More and more people are getting married in their eighties, and older. Whether it’s their first marriage or their third, octogenarians and nonagenarians are splashing out with bigger weddings than ever before. Cute programme ‘I Do At 92’, which aired just before Christmas presented several couples who were marrying much later in life. They all refused to settle for a registry office wedding, just wearing their Sunday best and then a trip to the pub with their immediate family and friends.
The programme obviously tapped into the rising trend reported by Britain’s Office for National Statistics, which reported as far as back as 2012 that the numbers of grooms in their late sixties increased by 25% (2011-12) while brides of the same age went up by 21%. That number seems to be increasing as newspapers steadily report heart-warming occasions of nonagenarian marriages. Another factor driving the trend in late-in-life marriage is that gay marriage is now legal in America and the UK.
Expensive weddings on the rise
Long gone are the days of having a low key wedding. Weddings are getting more expensive, regardless of whether the couple is twenty or ninety. Older brides and grooms are splashing out on celebrations, not worrying about leaving a nest egg for their children. They’re making the most of the time they have left together, and who can blame them?
They want to enjoy their time with their families as well as with their new love, so they try to involve their whole family in their Big Day. In Miami an 80 year old woman recently became a first time bride when she tied the knot with her 95 year old groom. They had met in the nursing home they lived in together. They married in the nursing centre, in a wedding organised by the nursing centre’s activity manager. The couple wanted companionship and did not want to spend their last years alone.
Weddings late in life
Having a wedding late in life gives a lot of people the chance for friendship and love as well as a new lease of life. For many widows, a marriage later in life offers an opportunity to avoid over twenty years of solitude. Women tend to live for two and a half years longer than men on average. Aside from widows and widowers, the rise in divorces is resulting in more older people marrying later in life. The truth about late-in-life marriages is that these “more experienced” brides and grooms want the wedding ‘Wow’ factor as much as any twenty or thirty year old.
They’re also just as in love so their marriage isn’t purely motivated by companionship. Their amount of free time means that they have the time to focus on each other resulting in them wanting the same sexual relationship and intensity that they had in their 20s. They know that life is for the living and they want to make sure that they spend their last years doing just that. They find new hobbies to get invested in together.
The secret to the older bride and groom’s new happily married life is also their life experience. They enjoy spending time together because they’ve lived their lives and have experienced setbacks like illness, divorce, redundancy. It can make them more tolerant of their partner’s faults, so they’re more willing to compromise than they might have been in their 20s and 30s. There’s so much valuable marriage advice for newlyweds out there but @RHEMACounselling quotes some marriage advice from 1886 which states that we should “Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break”.
The older brides and grooms are able to splash out for the wedding because they are in, or have had, their peak earning years. They can do things the way that they want to, and might well have wanted to in their 20s and 30s but couldn’t afford to at the time. Some are even marrying for the first time because they didn’t find “the one” when they were younger. Whatever the reasons, we raise our glass to all of the new grey-haired brides and grooms out there.