Nine months after her wedding, Candy Reece describes her marriage as blessed. In fact, she sprinkles words like “treasure,” “precious” or “wonderful” in practically every sentence as she gushes about her new husband.
This baby boomer bride says she and her husband, Bob, never thought happiness would be possible again after losing spouses to long illnesses. They had grown up in the same church and lived several houses away, but had never met.
“To even find joy again, we’re just ecstatic. Every day is just great,” Reece said.
After their first date, Bob asked for Candy’s cell phone number to keep in contact with her while she was on a two-week mission trip to China.
“He had done five texts in his whole life, so he had to learn to text. But 106 texts later, I come home from China, and we go out. I bet on that second date, we both knew.”
Wedding and party planner Judy Lehmbeck says she sees mature brides like 61-year-old Reece looking for smaller ceremonies than their younger counterparts.
“Usually these people have been through it once. They want something simple, quick, that unites them and there’s not all the bells and whistles that you would do when you were getting married the first time,” Lehmbeck said.
“If it’s a little bit older couple and they have children, they will incorporate the children into the service. Even people with older children will have them stand around them, forming an union between the two families,” Lehmbeck said.
For Reece’s important day, she opted for a morning chapel wedding with close friends and family, followed by an evening reception bash with 350 guests.
“There’s not a long white gown with all the flowers and candles that you would do for someone getting married for the first time or a younger bride,” Lehmbeck said. “It’s very simple. The dress is much simpler, probably just a church-type dress or something pretty that is not white and flowy and walks down the aisle with a veil.”
But ultimately, each wedding is as individual as the bride. Engaged couples, no matter their stage in life, are seeking ways to showcase their personalities.
Reece says she and her husband share a devotional every morning, and she gave the book “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young to her reception guests. Candy Reece also gave out a bounty of Reese’s candy.
Wedding and event planner Brandi Scott agrees that brides want their weddings to reflect who they are, regardless of budget or demographic, but older brides tend to view beauty differently.
“They’re definitely more minimal, more simple. They don’t have to have all the glitz and the glam, but they definitely want more of an understated elegance.”
Also, brides are planning their weddings with their guests in mind. Reece gave lighted flip-flops to her guests, so the ladies could slip off their high heels and electrify the dance floor. And the grandchildren had their own table with lighted hats and other favors designed just for them.
Karen Rowe has been decorating cakes for 20 years. At Johnnies Sweet Creations, 8419 S. Western, she says there isn’t much difference between wedding cakes when it comes to age, but sizes and flavors can play a role.
Older couples “usually go for a more elegant style and not so much over-the-top, a little bit more streamlined look,” Rowe said. “Most of the people that we are doing these large cakes for are in first-time marriages, and they’re in their 20s.”
Rowe said white cake still reigns supreme in Oklahoma, but boomer clients choose red velvet or Italian cream as well.
While white may be on the cake, color is now playing a key role in gowns.
“We see a lot more people venturing away from the traditional white and ivory, and going to pinks and blushes,” said Lindsay Gasaway of BeLoved Bridal, 735 Asp Ave. in Norman.
Lauren Hulin of RL Bridal and Prom, 5645 N. Pennsylvania Ave., said it isn’t uncommon for an older bride to ask for a tea-length dress without jewels, but there is a fine line between what they choose and what they don’t. It all depends on the bride.
Reece says the precious thing about her new marriage is that their time together is centered on them. With their children already grown, they can focus more on each other. Age doesn’t matter. Bob skips to work each day. Candy raves about getting flowers for no reason. These newlyweds are as giddy as teenagers on a first date.
“We’re so blessed to have another chance.”