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Wedding Dresses: The Older Bride’s Guide

Tamryn Lawrence / 23 June 2016

Getting married? Read our guide to wedding dresses for the older bride…

Wedding dresses hanging on a rail in a bridal boutique

Wedding dress shopping

Shopping for your wedding dress at any time of life can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. However, when you’re an older bride, there can be so many different things to think about, from choosing the best look for you and finding out about the modern wedding world, to fretting over what’s ‘appropriate’ and worrying about your body. But all that’s behind you; with our guide to gowns, you’ll find the perfect ensemble in no time.

A dress that suits you

Firstly, older brides should certainly rejoice because over the last few years, the wedding industry has undergone a quiet revolution. The ‘traditional’ wedding has slowly been set aside in favour of personal and individual celebrations; this means no one turns a hair over brides in jumpsuits, coloured dresses or knee-length gowns. Bridal designers now embrace a whole range of styles, from separates to patterned dresses, and you can find plenty of gowns that include sleeves or come with jackets or cover-ups.

“Designs are so diverse and there’s no ‘set’ look for brides any more so you’ve got the freedom to wear whatever you want,” says Kerry, co-owner of both Perfect Day Bride and Flossy & Willow in Wiltshire. “A designer such as Charlie Brear offers a more mature, almost non-bridal look whilst Eliza Jane Howell gowns offer good coverage and are very forgiving whilst still being incredibly glamorous. Jesus Peiro has an elegant yet contemporary edge and Jenny Packham is the queen of sophistication but both designers offer almost haute couture quality.”

Sophie, owner of Coco & Kate in Warwickshire, adds:

“Gone are the days when wearing white, ivory or cream as a mature bride was a no-no, so go ahead and embrace colour! Champagnes, blush pinks, silvers and taupes are all beautiful, but if you have a favourite colour that isn’t traditionally classed as ‘bridal’, go ahead and wear it! Similarly, a beautifully tailored trouser suit can look really classic and stylish; you could remove your jacket after the ceremony and add a dramatic necklace for your reception to change your look.”

Don’t forget to do your research

Spending a little time on research before you start shopping for that gown is a must. Indulge yourself and buy wedding magazines, or take a look at some of the big wedding blogs online – keep a note of designers that you’re drawn to or styles that appeal and go from there.

Once you’ve found a convenient bridal boutique that stocks those designers, get in touch because there’s no substitute for trying gowns on to know for sure what suits. Do also look on the boutique’s website – you’ll often find details of price ranges and lots of useful information, plus you’ll get a sense of the boutique before you visit.

The beauty of bridal boutiques

Of course, the very thought of stepping into a bridal boutique can be daunting, whatever age you are, but please don’t worry; boutiques are absolutely brilliant at calming nerves and offering expert advice. They’ve also seen women of all shapes and sizes in their underwear so there’s no need to feel embarrassed.

“We tend to find that when a mature bride books to come and see us, she tells us when she makes the appointment that she’s a little older,” says Kerry. “If you’re worried about your experience in a boutique, letting them know in advance will ease your mind so you’ll feel more comfortable when you visit.”

“Some boutiques offer appointments where you have exclusive use of the boutique and this can be very reassuring,” explains Laura, owner of Lovebird Bridal Boutique in West Yorkshire. “Do ensure that you only bring people along who are going to help you with your decision and truly know your style – keep it to three friends or fewer so that opinions don’t become too overwhelming.”

As well as bridal boutiques, the high street is also a great place to shop, particularly if you don’t want something overtly bridal. Large department stores often offer their personal shoppers free of charge and this can be a brilliant and usually more budget-friendly idea.

You’re the bride; what you say goes

In terms of gown designs, the choice of style is practically limitless; there is no right and wrong for older brides – your final choice is absolutely down to personal taste.

“Have fun with your outfit and stay true to your personality,” advises Sophie. “The wonderful thing about getting married as a more mature bride is that you’re likely to be much clearer about what suits you and it’s also less likely that you’ll have to do battle with a demanding mother who wants to choose your dress for you!”

“It comes down to how you want to feel,” says Laura. “We don’t wear structured clothing in everyday life so some brides don’t like wearing a gown with a corset fitted in. Others love the support and prefer this to something unstructured. It’s easy to be swayed into taking the ‘safe’ option but it’s all about you, so be honest about what you would like to wear. If the dress makes you feel a million dollars then it’s the one for you, whatever age you are.”

So older brides, enjoy choosing your wedding outfit safe in the knowledge that you can, quite honestly, do no wrong.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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