Colum­nist Re­becca Eck­ler on be­ing a mid­dle-aged maybe-bride and whether or not to have a white wed­ding dress

Village Post - - Contents - By Re­becca Eck­ler

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.

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