Look almost anywhere in the wedding industry and you’ll see some startling similarities across the board: the people represented are straight, white, and young. Though, in more recent years, especially in the shake-up that was 2020, the heteronormativity and overall beige palette have begun improving, with even the bigger, more traditional outlets showing change – there’s still a trend towards showing younger couples, a taste of ageism in the wedding industry. 

couple sits in yellow piece of art in Atlanta GA

Ageism in the Wedding Industry

More and more these days, couples are not only waiting until later in life to marry in the first place, but they’re also remaining more open to considering remarrying after divorce. Frankly, my couples tend to be in their late 20’s or mid 30’s, with a good handful of folx older than that and I think that’s amazing! Love, just as it knows no gender or race, knows no age. There is no reason why someone in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or beyond shouldn’t celebrate a marriage in the same way as someone in their 20’s or 30’s. What matters is that it’s an authentic celebration driven by the love of the people in the relationship and not dictated by outsiders {just like the marriage itself}.

The very first wedding I ever photographed, and I do mean ever, was between two people in their 70’s named Judy & Jim. Honestly, this is the wedding that made me fall in love both with weddings and with photographing weddings. The wedding that cemented for me the kinds of people I wanted to work with more than anything: laidback couples who know how to have a good time. People who value their communities and want to take care of them: families, chosen families, friend groups, etc. The people for whom this wedding really is a big celebration, but is also a huge “thank you” to the people who’ve supported them and their relationship. So I firmly reject the notion that weddings are only for young twenty-somethings and the notion that if you’re anyone else, there are certain rules you must abide by.

couple poses together during ATL wedding

In fact, here are my new rules for weddings with older couples:

Rule #1: Wear whatever you want!

You are not relegated to mother-of-the-bride dresses or full suits if that’s not who you are as people. Yes, you can wear white! Or you can wear bright colors! You can knock the word “demure” right out of your vocabulary if you’d like! You are allowed to embrace your sexuality and to be as hot as you want. And, you’re also completely allowed to dress modestly or cutely or handsomely or vintage-inspired-ly. Whatever makes you feel great and confident is the right choice.

tips on how to end ageism in the wedding industry shared by GA wedding photographer You Are Ravenmiddle age couple holds hands and walks along lake on wedding day

Rule #2: Toss out or keep whatever traditions you want!

Just like I recommend with any other wedding: build your wedding from the ground up and forget about anything else. Truly, you don’t have to start with a template and you can knock out or keep whatever you’d like. The important part is that at the end of the day: you’re married. Pick and choose things like cake cutting – or maybe not having cake at all! – toasts, dancing, all at your leisure. If they’d make you happy, keep them!

couple lift up horse masks during cake cutting

Rule #3: Include whomever you want in your wedding party!

Kids, kids of friends, friends of kids, grandkids, cousins, friends, college roommates: the sky’s the limit! Have as many or as few people standing up with you as you’d like. And on that note, you can have a whatever-sized wedding you’d like, too! You don’t have to have a small wedding and you don’t have to invite the whole neighborhood. Keep it to whomever you want celebrating alongside you and you can’t go wrong.

Georgia wedding photographer shares four tips to fight Ageism in the wedding industrybride prepares for wedding day with bridesmaids and family during post about fighting Ageism in the wedding industryRule #4: Be as sophisticated or as cheesy as you want!

And, your options don’t stop there. Your age has nothing to do with your personality, and your personality is exactly what your wedding is celebrating! You’re not stuck with elegant and sophisticated if that’s not who you are. Seriously, go with what feels right and comfortable: whether it’s brunch or beach, formal dinner or a diner!

older couple hugs in front of metal sculpture in GA

I hope you found my new rules helpful. And, I hope that the wedding industry continues on this trend of inclusivity. Especially as it pertains to fighting ageism in the wedding industry!

Get in touch to discuss your wedding plans!

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