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Wedding Dresses for Older Brides: Women Over 40, 50, 60, 70 (Updated Article)

wedding dress tina boomerina

by Tina Boomerina / Christina Gregoire (UPDATED ARTICLE)

Do you want to know what you can wear for your second wedding? Hey girlfriends, what ARE the rules for wedding gowns when the bride is over 40, 50, 60... or 70 or...? I don't think I can count any higher than that. 

Guess what? There used to be lots of “rules” for weddings.  Today, we call those rules “guidelines”.  In other words, there are no rules, so you are free to imagine your wedding as whatever you want it to be.  However, there is one rule about wearing a blusher veil that I think you should follow.  What do I know?  Well, I’m on my third marriage.  That’s what I know.

My last wedding was a few years ago when I was 52.  So, read about my common sense guidelines for all women over 40, 50, or even (gasp) over 60 or 70.

white wedding hats for brides - photo boomerinas.com

Birdcage Veil Wedding Hat for Older Brides

Are You an Older Bride?

I’m sorry that I called you an "older bride" in the title of this article.  I had to do that so Google would lead you to this groovy page.  Hey, I’m teetering towards 60, and the word, “old,” has been expunged from my vocabulary (along with silver, golden, mature, and elderly), unless the word is absolutely necessary.

And, whenever I hear the term “old lady”, I think of my hippie days.  Back then, any man who uttered the sentence, “Sally’s my old lady,” meant that Sally was the speaker’s girlfriend, even when his “old lady” was only 18.  So, I must confess that I refer to myself as an old lady from time to time, but I say it with a wink and a smile.

read article updated for 2015

Wedding Dresses for Older Brides - Wear Your Favorite Color

Bridal Gowns for Second Weddings - It's Your Party

It's your party, and you can cry if you want to, cry if you want to, cry if you want to. You would cry too if it happened to you. Hey, I cry at everyone's wedding, even my own, which can be slightly embarrassing. So, here's an offbeat tip: Wear the right mascara if you're a romantic sap like me... Now, I hope I can get that Leslie Gore song out of my brain... and get my head wrapped around bridal gowns again.

... Okay, I've filled the interim with Purple Haze and now I'm ready to continue explaining "proper" wedding etiquette.

If you are over 40, you are not a baby anymore.  However, you are not a dried-up old (mature) hag, like some wedding sites imply.

Well, according to old biddies like Amy Vanderbilt, if you have never been married, it is totally proper for you to wear the traditional white get-up, along with a blusher veil, no matter what your age. However, if your three children will be your attendants, I don’t think you’ll fool anyone into thinking you are a virgin by wearing that veil.  Therefore, although a blusher veil is technically correct for first-time brides, I don’t think it looks right on most women over 40.  (Netting on a hat or a fascinator is not the same as a blusher veil, and netting is elegant on any woman of any age.)

wedding hats for older brides - photo boomerinas.com

Wedding Hats for Brides

Your Second Wedding?

If this is your second wedding (or your third or your seventh), you can wear a white dress and a shorter veil (that's not cathedral length) as long as the veil doesn’t cover your face.  However, whether it’s your first or fifth wedding (Mazel Tov), you should feel free to wear an elegant blue evening gown, a black Gothic wedding dress, or a pair of pink pajamas, as long as you don’t wear that dreaded blusher veil.



Hey, no matter what marriage you’re on, you can wear any color you want.  You are over 40 years old.  You’re a big girl and you’re probably paying for your own wedding, so you don’t have to please mommy and daddy like you would if you were a scrawny 20 year old.  So, if you like blue, wear blue (or white or green or lavender or drop-dead red).

Wedding Dresses for Older Brides – Give Me a Breakcolored wedding dresses

I have read and reread several websites that talk about “mature bridal style”, a phrase which seems terribly funny to me because, when I was remarried at 52, I felt like my usual young and imperfect Baby Boomer self. The photo of the older blonde at the very top of this page is a picture of me, so my advice is, as always, honest and based upon experience.

My fiancé (current husband) really wanted me to wear a white dress and a veil, so I wore a 2-piece cream-colored gown with a little veil that hung halfway down my back. I was hesitant to wear something so traditional, but it turned out to be an absolute gas.

Wedding Dresses for Women Over 40

Okay.  Most of you don’t have the same body you had when you were 20, so there are two areas of your wedding dress that I would like you to consider:

  • brides over 50 or 601. The neckline of your dress
  • 2. The fabric used in your dress

The style you will choose for your dress, such as A-line, ballgown, mini, or sheath, is somewhat predetermined by your body type, but the wrong neckline or fabric can undermine everything.  The neckline will frame your face and can make you appear to be fatter or thinner than you really are, and that neckline will be what people notice in your photos.

And, the fabric of some dresses can be too sheer or too shiny or too whatever... and fabric like that can show every bulge.

So, after walking down three different aisles, my conclusion is that (1) showing off the right amount of skin with the right neckline and (2) diligently determining that you're getting a dress with the right fabric are two of the most important things to consider when trying on dresses. (You can fiddle and faddle and add smoke and mirrors, but if these two items aren't right... you're going to freak out when you see your crappy wedding pictures.)

wedding dress necklines - read tips

Wedding Dress Necklines for Older Women

Modest Wedding Dresses for Wrinkled Necklines

Just because you have a wrinkled décolleté or neck doesn’t mean you have to cover EVERYTHING, but this must be judged on a case-by-case basis.  If you want a high neckline that covers your chest up to your chin, try searching for “modest wedding gowns”.  Here are some options for what to google:

  • Victorian Style Wedding Dresses: These are similar to prairie dresses, ala the Gunne Sax line from the 70s.
  • Muslim Bridal Gowns: You don’t have to convert to Islam to wear one of these. Just make sure this type of gown fits your body correctly or you will look frumpy.
  • Gothic Neck Ruff:  You can wear a neck ruffle with, or over, your dress.  Check out Etsy-ish websites and Goth stores.  No tattoos or piercings required.

If you don’t have serious wrinkling or if you just don’t care, you can show off your cleavage, but you still have to find the right neckline to frame your face. I think that most women look good in sweetheart, scoop, or V-neck style necklines (with or without sheer overlays).

read tips for wedding dresses

Low Neckline Wedding Dresses for Heavy Upper Body

If you have a top-heavy upper body, try on wedding gowns with deep V-necklines, deep U-necklines, halter necklines, asymmetrical necklines, and strapless necklines.  Then, cover the wrinkly, droopy, jiggly parts you hate with gauze or a lacy bolero.

If you have a huge tush or monstrous hips, you're on your own because that's out of my area of expertise. However, I think ballgowns and dresses with shoulder detailing (to balance your butt) would be good things for you to try. And, don't laugh, but I happen to recall seeing a maid of honor who once camouflaged her growing tuckus with a dress that had a little bustle... and it worked. (Use professional guidance on this.)

read about different types of wedding dresses & updated tips

Wedding Dress Fabric for Women Over 40 50 60

Fabric for Wedding Dresses

Unless you are a Pilates instructor, don’t get a wedding dress made of shiny material like satin (unless it's hammered and textured) because your dress will probably show every bulge on your bod. Matte fabric with embroidery or embellishment helps with camouflaging bulges. Heavy fabrics will hold you in... but they can be stiff and severe if not done right.

Note: Don’t starve yourself when being measured for a dress.  I am telling you from personal experience when I say, “You will regret it.”

wedding dresses for older brides boomerinas.com

Lace Overlay Wedding Dress to Cover Arms

If you want to cover your arms, you have lots of options just like you do with necklines.  You can cover your arms with:

  • Fabric Sleeves (added to the dress)
  • Sheer Sleeves (of lace or netting)
  • A Lacy Bolero (a quickie fix)
  • A Lacy Shawl (an even quicker fix)

However, there is no law saying that women with heavy arms must wear sleeves. Sometimes, sleeves make you look wider.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You MUST hold your dress up to the light to see if you need a slip... especially if you are wearing an alternative wedding dress that doesn't come from a bridal store. Fortunately, I was extremely thin when I married for the second time, because I took my second set of vows while clad in a white designer dress that was not meant to be worn as a wedding gown. And, at a point where it was too late to make any changes, I heard someone whisper, “You can see right through that dress,” as I walked down the "aisle" in the large, double ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hotel... during my afternoon wedding.  “More champagne, please!” The sheerness of my dress might not have been a problem at night... but I was trying to have an elegant second wedding at a chi-chi venue, and a sit-down luncheon for the multitudes was cheaper than a sit-down dinner for that same group of merry rabble-rousers.

white wedding suit for a second wedding - boomerinas.com

Bridal Wedding Suit for Women Over 40 50 60

Alternative Dresses for Brides

If you've been married before, you probably were all decked out like a ruffled cream puff at the prior wedding. So, if you want to wear something different, a short white or pastel dress is artfully tasteful and perfectly beyond reproach. Here are a few phrases to google for inspiration.

  • Short Wedding Dresses (Try channeling your inner Betsey Johnson.)
  • White Festival Dresses (Try channeling your inner Janis Joplin.)
  • Long Embroidered Caftans (Try channeling your inner Mama Cass.)

For an elegant "occasion" dress that is not white, try searching for “mother of the bride dresses”. Who cares what someone else calls your "wedding" dress?  You can make anything look great.

  • Bridal Wedding Suits
  • Silk Suits for Women
  • Long Mother of the Bride Dresses

Just because you’re getting married, you don’t have to look like a Barbie Doll.  You can wear a skirted suit or a pantsuit. Search department stores as well as wedding websites.

white pant suit for bride wedding women over 40

Bridal Wedding Pantsuit in White is Perfect for Women of All Ages

  • Bridal Pantsuits
  • Dressy Pantsuits
  • Evening Pantsuits
  • Embellished Pantsuits

I, Tina Boomerina, veteran of several weddings, hereby give you permission to wear anything that you think is flattering on your body and festive enough to be appropriate.  As long as you are having a good time, I say, “It’s your wedding, so wear whatever makes you happy.”  And, don’t invite friends or family members unless they are truly happy that you are happy.

Life is too short to put up with people who make a big deal out of nothing. It's your wedding, not theirs.



More Articles for Hip Baby Boomer Women and Other Happening Chicks:

Hippie Wedding Dresses for a Casual Bohemian Chic Celebration

***

How to Wear Leggings if You're Over 40 or 50

***

Women's Travel Cruise Wear Online: Chicks Over 40 or 50

***

Best Swimsuits for Women Over 40 or 50

***

23 Trendy Pluse Size Clothing Sites for Large Women Sizes 1x - 12x

Photo Credits: Christina Gregoire, Prshots.com, Louise Green Millinery (with permission).

  • Main Photo: Yes... that's a photo of MOI at my last wedding ceremony. I would have had my hair done professionally if I would have known I was going to show my face to older wannabe-brides on every freaking continent in the world. Acccck. (I ended up using this photo because I couldn't find a free pic of an older bride.)
  • Birdcage Veil Wedding Hat: LouiseGreen.com (from 2012) when I first wrote this article.
  • Wedding Dresses for Older Brides: Wear Your Favorite Color: LaRedoute magenta dress (2012), Monsoon blue occasion dress (2015), Monsoon embellished maxi dress (2015), Dorothy Perkins long party dress (2015), Phase Eight embellished maxi dress (2015), Phase Eight appliqued occasion dress (2015).
  • Wedding Hats for Brides: LouiseGreen.com (2012).
  • Wedding Dresses for Older Brides: LaRedoute (2012).
  • Wedding Dress for Older Bride: Hobbs (2012).
  • Wedding Dress Necklines for Older Women: These are all true wedding dresses and each of these necklines are super flattering, yet not too revealing. Phase Eight (2015), Monsoon (2015), Phase Eight (2015).
  • Low Neckline Wedding Dresses for Heavy Upper Bodies: LaRedoute party dress (2015), Monsoon wedding dress (2015), Monsoon wedding dress (2015).
  • Wedding Dress Fabric for Women Over 40, 50, 60: House of Fraser party dress (2015), Monsoon short wedding dress (2015), Phase Eight embellished dress (2015), House of Fraser party dress (2015).
  • Lace Overlay Wedding Dress to Cover Arms: LaRedoute (2012).
  • Bridal Wedding Suit for Women Over 40, 50, 60: Frank Usher (2012).
  • Bridal Wedding Pantsuit in White is Perfect for Women of All Ages: Hobbs (2012).

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Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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37 Comments

  1. Michelle

    Hi Christina,
    found your site, and wanted to share my story. This summer, the love of my life, (aka my old man) and I will celebrate 25 years together - quite an accomplishment. I decided long ago, (actually before I even married him) that if I reached 25 years (I was 21 years old at the time - who at that age can even image life 25 years later), I would have a big party, and maybe even wear my wedding dress again. Well - we are 7 weeks away - my wedding gown has been redesigned, I'm having a fabulous party to celebrate 25 years of marriage with 60 of those I love most in life - especially my husband. Then we are off for a high altitude 4 day hike in Machu Picchu Peru, as a second honeymoon.. I look fabulous, and our life is great. This truly is our...happily ever after story.

    Reply
  2. Christina Gregoire

    Michelle,

    That is a fabulous story. Thanks for sharing it. And, one of the amazing things is that you got married at 21, which is considered quite young these days...and it all worked out. Well, I have a feeling that this wedding celebration will be even more fun than the first (if that's possible). It's so cool.

    And, I hope you get a chance to celebrate again when you've made it to 50 years...oh heck...why wait? Maybe you should celebrate your anniversary in ten years or...pick a number. You HAVE to hang the older photo, from 25 years ago, next to your new photo, in your updated dress.

    And, then you're off to Machu Picchu...does it get any better than this?

    Reply
  3. Kathleen

    Whew, finally an article for ME! Rapidly approaching 58 and looking forward to marrying the love of my life, "the Old Man", oh whatever. And this will be my fifth wedding! The double whammy.
    I needed the boost of confidence I got after reading your article. Heartfelt and sisterly thanks to you, Christina!
    I'd been losing sleep over what to wear, what's appropriate, what's not....
    I want a small gathering of friends, flowers, candlelight (and fireflies if I could count on them to behave) and above all some semblance of decorum.
    I have decided now to go with my original choice of a tea length coral dress which I may just sew myself, as I haven't found a thing that suits me. This will be a fall wedding in Florida OUTDOORS. Any other ideas?
    thanks again for the article.....very thoughtful!
    Kathleen

    Reply
    • Tina

      Kathleen,

      I replied to you ages ago and I lost the reply while doing website maintenance. If you ever come back to this page, let us know what happened with your wedding.

      Cheers,

      Tina Boomerina

      Reply
      • louann franco

        how do i purchase all these beautiful dresses, i see you all over pinterest... i am 49, and want to dress my age.. thanks louann

        Reply
        • Tina-Boomerina

          Louann,

          I'm not sure if your comment is on here. I'm having tech issues (again... and I've had classes in programming, so I don't think it's me. Hopefully, it will work this time.

          I don't have an ecommerce site. Many of the photos are from London, but they are usually from companies that ship to the states. I'm in the states.

          If you mouseover the pics or you look at the bottom of the article, you should be able to find a caption that will give the photo credit. If an article is from a year ago, the website may or may not still have the item. It depends on the site.

          I also use photos from the US. I have wedding dresses from David's Bridal, other pics from Nordstrom... Blue Fish... Louise Green Millinery... and from companies that advertise on this website... and more.

          If I can help you find an item, just let me know.

          Tina

          Reply
  4. Christina Gregoire

    ps I put a link to the old music article. There used to be youtube links (to the songs) on the article. I'll redo it here with links. I don't know how rock n roll you are, but a lot of the songs are softer.

    Reply
  5. Tonik

    Oh you look fabulous in that photograph - and so happy. Wonderful article Thankyou.

    Reply
  6. Mary

    I really enjoyed your article, especially the part about checking for slip needs!
    You looked great in the picture.

    Reply
    • Tina

      Mary,
      Yes, I think people could see through my second wedding dress. It was an off-white cocktail dress with purple details... from Neiman's I think... so long ago. It was gorgeous but it was not made to be worn when standing against a picture window in full sun.

      That was the wedding when I should have been wearing the blusher veil.

      Haha. Learn from my zany life, kids.

      Tina Boomerina

      Reply
  7. Wedding Dresses for Older Brides: Women Over 40 | Boomerinas.com | LifeShopping Blog

    [...] is the original: Wedding Dresses for Older Brides: Women Over 40 | Boomerinas.com This entry was posted in Bridal dresses, Prom dresses, wedding dresses, Zentai suits and tagged [...]

    Reply
  8. Dawn A. Irving

    Hi Tina,
    I'm searching for the sleeveless wedding dress with the crooked front bow, posted on Pinterest. It says "debenhams prshot" underneath. I'm new to this and can't find it anywhere.
    Please help!
    Kind regards,
    Dawn

    Reply
  9. Dawn A. Irving

    Hi Tina,
    Can you provide me with an e-mail address? II'd like to send you a picture of the dress that you posted on Pinterest, I think in 2011.I'm not well versed at this, and have my heart set on this dress for my son's wedding next year.
    Thanks in advance,
    Dawn

    Reply
  10. Lesley Strudwick

    Hi ya I have seen a beautifull hippie dress on your web site
    I am due to get married in may. It's the long sleeve lace dress with the delicate bottom.
    Please please can you help me with this matter.
    Kind regards Lesley Strudwick

    Reply
  11. Elizabeth Cocke

    I was looking at your post on weddings after 40 and fell in love with the vintage dress with jacket and the fabulous hat. do you know who the designer is?

    Reply
  12. Jennifer

    Please e mail me. Looking for dress posted through your site on Pinterest, white dress with blue flowers. Hope you can assist. Thank you,

    Reply
  13. Zandele

    What a beautiful dress. The white one with the sleeves and the cascading ruffle down the front and V-neck. It just say second wedding. One of the picture has this under it: Simply Be Wedding Dress prshots.com
    Where did this com from? I would like to purchase this dress. What site do I go to? Thanks for any help you can give. I went to the link for over forty and did not find this dress.
    Zandele

    Reply
    • Tina-Boomerina

      Zandele,

      That's a beautiful name. I don't know which dress you are referring to. I don't see a dress from Simply Be on this article. I will look on Pinterest and try to find it, but some of my articles have photos from last year. I'll email you with the link to Simply Be and I hope the dress will still be there.

      Tina

      Reply
  14. Terry

    It's actually a nice and useful piece of info. I'm glad that you just shared this helpful info with us.

    Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  15. Tina-Boomerina

    Terry,

    Thanks. I had to use my own photo from my latest wedding. If I had known I was going to end up blogging, I would have hired a better photographer.

    Maybe I should go down to David's and have someone take a bunch of pictures of me in different dresses.

    It's impossible to find decent pictures of older brides that show different ideas. Oh God. I don't want to use my own pics. Maybe I can find a volunteer.

    Cheers,

    Tina

    Reply
  16. Tina-Boomerina

    Anyone:

    If you are over 40 or 50 or 60 and you live in the Seattle area and you are bored, let me know. I am looking for a volunteer model to wear a couple of wedding dresses so I can use your pictures on this site. I write about older brides all the time. You can be regular sized or plus sized. I need both.

    You will get a small payment. I will supply the wine and the camera. Do you prefer red or white?

    Tina

    Reply
  17. sharon

    Can you tell me where I can find the tropical dress which would be a great wedding dress for women over 40

    Reply
    • Tina-Boomerina

      Sharon,

      Sorry to say that the article is from two years ago. I know which dress you mean because I love it. However, you could look around on the following UK sites that ship to the US:
      Monsoon Clothing, M&Co, Simply Be (plus size). I'm fairly sure it came from Monsoon, but I don't know what they have this time of the year for tropical stuff. It may be too early for resort. You could also look around Asos, but I'm sure the dress didn't come from Asos.

      The only thing I can say with certainty is that the dress came from a UK site. So, you might be able to find something similar. I'm not sure what size you need, but you could also look around Missguided and the Vestry if you want a party dress that would work for a vacation.

      I'm from the US but I shop BOTH UK stores AND US stores. More variety that way.

      T

      Reply
  18. Kell Brigan

    Site looks interesting, but why on earth are the photos accompanying this article so strange? They're all abnormally thin, very young women. Why bother with pictures at all?

    Reply
    • Tina-Boomerina

      Kell,

      Yes, they are strange, indeed. I use photos of abnormally thin, prepubescent women because those are the photos I can use without payment. I've written an article explaining my dilemma: http://www.boomerinas.com/2013/10/21/why-use-young-swimsuit-models-for-baby-boomer-articles/ and in the meantime, I will have to ask you to use your imagination because I don't make enough money (yet) to pay big bucks for the kind of photos I would like to use.

      Feel free to contact any and all companies and ask them to give bloggers access to PR photos of women who are neither anorexic nor 12 years old... and wearing clothing that doesn't look matronly. (One company did give us older models after many complaints, but the clothing was too boring to use.)

      T

      Reply
  19. judy vandewalle

    need to order a dress need a phone # to call

    Reply
    • Tina-Boomerina

      Judy,

      Not all of the dresses on this page are current. Most are updated photos (and are from 2015), but some are from 2011 when I wrote the article. I can always tell you the website where any dress is/was from... if you don't see it in the photo credit section.

      Tina

      Reply

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