“This Ain’t Your Mama’s Wedding!” A Mother Reflects as She Helps Plan Her Daughter’s Wedding

“This Ain’t Your Mama’s Wedding!” A Mother Reflects as She Helps Plan Her Daughter’s Wedding

“This Ain’t Your Mama’s Wedding!” A Mother Reflects as She Helps Plan Her Daughter’s Wedding

I’m so happy to share this post by another member of the Women Over Fifty Bloggers community. Reading her story brought a tear to my eye remembering my own daughter’s wedding and feeling the same shock when helping her plan (and pay for) it. Time is definitely marching on and nothing seems to escape modernization. But…there are still some things that will never change. Enjoy Mary Jo’s story, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.



Blogger: Visiting the Gray Planet

Mary Jo is a happy-to-be 57-yr old blogger living in Denver, Colorado. She launched her lifestyle blog for middle aged women in April of this year. Her writing focuses mainly on aging parents, retirement and gray hair.

Mary Jo states that aging is like grade school math: “you’re going to add some things and subtract some things”. 

When confronted with the realities that growing older brings, she feels it’s easier when you have good information and you know you’re not alone.

Weddings Have Changed (and that’s putting it mildly!)

My daughter got married last summer which made me a first-time mother of the bride.

The night they got engaged was magical. I remember the young man who couldn’t quit smiling and the future bride glowing with love and excitement. Now I know what they mean by “love is in the air.” As I was glowing with pride and soaking this all in, the arresting thought that we would be putting on a wedding hit me. It was the first of many shocking realizations I was about to discover.

I got married in 1987 and had a lovely wedding very much in line with the standards of the ’80’s. Perms for all! My mother and I planned everything together. We bought 1 bridal magazine and talked to friends who had wedding experience. In a moment of liberalism, we let my groom-to-be choose his own clothes for the wedding. Other than that, his job was to have his mom call me so we could compile a guest list.

So imagine my surprise, when my future son-in-law wanted to be involved in planning his wedding. Apparently this is a thing now: couples planning their wedding together.

I was already a little off-kilter, this being the first wedding in my family with me a member of the older generation. While my daughter’s friends, in their matching bridesmaid dresses, were out on the dance floor, my friends from college and I were competing in the “most years married” contest.

As the planning process began, I couldn’t believe how much had changed since I planned my wedding…

Engagement Pictures

When did engagement pictures become a necessity? In the 1980’s, wealthy people occasionally did that for the newspaper but no one else did. Apparently now, this is one of the first things to be scheduled.


While the happy couple was busy choosing coordinating outfits for pictures, I was contemplating the wording of the wedding invitations. Sadly, neither of their parents are still married (to each other anyway) so to include the names of all involved along with the date, would lead to a lot of extra wording on the fancy 5 x7 invitations with the scroll-y lettering… May eighteenth two thousand seventeen…you know, in the proper way that we did it back in the 80’s.

I was in for another surprise! The modern couple chose a tri-panel invitation that included no scrolls and no awkward listing of parent’s names. They filled the panels with adorable engagement pictures and information about the wedding. In addition, there were no RSVP cards! Nope. We do all that on line now.

When I was engaged,  my mom kept track of all my wedding guests on 4 X 6 index cards stored in a shoe box. A 4 x 6 card was big enough to keep track of the date the invitation was mailed, their response to the RSVP, the gift we’d received and when we’d sent the thank you. I kept this box for decades because it reminded me of the excitement of planning the wedding and of all the people who were there.

Wedding Website

Soon after the engagement pictures were taken, the groom-to-be started working on their wedding website. The website includes a small data base of guest information. This is necessary for sending emails and Facebook invites so all their friends could save the date.

There’s also a section for a biography of the couple and each attendant. This does takes some of the mystery out of the actual ceremony. We used to sit in the pews and speculate, “Is that the bride’s sister? Who do you think that man is?” Now we know everyone’s full name, how they met the bride and groom, and we are also able to read their messages of congratulations on the website.


One very good development in wedding planning is cake tasting!

The Groom-to-be was out of town during the cake-testing event, so I got to go! The bakery had 60 different types of cake flavors. 60! We narrowed our choices down to 6 and emailed the bakery so they could prepare.

When I got married, my cake choices were white, lemon, and poppy seed.

Here’s a tip for cake tasting day: If you’re going to eat 6 cupcakes with icing at 10:00 in the morning, you are going to want milk. You are also going to want to lay down when you get home.

It is now becoming common to skip the cake entirely and have other fun desserts like pie or donuts. What? I thought marriage only became legal after the couple fed each other a delicate bite of cake! They tell me this isn’t true.

Getting Inspiration

I don’t know how modern brides (oh, and grooms) ever make a decision on anything with access to so many choices. Pinterest is inspiring, but it also raises the bar on individuality. In addition to picking a dress and attendants, the trend now is to have a wedding theme: “Island Paradise”, “Wedding in a Barn”, “Summer Romance”, “New Age Bohemian”.

Of course your guest book also needs to reflect your theme. Your guests may be signing a picture frame, a log, or possibly even a surf board. Gone are the stiff little white guest books of my day.


In the 1980’s, entertainment at the reception was limited to throwing the bouquet and watching your parent’s friend’s try to dance after a few drinks. Now we have photo booths and games. Signature cocktails and slide shows. Popcorn bars. Serve yourself candy tables.

When I got married, a first class wedding gave out Jordan almonds wrapped in netting and called it good.

Planning the modern wedding was an eye-opener for me, and a challenge learning to adapt to all the changes. But with the planning over, the big day had finally arrived.

The Wedding Day

The bridesmaids giggled and fixed their hair. The bride and groom’s families got acquainted; trying to make a good impression. The wedding guests gathered and reflected fondly on their own wedding day.

The Father-of-the-bride misted up as he walked his daughter down the aisle.

The happy couple made solemn vows and anticipated their future together.

They started their newly married status surrounded by the love and good wishes of friends and family.

You know…the way weddings have always been.

You can follow Mary Jo on Pinterest HERE, and visit her blog VISITING THE GRAY PLANET for other great stories.

Until next time…

Patti Huck image and signature

This Ain't Your Mama's Wedding | Women Over Fifty Network

Donna Carman: Reinventing My Life – From Unmotivated and Miserable to Loving Life and Lean!

Donna Carman: Reinventing My Life – From Unmotivated and Miserable to Loving Life and Lean!

Donna Carman: Reinventing My Life – From Unmotivated and Miserable to Loving Life and Lean!

Hey all,

I received the following email and I wanted to share it with you…

Hi Patti,

Nice to “meet” you. I’m Donna. I live in the Dallas-Fort-Worth region of Texas. I found your page on Facebook. I have been thinking about creating a similar page. As I linked out to your website, I found I felt like I already “fit in”, like I related to what I saw. Simple, common, over-50 women things…nobody selling me anything. Nothing popping up at me telling me to subscribe today to win something. Just realness. So thank you.

I’m going to share my story, because I too have thought about this concept, and believe 100% in it. We all have something. We all have a story. How we got here. What’s happening. We’re all different, yet so much the same.

So here’s to you! To your site! And to letting me share my story and journey with you. Thank you for having the courage and willingness to create your site and share it with the world. That’s pretty darn great and I’m glad I found it today. 


I agree with Donna. We are all different, yet so much the same. And yes we all DO have a story. I hope after reading Donna’s, you’ll be inspired to share yours with us too. It’s super easy and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Click HERE for instructions.

If you connect with Donna’s story or have any questions for her, it would be great of you to leave her a comment below, or just a thank you to her for sharing her story with us and letting her know that you read it.

And now, I’m turning it over to Donna.

Patti Huck image and signature

Donna’s Story: Reinventing My Life

I grew up in a small Midwestern town. Nothing crazy. Nothing too much out of the ordinary. I was raised with a religious background, however my parents quit attending when I was in high school, so while I have continued faith and beliefs, that’s pretty much where that stays. I learned early on, though, how powerful our creator and maker is. I still believe today, that we were created with love and beauty. That we are such incredible beings, and the world we have been given is quite the gift.

I married in my mid 20’s. I don’t believe I was in love at the time. I believe I felt it was what I “should do” next. I think I was glad someone was so into me, and even though I had my reservations, I quieted them and to the courthouse we went.

I had a few jobs in my 20’s.  In 1991, I took a temporary job, that was supposed to last the week. I ended up still there months later, and the following year was officially in the door with a large telecommunications company. Someone told me that first week, “Congratulations. Keep your nose clean, do your job well and you’ll be set for life”.  I stayed with that company, through its many mergers, reorganizations and process improvements and workforce reductions. Twenty-three years later, I opted not to re-locate, looked for another position in the company, but ended up finally off payroll at the end of 2015.

During my late 30’s, I realized my marriage was never going to work, especially when my (now ex) husband had told me he no longer wanted to be a husband or father. I wasn’t about to beg him to want it. He clearly didn’t, and it was best for our son, to let it end. As I faced the daunting thought of dating in my 40’s, I thought at times I would be that crazy cat lady on the beach somewhere before I found someone who wanted to be with me, and I wanted to be with them! What the heck happened? When did I put on the extra pounds and stopped caring how I looked? When did I stop caring about myself period?!!  It was a crazy wake up call.  I remember seeing a picture of myself, and literally not recognizing who I was looking at.

So long story short, I kicked my butt in gear, quit smoking, started exercising, stopped eating so much sugar and junk food (put down the jar of frosting and learned to eat more than cookies and cake).

I started dating again, but stopped. Then started again, for another week or two. It’s nuts dating in your 40’s. At least it was then. The whole time though, I immersed myself in the world of health and fitness. I found meetup groups that weren’t for people wanting to date. I joined one to learn ballroom dancing. I joined another to hit the tennis ball around again (something I used to enjoy in my teens). I paid for swimming lessons, so I could learn how to swim better. I bought a road bike, and starting finding trails near my house. I loved being healthy, being fit, being outside, feeling alive!!!

Eventually I poked around the online dating sites again, and lucky for me, met the most fun, smart and talented man!! We dated for awhile, and eventually decided it was silly having two different places, so he moved in with me and we’ve been enjoying our lives together ever since! He never ceases to amaze me. He has a heart bigger than Texas and talent bigger than the world, I think!

When I knew my corporate job was coming to end, I discussed the possibility of starting my own business with him. He knew my heart. He knew my dream. To have a place where anyone could go, to get healthy, get fit, find their confidence and skill. To help others find happiness. I didn’t want to own a gym. I wanted a place where anyone could go, when they wanted, and just enjoy life.. enjoy outdoors, enjoy health.  I wanted to help children learn what they are great at, to have them experience confidence in themselves and taste things besides soda and candy and do more than play video games or watch television. I wanted a place where aging adults can find excitement and laughter, relaxation and care.

I have yet to finish my dream, but I started my new path, at the end of 2015. I studied and became a certified trainer in 2016. I kept studying and practicing what I was learning with friends and family. Earlier this year, I became a certified health coach, and last month, finished my nutrition studies, so I’m now a certified nutrition coach as well. With my boyfriend’s help, we turned my son’s old bedroom into a cardio room and our garage into another workout area.  I’m starting a small in-home health and nutrition coaching business, where I plan to offer services to women who are looking to start getting back to self care and confidence, either in my home or theirs. I plan to offer training to active seniors who just want to move a little more, or need help preparing healthy food.

I believe in the power of a positive mind, and feel that no one is better than anyone else. I believe we can be our own best friend or our own worst enemy. Some days we can be both. I do things from my heart and put all I have into them. I want to touch the lives of women, who like me, for so long felt like I wasn’t just quite good enough, that if only xxx or yyy would happen, I would be happy. Life is too short to live waiting for xxx or yyy.

I want to live now and although I have my super scary days, where I think maybe I’m not really good enough after all… I am reminded that I am as good as anyone else who has gone before me. We live in a time where we can learn, grow, experience and so much more… anything we want.

I believe aging can be exciting. It comes with health challenges, but I don’t think that means we have to just accept aches and pains as part of getting older and stop enjoying the things we truly love to do. I think with age we gain wisdom, strength, and experience.  

Donna Carman

Donna Carman

Fitness Coach


Donna owns her own business providing nutrition and fitness coaching.

Her favorite place to be is at the beach. She loves being outdoors, sitting on the patio, working in the yard, shopping at farmer’s markets…just being in the fresh air.

She normally gets up early and walks 2-3 miles a day, has breakfast with her boyfriend, then they work out together when he comes home from work. She has recently returned to journaling to clear her mind.

Her favorite quote is “Make the most of the dash!” (_ _ – _ _)

Thank you so much Donna, for sharing your story with us. You’ve inspired me as I’m sure you’ve inspired so many others. Don’t you dare doubt yourself. You are, without a doubt “good enough”. You go girl!

Until next time, peace out-

Patti Huck image and signature

My Story-Donna Carman | Women Over Fifty Network

Starting Over. Who Says You Can’t Re-invent Your Life After 60? Meet MEREDITH MARAN – Author

Starting Over. Who Says You Can’t Re-invent Your Life After 60? Meet MEREDITH MARAN – Author

Starting Over. Who Says You Can’t Re-invent Your Life After 60? Meet MEREDITH MARAN – Author

Starting Over Again…and again, and again

It never ceases to amaze me how people come into your life at exactly the right time. Have you noticed that? Funny how life works. Funny, but not funny, ya know?

I know that in my life when I’m caught up in a shit storm and wading through the muck, I’m hard pressed to imagine that any good could possibly come from it if I should survive with my mind intact once I’m spit out on the other side. But it does. Almost always.

It’s happened over and over. When everything sucks, crap is coming at me from every angle and I’m forced to take my life in a completely different direction, that new direction ends up being the exact one I needed to take to get me to a better place. That new direction is one I would never have orchestrated on my own, and is usually a place I never in a million years would have thought myself to be.

Meet My New BFF: Meredith Maran

The story below reinforces my belief that ‘everything happens for a reason’. I immediately loved Meredith. She’s the author of “The New Old Me”, a story of starting over. She’s warm, spunky, funny, caring, positive and fiercely indendent. Aside from one very short e-mail exchange, I don’t know her. I was able to determine those qualities from the heartfelt and candid podcast interview you’ll listen to below.

During our 60’s, a time when life is supposed to get a little easier for us as we look forward to retirement, her life completely fell apart. She was blindsided by a rapid succession of life events.

If you are presently or have ever been in a place where you feel you’re getting hammered from all directions, you’re alone, and you’re not sure what your next move should be…listen to the interview with Meredith below.

You’ll hear traces of lingering pain in her voice, but you’ll feel her resiliency and determination that, I don’t know about you, but she put a renewed fire in my soul and reminded me of something I’ve preached, but sometimes forget myself: Every little thing’s gonna be alright.

She, my friends, personifies the strong, intelligent, empathetic, independent woman – the woman that the Women Over Fifty Network community was built around, and the type of woman I personally strive to be every day of my life.

NOTE: This is an audio post. Click the triangle below to listen…the intro ends at :26, then Meredith’s story begins.

NOTE: I love her thoughts at position 9:25 on the audio. EVERY WOMAN WHO IS OVER FIFTY NEEDS TO HEAR THIS!

Re-Inventing Myself After 60: Meredith Maran's Story

by DAYA Podcasts



Author |Speaker |Editor

Like a lot of women her age, MEREDITH MARAN has a hard time believing she’s a woman of her age. And yet she’s published more than a dozen books, including The New Old MeWhy We Write About OurselvesWhy We WriteMy Lie, and A Theory of Small Earthquakes. She writes for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and others.

A member of the National Book Critics Circle, Meredith lives in a Silver Lake bungalow that’s even older than she is. Anne Lamott said of Meredith’s skills as a coach for aspiring writers, “She’s the best in the biz.”

Learn more about Meredith and what she does HERE. See her books HERE

I love that she’s so down-to-earth and relatable and I can’t wait to read her memoir “The New Old Me”. My plan is to start with her most recent book and then work my way backward through the others. If you’d like to do the same so we can compare notes, you can order it through Amazon HERE(And just to be clear, I have no affiliation with or am receiving compensation for promotion – I’m just a huge fan!)

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this. Did anything in particular resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time…peace out.

Patti Huck image and signature

DAYA (Don't Act Your Age) Podcasts

DAYA (Don't Act Your Age) Podcasts

Guest Post

Meredith’s story is narrated by Stephen Johnston and produced by Rich Halten and Stephen Johnston at “Don’t Act Your Age,” a podcast about over-50’s who have earned every one of their gray hairs. You can hear more of their podcasts by subscribing to Don’t Act Your Age on iTunes HERE

Starting Over. Meredith Maran | Women Over Fifty Network

“CRASH LANDING: A Love Story” – Guest post by Don’t Act Your Age

“CRASH LANDING: A Love Story” – Guest post by Don’t Act Your Age

“CRASH LANDING: A Love Story” – Guest post by Don’t Act Your Age

Just A Note…

Hey All,

I was lucky enough to be contacted by Rich Halten, producer at Don’t Act Your Age. He and his business partner Stephen Johnston seek out people over 50 (that’s us!) who have stories to tell. They then interview and produce these amazing podcasts.

I have to say, I was pretty impressed after listening to Crash Landing: A Love Story. I look forward to seeing what else they’ll share with us!

How far would you go to keep a romance alive?

Sally, a sixty-something woman, went coast-to-coast, flying thousands of miles with Bob, her pilot boyfriend. She learned to love it, and even learned to fly the plane herself.

Even though their relationship had its rough spots, she was determined to not let go of this love of her life. That is, until a crisis at 8,000 feet began a descent that sent their boomer-age relationship into a tail spin.


by Don't Act Your Age Podcasts


Sally’s story is narrated and produced by Don’t Act Your Age,” a podcast about folks over 50 who have earned every one of their gray hairs. You can hear more episodes by subscribing to Don’t Act Your Age on iTunes HERE.

Crash Landing | A Love Story | Women Over Fifty Network
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Starting Over Again…and again, and again

It never ceases to amaze me how people come into your life at exactly the right time. Have you noticed that? Funny how life works. Funny, but not funny, ya know?

I know that in my life when I’m caught up in a shit storm and wading through the muck, I’m hard pressed to imagine that any good could possibly come from it if I should survive with my mind intact once I’m spit out on the other side. But it does. Almost always. READ MORE…