Tackling Ageism in the Wedding Industry

Ageism in the Wedding Industry is a huge issue that needs addressed as age discrimination is toxic…

No-one wants to feel belittled, ignored or invisible because of a number, especially as a Bride.

We talk so much about inclusivity in the Wedding Industry, and that is so incredibly important with everyones rights being respected whatever gender, race, religion, sexuality, ability they are.

What there is little talk of is about the more mature of us getting wed, and how the experience of the older Bride is inherently flawed.

There is no upper age limit to be a bride, and every bride wants the same enthusiasm from suppliers.

To feel insulted, to feel prejudice and discrimination because of societies attitude to age and to be talked out of their dream wedding because its not apparently age appropriate’ makes me feel really quite cross.

 

Today I welcome one sassy 50 year Bride who wants you to know that she is very much alive, and would love to experience this special time much like her younger counterparts.

Emma of Emma Bunting tells us about her life and experience since becoming a Bride to be…

 

In 1994 I was walking up the aisle with my dad, proudly at my side, to marry someone I was in love with.

Never in a million years did I think I would be doing it all over again. Although this time, it’s my son walking me up the aisle!

My marriage ended in tatters and ripped my life apart. It was hideous, made even worse by watching from the sidelines ‘another me’ just slipping into my role as if I never existed in the
first place.

 

Fast forward to 2014, I was listening to Scott Mills talk about Tinder on BBC Radio 1.

My daughter had already signed me up for a few dating apps, so I had already gone through the horror that is “OMG my first date in 25 years, what do I do? What do I wear?”

But after 4  or 5 dates I hadn’t really met anyone I really felt comfortable with.

So Tinder it was. A second or two is all you need to make a judgement on someone. Is it really that instant? And that’s when I met Brad.

At the time, I was living in Northumberland and he was in Hertfordshire. He’d been up to Newcastle for work, so our geographical settings had crossed over.

It was the weekend of 9th February, ten years since moving to the UK (after being an expat for 10 years) and what would have been the 100th birthday of my Gannie.

I truly felt the stars were aligning for me. It was instant. That spark – that lightning bolt moment – it really happened and I fell for him completely.

 

 

So the next four and a half years we’ve been commuting up and down the M1 motorway.

Long distance relationships are tough and you really have to be committed.

Five hour car journeys in all weathers really isn’t fun, it’s tiring and it’s also expensive.

I’d see Brad on the weekend’s I didn’t have the kids, primarily so that they didn’t feel I was abandoning them, but of course it was lovely having that time on our own for the relationship
to evolve.

On 27th Sept 2018, I was about to drive down for my weekend with Brad when I heard from my little cousin that she might have a secondary cancer.

Sadly, for many of you, you will understand my feelings of sheer sadness, grief and anger at this news. It was Brad’s birthday, so I didn’t tell him.

That night we went out for dinner. I knew at that moment I wanted to marry him, but I just didn’t know if I should and I didn’t know what to say or when to say it! I just knew that I wanted to.

Life is so precious and that we really have no clue what is going to happen tomorrow.

That night when we got home, I did. It came out naturally and was so much easier than I had thought.

He just grinned, and grinned, but said nothing.

Well??? Yes. I will.

It’s been a whirlwind since then and I’ve moved down to Hertfordshire, with my dog and business. And I am planning a wedding! It’s 2019 and I’m 50 in a couple of weeks time.

I’m going to be a 50 year old bride who’s going grey!

 

 

I’ve stood for many an hour as an exhibitor chatting to brides at wedding fairs, but being the Bride and going to a wedding fair is just a completely different experience.

I am just as excited about this wedding as I was back in 1994. My eyes can’t believe the older woman that I look at in the mirror because in my soul I still feel I’m as young as I was in 1994.

But really, what an utter disappointment the wedding industry has been to me.

I’ve been trying to find a wedding dress, but there just isn’t much inspiration around for Mature Brides.

If you take Instagram, for example, the hashtag for #MatureBride is currently showing only 1948 posts, in comparison to #Bride that shows 43.8 million posts.

I am certain that I am not the only mature bride looking to celebrate, but why is there so little inspiration directed to us?

Even at the wedding fair, I was completely overlooked by the lady at reception and not one of the exhibitors asked if I was the bride.

It’s a real shame actually, as I know what I want and know what suits me, so I would be an easy bride to deal with, and as we’re paying for our own wedding, I know exactly what the budget is!

I looked online at some “Dresses for Mature Brides” and it looked like something Miss Jean Brodie might wear.

For goodness sake, I’m 50, it doesn’t mean I’m not stylish nor does it mean I don’t want to look beautiful.

Being mature enables me to know my body shape, know the styles and colours that suit me, understand the attention to detail is as important as the fit.

But at the end of the day, I’m a Bride and I just wish there was more on offer for me…

One of the articles that stand out to me is by Trends Wedding Life Magazine, who wrote an article about “Wedding Ideas for the Mature Bride” which of course I read.

But how disappointing for them to use phrases such as “Don’t worry about looking frumpy or old-fashioned” and “Sleeved dresses are best for older women over 50 years old”

OMG, wrong on so many levels, and who are they to judge!

 

Vintage clothes are coveted for their stylish aesthetic, vintage jewellery is seen as something to be treasured, a vintage car a classic, vintage wine something to be enjoyed yet the woman of a certain age is set aside as past her prime.

It happens in the working world where the gender gap is still massive, it happens in the film industry where the actress over 35 is seen as too old for a part, and in many other situations but it really shouldn’t.

In the Wedding Industry Emmas experience is common , and quite frankly its wrong!

Wedding preparations can be a minefield and difficult enough without having the constraints of ageist opinion hurled.at you, or worse being treated as invisible.

Why should you be made to play it safe with the your personal and wedding look, when you want to go absolute knockout.

People can be very vocal about what is age appropriate, but what needs made super clear is that in all areas of her day everything is HER choice, and no one has the right to disrespect that.

Whatever age you are getting married is just as exciting so why should the older bride be treated as a non entity.

As with all sectors of society the Wedding Industry should be all encompassing, not conforming to ideals and stereotypes.

I don’t know all the answers to this problem other than treat everyone the same, with kindness and respect as you would wish to be treated.

its time for the Wedding Industry to listen up and take notice, and change their attitude!

 

Image Credit: Holding Hands – Photos by Lanty on Unsplash

More about ALISON TINLIN

UK Wedding Blogger with an eclectic style based in Glasgow

Comments

  1. Reply

    I’m sorry to read how Emma feels! Sadly she is not alone, I read in so many forums how mature women are worried about looking *ridiculous* or *frumpy* and are made to feel awkward by clumsy wedding coordinators and others in the industry. It may come as quite a surprise then though that us wedding photographers seem to have embraced older brides as they often feature in photography forms and older couples more often than not go viral. I hope Emma has an amazing wedding day – she’d always be welcome here in North Wales for some epic older couple post-wedding shots 👌🙌

  2. Reply

    Well said. A significant number of my bridal clients are old or older brides. The oldest was 86 and as excited as any 20 something. Each and every bride deserves to feel fabulous, confident and the best version of themselves. Beyond our 20s not many can rock the Boho or Princess thing but there are options way beyond that but things are only ever styled young. I’ve put a gallery link in my website link to one of my favourite older brides who I believe looks utterly beautiful, in fact there are several on each page.

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