Marriage can be a wonderful thing. If it didn’t work the first time around, don’t fret, there are several billion other people for you, you just have to find the right one! Once you do, everything changes for the better, regardless of age. It’s never been easier to fall in love though. We have countless organizations, events, apps, the entire Internet, and more, helping us with this task. Not to mention that life expectancies keep extending regularly, which means we keep getting more time to do so!
Want to learn more? Keep reading the article by Martine Bernier.
August 2013: On the second anniversary of our meeting, the one who accompanies me asks me to marry him during a very romantic evening. Absolute happiness!
For both of us, this will not be our first union. We both have two grown-up children and have had fulfilling professional careers, he is an officer in the French Army, I am a journalist. When it comes to relationships, we know exactly what we want, and even more what we no longer want, and we know the pitfalls to avoid. An experience that does not prevent us from being in love as we could be at the age of twenty… yet I am 54, and he is barely older. Is reliving the experience of marriage at our age a folly? Not for us: I feel it is the most sensible choice of my life… The date is set for the first day of summer the following year. We have time… And then we want a “simple wedding”. It will be easy!
Our first instinct is to call the registry office. As my partner is French, he has to provide more papers than I do. The requests are sent, a “marriage” file sits on the desk ready to receive the necessary documents. A great specialist in all kinds of lists, I diligently note down all the points that need to be thought of to make this day THE day we won’t forget. The longer it goes on, the more perplexed I am… It seems, on reflection, that it won’t be as easy as I thought…
First thing to do: surround yourself with an “organizing committee”! My two sons and their partners spontaneously agreed to be requisitioned. The first working session was a bit stormy. I hadn’t really thought about the organization yet, my Captain was worried that we were heading for a less simple wedding than expected, and we went off in all directions. It wasn’t until the second session that I came up with some more concrete ideas, which each of the participants had suggested.
After a few attempts, we found the ideal restaurant for the evening meal. An elegant place with a view of Lake Geneva. The civil ceremony is also booked… but do we really want to settle for that? We no longer want a church wedding, but we still want to mark the occasion. That’s when, for the first time, I had the idea of a secular ceremony. Something that we would have prepared ourselves, that would be like us, and that would end with a simple blessing, a sand ceremony, and the exchange of rings. My idea was unanimously approved. My eldest son, a talented guitarist, will play the music with his partner, who has the voice of an angel. My youngest son, an excellent photographer, will take care of the pictures and will ensure the animation of the evening. His companion, thousand times more feminine than I will ever be, has the delicate task of making me presentable. But… who will be in charge of the ceremony? A phone call to one of my closest cousins in Belgium saves us: he is involved in our committee! A chapel and a hall were rented by the lake, texts and songs were chosen: the problem was solved.
I consult my list and arrive at the thorniest point of all: my outfit. I don’t want to get married in white or choose a dress with frills: I have a sense of the ridiculous. Given my age and my more than approximate figure, I feel that the task will be difficult… and I’m right. It will be months before I find the perfect dress. Long, black, embellished with a purple stole on the idea of my daughters-in-law, who are called “image consultants”. They lent me a hand, reassured me, found accessories for the hairstyle… and even a purple fabric rose for Pomme, our Havanese, who was also going to take part in the event.
Let’s see, what did we forget? The appointment with the registrar who will marry us, a woman full of humor, is made. All that remains is to make the announcements. Here too, we want them to be unadorned. We buy straw paper, find an elegant font, and I write a text that the person accompanying me prints. The guest list is drawn up and I am touched. They will come from three different countries and are all people who are important to us and have been in our lives for a long time. In the meantime, we find a caterer who agrees to take care of the entire service for the aperitif, which will follow the ceremony. We’re getting there…
One afternoon in May, I’m working on the last task on my list: preparing the wedding favors for the guests. Some of them are marked with our names. The day before, we did the ultimate chore for him: scouring the shops for my Captain’s outfit. The second attempt was the right one. As I discovered him inspecting himself in the mirror, I felt a surge of emotion. A customer gives me a knowing grin: I’m not the only one who finds him attractive…
May 2014. The postman brings the figurine that will be placed on our wedding cake… as long as it’s solid: made of resin and a good twenty centimeters high, it’s magnificent but heavy! We are one month away from the big day. On my list, all the items have been checked off. All we have to do now is visit the chapel. My bridal bouquet is ordered too. The florist, a young woman in her thirties, had this to say when she heard we were getting married at over fifty: “It’s wonderful… it’s like a new beginning…”
Yes… an incredible year. Especially since a few weeks ago, I learned that in October, I will be a “young” bride for the first time as a grandmother!