Marriage is an exciting moment in any person’s life with friends, family and even strangers sending messages of support and congratulations.
Well, that is usually the case anyway, and what Julie Fewster, 62, was expecting when she and partner Paul Fleming, 71, announced their engagement.
But for the Baby Boomer, the reaction was far removed from the norm with most baffled by her choice to exchange vows later in life.
Writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, the soon-to-be bride explained there have been some “priceless” reactions from friends and family who have questioned the couple’s wedding plans.
Julie said people have queried why she went for such an “engagement-y” ring, asked if she will wear a white dress – despite it being her first wedding – and questioned who would walk her down the aisle since she’s over-60. Instead of throwing joyous celebrations, the loved up Boomer claimed offers to were few and far between.
“No one offered an engagement party or wedding shower/drinks thing,” Julie explained. “Tentative talk of a hen’s night was pooh-poohed. My betrothed said it would have to be an old boilers’ night. In the end it was a soiree with loads of champagne and kind words, with him the only rooster in the hen house.”
Most people who’ve married in their 60s or later will attest that a wedding later in life is not the over-the-top soiree many people go for in their younger years. But does the simple fact that you’re older mean you shouldn’t be showered with all the attention and adoration most young brides and grooms are subjected to?
Julie wrote in her SMH article that people seemed more interested in criticising her for choosing the marry later in life and didn’t hesitate to have a dig at her plans for the big day. Some even went as far to question her need for wedding photos, saying the pair won’t have many years left on earth to look at them.
Her partner Paul copped a lot of the unexpected comments as well, with his mates asking whether he will wear his “funeral suit” on the big day. Some dubbed him a “silly old bugger” for choosing to get married in his 70s, adding: “You won’t be able to do anything with her without those drugs”.
People’s attitudes towards others getting married later in life may be simply because they’re not used to it and therefore don’t know how to act or what to say.
While the majority of Aussies getting married in recent years are in their late 20s, just 0.19 per cent of Australian women and 0.33 per cent of men over the age of 50 got married in 2017. This was compared to 4.18 per cent of Aussie women and 3.55 per cent of men between the age of 25 and 29 who wed in the same year.
Although getting married later in life is not nearly as regular as exchanging vows in your 20s, it does happen, and as Julie explained, if you’re in love, why shouldn’t you?
“Love – however long in the tooth – really does conquer all,” she wrote.