Last Updated on June 11, 2022 by Editorial Staff
By Charlie Fletcher
By the time you’re midlife, you’ve reached your stride when it comes to understanding who you are, what you want, and what you don’t want! It’s becoming more common for people to get married later in life, often for the first time, and there are plenty of benefits to it. If you’re getting married later in life for the first time, it can be an exciting thing! Midlife marriages are often more supportive, have greater warmth, and have stronger communication.
Or, maybe you’re already married and rediscovered your heart for it or reconnected deeply with your spouse.
Whatever the case, your love is worth celebrating!
You don’t have to feel overwhelmed or intimidated by planning a wedding or a vow renewal in midlife. In fact, you can take a lot of pressure off of the event and put more focus on what you and your partner really want.
With that in mind, let’s cover a few tips that can make the planning process easier, so you can organize a wedding or vow renewal that fits your lifestyle and your love.
Choose the Right Setting
If you’ve found love later in life and this is your first wedding, it’s still okay to go “all out” the same way people expect couples to do in their twenties. Don’t feel like your age limits you from choosing a traditional venue option, including places like country clubs, event centers, and hotels.
However, it’s also important not to let yourself be pressured into those venues. Whether you’re getting married for the first time or renewing your vows, your venue needs to be a reflection of who you and your partner are. Some of the best tips to keep in mind as you’re deciding on a venue include
- Find something that works with your vision
- Make sure the venue you choose is appropriate for your guest list size
- Beware of your budget
- Consider what is included in the venue itself
The average cost of a wedding venue in 2021 was over $10,000. If that’s in your budget and you found the perfect place, go for it! However, for something like a vow renewal, you might want to consider a smaller venue like a park or barn/farm with your closest family and friends. Sometimes, more intimate ceremonies – especially for renewals – can feel more magical.
Decide on a Dress Code
Finding a venue might be the first (and biggest) thing you have to do, but the overall vibe and feel of your wedding or vow renewal will have a lot to do with your dress code. Your venue can help out a bit – after all, most people expect to have a more casual code when you’re getting married in a barn or in your backyard.
Again, though, it’s up to you to decide how you want your guests to dress. Maybe you do want a more formal affair if you’re marrying for the first time or trying to recreate your wedding day as you renew your vows. Common types of wedding attire include
- White tie only
- Black tie only
- Smart casual
- Beach formal
- Garden formal
It’s a good idea to let your guests know what to expect ahead of time. Put a little “note” in your wedding invitations regarding the dress code. The last thing you want is for someone to show up in a suit and tie to your beach wedding when you wanted everyone to wear Hawaiian shirts.
Think about your personality and how you want your love to be celebrated. If you want your family and friends to be comfortable while you all dance the night away, make that known. If you want a small, formal ceremony, it’s okay to want everyone to get dressed up for the special occasion.
Don’t Forget About Details
A lot of people spend most of their time focusing on the “major” aspects of their wedding, like a venue, a special date, and what everyone is going to wear. However, the success of the day – no matter how big or small – will depend on a lot of little things lining up. Thankfully, you have the final say in all of those details, including whether you want to hire a band or have a DJ for the ceremony and reception. Consider your musical tastes, whether you want people to dance, and your budget. DJs can cost anywhere from $1,000-$10,000 depending on your needs.
You also need to consider whether you want to offer your guests a buffet, a steak dinner, or a taco truck. It’s not uncommon for vow renewals or smaller weddings to be earlier in the day, so you might even consider a brunch buffet or a dessert-only reception.
Finally, don’t forget about the decor! If you’re on a budget, try to DIY as much as possible, or utilize nature wherever you can. Fall weddings make that easy since you can use the gorgeous colors of the season as your backdrop, but using fresh flowers in the spring is another great way to cut costs and tie everything together.
No matter when you decide to get married in life, or how you decide to renew your commitment to your spouse, make sure your wedding or vow renewal is a special event that reflects who you are, why you’re in love, and how you want to celebrate with the people closest to you. By keeping those things in mind, the entire planning process will be more enjoyable and less stressful.
Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees”- Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and search for the truth. When not writing, she is a part-time wedding planner and spends time with her nephews.