Remember when you were young and in love, planning a wedding? Remember how you fretted every little detail? Remember how you wondered if you should have just eloped, and when you happened to wonder that very thought out loud, your fiance just looked at you with that brief instant of hope in his eyes? Yeah, imagine doing that at 45, with 3 teenagers.
At 25, I hadn’t planned on ever having a second wedding. Who does? Even after my divorce, I was not looking for a relationship, much less a groom. But life has a funny way of interrupting the plans you’ve made, and you can either fight it, or go with it. I went with it, and am planning a summer garden wedding in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Ted, my fiance, grew up with my best friend, and while he has never been married and has no children of his own, he adores my kids. He’s laid back, quiet, and peaceful, and loves me where I’m at unconditionally. More about that and his introduction to the family in a later post.
My extended family has been vacationing in the Outer Banks (OBX) for 14 years. Ted has been coming with us for the last 5. Last year, we thought it would be a great idea to invite his family down for a week this summer, and have the wedding there. It’s one of my favorite places in the country, and a beach wedding would be fantastic! We decided on the Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island. (www.elizabethangardens.org) The gardens were gorgeous, shaded, on the sound, and perfect for us. Perfect! Location – done. Then it hit me…how much I had to do in a relatively short period of time!
First things first. After I convinced Ted that me wearing a coconut bra and grass skirt while he wore a Speedo was NOT going to happen, it was time to dress shop. I actually went home to Kentucky to do this, since I’d never been able to go wedding dress shopping with my mom and sisters the first time due to our locations. Off we went, with my pre-conceived notions as to what was appropriate for me as a “bride of a certain age”. I needed something that I felt beautiful in, that didn’t look like something my grandmother would feel beautiful in, yet not something a 20 year old would wear. I am officially middle-aged…there are RULES!! Somehow, I’d convince myself that I should wear something that was simple, with straight lines, and certainly not a veil. I’d downloaded pictures of several dresses, and took them with me. My consultant brought each of them out, but none of them was “it”. I felt like I was trying to turn a mother-of-the-bride dress into a wedding dress. Something was off. I had one more picture in my bag, and the consultant saw it and asked if we’d already pulled it. I said “No, I brought it because I’m not familiar with the fabric, but it looks light, and if there are other dresses in that fabric, they might work.” The fabric was faille. Faille? Heck, that’s what my oldest did on her permit test the first time, right? Ask me what 14 oz boxing gloves are, I can tell you. Ask me what a Modified Ankle Foot Orthotic is, I can tell you. Ask me about indoor cleats, I can tell you. What the heck is “faille”?
My consultant just smiled, and said “Trust me, this picture does the dress no justice. I think we jut might have found something.” She pulled the dress, and I looked at it on the hanger with a “no-way” feeling. It had a train, it had beadwork, it was sleeveless. She asked me “What’s going through your head?” I said “I’m not sure it’s age appropriate.” She said, “Darlin’, hot pants and go go boots are not age appropriate. This is a wedding dress, you’re planning a wedding. Worry about what feels comfortable on you, and what you feel beautiful in. Nothing else matters.” So, I bit my lower lip, and disappeared into the dressing room…and when I put the dress on, I cried. It was perfect. My mom thought it as perfect. My sisters thought it was perfect. My picky 17 year old daughter thought it was perfect. And then my consultant put a short veil on, and I felt like a bride.
So the bottom line is, I’m 45. Being with this man makes me feel 20. There’s not set rules for “age-appropriateness”. Life is full of sweet surprises. Sweet…sweet…sweet….holy cow, I don’t have a cake yet!! 😉
Karen Cluxton lives in Hatfield, PA, and has three teenagers – Halle 16, Owen 14, and Grace 13. Between shuttling kids to soccer, baseball and physical therapy, she trains in Mixed Martial Arts.