough to know that we’d rather spend thousands of dollars for other memorable experiences.
“They know it will probably only be worn once, and they tell me they’d rather save that money to go travelling or on an extended honeymoon or put a down payment on a new house.”
There are women in their 40s who have come in and bought their wedding dress, even without having an actual fiancé in their lives (yet).
“A few mature women find the dress before the man!” says Duong.
I tried on three dresses. I wasn’t actually prepared for how emotional I would feel trying on bridal dresses.
I felt I could get away with a long gown, a short dress or a funky gown. Who knows? Just because I’m engaged doesn’t mean I will go through with the wedding, but I do think, after trying on bridal gowns, that I should be seen in a gown. So if you see me strutting the aisle — in a grocery store — in a wedding gown, it’s not necessarily because there’s an imminent wedding. It’s because I really felt I looked fabulous, in my 40s, in a wedding gown.
And it’s now off my bucket list!
Nina Duong, Yorkville-based bridal gown designer, says very few mid-lifers are bridezillas
Post City Magazines’ columnist Rebecca Eckler is the author of Knocked Up, Wiped!, How to Raise a Boyfriend, The Lucky Sperm Club and her latest book, The Mommy Mob.