Twenty three years after her first marriage ended, Bee Eastman walked down the aisle again at the age of 57. Her first marriage had not been a positive experience, so marrying again was not something Bee thought she would ever do, until she met the right man. Love is funny that way, especially later in life when our life experience offers up its wisdom allowing us to recognize when something is just so very right.
When I interviewed Bee she was gracious enough to share not only the highlights of her experience, but some of the setbacks as well. The one message she wants all mid-life brides to know, is this story is a happy one even with some of the challenges and difficulties life presented while walking her mid-life bride path.
Lisa: How long was your engagement and how long did it take you to plan the event?
Bee: 11 months. Just long enough to plan a wedding… twice! In the midst of planning, we had to care for our ailing parents and move my mother to Massachusetts to an Assisted Living Facility.
Initially our intention was to have a destination wedding and take our wedding party to Aruba and be married there. I had all the paperwork collected and processed, reserved the date for New Years and was making arrangements for a reception, when both of our mothers experienced serious health issues. Probably in September, I realized we would not be able to get married in Aruba and switched our plans to have the wedding locally.
I recruited my cousin to help me. She is extremely organized and her taste is simply perfection. Sophisticated and elegant was the goal. Together we worked to put all the details in place. She really was my wedding planner and orchestrated the event perfectly.
Lisa: Describe your event; number of guests, location etc.
Bee: We invited 75 guests consisting of immediate family and very close lifetime friends. It was the most beautiful day. We held both the ceremony and the reception in Rialto Restaurant at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, MA. We had the entire restaurant for our event.
Red is my favorite color. I had letterpress invitations, menu cards and table numbers etc custom-made in red. I wore a beautiful red suit with chocolate-brown Manolo’s. My something old was my Mother’s broach.
My 5-year-old grandsons walked me down the aisle holding small red bouquets. We had a small quartet playing music. The restaurant was FILLED with Ranunculus, my favorite flower. Every table had a different arrangement with twigs, wreaths, short and tall pieces. It was beautiful.
In the entrance to the restaurant we placed a huge branch with chocolate covered pears (i.e. Pairs) with a saying written in Calligraphy as favors for everyone to take home.
The cake was in the style of a Sylvia Weinstock cake with memories of places we’d traveled and things we had done. On the top perched a Queen Bee as the bride and a Frog with a Crown as the groom.
Lisa: What are your favorite memories?
Bee: My special longtime friend, who was also my lawyer, married us. He was able to get a license to perform the ceremony that day. That was very special for me and will be a lifetime memory, as he has since passed away.
Having my mother well enough to attend the ceremony.
The significance of the cake….I had kissed enough frogs and had finally found my King.
As a wedding gift, my two wonderful girlfriends paid for the wedding photographer.
Taking the wedding party to Aruba for our honeymoon…you can never have too much of the things and people you love!
Lisa: Anything you would have done differently?
Bee: Well, I can never be too thin!! I maybe would have included a few more people, but on a whole it was a perfect day. The only sadness was my husband’s parents were unable to attend.
Lisa: Any advice for other mid-life brides?
Bee: By the time you get to 57 you have learned so many life lessons. We knew our relationship was one in a million. We were best friends and lovers and really communicate with each other.
I was marrying someone I loved… just the way he was and I had no intentions of changing him.
Pick and choose your battles…although we never really fight.
Lisa: Thank you so much for sharing your journey and event details with us. Anything you would like to add in conclusion?
Bee: We married in 2005. I know I made the right decision to marry. My husband and I have encountered a lot in the last ten years. We both experienced the loss of our parents. Our lives have also changed considerably with our jobs and our finances and we made a major geographical move, which took us away from our friends.
We each have had life threatening illnesses since we married. Through it all, we have each other. Our love is strong or we could not have gotten through all of these challenges and changes. We not only love each other, we rely on each other…that’s true love.
To have my husband by my side daily is ‘heaven on earth’.