Meet real mid-life bride and groom, Tim and Colleen Ray, they married in 2011. Tim was 58 and Colleen was 50.
Tim and Colleen are fun, easy-going and you can tell they enjoy each others company. There is a playfulness about them, a sparkle in their eyes and an appreciation for life that is contagious. They live part of the week in Sacramento, California and part of the week outside of Truckee, California.
Tim and Colleen are the perfect couple for a destination wedding.
I met with Tim and Colleen to hear their story and find out what made them decide on a destination wedding. They were happy to share their mid-life wedding experience with me.
Tim and Colleen met in 2009 riding in a golf cart during a tournament.
Tim proposed to Colleen in early 2011 at a Sacramento Kings game….or rather he had Slamson the King’s Basketball mascot deliver the proposal during a timeout. Colleen said YES!
Sharing the Big News
Tim was previously married three times, while Colleen had married once before. Tim’s two grown daughters took the news of the wedding in stride….Dad’s gonna do it again.
Tim’s friends chided him with…Really….Tim settle down?
Saying she had waited long enough, Colleen’s friends were thrilled!
Wedding Planning Overhaul
When Tim and Colleen started planning their wedding they ran into many of the issues other mid-life brides and grooms run into.
Finding the perfect venue that will accommodate an intimate gathering and isn’t outrageously expensive is nearly impossible. And boy, they looked at a lot of places!
Getting family and friend’s on board with your wedding date and plans takes diplomacy extraordinaire.
It is downright difficult pleasing others and staying true to your own vision. Wedding planning is fun, right?
Frustration with the planning process led to a new idea. Destination Wedding!
They already had a dive trip planned to Fiji. Their Dive Master told them the resort; Beqa Lagoon Resort offered wedding packages. They contacted the resort, read and signed the contract and left the details up to the resort.
Tim says: Destination Wedding……….BEST DECISION EVER!
Joining in the Journey
Tim and Colleen let family and friends know their plans and welcomed them to come and join in the festivities. While many expressed a desire to attend, only members of the dive group actually made the journey. They understood, after all, Fiji is a long way from California!
Tim and Colleen knew a few of the folks on the dive trip but most had no idea they were going to get married. Halfway through the trip they handed out invitations to everyone staying at the resort.
The Bride Wore White, the Groom Wore Shorts
Like most mid-life brides, Colleen was struggling to find an appropriate wedding dress. One afternoon, frustrated with what her internet research was turning up, she decided to take a nap. That’s when Tim stepped in. He brought up her recent searches, found a short, white, light weight chiffon gown that he thought would look great on her and bought it. It worked! She had the hem length altered and it was perfect!
Colleen paired the dress with sandals, drop earrings and bracelets that complimented the bead work in the dress. She looked elegant, relaxed and beautiful.
Tim went with linen shorts and a Tommy Bahama shirt. He looked comfortable and happy.
No muss no fuss!
Tim and Colleen researched the necessary legal documentation and process necessary to get married in Fiji. Checking online at the Embassy offers the best details.
They had to get their marriage license on the main island of Viti Levu in Fiji. They took a short trip over to Viti Levu, bringing with them the proper required documentation: An original birth certificate, passport, and divorce decrees (or single status documentation). They also paid a small fee.
Tim cautions to make sure you bring the signed and dated final divorce document or they won’t accept it. There was a moment of panic when he pulled the wrong document out of his bag and the clerk handed it back to him saying she needed one with a signature. Luckily, he had the right docs with him that day, just a little further down in his bag!
Favorite Part of the Ceremony
Tim smiles at the thought of this…..they had decided to do the mid-tier wedding package. Just for the heck of it, Tim asked what the difference was between the mid-tier and top-tier package. The gentleman told him the top-tier was $300 more and for that you got a world-class choir.
Tim thought about it for a few seconds and thought why not! I am only doing this once, let’s have the world-class choir!
SO WORTH IT!! His favorite part of the ceremony!
Tim and Colleen’s personal descriptions of their special day:
It was fantastic! As I dressed, Tim had to meet with the chief minister of the village to discuss the importance of marriage and our commitment. (Apparently in Fiji only the men receive instruction!) A few of the ladies that were diving with us came to my Bula (cottage) and did a little pre-wedding photo shoot. The village women brought beautiful flowers to the room, including my bouquet and intricate wedding leis for Tim and our best men.
Soon we heard drums beating in the distance. This was to signify the beginning of the wedding. Two protective Fijian warriors showed up at our Bula dressed in traditional warrior paint and grass skirts, carrying Fijian War Clubs. As is their tradition, they escorted me through the resort and to the ceremony which took place in the main common meeting area of the resort.
The area was completely decorated for the wedding, covered but also open air so we could escape the mist and still enjoy the beautiful grounds. Much to my surprise, all the guests of the village showed up dressed to the nines. After seven days of diving, they were ready for a wedding celebration!
The wedding began with a few numbers from the World Class Choir. Turns out, the choir is all the members of the tribe from the elders all the way to the four-year old’s. They truly are World Class. I am so happy we chose to go with this “add-on.”
We exchanged vows and then began the traditional Kava drinking ceremony, inviting all the guests to join in this tradition. Following the ceremony the women of the tribe dressed in traditional Fijian dress, sang and danced for us. This was followed by the male warriors dance.
Just incredible! The entire village and their guests celebrated with us. We danced into the evening and thoroughly enjoyed our wedding day.
The next day we had so many people come up to us with photos and videos they had taken of our wedding day (scuba divers love their cameras!), that we ended up with many wonderful pictures even though we had not arranged for a photographer.
After their diving excursion ended and post wedding celebration the bride and groom headed over to spend a few weeks exploring and vacationing in New Zealand. Talk about the trip of a lifetime….these two made this one count!
I asked Tim how being a mid-life bride and groom was different from the weddings of their youth. His response was classic: “It was for us, not everyone else.”
Tim also said they wouldn’t have changed a thing about their wedding day. His advice for other mid-life brides and grooms: “Destination Baby! It truly was all about us with no stress.”
Sharing the Joy
Tim and Colleen are working on creating a small wedding venue on their property outside of Truckee, California. Tim has become certified to officiate marriage ceremonies. They would like other couples to experience the joy of having a destination wedding in a low-key, beautiful setting. That really is sharing the joy!