with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: ageless beauty;older brides; brides over 35

Dear blogging model: Your dating life is not over at 30

by SweetMidlife
Taken from XOJane.com

Taken from XOJane.com

Leslie here!

If the woman pictured above thinks that she’s an old unlovable hag at 30 who should just stop dating because all the good catches want women younger, less demanding and “less impressive” (her words) than herself, then the rest of y’all might as well pack it in and back your UHauls up to the local pet shelter, because you’re gonna need some cats.

I came across an XOJane column titled “30 Is The New 50: ‘Old Age’ Is Killing My Dating Life” by model/writer Jenny Bahn and was intrigued, because I did a lot of dating between the ages of 15 and 38, when I got married and never, as Carrie Fisher says in “When Harry Met Sally,” never have to be out there again. But I needed to know why a gorgeous young woman living in New York would believe that her age is a problem. Of course, her experiences are her own, and who am I to say she’s making it up, but it didn’t make sense to me. I had to know more.

She tells the story of a disastrous conversation with a 38-year-old upwardly mobile dude she’d dated a few times, where he explained that he was also dating a 23-year-old because she was undemanding and wasn’t looking for anything serious, unlike 30-year-olds like Bahn whose biological clocks are ticking so loud that they’re harshing his fun buzz. (Boo-hoo dude.)

This douche that she calls Alex, who says douchey things about how Bahn is unloveable, speaks a sad truth – women who think they might want a biological family do face time constraints that men who can keep making babies into their dusty dotage do not. And sometimes those men do want to date younger women because they might not want those things yet, or because by the time those men do want kids, the women their age might not be able to. Boy that sucks.

The thing that struck me about Bahn’s reaction to this – that she’ll maybe never find anyone if 30 makes her too old to be desirable by the kind of successful guys she sees herself with in the “brutal” NYC dating scene – was that I kept looking at her photo, where she’s posed melodramatically in a nasty-looking bathroom in front of the serial killer-looking words “Love Me OK Don’t” and thinking “What the heck are YOU complaining about?”

That’s because she’s beautiful, looks five years younger than she is, and would appear to check all the boxes that the average dater, certainly the ones online, seem to be looking for. (I also get itchy because that’s a really nasty bathroom and I worry that she needs a tetanus shot, because if dating doesn’t kill her, them germs might.)

Again, her experience is her own, and I don’t mean to tell her she’s lying. But it made me sad that she seems to have given up at her age, because those of us who have never looked like Bahn and dated for a lot longer than the relatively age of 30 somehow found a reason to live. Bahn admits that she is looking for someone as successful as she is, and, I imagine, on par with her attractive-wise. What I started to wonder is if she’s only dating douches and might want to expand her dating pool. Like, out of Douchetown.

A lot of the comments on the site were from women like me who were older than 30 and didn’t deserve into Spinster Dust the minute the birthday cake was finished, who advised her to take a deep breath and move forward. She also got some nastiness from women in their 20s who took umbrage at her inference that their age automaticaly made them less smart, mature and impressive, as well as a few so-called Men’s Right’s Activists who lurk on women’s sites like this just to remind the readers that yes, they’re undateable hags and no one wants them. Oh, those guys.

I come from the demographic – black women – that is least searched for on dating sites ( ) by men of any race. And when your inbox is collecting dust stats like that can make you feel extra lonely, particularly when you are getting older and do want to have kids, and when you don’t look like Jenny Bahn, or Olivia Pope.

I understand that since I am not a model, whose career depends on people wanting to look at her and think she’s pretty, it wasn’t the end of the world to assume that I couldn’t get every man I wanted. But The thing that I want to tell the Jenny’s of the world is that a) Don’t waste time on people who don’t want you, because they’re not for you and probably dumb and b) you don’t have to be awesome to everyone in the world. Just the right someone.

Sweet Midlife TV Girlfriend of the Day: Aunt Viv of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

by SweetMidlife

Well, the first Aunt Viv.

Leslie here, y’all! Happy Friday! I’ve been in a lot of hotels lately, and have been doing a lot of channel flipping – I don’t have my DVR full of wedding programing and true crime shows about the murders and such to fall back on, so I’m open to whatever’s on. And what’s on is a lot of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” the late ’80’s-90s sitcom featuring then jaunty young rapper/future Hollywood big shot Will Smith as a Philly kid sent to live with his rich relatives in Bel-Air, Ca. I loved the show when it was on, and have become fond of its loud Cross Colours-esque, hat and blazer, big gold brooch-happy fashions. I may or may not relate. Those photos have been destroyed, so don’t even bother searching.

Anyhow, the star of the show was, apparently Will and his fresh fish out of water hijinks. But my favorite character, besides Jeffrey the droll butler, was Aunt Viv, the sister of Will’s mom, who’d moved from West Philly to California, having moved all up. There was a little Clair Huxtable to her – she was grounded but classy, with a little more snob appeal than Clare but with an air of being able to drag some skank across a room by her hair if she got in her face, if she really needed to.

I liked her because she reminded me a little of my mom, another classy woman who could get real, real fast, if tested. I also liked her…and I apologize if this sounds weird…her non-cookie cutter looks. Janet Hubert, the actress who originally played Aunt Viv, was a rarity on TV – an ethnic woman over 25 with a starring, non best-friend role, who got to be her fabulous, gorgeous self without cougar jokes, or a preponderance of hot flash jokes, or jokes you would probably see on “Hot In Cleveland.”

(I admit to having never seen that show, because the idea of hot women like Wendy Mallick and Valerie Bertinelli having to act as if their sexuality is freakish makes me want to punch someone in the head. I haven’t decided who yet. I will be in touch. But the commercials say it all. Any fans of it, let me know what I’m missing.)

She was also a dark-skinned black woman, something rarely seen in such a prominent role before or since, who luxuriated in her awesomeness. She wasn’t angsty or dissatisfied outside of the usual sitcom hi-jinks – she knew she was beautiful. She knew her husband adored her, and that her kids did, too. There was a great episode where Aunt Viv decided to audition for a dance part, even though she hadn’t danced since becoming a wife and a mother. She loved her life, but she wanted to feel that it wasn’t too late to be as strong and sexy and fierce as she used to be. She wound up not even taking the role – killing it on the audition and making some snotty young girls recognize was even better. Now that I’m her age, I want to be that awesome. Sometimes, I think I am! I wish there were more women like her on TV right now, whose smarts or professional proficiency doesn’t have to be undercut by being a complete mess personally. (KErry Washington’s Olivia Pope on “Scandal” – Snap out of it, girl.)

Hubert was eventually replaced with Daphne Maxwell-Reid, another beautiful non teeny-boppy actress, who just wasn’t the same. She was pretty. But she wasn’t fierce. Apparently, Hubert does not have good memories of her time on the show, or good feelings about Will Smith – she says he was a diva who got her fired, and two decades later she’s still way, way bitter about it.

I’m sorry for that – it seems a shame to carry that bitterness around with you for so long, and I wonder if it’s impeded her being able to just move on. I want her to know, if she’s out there, that at least one former teen girl appreciated her, that her being on that show made a difference because I am now a 40-something woman who sometimes needs reminding of her fierceness. I hope I can be Aunt Viv. And I want her to know, somewhere, that it made a difference that she was, too.

A Bride35 Quiz: Favors or Flowers?

by SweetMidlife

During the “Platinum Wedding” era, which I think we’re beginning to edge out of because a lot of us brides are now more hundredaires than millionaires, the prevailing wisdom in some circles was that you should spend a major part of your budget on flowers. Also, you had to have crazy inventive personalized favors for your guests, even if they were gonna go “Oh look! A personalized plate!” and then chuck it in the backseat.

Since we’re all about the truth here at Bride35, we want to know – If you have only a certain amount of cash, would you rather skimp on flowers or favors? (Of course, you don’t have to splurge on either – Leslie spent a total of $200 on flowers, including her bouquet from a local farmer’s market and Costco centerpieces). Which would you choose?

Bridal expert Nancy Aucone: Think "sophisticated," not "older"

by SweetMidlife

Nancy Aucone is happy to talk about the gorgeous over-35 brides that have come through The Wedding Salon of Manhasset in New York. She’d just prefer not to call them that.

“We never use that word – ‘older.’ The brides we see are very sophisticated brides,” says Aucone, the upscale salon’s co-founder and co-owner. “We carry all the top designers, so we have a little jump on having something for the older bride right there. All the high fashion designers at this point are a little more couture, so (their work) fits an older bride…We don’t segregate what we show.”

Well, then! We like that! We’re sophisticated!

Nancy says that because of the quality of the dresses that the Wedding Salon – Monique Lhullier, Vera Wang, Marchessa – and their cost, many of her brides tend to be a little older. But the important thing here, again, is her taste level, as “Project Runway”‘s Nina Garcia might say, and not her birthday. We asked Nancy about trends, confidence and what the bridal aisle and the red carpet have in common.

— The fashion show: “Our bride is not looking for the traditional type of dress. They’re more looking for what a celebrity would wear on the red carpet, done in white or ivory. (Sometimes) the older brides might wear a latte or an ivory. She’s really shopping for a fashion dress. Our designers design for celebrities, and I think that’s a natural for the older bride. And the younger bride picks up on it. These are really ready-to-wear looks.”

— Frumpy, schmumpy: Unlike the wedding sites we’ve seen and hated that seem to think that brides over a certain age should basically wear raincoats and a veil, Nancy says that her sophisticated ladies “are not covering up. We don’t attract that type of bride, because of who we carry. A bride with a figure problem would probably not come to us. Our samples are mostly 8s. If (the brides are) it’s not a problem, But covering up is not an issue. (Editor’s note: Some salons do carry larger samples. Leslie’s dress was a sample size 16 that she got for less than half price at a sample sale at an upscale salon in Washington, D.C. But most samples are, yes, much smaller). Strapless is still number one, but if people are covering up, it’s more for religious reasons than age. Most of our older brides are not, and that’s good. We don’t think she should have to.”

— Knowing your own mind: “The confidence level is there for sure (with older brides). They know what they want, and what they don’t want. They’re a bride, so it’s up for us to take over, We don’t create the dresses, but we give them a good mix of possibilities. We start with the silhouette, maybe a more sophisticated lace. The variety is really out there, Of the last few brides, we had one who bought an Ulla-Maija that was one shoulder. This woman had a beautiful body. She wore a brooch with a feather with her hair in a chignon. She might wear a cover-up because of the weather, but it’s going to be amazing.”

— Unveiled: “(Older brides) chose more creative headpieces (rather than veils), but, again, they tend to be a more sophisticated bride who won’t really be interested in a veil. Well, they might do a cocktail veil, or fishnet. But a lot of them wear something almost like hair jewelry. Certainly not a tiara. They’re very out of style, and on an older bride, they look even more out of style (NOTE: Leslie briefly considered a tiara, until the notion pretty much got beaten out of her by people with more sense than her.)

— Second time around? Only the bride knows for sure: “In today’s world, a lot of very young brides are second or even third-time brides. We never ask. Unless it comes up, we’d never know. We actually had, a couple of years ago, an older bride come with her first husband to help her pick her dress for her second wedding.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           — Short cuts: “We’ve sold a lot of short important dresses that could be used as second dresses (for later in the evening) or as a short dress for a second wedding, like Marchessa. (They are) short versions of a very exciting celebrity dress, that can go to less (formal) of a venue. Or they could be changing for the party that happens after the big wedding. The short dresses fills a lot of categories.”

— The right connection: “Working with brides on the floor, until you kind of see that connection, that’s the smile, (you know) she hasn’t found the right one yet. I’ve done this for 30 years. It’s a connection that gets through between herself and the dress that no one can really pinpoint…And it’s very important that the consultant and the bride connect. Sometimes I make a switch (between consultants). Nine times out of ten that works. The people coming in with (the bride) are not going into the room with her. They’re all staged on couches, while the bride is dressed with the consultant, as if it is the wedding and this is how people are going to see her. I say to them ‘You’re seeing her for the first time, just like the guests are.’ That reaction is very important. And it should be ‘Wow!'”

— Shopping without limits (your own or anyone else’s): “They might come in thinking (about one specific type of dress), but what we see when they get here is that they start to have fun with it. We have even had the venues (of the weddings) change because (the bride) decides to buy a more exciting dress. They get more of a wedding dress, and have more of a wedding. We’ve seen that happen. The dress sets the tone.”

Happy New Year, from the Brides at 35!

by SweetMidlife

We’re taking a brief break from all the celebrating to tell you our resolutions for this blog. Trust us, you’ll like ’em:

— We resolve to keep telling the stories of brides over the age of 35, and showing all their pretty pictures, and getting their advice on how they did what they did, and how you can, too.

— We resolve to keep finding the best professionals, from the world of fashion, planning, floral, music and more, who can help you have that awesome day you deserve.

— We resolve to keep finding snarky things to say about the way brides over 35 are depicted in movies, TV and pop culture at large.

— We resolve to remain open to suggestion, sweet criticism and gifts of love and cash.

Here’s to a happy 2011 full of pretty flowers, happy dances and the promise that neither love or weddings have an age limit.


Lynne and Leslie

Merry Christmas from Bride At 35, Part 2!

by SweetMidlife

As promised, this is the other half of the Bride at 35 team, Leslie, as I sit at a Little Rock, Arkansas sports bar with my husband, who is cheering on the Baltimore Ravens. And I’m writing about weddings, which is pretty much the antithesis of what he’s doing. It also reminds me of the first time he took me to his favorite Baltimore sports bar with his old friends, where I interrupted him during a crucial play to ask him to look at a darling reception place setting idea in Martha Stewart Weddings.

Which brings us to why I, and my sister, am so thrilled to be able to share our experiences as brides of a certain age with you. The above story is just one teensy example of those funny things that happen as you are planning a wedding and more importantly planning a life. I am learning to integrate my life with my husband’s, as I learn about Ray Lewis and interceptions and he learns about place settings and guest books. He is my partner and I am his, and as we celebrate our first married Christmas, we are both happy for the gift of each other and the patience, at the age of 39 and 40, to be able to accept the things we can not change and be humorously thrilled about the things we’re learning.

And here at Bride at 35, we’re embracing the season as well as our mission: to celebrate the love and circumstance that can happen at any age, and the beauty and wisdom (or not) that accompanies it. We want to share in your joy, your questions, your hope and fears and just the fact that love is possible. As are awesome place settings.

Happy happy joy joy!

Today’s Bride (over) 35: Lynne Streeter Childress

by SweetMidlife

Last week, Bride at 35 featured the wedding of Leslie Streeter Zervitz, one half of our sisterly blog team (Check out the post. So pretty.) Today, we thought we’d share the October 2010 wedding of Lynne, the other half.

2 years ago, Lynne was at a time in her life where she really wanted someone in her life, but decided that she wouldn’t stress about it like she had been. She let go and let God, as the old people say, and God sent her an e-mail that E-Harmony was having a sale! At least that’s how she likes to think of it. So, she met Arthur Childress, and they fell in love, and 2 1/2 years later (I am sure that she will elaborate more as this blog continues), he proposed. And they decided to not listen to people who told them that they couldn’t plan the wedding that they wanted in 2 months (because at that point, they wanted to get the party started), and that Lynne was too old to have 9 bridesmaids, and sifted through other loving advice, some of which they took, and some of which they did not (but it was all in love, we know), and 2 months after their engagement, got married at the AWESOME Circle D Farm in Maryland. It was a beautiful October morning, and they laughed and ate and danced and cried (both of them) and had a happy day. And are so blessed. Beyond belief.

Here are some pictures, taken by UCricket Photography (and the last one by our my darling friend Nikki)…

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